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Tuesday 7 September 2010

Lucy Rodgers | 12:19 UK time, Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Retirement RIP - is life after work as we know it over? According to a poll commissioned by Newsnight, almost three quarters of us believe it is. Seven out of 10 say they think it won't be feasible for people to stop work then live on a pension for two to three decades.

So, as hundreds of thousands take to the streets of France to register anger at plans to overhaul pensions and raise the retirement age to 62, Economics editor Paul Mason will be explaining why the current model for retirement is almost certainly unsustainable.

Also in tonight's special programme, Stephen Smith will be asking why our view of old age, embodied by grumpy sitcom character Victor Meldrew, has become so entrenched in our psyche. Is it time to change our clichéd understanding of what getting older means?

Back in the studio we will be speaking to a variety of guests, old and young, about their expectations of life over the age of 60 and whether the baby boomers stole the future from younger generations.

Do join Jeremy at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I am a trader working on the prop desk in the investment arm of a rather well known bank [BARCAP - Barclays Capital if you really insist on knowing].

    I intend to retire next year...when I'm 32!

    So long suckers!

  • Comment number 2.

    Some predatory free-market anarchists know how to invest in their futures...

    George Soros Human Rights Watch Donation: $100 Million
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/07/george-soros-human-rights-watch-donation_n_706986.html?ir=Business

  • Comment number 3.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/third-world-america-why-i_b_706673.html

    She has always been pretty middle of the road, an intelligent thoughtful women not prone to being

    shall we say

    alarmist.

    She isn't just 'talking her book' you know.

    Read and listen to the way Arianna is talking about the US and think about the UK.

    That includes you the BBC editors who can influence and educate the public.


    Where are you on the Govt, the bankers they employ and everything they have done - Fractional Reserve Banking, derivatives, naked short selling, high frequency trading and all the manipulation there-in .

    Where are you BBC ? Where do you stand ? Impartial ?

  • Comment number 4.

    TIME FOR A CO-ORDINATED CONCEPTION-NURTURE-WORK-DECLINE-DEPARTURE PLAN

    CONCEPTION: virtually no constraint.
    NURTURE: culturally a chore
    WORK: no ethic no vocation, go for money
    DECLINE: who pays who cares
    DEPARTURE: highly constrained just suffer and wait for release

    Against the above, retirement is a secondary concept.

  • Comment number 5.

    DROP THE OTHER SHOE (#1)

    What will you do with your money/power and time DJ?

    What's a prop desk?

  • Comment number 6.

    #1

    Oh, yeah? How lovely to know the truth? Let's hope the others here are i'n a similar revelatory mood.

  • Comment number 7.

    debty, tb01, 'housey'

    I wonder whether you could let us know whether you have moustache under you nose.??? ??

  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    "6. At 1:24pm on 07 Sep 2010, mimpromptu wrote:
    #1

    Oh, yeah? How lovely to know the truth? Let's hope the others here are i'n a similar revelatory mood."

    Three related rhetorical questions to (I hope helpfully) make a point about online behaviour and risk:

    1) Why is it so important for you to know WHO people are rather than to understanding WHAT people post?

    2) If someone posting as Mickey Mouse referred in passing to his wife, would you expect her to be called Minnie?

    3) If an anonymous poster tells you what their alleged profession is on-line, do you accept that they are telling the truth? How would you be able to tell either way?

    This is why personal information is best avoided (females and young children particularly I would suggest).

  • Comment number 10.

    Just heard the top of the news item, which is that an 'unnamed Minister has commented...'

    Sorry, but what happened to attribution, confirmation and verification?

    As far as I am concerned, that bit of gossip was nowhere near news, let alone worthy of mention at all.

    At least, until all of the above have been enacted.

    Otherwise, it might as well have not happened. So why 'report' it?

    I know it might cramp the style of a few 'journalists', but maybe a return to some older, more competent values might help restore battered cred?

  • Comment number 11.

    THE ULTIMATE QUESTION? (#7)

    Oh Mim! Where else might they sport a moustache? Think of the danger when trimming!!! I do so hope it is under the nose.

    "Just kidding folks."

  • Comment number 12.

    THE OFF SWITCH (further to #4)

    Why not get Com Res to take a poll regarding the facility for us decliners to switch ourselves off?
    As I recall, there is at least one country where an unwanted baby can be put 'down a chute' anonymously, to be cared for. I propose a shute for those of us ready to depart. And don't start banging on about being bumped off for your money. My kids have permission to do that anyway - it's the least I can offer after putting them on this damned planet in this double-damned country. We only have ourselves to blame if they do.

    Always look on the bright side of life . . . . . . . . (:o)

  • Comment number 13.

    #11

    I expected an answer/question of this sort, singie, but I know one man than on seeing a moustache /under any man''s nose, passers by i'n the streets. inside buildings, on photos, posters or i'n cartoons, etc/ I go into a 'rapture', so perhaps he's 'wearing' one somewhere else.

    mim

  • Comment number 14.

    #12

    Say that to a woman being raped or a mortally wounded soldier thinking about his young family, singie. Do you think they'd be grateful for your advice?

  • Comment number 15.

    #9 & 10

    Why do you think 'anonymous' 'people' should be allowed to do all kinds of damage to this country and the individuals who, by the nature of their jobs are i'n the public light.

    As I do not like your posts, I was just wondering whether you were the man I posted to singie about.

  • Comment number 16.

    tb01

    In the same vein then, I wonder what 'charlie chaplin' is up to?

  • Comment number 17.

    The traditional retire at 60 - 65 and never work again is dead for private sector employees but for the time being it's still very much alive for public sector workers on gold plated final salary schemes.

    This is an unsustainable pensions aparteid. I hope someone in government grasps the nettle and at least closes these schemes to new entrants. Otherwise these over generous schemes will eventually become an unbearable tax burden and bankrupt the country.

  • Comment number 18.

    why can't we "afford" pensions? Because people aren't paid enough - either to invest themselves, or pay enough income tax to fund the State.

    why are wages low? because Corporates have taken over the UK economy, and since 1979 wages and incomes have stagnated, whilst the Corporates are making incredible sums of money - that they then use to buy even more companies and politicians.

    how has this happened without people realising it? Because control of the media is also in the hands of the Corporates.

    if Corporates actually paid just the amount of tax they are supposed to, that would be well over £100Bn during the next 5 years. That is *MORE* than the amount of money Osbourne wants to remove from social spending!!


    can SOMEONE explain to me why, how it is that our parents and grandparents lived in a society where they could afford free health care, free opticians, free dental care, grants to study at college, unemployment benefit (instead of this 'JSA'), proper pensions, and all the other aspects of a modern Welfare State, yet for the last few decades, despite the UK becoming quite appreciably richer, we apparently cannot.

    and at the same time, totally unconnected, many in the UK are taking literally £Bns out in income and capital gains, without paying any tax whatsoever?

    because i don't get the math.

    *we* will have to work longer, for less money, pay more tax, and have no support from the State. This is the future?

    whilst Corporations and the wealthy pay ever less tax, get ever greater hand-outs, and snigger at us over canapes?


    -----

    but of course changing that is 'unrealistic', would involve 'socialism' which means a Stalin on your doorstep tomorrow, and a bunch of rich people tonight on NN will explain why it is essential that poor, hard working people who PAY TAXES will have to forget any benefis from that tax, because the very rich can "just leave".

    let the [bleep]s go, is my opinion, and we should improve the economic position by building cooperatives that actually pay taxes and increase incomes, instead of tax-avoiding Corporations that strive to pay less, and once this theft on our labour is removed, then the incomes and taxes WILL be able to pay for proper pensions, health care, and education etc.

    where do people think the monies for this comes from? It comes from their hard work. Why are we still letting Corporates own the UK, own our politicians, and drive the media debates?

    the Greeks took enough of it, i wonder how much we will take?

  • Comment number 19.

    #17: pension schemes are not the problem - a lack of the very wealthy paying taxes IS.

    in a well ordered, stable, partnership society, ALL would get "Gold Plated Retirement Schemes". And it would be easily affordable.

  • Comment number 20.

    NICK'LL FIX IT (#17)

    I am sure this is just the sort of injustice Nick Clegg feels he came into politics to address. As a man of integrity he must, surely, be making powerful representations to Dave on such matters.

    Oh - it's all going awfully well.

  • Comment number 21.

    I can see a retired person now struggling along the pavement with two sticks and in obvious distress. But I also know a number of septuagenarians (and older) who still contribute and work as far as they are able. It is quite obvious that the man with two sticks can only possible perform week when seated, but I don't see employers making it possible for him and his fellow retired persons to work.

