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Thursday 17 February 2011

Sarah McDermott | 12:26 UK time, Thursday, 17 February 2011

Tonight we'll have indepth analysis of the uprisings across the Middle East. Paul Mason will be looking at their origins, where they are going and what dangers they could present to the West.

We'll be joined by a guests from across the Middle East, Washington and London.

We'll be unveiling Newsnight's U-turnometer as we discuss what's gone wrong with Number 10's grip on government with political strategists Daniel Finkelstein and Matthew Taylor.

And the BBC's Arts editor Will Gompertz hears from Will Self, Iain Sinclair and Russell Brand - all fans of chronicler of suburban sprawl, Nick Papadimitriou.

Do join Gavin at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.


    Meanwhile, in another part of the wood (that politicians cannot see for the trees) Didactic Dave has shown, yet again, WE HAVE GOT OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE.

    Poor Dave, who lives in that privileged bubble of ignorant certainty, has just declared that the ConDems are 'getting to grips' (very Dave) with the COST of welfare. Dave exults that 'NO OTHER GOVERNMENT HAS DONE THIS'.

    But Deliverance Dave is unaware that NO GOVERNMENT AT ALL has ever grasped THE PSYCHOLOGY of welfare; and as it applies to 'them' of whom, Dave knows nothing, he fails to understand that RIGHT PSYCHOLOGY WILL YIELD LOWER COST - if he must put money before misery.

    We have no detectable culture except PERVERSITY. So, perhaps Dave is the right leader after all - he is certainly in his element.

  • Comment number 2.

    The front man for radical Islam Ex failed president Jimmy 'the peanut' Carter said the Muslim Brotherhood are a peace loving group. Very funny Jimmy..nearly as funny as that joke blower Newsnight had on last night.

    Whilst NN wonders what to put in the mix. Can you add this into it..only a suggestion mind. Hows about that story where Barry Obama stabbed us in the back by giving the Russians our nuclear secrets. I think thats a big enough story.

  • Comment number 3.

    What the uprising in North Africa and Middle East mean to the average european?

    Will you be discussing that NN? Thought not!

  • Comment number 4.

    This was posted on the Newsnight Blog by me in 2008


    Cameron's latest Incapacity Benefit proposals are typical of a party which was willing to sell out to the Nazis in 1940. It is the thin end of a wedge to privatize disability benefits, ultimately using the current no win no fee cases being brought after accidents. All it can eventually hope to achieve is to transfer the current tax burden to employers insurance premiums and motor insurance.

    Everyone will experience a significant " private tax " rise whilst getting a few pence off their income tax which may not cover the increase in the cost of living. The stock market parasites love the idea, force more low income people into wage slavery where the banks takes their cut every month. Anyone too defective to become a reliable wage slave will be starved into an early death, thus saving on the OAP budget later in the life of the population. NHS investment " Saving " even more premature babies and road accident victims can fiddle the life expectancy figures so that nobody notices when people start dropping dead in their fifties after years of being unable to afford decent food and fuel to keep warm in winter.

    There will be plenty of employment opportunities for the likes of Dr Mengele as the benefits medical advisory service is turned into a virtual concentration camp. Meanwhile the stock market parasites will be able to introduce expensive private disability insurance schemes even covering prospective children. Modern medicine and road safety policy will provide a constant flow of new severely disabled people for farming in private care homes and thus allow the stock market to plug itself directly into the remaining welfare state.

    I believe that motor insurance premiums have sky rocketed in 2010, probably mostly on the proposed means testing of alleged Universal Credit which turns out not to be universal at all. All those past accident victims who received compensation and managed it prudently are to loose all their benefit if they have investments over 16k, and will lose benefit down to only 6K. Not much point attempting to save the deposit for a house if when you lose your job even temporarily you have to eat into them to survive. The proposed welfare reforms are a charter for the feckless !

  • Comment number 5.

    When is Newsnight going to invite its favourite economist, David Blanchflower, on again to explain how his double dip forecast is coming along?

  • Comment number 6.

    When is Newsnight going to apologise for spreading a scare story about 65,000 people dying of swine flu this winter and there not being enough vaccine or hospital beds? How could you have got it so wrong? You said there wouldn 't be enough healthy medical staff to care for the sick, that supermarkets would close through lack of supplies and that the entire infrastructure of the country would grind to a halt.

  • Comment number 7.


    Hang in there Maggiel. There's always the Sun, or the Jellystone volcano, or that tsunami when a chunk falls off the Canaries. And that's just from memory.

    Be glad for Mother Earth.

  • Comment number 8.

  • Comment number 9.

    7. All this fanciful News of Fresh Disasters is just one step away from those loony American magazines about housewives being abducted by aliens and the impending end of the world. They're all equally unbelievable.

  • Comment number 10.


    We may be 16th for quantity, but NO CRAPPY FOREIGNER can beat us for SPEED OF INTAKE.

    Not for nothing are we NUMBER ONE. After it has wrecked your organs, THAT'S WHAT IT COMES OUT AS!

    Nick'll fix it. Chuckle everyone.

  • Comment number 11.


    If there is anything worse than a tacky advertising slogan, it is a tacky advertising slogan gestated by government; but far worse is a tacky advertising slogan EARNESTLY ENUNCIATED BY IAIN DUNCAN SMITH.

    IDS says every person migrated onto the new scheme of universal credits, will be 'CASH PROTECTED'. Oh the pain. But will they be COCK-UP INDEMNIFIED? IDS does not appear very bright - Tony fooled him utterly.

  • Comment number 12.

    #4: brossen, yes.

    #1: Barrie, its a great shame our Great Leader has not also managed to "get a grip" on the cost of BANKING however.

    economically ignorant this supposed PPE graduate clearly is, he does not understand that the "cost" of welfare is the amount of money the State is giving to the poorest and neediest. And the more that people from his class exploit everyone else, the more welfare is needed.

    when the "Sheriff of Nottingham" is busy stealing the peasants tiny incomes, then the Welfare System is the Robin Hood, ensuring pensioners, the unemployed, the sick, schoolchildren, - all have some few crumbs on the table.

    this millionaire and his band of cronies, who have not only never suffered from a day of poverty in their lives, many of them MADE their money by other people's hard work, - rather than traditional Tories, who would simply inherit it, it is sickening the glee with which they are dismantling the advanced part of the UK's civilisation, turning us back to the 19t Century poorhouses, with desperate crime, and no rights whatsoever.

    frankly, apart from their American and BBer connections, i doubt *anyone* expected such a rabid assault as this by the Tories.

  • Comment number 13.

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

  • Comment number 14.

    Having given the matter further thought perhaps it would appear that today's announced welfare reforms are an attempt at social engineering to split the UK population by financial apartheid, leaving the vast majority permanently skint with a few mega wealthy people on top. It would appear to all be part of an eco-fascist inspired Corporate Nazi plan to force all low income people into areas of towns destined to become Warsaw style ghetto's. Its pretty clear that said welfare reforms could force people made redundant with payments above the means test level to sell their house just in order to live. Of course the obvious result is that they will be forced into low cost often sub standard housing in areas with heavy traffic calming where all the sensible aspiring people have already moved out.

  • Comment number 15.


    Obama told everyone not to question 9/11. That sounds like he is 'with the Terrorists'.

    Perhaps Billy the spud will explain it was all a scam.

    Is there a price on Obama's head?

  • Comment number 16.

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

  • Comment number 17.

    PM vows to tackle benefit culture...

    Good. Does that mean millionaire landowners will no longer get 4 billion a year merely for owning land?

    Does that mean banks can go bust?

    Does that mean an end to the ponzi pension scheme?

  • Comment number 18.

    The powerful only respond to effective threats...ones that might reduce their bottom lines.
    All politics and the BBC are a ruling class con...and have been since the 1940`s.
    Dave and White with a Hint of Red Ed are out of the same stable....and it isn`t the one Jesus was born into either!

    UKplc is run by and for the benefit of global capitalists from their HQ in the IRA proved by ignoring Westminster and cutting a deal over in Washington.

    We are being squeezed while funding US foreign policy and bailing out Ireland and the EU and crazy foreign aid (bribes?)and wars.No one seriously squeezes Uncle Sam`s bottom line.

    Politics doesn`t work ...and NN can aimlessly interview a set of random usual suspects till the cows come home and it won`t make what they do "journalism" in a million years.

  • Comment number 19.


    Hillary has just been telling the next country - Bahrain - how to behave to American standards.

    If our own Billy the Spud were not such a joke, her antics would be laughable.

    International politics is perfectly mirrored by a bad day in the Simpsons' household.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 20.


    All the usual suspects are on my screen explaining the cleverly configured new welfare system. They all say, with a triumphant gleam, that it will PAY to get a job. (Definition of a job - 16 hours a week.)
    But unsophisticated bloke, who only ever gets the carp jobs, rather values his freedoms (and can be habituated to indolence).

    I am convinced that our unworldly leaders have no idea what I am alluding to here. Westminster functions without applied positive psychology (just brain washing, coercion and manipulation, like booze and ciggy ads).

    Not only will the new welfare be badly administrated, they will meet a 'bottom layer' that cannot be accessed by the brilliance of Duncan Smith and his zealous cohorts.