    The 'children' who work for the BBC obviously have little understanding that as one ages one's ability to do manual tasks diminishes. Retirement was a enormously liberating and social valuable contribution to civilisation - after all before the old and infirm were just left to die in squalor and poverty if they could not work. Is that what the BBC is promoting - death in the workhouse! Dickens and many other reformers fought long and had to ensure that there was dignity in old age - it is a disgrace that broadcasters and their political masters want the old slung into the workhouse again, or worse! An absolute disgrace! Cull the newsroom first before doing away with dignity in old age!

  • Comment number 22.

    Stalin on my doorstep? Well, well, well. I don't think I'l shake his hand. You complain about big corporates but how about the previous government? Doesn't a big share of the blame fall on Gordie and Mandy? JJ, while pretending to be friends with them, called them 'useful idiots'. Do you remember that, 'housey'?

    By the way, how do you know what 'essential' explanations are going to be on Newsnight tonight, eh? 'Controlling' everything, are you?

  • Comment number 23.

    MONEY TO BUY POLITICIANS (#18)

    Bullseye Mork. In the interest of repeating myself - "EVERYONE HAS THEIR PRICE - I HOPE I AM NEVER OFFERED MINE"

    We have now had several generations of downward spiral. Babies build their brains/personalities to the template of 'out there'. If 'let rip', each generation must inexorably be poorer in spirit than the one before. Paradoxically, we have 'gone uncritical' (no taboos) and the result is that we are heading for cultural 'melt-down'. Even more paradoxical - an early casualty was the Nuclear Family!

    Hey - what odds can I get on cultural collapse at the aptly named Lad-brokes?

    Anyone asked Blair why his expenses were shredded lately?

    Any (subsidised) bars been closed in Westminster yet?

    Weep democracy.

  • Comment number 24.

    current pensions are generally ponzi/pyramid schemes with unrealistic return expectations. the increasing shortfall has to be constantly funded or they blow up. like all ponzi schemes they survive when there is liquidity. when the tide goes out we see who is swimming without any clothes.

    all these people striking [bbc RMT etc] to protect ponzi schemes are delusional.

    if we had a society building plan we would not have a tax system that punishes people for saving, nor punishes them for dying but allow a tax free pension pot to be transferred to other people as long as that is what it is used for.

    as uk democracy institutionalises incompetence no doubt the treasury will still try to sell these ponzi pensions schemes upon the public and call them 'good'.

    these pensions should not be propped up but those who proposed them should face the same trials madoff did. who invented the bbc pension scheme knowing the mathematics was unsustainable? the public should not bail these people out who through greed kept quiet about what they were doing?

  • Comment number 25.

    "Seven out of 10 of those asked by ComRes think it will not be feasible for people to stop work then live on a pension for up to 30 years"

    Doesn't this just show that 70% of Britons now know that the average life expectancy of a UK citizen is under 90 years?

    Survey results: not to be taken at face value?


    "17. At 4:49pm on 07 Sep 2010, caspertg1 wrote:
    The traditional retire at 60 - 65 and never work again is dead for private sector employees but for the time being it's still very much alive for public sector workers on gold plated final salary schemes.

    This is an unsustainable pensions aparteid."

    No, it was a different system. People working for the public sector used to work for other people providing a public service which was not for profit. Their small reward for that used to be secure employment and a modest but safe retirement. Public service did not pay very well, and didn't provide opportunities for an income upon retirement beyond the pension. That is why people selected public service rather than seeking fame and fortune in the private sector. Many who now object to the public sector pension didn't do well enough in the casino of the private sector and now resent those who never chose it. In China, the state looks after its own employees, not the private sector employees. It used to be the case that people accepted, that one made one's choice and took the risk and consequences. Not these days, sadly. Now it seems that greedy people in the private sector made a mess of things and expects the public to pay for it too. Greedy, freedom loving "entrepreneurs" have wrecked the country. Aparteid indeed, next you'll be spinning prison walls as aparteid barriers.

  • Comment number 26.

    "15. At 4:15pm on 07 Sep 2010, mimpromptu wrote:
    #9 & 10

    Why do you think 'anonymous' 'people' should be allowed to do all kinds of damage to this country and the individuals who, by the nature of their jobs are i'n the public light.

    As I do not like your posts, I was just wondering whether you were the man I posted to singie about."

    Who are those people and how do you know what they're doing if you don't know who they are? Do you ever wonder whether you might not actually know what you are talking about and may be imagining things?

    I'm sorry that you don't like my posts. Maybe it's because they make you think a bit too self-critically? That's prone to make one's head hurt a bit, but it's not a bad thing in general. In fact, some people pay good money for that experience.

    I don't see the connection between your not liking my posts and your wondering who I am etc. Maybe you should focus instead upon WHAT is said and try to find out if WHAT is said corresponds with the facts in the world, i.e. whether WHAT is said is actually true regardless of whether one likes it, as only paying attention to what one likes is rarely a sound or sane policy in life.


    "16. At 4:28pm on 07 Sep 2010, mimpromptu wrote:
    tb01

    In the same vein then, I wonder what 'charlie chaplin' is up to?"

    I do not understand that question, or to whom you are referring by 'charlie chaplain'.

    Do you know why many philosophers now accept that truth is just disclosure in the sense that "snow is white" is true, if and only if snow is white? That is, a statement is true if what it refers to is in fact the case and it is false if it does not. One decides such facts by making observations in the world, i.e. by testing statements against reality. To make that viable, sentences have to be testable. If they are not, all sorts of muddles arise. You seem prone to this error, and here, I am trying to be helpful.

    I am not able to answer some of your questions because I have no way of knowing who, or what, you are referring to in many of your posts.

    However, if it is of any help or comfort to you, from what you have disclosed about yourself in this blog, we have never met, nor have we ever had any contact by any other means outside of this blog, and thus as far as I'm aware, we do not know each other..

  • Comment number 27.

    18. At 4:59pm on 07 Sep 2010, Mindys_Housemate wrote:

    "can SOMEONE explain to me why, how it is that our parents and grandparents lived in a society where they could afford free health care, free opticians, free dental care, grants to study at college, unemployment benefit (instead of this 'JSA'), proper pensions, and all the other aspects of a modern Welfare State, yet for the last few decades, despite the UK becoming quite appreciably richer, we apparently cannot."

    This HAS been explained, and in great detail. You have abusively argued in response. Why?

  • Comment number 28.

    snow is not white

    it's only our eyes that perceive it as such, man having named it, differently of course in each language, after having worked out the theory of colours:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_theory

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_locke

    You'll LEARN from the first article that one of the first scientists working on the question was Sir Isaac Newton while, as far as I remember, one of the first philosophers trying to tackle the issue was the English empiricist John Locke

    It might be awfully disappointing to you but I do not think I've learned anything from you at all and do not feel at all close to what you're on about.

  • Comment number 29.

    I fear that your retirement poll is yet another set up sample of carefully selected Corporate Nazi consumer addicts, the type that queue for the latest i iPad or other latest gadget. Of course they can't retire if they wish to retain their ten bob fat cat lifestyle past official state retirement age.

    Its probably the case that those who do physically hard manual jobs were excluded, which ( before the Tories partially dismantled it in 1994 ) were amply covered for at whatever age that their health dictated. Blair had another go after 1997, but now Brown with collaboration of Purnell totally trashed it, now the Tories seek to put the retirement age up.

    I don't think that most people are aware that they are the victims of a stealth National Insurance tax increase which may be up to the equivalent of 2p in the pound in the event that you are compelled to claim on it. Of course its OK if you have a soft job, especially somewhere like corporate planet BBC and can push the climate scam for all its worth. However, it has to be realised that from the Spanish experience you destroy 2 traditional jobs for every " green " job theoretically created. The point is that if our brain dead politicians persist with implementing the 2008 Climate Change Act a large portion of our workforce in the better paid jobs will be out on their ear. Then who is going to pay all the taxes required even just to fund unemployment benefit at a rate which allows you to keep warm, dry and have a full belly.

    The stock market parasites and their Corporate Multinational Cartel are doing their level best to inflate the cost of living as much as they dare. The logical conclusion is that many people are going to be effectively frozen and starved to death before they get anywhere near official retirement age.

  • Comment number 30.