    Basic bloke just doesn't do zeal, in the IDS way.

  • Comment number 21.

    Basic bloke realises that he`s working to support loan sharks in the USA and whoever the BBC can spirit into Britain from the third world....and he`s ON STRIKE Barrie!

    If he thought he was building a country for his own children to be inheriting it would galvanise him and get him working now.

    IDS never visits the foreign occupied parts of post industrial Britain with his bright ideas!

  • Comment number 22.

    The Septic's Telling other Country how 2 Behave ?

    60's didnt the National Guard open up on A Student Protest

  • Comment number 23.

    QT Last Night are the People of Barking Barking I No I'm Barking Mad

    Nigel FaRage Thrashed The Lot

    Are 2 eds Brainier than Plankton .. No

    YEevet Cooper has been cooped up for far 2 long in that nulabour garbage Bin, Trotsking out the same old nulabour Spin.

    she couldnt say how much the Deficit is/was .. she dozy dossnt have 2 pay it

    Me Pay Tax Pay her Wages .. Not On Your Nellie or anybody else's

  • Comment number 24.

    Further 2 my 22

    Whilst on holiday in the good ol us of A .. New York New York, Empire State 2 Towers eh Statue of Liberty? UN Building etc etc

    Got in2 A Very Friendly DissCussion about N.I. Paratroopers Sunday Bloody Sunday Tanks? on the Streets? Nah Mate I was There

    In N.I. There were No Tanks on The Streets, An APC is not A Tank

    Unlike NAM MAAM Tanks B52's Gattiling Guns NaPalm me OFF

    bloody sundae inqueery, 14 Males Dead, very sad

    IRA DEAD 3000 plus, 2 include Childrens and Womens NO Inqueery There Then

    Vietnam Dead 10's of Thousands 2 Include Childrens and Womens

    Pot Kettle Sky Blue Pink Blood Coloured .. Blood Red Sky

    Something Like That

  • Comment number 25.

    24 Exactly Mr Duff...and notice how differently the BBC treated the deaths of Ian Tomlinson and Jean Charles the illegal worker?

    And how it took the Tories to have a proper look at 7/7....and that infamous QT after 7/7 where a girl in fancy dress was allowed to say "Allah is peace" to rapturous applause from the Beebs multicultural rent-a-crowd?

  • Comment number 26.

    25 The Many Faeces of Auntie Beeb

  • Comment number 27.

    what say we Means Test the politicians?
    Any with an income other than the pay fairly prescribed by the voting public more than say 35K (ie. average middle management salary) would be deducted directly from their monthly pay
    No expenses beyond a certain limit I'm sure suitable dorms could be found to put up MP's overnight.
    Of course the Cabinet would be rewarded for there ability etc. and wages fixed accordingly with the same conditions.
    I say we get the lazy scrounging bench potatoes back to work and see who really wants to run the country!
    UK PLC nationalised politics

  • Comment number 28.

    MTV Rocks .. Just Listening/Watching Zane Lowe's Top 50 Guitar Legends

    No Arguements There

    The Day You Try 2 Live .. Use Caution or Throw Caution 2 The Wind

    Easy Init

  • Comment number 29.

    37 I Can't for the Life of me Understand Why the PM gets 140 K per annum

    And some idiot Counciler gets up 2 300 k per Annum and can Vote for their own Pay Rises

    There's taking the *iss and Taking the *iss and boy they really Take The *ISS

    Who's The Idiot .. You Pay for The *ISS

    I Vote Meself 2 Million Billion A Year

  • Comment number 30.


    I am seething. If politicians must act like weasels, they could at least try to be good at it.

    From Dave's anti-AV speech I give you: "I'm sorry - - - - Britain shouldn't have to settle for anyone's SECOND CHOICE."

    Dopy Dave has (or chooses to have) no sense that COALITION was NO ONE'S CHOICE! I suppose, in the adjusted logic of Westminster, if no one actually chose, then it's as good as a first choice. Further: he had the gall TO MOCK SOME AV 'EXPLANATION'!!! What a cad - what a bounder.


  • Comment number 31.

    I Could See Things wernt going 2 Kick Off on this Site

    Time 2 *hit Shower Shave ShamPoo Shoe Shine

    N get down the Local .. supermarket N Mugg some Old Folk N Pinch Sweeties from Children

    I am No Worse than Politicians Barristers Lawyers Estate Agents? Union Bosses and local Counting CounSillers etc etc

    Am I

  • Comment number 32.

    What are "we" going to DO about having (allegedly) got ourselves another one?

  • Comment number 33.