    #23, au contraire barry, it is only in seeming that the UK has "let rip", and thrown away its taboos.

    in fact we have more taboos than 100 years ago - they are just different ones.

    its worth remembering that murdoch was the one that started 'page 3 girls', that normalised soft-porn, that his deliberate tabloid style first debased then removed serious political discussion, ending with the 'sound-bite' culture here, the US and Australia, that it is under his ownership and virtual media monopoly that social discourse was reduced to the grunting and farting of 'celebrity culture'.

    look to the effects of FoxNews, those of you who ever scan US culture, to see what he has in mind for the UK.

    there was NO NEED for the social dislocation that HAS happened in the UK over the last few decades, just as there is NO NEED for the growth in poverty whilst the UK has gotten ever wealthier.

    very little that happens is actually 'accidntal', these vast corporations have been buying the brains of the smartest graduates for long decades - and using those talents to destroy Societies ability to resist their predations.

    what we are now seeing, is in many respects what the colonised Cultures experienced under Imperialism - a loss of goals amongst the alienated poor, a rise in violence and the culture of violence, the decay of Civil Society, and an inability even amongst the schooled to be able to decode the lies of the 'power-that-be', whilst those 'powers-that-be' stole the resources of the nation blind.

    could this even remotely be 'accidental'?


    #25:

    "No, it was a different system. People working for the public sector used to work for other people providing a public service which was not for profit. Their small reward for that used to be secure employment and a modest but safe retirement. Public service did not pay very well, and didn't provide opportunities for an income upon retirement beyond the pension. That is why people selected public service rather than seeking fame and fortune in the private sector. Many who now object to the public sector pension didn't do well enough in the casino of the private sector and now resent those who never chose it. In China, the state looks after its own employees, not the private sector employees. It used to be the case that people accepted, that one made one's choice and took the risk and consequences. Not these days, sadly. Now it seems that greedy people in the private sector made a mess of things and expects the public to pay for it too. Greedy, freedom loving "entrepreneurs" have wrecked the country. Aparteid indeed, next you'll be spinning prison walls as aparteid barriers."

    so the problem with Public Service pensions is that top Civil Servants started awarding themselves similar pay to their equivalents in the 'private' sector? Thus making the pension schemes unsustainable?

    so, to cut through all the myths, what *actually* happened was the old British Class System raised its head, and when the undemocratic private sector (see: Corporations) cut down wages at the bottom to increase their salaries and bonuses at the 'top', their old class-mates in Public Sector decided to do the same.

    here's one reason why:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/society/2007/10/rich-redistribution-issue


    --so when B'Liar, Meddlesome, Millipedes etc proclaimed that they have no problems with the extremely wealthy, either they forgot that such gross inequality generates its own problems, or else, more likely, they were just concerned to maintain their good relations (and low tax bills) with people like murdoch.

    we are now looking at the mess they left.


    is the manager of John Lewis *REALLY* worth 72 other employees? According to him he is, one single manager apparently as productive as the entire workforces of 2 Waitrose supermarkets?

    lets not even look at Tescos or Sainsburys.

    the simple fact of what is wrong with the UK economy, is that incomes are too low for the vast majority, slightly too high for some, and mind-bogglingly huge for a very few - who use that advantage to ensure that nothing changes.

    don't have to be a political historian to realise that this is neither Democratic, nor uncommon in Human history. Rarely ends well, either.

  • Comment number 31.

    #26: "That's prone to make one's head hurt a bit, but it's not a bad thing in general. In fact, some people pay good money for that experience."

    people pay money to hurt your head? That doesn't surprise me one bit.

    "Do you know why many philosophers now accept that truth is just disclosure in the sense that "snow is white" is true, if and only if snow is white? That is, a statement is true if what it refers to is in fact the case and it is false if it does not. One decides such facts by making observations in the world, i.e. by testing statements against reality. To make that viable, sentences have to be testable. If they are not, all sorts of muddles arise. You seem prone to this error, and here, I am trying to be helpful."

    the use of the word "is", except perhaps in maths, a complete "truth" no-no. You can certainly say "snow appears to be white", or "snow can be white" (bearing in mind mim's comments there), but to make a definitive Statement using the word "is" has been known to be false for a very long time.

    your game is improving, whatever it is, but you have a long way to go. Interesting you don't answer questions put to you, just like 'gangofone' didn't.

    but then, anyone who can say we should look back and admire the Nazis and Stalinists, who opposes human rights, and who clearly accepts 'Kinder, Kirche, Kuche' as a guiding principle, is probably not particularly someone whose opinion i, or many others will be desperate for.


    #27: ohh, a comedian - or worse.

    yes indeed, we have yet another gangy/JJ on board. Lucky old NN blog.

  • Comment number 32.


    "Also in tonight's special programme, Stephen Smith will be asking why our view of old age, embodied by grumpy sitcom character Victor Meldrew, has become so entrenched in our psyche. Is it time to change our clichéd understanding of what getting older means?"

    No. Anyone with any brains left thinks and talks just Victor Meldrew.
    Only people too sozzled or whose brains have been blown through mini-strokes etc think, talk and write otherwise!

    Things aren't looking at all good. What's worse, we now have to endure penetrating social commentaries from allegedly 'university' educated Vicky Pollards and Laurens to boot.

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23875082-nation-of-dropout
    s-warning-as-uk-drops-in-education-league.do

  • Comment number 33.

  • Comment number 34.

    #30

    You're wrong, 'hoousey', it's all decoded and it's now only a matter of time before it's acted upon whereby there shall be no 'deals'.

    (^_^)

  • Comment number 35.

    The news is making no end of emotional appeals about the suffering of children in Pakistan. But there's a problem. As someone once pointed out in this blog, in the same period that Britain's population increased by only about ten million, Pakistan increased from well under the size of the UK population to increase to about three times the UK population.

    Whilst the UK agonizes about whether it can afford to have kids, Pakistan has lots of them and with no concern for the consequences.

    Whilst UK worries about whether it can give up work at 65, its news broadcasters agonize about the plight of countries like Pakistan.

    Pakistan is way beyond its Carrying Capacity, that's its basic problem.
    Why the difference, that's the question.

    People don't think rationally about these matters. They think emotionally. That's the problem.

  • Comment number 36.

    #30

    How is your French, 'housey'? It must be quite good since you keep using so many expressions of Gerrard Depardieu's, Nicholas Sarkozy's and his new wife who doesn't like knitting, first language?

  • Comment number 37.

    Has Ros Altmann just returned from hols...(or been on a sunbed most of this afternoon?)....she looks orange!

    She's showing a bit too much leg as well for a woman of her age btw.

    'Dr. Ros Altmann A pensions expert, investment banker, economist and policy adviser who has advised the pensions industry, trustees, corporations and...'

    http://www.rosaltmann.com/

    Sounds like free-market anarchist to me!

    (Q. Is a Ph.D. degree in Economics just equivalent to a Ph.D. in tea leaf reading?)

  • Comment number 38.

    Tim Campbell sickens me. He is currently deputy Chairman of the board of governors of St. Bonaventures school in Forest gate, who in july, has hastens the retirement (with great distress) of senior admin officials, cleaners and other hard working ancillary staff, with no option of returning on a part-time basis. These are hard working and dedicated staff who would wish to remain in some capacity to serve the young in our community.

  • Comment number 39.

    "so, to cut through all the myths, what *actually* happened was the old British Class System raised its head, and when the undemocratic private sector (see: Corporations) cut down wages at the bottom to increase their salaries and bonuses at the 'top', their old class-mates in Public Sector decided to do the same."

    No, as usual, you don't understand. Perhaps you are an American? You are certainly very arrogant (over-confident). The British public sector has been under attack by libertarians/anarchists for at least 3 decades now. The Civil Service is being undermined just as the NHS etc is. One way that this has been done recently has been to overpay the most senior people, which has demoralised lower level staff and alienated the public. This makes it easier to sell off/privatise

    Please stop writing nonsense about things which you clearly know nothing about.

  • Comment number 40.

    Wonderful to see Ann Widdecombe on NN tonight! Pity Jeremy wasn't brave enough to do a waltz with her :p Who knows, maybe next year he might end up on Strictly himself.....Stephen was enjoying himself far too much at his tea dance ;o)
    Good points raised by Ros Altmann that part-time work should be encouraged for pensioners.

  • Comment number 41.

    Yet another deluded fool...(apart from 'the Libertarians won' bit)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/stephanieflanders/2010/09/the_case_for_mr_osbornes_auste.html

    ‘At the same time as Mrs T was in No10, the Labour Party was fighting off its own entrist ideologues - the Militant Tendency, who were unreconstructed Stalinists who dreamt of a Marxist command economy - the only difference between them and the Libertarian entryists to the Conservative Party, is that the Libertarians won - and went on to redefine the political agenda to embrace the Washington Concensus.’

    Anyone else hear that leftover Trotskyist Alistair Darling arguing on Radio 4 this PM against the legal separation of the casino investment banks (- a state guarantee) from the plain vanilla retail banks (+ a state guarantee). I guess it's a case of Alistair being h-a-p-p-y and a Trotsyist until the day I die!

  • Comment number 42.

    During a period that has witnessed a protracted (world historical) decline in real wages against productivity and profit, combined with an ever-greater polarization in income distributions, I would have thought that the solution was quite obvious. Putting aside the crude characterisation of social insurance as some sort of standing swindle, I find it interesting (read: bankrupt) that this report did not seek to engage with the notion that more of the surplus produced by working people, should, in some way, accrue to them. After all, and having touched upon the profligate “pension holidays” undertaken by business during the 90’s and the stock markets subsequent failure to “perform” (i.e. crash, qua a running Minsky scheme; combining low wages and rising exploitation, all underwritten by state sponsored “lending” to support consumption and the suppression of labours ability to bargain), surely it isn’t that radical to suggest that a greater portion of our deferred earnings (for how else can we define a “pension”) would be safer in our hands than theirs?

    No; instead we are all invited to compete a massive race to the bottom!

    Ps. Given that the report opened with the prescience of “strife”, and considering that the TUC continues to represent the interests of near seven million working people, might it not have enriched your piece to have invited somebody along!?
    PPs. That said; we could always just privatise the bourgeoisie - I for one think that it is about time that those scroungers stood on their own two feet!

  • Comment number 43.

    NEWSNIGHT AT ITS 'BEST'

    An expensive boating package to say 'some people retire on a good pension'. A cheap dancing bit to say 'some older people are still mobile'. As for what the studio said (apart from: oh Ann the hair! and oh Ros, it did exactly what it said on the tin!) I didn't hear much of substance.

    Nick'll fix it. This is just the sort of thing he came into politics to do.

  • Comment number 44.

    'housey'

    I didn't find anything in tonight's programme worth considering from what you said in one of your posts above.

    I thought, though, that it was a very good programme with Jeremy steering the discussion. It does seem to me that those who have reached the current retirement age should have the opportunity to carry on working if they are 'with it', so to speak, and 'judged' on an individual basis rather than by a prescribed imporisition by the state. Flexibility is the word and I do think that the current government are on a good track forward in this respect.

    Plus, it's bound to be entertaining, to say the least, to see Ann Widdicombe on 'Strictly Come Dancing'. It sounds like she knows her waltzes.

    mim

  • Comment number 45.

    Finally - someone has had the energy and interest to get this much needed debate going!
    I really - really hope politicians have taken the effort to watch this and study the reality of work and pensions today. We are tired of your old rhetoric.
    There were some excellent points raised by a balanced panel and thankfully not the usual predominant opinions, promoted by the self centred and sickeningly self righteous baby boomers.
    There were actually forward looking and imaginative, refreshing ideas about what we could choose to value in society.Its all too easy for different age groups to be cut off from each other in the chaos of the greed and fear society.
    With recent economic events still unfolding this is such a great opportunity to really shake that old model down. We all need to speak up outside of the ballot box - that's the only way to force change.
    If we take our rights as consumers seriously - we could challenge the inequality imposed upon us by this corporate economic structure.
    It has to change to allow us to adapt.
    The institutions have to provide society with the tools to make substantial lifestyle adjustments - affordable housing, healthcare, mental and physical health, economic sustainabilty, education, opportunity, mobility rely on it. We cannot be continually told 'that upon your head be it' WE DONT NEED TO HEAR THAT ANYMORE - its dull and it doesn't work - modern society is complex - Come on - its supposed to be the future - Lets go !

  • Comment number 46.

    barrie #5

    prop desk = proprietary trading desk

    'proprietary trading is when a bank, brokerage or other financial institution trades on its own account rather than on behalf of a customer.

    In simple terms, proprietary or prop trading is where a trading desk, using the bank's own capital and balance sheet, carries out trades in various instruments, often for speculative purposes.

    They can be ordinary shares and bonds traded on exchanges, but are more often derivatives - either exchange-traded or in the over-the-counter markets - or foreign exchange.'

    http://lexicon.ft.com/term.asp?t=proprietary-trading&ftauth=1283899148908

    It is a highly controversial activity in the post the credit crunch era.
    Goldman Sachs are adept at trading their own accounts to the detriment of their clients accounts. It's a very good money spinner by all accounts (Goldman's only that is!).

    Google the 'The Great American Bubble Machine' and 'John Paulson / Goldman Sachs'.

    Also checkout Paulson's background and his relationship to a former Federal Reserve Chairman.


  • Comment number 47.

    #40


    Mistress76uk

    I shouldn't think it's likely to happen for Jeremy waltzing around on 'Strictly'. I should imagine, hooerbrt, that his time would be better spent if he came up with more programmes of his own and a few more books.

    mim

  • Comment number 48.

    A few elephants in the room-

    1. Unpayable Government debt.
    2. Bankrupt financial system.
    3. Growth based on cheap energy which is coming to end.

    None of which even got a mention, but then NN would probably scare the sheep if they based a programme in mathematics and the limits of the physical world rather than have discussions on how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

  • Comment number 49.

    31. At 9:58pm on 07 Sep 2010, Mindys_Housemate wrote:

    '#27: ohh, a comedian - or worse.

    yes indeed, we have yet another gangy/JJ on board. Lucky old NN blog.'

    ------------------------

    I've been reliably informed that the ones to look out for are the ones that DON'T have sense of humour!....I believe it has something to do with Cluster B PD.

  • Comment number 50.

    IMHO

    One should never post after midnight...or before 8:00am.

    What do you think?

    Doh!

  • Comment number 51.

    DROP THE OTHER (OTHER) SHOE (#46)

    Thanks - so far DJ.

    Now can we eschew the 'politicians answer' and address the WHOLE query?

    I asked what you will do with your time and empowering money in retirement. It is a serious enquiry.

  • Comment number 52.

    Effectively we've all got to work till we die so that the Fred Goodwins of this world can still retire at 50 with £50m pensions. Is the average person really 'richer' than they were say 15 years ago? Thats what we are constantly told by the politicians. Who these days can afford to rent let alone buy a home to live in? Why is all our money poured into underpinning a system for a way of life no-one can afford to live? The young get no retirement and nowhere to live, and the middle aged see their savings diminish and their pensions wither due to low interest rates to support high house prices. Who does this benefit? Who wins in the end?

    What happens when the economy and credit conditions 'improve'? will we see the interest rates banks charge for higher LTV mortgages come down, so that a 95% mortgage costs the same as a 75% one does today? If so then won't that mean that the multiple of salary increases also as people can afford to borrow more? Are we saying then that BoE interest rates will have to stay low forever to in order to prop up property prices? What then for savings and pensions? Where is this all leading?

  • Comment number 53.

    What is it about the BBC weathermen after Newsnight? Why do they keep repeating the same phrases, like 'a mixed bag', 'essentially' and 'as ever'? Does anyone know?

  • Comment number 54.

    Me, 45yrs old.
    Quality Newsnight this evening. I suppose it was no accident Dr Ros Altmann got centre stage, with that look you couldn't have given it anyone else.. give that seating arranger a bonus. The good Dr Ros my have the look of Dorien from that old sitcom, 'birds of a feather', but this woman - unlike Dorien - always talks sense (which is rare for a woman) Can NN have Dr Ros Altmann on regular please.

  • Comment number 55.

    'housey'

    I asked you about your French but how about your Russian? Do you speak Russian? You seem to know quite a lot about Russian politics, quoting Kropotkin above, for example.

  • Comment number 56.

    #51

    I'm quite sure I know the answer to this one, singie.

  • Comment number 57.

    #43

    I find it quite good, in fact, to see people interviewed in real life circumstances and I shouldn't imagine that Newsnight/the BBC paid for the sailing itself. In some ways it also make the journalists' jobs more interesting. Do we want all the jurnos sitting in the studio boring us with speculations about people might think or be up to in their lives? In my modest view, I think that Newsnight had it just about right tonight. It also made it possible for the sailors and the dancers to appear on the telly and express themselves. What's wrong with that?

  • Comment number 58.

    retiring: the retirement age could be based upon partly upon earnings - lower earners (often due to serious hard work being paid least, manual labour and the like) should be able to retire younger. For a start, they tend to die quite younger as well, just like most from poorer backgrounds. There are deep and growing differences within the UK population due to the severe wealth gap, and that MUST be addressed for an equitable outcome.

    DJ: look at the world/UK 'market' economy. They are obviously completely controlled by the big Corporations, who dominate the entire 'marketplace' like old Soviet Economic Departments. In structure they are exactly like Govt Depts, except we don't get to vote for them.

    would you have called the Soviet Economy "anarchic", in the same sense you are calling Western economies "anarchic"?

    i agree with the rest of your analysis, as i have given links to previous discussions before. But the danger is not "free market anarchism", the danger is overly centralised control and profiteering. This is NOT a consequence of "free markets", but a consequence of lax regulations to ENFORCE a market. There are rules for a free market, laid down by Adam Smith. What we have now, that *claims* to be "free market", is the opposite. We may have been deliberately lied to by our Rulers and their lackey economists. I know, shocking notion, isn't it?

    beware of tabble, i have seen no sign yet of a healthy sense of humour. What do you think his solution is, to the "anarchic free market"?


    mim, my French sucks. And Kropotkin was not only Russian, but he was driven into exile and came to stay in England, where he wrote. Ideas are ideas, it matters little what 'nationality' they came from. A Canadian physicist will read papers from China, from Switzerland, even from Iran. Why should a political scientist not do also?

    oh, as i told you before, i got as far as learning some of the Russian alphabet, 20 yrs ago. My Polish is a lot better, i was able to survival-speak in Polish many years ago. Its very rusty now though, and i probably would just type things into a translator instead of risking embarrassment. Such is memory, and technological aids. :)

  • Comment number 59.

    #33. At 10:12pm on 07 Sep 2010, mimpromptu wrote:

    "Not everything is permitted:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-11214026 "


    indeed not. I hadn't seen this before. The article covers everything that needs to be said.

  • Comment number 60.

    #35. At 10:32pm on 07 Sep 2010, tabblenabble01 wrote:

    "The news is making no end of emotional appeals about the suffering of children in Pakistan. But there's a problem. As someone once pointed out in this blog, in the same period that Britain's population increased by only about ten million, Pakistan increased from well under the size of the UK population to increase to about three times the UK population.

    "Whilst the UK agonizes about whether it can afford to have kids, Pakistan has lots of them and with no concern for the consequences.

    "Whilst UK worries about whether it can give up work at 65, its news broadcasters agonize about the plight of countries like Pakistan.

    "Pakistan is way beyond its Carrying Capacity, that's its basic problem.
    Why the difference, that's the question.

    "People don't think rationally about these matters. They think emotionally. That's the problem."


    --it was only last week that Pakistan placed a ban on wheat export. Your diatribe is interesting, a natural disaster that affects 40% of the country's land, homes, food-production, roads, infrastructure, an equivalent of which would be large proportion of England comparative to the UK, displacing 20,000,000 people from their homes, farms, communities and often families, can be summarised as "They have too many kids".

    here's another catch for you - guess which country out of Pakistan, the US, and the UK, which has the most efficient calorific food-output per litre of oil used to produce it? In other words, which has the most efficient agriculture?

    pakistan is perfectly viable as a State, if it hadn't wasted all its money arming itself to the teeth, facing India. The inevitable corruption that comes from such a political scenario has further undermined the legitimacy of Pakistan. Who sold them the weapons, and underwrote the guarantees?

    oh, and btw - there is NOTHING wrong with thinking emotionally, nor in thinking intellectually. They are both equal, and work best together.

    this would be a third of the UK's population completely displaced, many with ALL their belongings and even homes and farms destroyed, and they need help not only to just survive, but to rebuild homes, roads, schools, hospitals - and we are now heading into winter. How can you...? :/


    Jamie Insole. Indio. ♦

  • Comment number 61.

    i took a break from watching 'Rebel Without A Pause' to write these, very very good indeed, especially if you follow the ramblings. Recommended.

  • Comment number 62.

    Rape as a weapon of war?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11224656

    This is the first item I've found on the BBC News webpage this morning and hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice with the help of the UN which is going to keep a watchful eye on the crimes at night.

    mim

  • Comment number 63.

    #59

    So you call yourself a political 'scientist', do you, 'housey'?

  • Comment number 64.

    There are a couple of great pictures in the artcle below about starry spiral galaxies eating up dwarfs:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11220783

    mim

  • Comment number 65.

    #63: no, nor did i say so, although it could be slightly implied from what i wrote. Then again, perhaps some would say i am?

    labels schmabels.

  • Comment number 66.

    here's the attemped reposting from Paul Mason's blog, replying to tabblenabble01:

    Subject:
    As the leaves turn gold, the world economy chills

    45. At 2:37pm on 03 Sep 2010, Mindys_Housemate wrote:

    "economics is easy, once you have the basics and a questioning mind.
    That is why economics is made so complex, and why it is one of the most 'controlled' disciplines - very hard to get peer-review if you don't agree with the line taken by 'the Economist', or the 'Washington Consensus' bunch.

    the last thing our rulers want is for the general Public to be able to decode the casinomics spewed out as serious analysis."


    48. At 10:20pm on 03 Sep 2010, tabblenabble01 wrote:

    But where ARE these rulers? After all, we can all see the legislation
    being drafted and enacted in Parliament as all of that's "open and
    transparent" these days. What isn't obvious to ALL is how that
    legislation works to some people's advantage literally at the expense of
    those who can't really understand how and why it's written. That means
    that there's a class of people which is able to make good use of the law
    to their advantage and a much larger class which isn't.

    That, I suggest is because of diversity, but THAT'S being masterfully
    spun as equalitarianism! This, if you think about it is the very
    opposite of diversity, and THAT'S being done because diversity demands
    regulation, i.e a socialist state - Big Government to protect those who
    are vulnerable, from those who exploit the vulnerable, and that I
    suspect, is why some unpopular Middle Eastern states, use words like
    Satanic to describe our systems of government."

    49. At 06:42am on 04 Sep 2010, Mindys_Housemate wrote:

    "where ARE these rulers"?

    come now rabbledrabble01, you are clearly from other threads educated enough to know that those clowns we 'choose' between every few years are not really our rulers. Rulers are the people who make decisions.

    our real rulers are those who pull the strings, the ones who control the corporations, the ones who control the large banks, even the ones who control the large unions, and then there are 'external' powerful forces such as the Catholic Church, that are part of the system and benefit from it.

    THESE are the people who are accumulating $Tns, no matter the pain it is causing to the millions of normal citizens, and they are the ones both interfering in our political processes, and denying media analysis and coverage of what is actually happening.

    does ANYONE honestly believe that a Sky broadcast, or Sun report, upon the true income, wealth and control of Rupert Murdoch would ever be made? Or a secret investigation into his tax records and corporate structure?

    when was the last time you heard about a Bilderburger meeting, or the Trilateral Commission from the mainstream media?

    how long has it taken for most people to learn about the facts behind "quantitative easing", "austerity", "stimulus" etc, etc, even *with* such honest journalists as Paul Mason?

    that just indicates how much control over media output - and State-funded education, those who rule us have.


    and yes, lawyers benefit from complex laws. Just like false priesthoods do.


    "What isn't obvious to ALL is how that
    legislation works to some people's advantage literally at the expense of
    those who can't really understand how and why it's written. That means
    that there's a class of people which is able to make good use of the law
    to their advantage and a much larger class which isn't."

    - actually, i'm pretty sure the vast majority of Britons ARE aware of this, you seem to have low respect for us.



    "That, I suggest is because of diversity,"

    - it is because of diversity that our Parliament has so many lawyers in it as MPs? But far be it for me to suggest that our MPs might tweak rules, laws and taxes in their own favour, rather than it being the fault of us all not being identical clones.

    "but THAT'S being masterfully spun as equalitarianism!"

    - what is? That people be allowed their own choices in life, to be as diverse (without harming others) as they wish, - rather than 'Industrial Man' with a daily uniform suitable for their work or station, or relaxation.. Such personal creativity and diversity is beneficial for a society. It does not lead to the social death that "Equality of Result" demands. And i fail entirely to see any connection to how our Laws are made, which was your original argument.


    "This, if you think about it is the very opposite of diversity,"

    -more blither. Truly blatant blither at that, too.


    "and THAT'S being done because diversity demands
    regulation,"

    - able to follow his argument anyone? I would be surprised, because there simply isn't one. The meaning of this sentence is that if there are differences of opinion, there need to be ways of coming to a peaceful result agreed by all involved. Somehow this is connected to the 'problem' that we all don't want to be identical, and that "laws are complex to understand".

    "i.e a socialist state - Big Government to protect those who
    are vulnerable, from those who exploit the vulnerable,"

    -only "socialist" Govts protect their citizens? What a bizarre notion. And only "socialist" Govts foster diversity? And THAT is why you think laws are complex? Rather than merely that too many MPs have backgrounds and self-interest in Law???

    "and that I suspect, is why some unpopular Middle Eastern states, use words like Satanic to describe our systems of government."


    -the only way "satan" can be found in your jibberish, is the sheer amount of time i have wasted replying to the drivel in your comment.

    if you keep writing like this, you will lose the respect of the more discerning readers.

    -------------

    sorry TN, the above is a bit harsh, but i have to say you do worry me. Diversity is good, human rights are good, extending the franchise was good.


    The documentary was excellent all the way through. Very recommended, especially to people worried about what is actually happening.

  • Comment number 67.

    #65

    'labels schmabels'?

    Believe me, I know something about labelling. Do you remember singie calling me Mad Madam Mim?

  • Comment number 68.

    "41. At 11:30pm on 07 Sep 2010, DebtJuggler wrote:
    Yet another deluded fool..."

    They just string words together without ever understanding what they're writing about don't they? Stalin threw Trotsky out for subverting the USSR, allegedly for trying to help the West restore capitalism in the USSR. Militant Tendency were Trotskyites (see Ted Grant's background) who certainly didn't want a Command Economy as that would have meant life under Stalinism (i.e. Old Labour). No, they wanted anarchism i.e.grass roots Liberal-Democracy as championed by Thatcher and Miliband. Power to the people meant no power in the hands of the custodial state. Power to the people was not to be power to the miners, British Gas, British Telecom, British Rail or the BBC which was paid for and thus owned by the public - all that was too Stalinist. The people Thatcher had in mind were Keith Joseph's people, but hardly anyone saw that.

  • Comment number 69.

    #41, DJ, i take issue with some of 'Richard Bunning's' Washington Consensus statements from your link, some of it, even with my limited knowledge, can be seen as slightly more nuanced than he presents:


    "1.Fiscal policy discipline;"

    - slightly better than fiscal irresponsibility, but dumb if ignores need for investment for actual future growth (ie into jobs, not helping banks). So i largely agree.

    2.Redirection of public spending from subsidies ("especially indiscriminate subsidies") toward broad-based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor services like primary education, primary health care and infrastructure investment;

    - they are slashing social payments across the board. This IS a 'consensus' policy. A Disaster wherever it was 'tried'.

    3.Tax reform – broadening the tax base and adopting moderate marginal tax rates;

    - except the Govt are also narrowing the tax-base, by cutting the numbers of tax-inspector offices considerably, very soon no doubt the large corporations will be doing their own tax-receipts by email - it'll "save money". But there is certainly a move to increase taxes upon the lower earners, and cutting benefits to the middle classes, you are right.

    4.Interest rates that are market determined and positive (but moderate) in real terms;

    5.Competitive exchange rates;

    - as opposed to what?

    6.Trade liberalization – liberalization of imports, with particular emphasis on elimination of quantitative restrictions (licensing, etc.); any trade protection to be provided by low and relatively uniform tariffs;

    - works best with cooperatives at both ends. And there should also be the case that an economy might wish to nurture a new or strategic industry. So although this HAS been a staple of neo-lib/WC policy, as a *theory* it still holds water. Scandinavia has benefited enormously from its internal trade, for instance. It breaks down with monopolistic control over 'movement-of-goods'.

    7.Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;

    free movement of capital is a disaster, when there are international multi-national corporations to take advantage of the system and destroy national economies. Completely agree here.

    8.Privatization of state enterprises;

    9.Deregulation – abolition of regulations that impede market entry or restrict competition, except for those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudent oversight of financial institutions;

    crux.

    the opposite happened, please read this slightly edited version:

    -"9.Deregulation – abolition of regulations that aid market entry or support competition, along with those justified on safety, environmental and consumer protection grounds, and prudent oversight of financial institutions;"

    Deregulation was on weakening regulation (ie powers) for things like the Monopolies Commission, for instance the US laws concerning how much mass-media one company/individual could own were drastically weakened during reagan's 80's. In the UK, the loss of tax-support for small and medium business as for instance supermarkets moved into the area, whereas these large companies received tax-breaks all the way down the line, prevented the smaller companies from competing - the neo-libs *prevented* competition through their deregulation. And we can *ALL* see that financial regulation to increase consumer protection did NOT come in under the 'deregulation'!
    My apologies, you are definitely heading in the right direction, i've liked your posts before, richard. :)

    10.Legal security for property rights.

    - this is one of the basis for our being Liberal societies - Liberal Democracies is how we are usually described. There is nothing wring with this, or in people owning things in collectives if they so wish, and it is a fairly easy system to understand and organise. Any problems tend to come with large scale tax-avoiding intergenerational inheritance, allowing build-ups of concentrated wealth and power.

    richard, your post was well laid out and quite thought provoking, even if i disagreed with some. :)


    ---------------


    #67: no. When was that? Did you take offense? Was it meant offensively or part camaraderie jesting? I can't tell at all, you're often quite unpredictable how you react to comments... shall i challenge him to a duel at dawn for your honour?

  • Comment number 70.

  • Comment number 71.

    #70: :D ♥

  • Comment number 72.

    #70

    'Mademoiselle', are you suggesting 'we' should be producing human robots by any chance?

    And, which god precisely do you consider the 'creator of all miracles'? The father of Jesus Christ of Nazareth or from any other religion?

  • Comment number 73.

    Q E D

    Lord Maurice Saachi (Today Prog): "WE HAS SOME IMPACT ON THE WAY THE WORLD IS ORGANISED".

    No comment.

  • Comment number 74.

    #73

    So do I, methinks, singie, for good but alas for bad, though the bad bit is definitely neither desired nor intentional. Am I wrong i'n saying it? What doth thou thinketh, mr chemist?

    mim

  • Comment number 75.

    68. At 06:33am on 08 Sep 2010, tabblenabble01

    I could not agree more!

    I reckon your analysis of 20th C political history to be unique and accurate. Just how do you know so much of it?

    What has gone on is so deceitful and dishonest on the part of the free-marketeers/anarchists. Maybe MacDonald is right and they just have a gene that makes them want to out-compete the host group for resources/money.

    Last week, I posted a link ['The influence of intelligence services
    on the British left' article by Robert Ramsey on the Lobster (The Journal of Parapolitics) website] in a post on Nick Robinson's blog titled 'Blair book's message to Labour is clear' 01-Sep-10. It was post #2.

    I made some comment/query about whether Blair's book covers his period spent in the US and of other leading New Labour politicians earlier on in their careers.

    The post only lasted around an hour until it was pulled by someone (the mods?)...which I think was quite telling. Don't you?

    In the Lobster link it stated...

    'In the Guardian Martin Kettle wrote in February this year (1996),'the New Labour project has always been defined in an Anglo-American context.' Gordon Brown used to tell interviewers that he spent his holidays in the library at Harvard University. In 1986 Tony Blair went on one of those US-sponsored trips to America that are available for promising MPs and came back a supporter of the nuclear deterent. In 1993 he went to a meeting of the secretive Bilderberg Group, one of the meeting places of the European-American elite. (John Monks, an important Blair ally as head of the TUC, attended this year's ie 1996 Bilderberg Group meeting in Toronto.) David Milliband, Blair's head of policy, did a Masters degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jonathan Powell, Blair's foreign policy advisor, used to work in the British embassy in Washington and is suspected by some of having been the liaison officer between British intelligence and the CIA. (There is as yet no evidence for this view.) Edward Balls, Gordon Brown's economics advisor, studied at Harvard and was about to join the World Bank before he joined Brown. Sue Nye, Gordon Brown's personal assistant, lives with Gavyn Davies, chief economist with the predatory American bankers, Goldman Sachs.'

    Some might think that it is pre-ordained that David Miliband will succeed in becoming the new leader of the Labour Party.

    It's probably worth a punt on the outcome.

  • Comment number 76.

    51. At 00:20am on 08 Sep 2010, barriesingleton

    barrie...as tn01 suspected/knew (#9), I was being deceitful...though not in a nasty way I might add.

    I'm not really a trader at an investment bank. I was just being mischievous at the expense of the fascist, free-marketeering bankers.

  • Comment number 77.

    Dear Sir
    What a deeply offensive program about retirement on newsnight was. Did Mr Paxman have to keep on referring to old people as smelly. The reason why there is not enough money to go around now, or in the future, is the greed of the people up the top of the tree. Just have a look at the pay and pensions, and bonuses, of these people, and we have the answer. the reason why money is in short supply now, is because of greed.

  • Comment number 78.

    how many of NN voted to strike on their ponzi pensions? why do those who voted not think they are delusional with unrealistic expectations of how ponzi pensions work?

    JP seems to have the model of humanity in his head as merely 'someone who works'? Is that the zenith of humanity? ie the 'highest idea'?

    but why do people have to work?

    the working class was created by the norman monarchy enclosures forcing people off the common land. Deprived of access to the means to make food ie land, they were forced to become other peoples slaves. This model is still current today.

    Further 60 million people are forced to live on 10% of the land. An inner empire of landowners get 4 billion a year in subsidy merely for owning it and allowing them to hoard it preventing its economic best use and thus keeping land cost and rents artificially high. There is no land monopoly law that prevent people owning whole districts [they do!] and thus controlling rents.

    so this working class must constantly run to pay inflated costs through crippling mortgages [the major single cost to the landless] to maintain the benefit of high rents of a inner empire of landowners.

    the uk is still under norman occupation. From the inner empire of [subsidised] landowners to the 'national' oath and 'national' song.

  • Comment number 79.

    I watched the programme with my wife last night. I've been saying that the good times are over for a number of years now but most friends and colleagues have been under the same New Labour illusion that everything will just keep getting better year on year. Now we are in a situation whereby kids will leave University (if they bother to go) with debts of £20k or more, with no jobs and no prospect of ever owning anything other than a shoe box, getting (if they are lucky) low paid jobs with the prospect of no pension (I'd imagine soon people will start to not bother at all with pensions - I wonder whether we'll be able to 'opt out' of NI also).

    I have 2 comments regarding the programme - firstly I couldn't see anyone on the panel who represented them or me (I'm 37 with two kids 3 and 6, I'm expecting never to retire). Tim - of Apprentice fame, is a typical London 'think tanker'. I expect he's got a salary directly out of proportion with his skills like many seem to have in our glorious capital. The other 'young' man, the author of the book that I might try and dig out of a charity shop at some point, was just weak, I think he wasn't trying to offend any of the others in case he came across them on an interview panel when trying to get a job. The only one who 'represented' the masses was the Will H from the Work Foundation. The rest of the panel were representative of an elite for whom this simply isn't a problem.

    Secondly, I just sat there thinking about the panel, and the talking heads that popped up, just how much do you people earn, the Professor from UCL I bet is on £100k, the others, who knows. The comedian (whose name escapes me at the moment - sorry) - doesn't need to work at 75, I imagine he lives in a large country pile. He just loves working. Anne's new 'job' on SCD - that's not a job, again that's a bit of fun. The people on the boat I couldn't believe agreed to go on the programme and gloat on camera - are they now the most hated people in the country no - that's still the bankers. There's such an 'I'm all right jack' mentality out there it sickens me. When they put up peoples ages against their names they should have also put up their net worth as this isn't just an age problem its a wealth one - who cares what the state retirement is if you are stinking rich !

    Now, I'm going to be o.k. I hope. We bought our house back when real people could, although I'm sat on a massive mortgage. My income isn't great but we live o.k. (we both work). I just really feel very very sorry for the 20 year olds.

    Well done the baby boomers - hope you do us (and the NHS) a favour and fall off your yachts after one too many glasses of wine.

  • Comment number 80.

    #77

    Mr Williams

    I think it was probably the last thing for JP to offend the elderly and his singular remark on the subject, I suspect, was a parabole only. But then one does meet smelly people either i'n the literal sense or those who 'love' indulging i'n spreading stink though they are not all that old.

    mim

  • Comment number 81.

    66. At 06:05am on 08 Sep 2010, Mindys_Housemate wrote:

    ""and THAT'S being done because diversity demands regulation,"

    - able to follow his argument anyone? I would be surprised, because there simply isn't one."

    I did say that if you continued to be abusive/impudent I would not respond to you. This is your last chance.

    Human diversity is a function of GENETIC variation and is not uniformly distributed statistically. As we have virtually no post-conception control over how genes express, it makes no sense to talk of people choosing to be what they are. Those in the biological sciences (and some in politics) understand this, and the modern (post 70s) concept of SOCIAL JUSTICE derives largely from John Rawls which requires one to understand his "Veil of Ignorance" and "Original Position". But one has to also grasp that this is just a NORMATIVE theory, as is RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY. However, both are normative, i.e do not describe how people behave empirically. You need to understand the difference.
    Argument is a logical, analytic, computational process which has nothing to do with truth i.e empirical reality. Diversity requires regulation for reasons which would have become clearer to you if you read the extract quoted by Debtjuggler. Either you did not read that, or you did not understand it.

    This is the reason why I pointed you to the 1990 article which Debtjuggler kindly quoted from (the full pdf can and should in your case be downloaded form the web if you Google the title). You should read it
    - carefully. I suspect you will not understand it. It is crucial to understand the discipline the author refers to at the end of his article.

    My posts are often tightly written, and they are well grounded. I assume that other readers and contributors here are aware of some of the background, as much of it is standard university undergraduate material in the relevant disciplines. This is not Twitter, and one has to assume that other readers here have SOME background knowledge or are willing to learn, if only from previous posts. From the way that you write, it's becoming clear to me that, like Mimpromptu, you don't have an education in the relevant areas. Nor, it appears, will you be instructed, even by those who try to help. That is disrespectful, and in my book it is evidence of irrationality. We are no all equals in all things, some of us have spent a lifetime working iin these areas, often as applied professionals. If you are prepared to listen, I am prepared to help you to understand. If not, it's probably best that we don't try to converse as it is likely to just cause offence, and I have no wish to either offend you, or be insulted by you..

  • Comment number 82.

    "If we get robots to do all the monkey work, and we humans just supervise, our economy could be producing staggering GDP growth year after year even with a shrinking active workforce. The neat aspect of this idea is that we would no longer require old people working well into their seventies, especially in those labour-intensive jobs. Who knows, in several decades' time, we could have aliens working for us for no money, that is if we find them first (else I suspect it would be the other way round) - a topic Professor Hawkings might touch on in tomorrow's program. I heard that he'd changed his mind about god creating the universe, saying physics could explain it all."

    First of all, who will own the robots? Would the be owned by the state or by private sector owners? if the former, we would be living under socialism. Secondly, what would people out of work do? Why do so many die, have CVAs/heart attacks, or become depressed shortly after retirement? Might work itself provide structure in life?.

    Finally, on Hawkings. He is a theoretical PHYSICIST and notions such as God have absolutely nothing to do with science, so his views on God are irrelevant. This is an all too common illustration of a logical fallacy which is now far too prevalent in our celebrity culture. It's just irrational product endorsement/vilification.

    To expand on the above a little - what we are seeing more and more of today is people failing to discriminate properly. They just don't see what is relevant. For example, if someone has become (in)famous for something which they have done, they are, today, often abused by marketing people in order to endorse some other, quite unrelated product. This is just basic classical conditioning by contiguity. It relies on the market not discriminating intelligently because market researchers know that many consumers are not able to discriminate very well, ie.are not very intelligent. Playing down what's wrong with this is therefore good for sales, doing the opposite is bad for sales, so marketing people have to do it or they are out of a job. It is cheap to pay celebrities large amounts of money given the returns which they facilitate for the vendors and their agents. To see Newsnight viewers taken in by all this, and to see grown people spending their lives finding fault with or giving credit to people in the public eye is therefore really quite depressing, as whether it's glorification or vilification, it's basically exactly the same thing - i.e. irrelevant, an illustration of the irrational argument ad hominem There was a time when educated people wouldn't get distracted by such things as their university education had been a process of effectively punishing them for making any such mistake. What's depressing these days is that Newsnight itself is now indulging in this behaviour. I suspect this may be why many sensible people won't go on the programme, and why, it time, sadly, we will see Newsnight deteriorate much as this blog has in recent times. It is not learning form experience.

  • Comment number 83.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_8976000/89
    76256.stm

    "In a statement to the Commons on 7 September 2010, Mr Mitchell said the "devastating" floods which have killed more than 1,700 people and affected a further 17 million were a "terrible tragedy".

    But he claimed the widespread flooding offers the country "unprecedented opportunity".

    "It is an opportunity for the international community to come together and provide exceptional support to Pakistan in its hour of need, but equally it offers an unprecedented opportunity for the government of Pakistan to drive forward a radical economic reform agenda that could make a real difference to the future of the country."

    International Development entails shaping other countries to accept the donating country's political-economic system. In recent years, Pakistan (like Iran) has been looking with interest to the Shanghai Cooperative Organisation (this is not a Building Society).

    Weren't Katrina (1,836 deaths) and 9/11 (2749 deaths) "unprecedented opportunities".for the USA?

    Nothing wrong with emotional appeals? Who says so? How does one decide what is unprecedented, and how does one decide that emotional appeals are fine? There are so many these days it makes one wonders whether some people may be making their livings off them

  • Comment number 84.

    "is life after work as we know it over? According to a poll commissioned by Newsnight, almost three quarters of us believe it is."

    Here's some useful information for the Newsnight Production Team which might save their jobs one day. Only in the fantasy/entertainment industry does it ever make any difference what most people think or believe as what people believe is what they are told by the media, so you may as well make it up in the first place. But, what does the media actually know? What serious news broadcasters and journalists should be researching and presenting is not what samples of people believe, but what is actually the case based on empirical evidence, and there is a very important difference between that and belief, as what people believe or don't believe isn't subject to the laws of logic believe it or not. There's no credible science of belief either. So, please stop wasting licence payers' money on such polls, especially when questions are asinine (and announcing that it isn't scientific is even more asinine, as by doing that you are telling your audience that you know it's a complete waste of money, but are doing it anyway!)

    What might matter is what Ministers said they are going to do. But note, they are not going to announce THAT on Newsnight first. They would have to do that in Parliament or through some other official channel, as that's how policy is made public. To do otherwise is a breach of professional conduct, and is called a leak! What you present on TV these days is little better than gossip, the sort of stuff one used to read in the trashy papers. It could be otherwise, perhaps it should be otherwise - but sadly, it isn't.

  • Comment number 85.

    75. At 11:30am on 08 Sep 2010, DebtJuggler wrote:

    "I reckon your analysis of 20th C political history to be unique and accurate."

    I'll have to pass one some of your questions, but you clearly understand it, and, as you probably know, a theory is just an aggregation of empirical evidence written in short-form, its power lying in how parsimoniously/economically it a) covers/explains what's observable and b) makes useful predictions.

    I suspect more people need to understand it for our collective best interests. It might help to encourage people to appreciate that those who cause many of our problems primarily do so through omission rather than commission, that is, they just don't perceive the adverse consequences of their behaviour, either for themselves or others. For that reason, criticising them or exposing them rarely works. it just elicits defensive aggression.

  • Comment number 86.

    #80

    And what if Jeremy used the word 'smelly' meaning well perfumed?

  • Comment number 87.

    "60. At 04:20am on 08 Sep 2010, Mindys_Housemate wrote:

    Jamie Insole. Indio."

    A twilight slip?

    "said by his counsel to have "only a tenuous grip on reality""

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/fantasy-bank-robber-18-jailed-138811
    1.html

    Indio, a city in Riverside County, California.

  • Comment number 88.

    86. At 2:05pm on 08 Sep 2010, mimpromptu wrote:
    #80

    And what if Jeremy used the word 'smelly' meaning well perfumed?"

    And what if everybody used words differently, questioning what everybody else meant all the time, but never listened or understood because they, as one amongst everybody, also used words differently, and so could never tell if others were using them the same way? What if t hey couldn't even understand themselves as a consequence? Life would be very muddled indeed wouldn't it? Everything would grind to a confused halt.

    That's pretty much the world of the schizophrenic. It's also the world of a deteriorating culture, which is a collection of people, all with their own way of doing things, but differently.

  • Comment number 89.

    #88

    That's a very 'profound' answer to a linguistic joke which you obviously didn't find itt was meant as such, tb01. How do I know what Jeremy meant, I haven't spoken to him. Are you always completely straight i'n your own posts? Perhaps I shall watch like a hawk every phrase that you send.

  • Comment number 90.

    #89

    Re: being different

    How about prominent artists and writers, for example? Shakespeare was different the way he wrote to George Bernard Shaw and their plays are still analysed from the semantic point of view. That's how real artists get noticed and become famous, because they are different. How boring it would be if everybody was the same.

  • Comment number 91.

    DOUBLE AGENT (#76)

    Ah yes - but which is the lie DJ?

  • Comment number 92.

    "90. At 4:51pm on 08 Sep 2010, mimpromptu wrote:
    #89

    Re: being different

    How about prominent artists and writers, for example? "

    Is it that different when one looks closely? Different artists produce different works yes, and some are more skilful/popular than others, but they follow (or create) conventions nonetheless. Similarly, musicians use the same notation when composing or reading music, and writers follow syntactical and semantic rules or else their readers wouldn't be able to understand what they were writing about. Sometimes artists subvert cultures too, and that isn't good art. Many say that may have been happening recently with much of so called 'modern art' and music. I suggest we tend to grossly underestimate just how restraining (in a good
    way) natural languages are, and it's the same with scientific/artificial languages too. Imagine being dumped in Japan with no knowledge of Japanese (a theme which was tried in 'Lost In Translation'), it would be frightening for many. That's what happens when one abandons convention, which as you say, may seem a bit boring, but safety is important in life. You should value it.

  • Comment number 93.

    #92

    I'm 'afraid' I don't 'buy' your thinking and analysis. New trends that noboby understands at first and rejects, then become the norm for lots of followers. David Mellor may not like atonal music, for example, but there are many that love it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atonality

    With regard to going to Japan without knowing Japanese, you're talking banalities. It goes without saying that it is better to know the language of the given country one visits but it does not at all mean one cannont survive such a trip, with gesticulations being most helpful, for instance.

  • Comment number 94.

    93. At 8:26pm on 08 Sep 2010, mimpromptu wrote:

    "With regard to going to Japan without knowing Japanese, you're talking banalities."

    Am I?

    Look up GAVAGAI.

  • Comment number 95.

    #94

    What for?

  • Comment number 96.

    There's a dilemma. I have seen men retire from manual work, only to see them deteriorate over a couple of years, then die. They seem to do better and carry on if they still work. Their body's are not used to the inaction after retiring. Now these people are skilled, and good at what they do, so it's fair enough for another generation to have to work to support them.

    My bugging thing about this is watching some of them living the high life in retirment and that they were the generation born in the baby boomer time that, were highly skilled, but striked, were bolshie (Yes it's managements job to manage and they are to blame as well), never had it so good, and were a large part in causing our industrial suicide of the 60s and 70s, and lost us our Industries. Therefore leaving us Mr Ben, Bag Puss generation born in the 60s and 70s wondering what to do and having, as David Cameron say's "un-inspiring jobs". To hear what some people in retirement boast about what they got up to when they were at work, what they got away with, nicked, walked out for, really bug's me, and I hope we are not going down the same road. Although I do not see it as fair for them to have to carry on working until they drop (a few years more yes). They were not expecting to have to do this when they were towards the end of their working life.

    I know that our generation, unless they have been in banking, will have to work until they drop. But, unlike the French, we are widely excepting this without fuss. Indeed it pays to make sure you are as fit as possible for the future.

    But then with further automation, robotics, and computerized systems etc, manual work is continuosly changing and helping in Britain's competitveness, as long as management can have the vision to invest, unlike management from years ago. The manual worker in certain industries will have to be highly trained more in the use of automated machinery than manual than what he is used to, and there maybe less of them if production is not scaled up (100s where there were 1000s), but it's not too unthinkable to say that your future manual worker will be graduate/aprenticship trained in computerized, robotic machinery systems. It's already happening. I'm thinking about shipbuiling again, although there are many other industries this will be applied to.

  • Comment number 97.

    Of course you can have management with vision but, if industry needs outside investment, and it does not have it's own innovative ways of getting finance without outside investors, it needs banks, or other forms of financiers. They are unlikely to invest in you for staying ahead of the competition, but would be interested in it if you were to get rid of the productive industry for short term high gain (longer term damage), like house, retail, service industry building, the interest they would charge and what they would want in return would probably be too much anyway. But hopfully that deadly fashion has past too. Sheffield forgemasters comes to mind that can lead the world for want of some money to increase it's facilities. Throwing loads of men at a job no longer (never did if you are competing with effecient international firms) cuts it.

 

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