    30 I refer you 2 my last or 2nd last Post that Broke House Rules OK

    not me they don't

  • Comment number 34.

    31 TRUE Though Isint It Auntie eh

  • Comment number 35.

    As I consider the whole sorry shebang in, or vying to be back in 'charge' as a shambles, I tend to view any reference to their activities as much with interest on the motivations of those engaged in the professional process of reporting.

    Hence it is interesting to see certain events referred to here as:

    '... We'll be unveiling Newsnight's U-turnometer as we discuss what's gone wrong with Number 10's grip on government

    Which rather starts from a premise that might not be universally shared, though perhaps in keeping with perceptions or desires in certain quarters. And hence may be considered more opinion and less 'news'?

    Fine for many media organs, but not so sure appropriate for the national broadcaster?

    Here is another 'view', to be sure from another tribal 'corner', so as to speak. One may agree of disagree, of course. Plus, if one sees fit, avoid supporting them with funding....

    Whereas, by contrast, one's options nearer to home seem more 'unique'.

  • Comment number 36.


    As for the 'People's Forests' victory. I warmed to the lady in the QT audience, who reminded us to check for what was being slipped past our guard, at the same time. Was it a 'good cause to bury state abuse'?

    In passing, I am reading (and marking) the AV transcripts of Nick n Dave. Something is not right there... The penny will drop - ultimately. I have friends with better minds than mine. One thing we can be sure of: the AV referendum is nothing to do with better democracy. Why would Westminster bother with that, under the EU thumb, going forward?

  • Comment number 37.

    They were never going to sell off the`s more foxhunting and gay marraige....a red herring. Any debate about it would have quickly shown us what all privatisation is about ...ripping us off.....and now Labour are not doing it they are free to point this out.
    Westminster is`s a very expensive confidence trick....and so is Brussels.

    It`s perfectly obvious who runs Britain.All you have to do is look at government`s real priorities and where it spends its money....from then on the money trail to Washington and Wall Street and to US foreign policy objectives is thick with fifty pound notes.

    And the BBC worships the USA...smell the Americano!

  • Comment number 38.

    #30 barrie
    “From Dave's anti-AV speech I give you: "I'm sorry - - - - Britain shouldn't have to settle for anyone's SECOND CHOICE."

    In addition, to your point that the COALITION was NO ONE'S CHOICE, there were other weasel words and twisted facts which Dodgy Dave used with his other machinations (the bounder) aimed at getting back to a clear Tory majority; and Tricky Nicky used with the prospect of AV unleashing some of those FPTP-wasted votes to compensate for waning Lib-Dem support.

    The distortions of FPTP are well known (over 400 MPs elected with more votes against than for them in their electorates) and the 1-million wasted votes that under PR should have given us 20 MPs instead of none from minor parties/independents. The country isn’t yet ready for my points system - that each voter has 10 points to award amongst the list of candidates, thus no wasted votes and everybody’s vote can make a contribution towards the final (electronic) count, with quicker results.

    Even with the few genuine weaknesses of AV, the British public should not throw away this long-awaited opportunity to have a say in reforming power politics. The Big 3 shelved the Jenkins proposals for electoral reform, ducked the ‘think the unthinkable’ on welfare and benefits reform, and ignored the warnings on uncontrolled immigration.

    Those of us with any concern for people power must turn out in full on 5th May in order to demonstrate that we expect to be fully consulted on future major issues, such as a new British Constitution, military activities - and further changes to electoral reform if AV does not meet OUR aims.

  • Comment number 39.


    And it will out-bounder Dodgy Dave.

    I have long wanted an 'abstention' option (None of the Above) at General Election. If 'a lot of us' let Nick know that, in return for that option on an AV voting paper, WE WILL VOTE FOR AV, he can get an edge on Dave and it might blind him to OUR EDGE ON THE LOT OF THEM.

    Turnip anyone?

  • Comment number 40.


    The Clapometer has already been employed, so not edgy. For Lizzy, I suggest the 'Carpometer'. The Edgeometer is too obvious - going forward - and there would be Health and Safety problems. I think the Crassometer trips of the tongue; that'll do nicely.


  • Comment number 41.

    OP Crevice is That A Crack At ??????????

  • Comment number 42.

    I have No Opinion Either way on AV etc I am Chuffed 2 Bits that NUlabour Have gone but Not Far enough.

    The Winter of Discontent Twice so far in my lifetime every time labour get Power things turn 2 Rat*hit

    You Have Been WARnED

  • Comment number 43.

    '40. At 5:02pm on 18 Feb 2011, barriesingleton wrote:

    In the spirit of populist voting techniques that also have a whiff of accuracy, my vote is definitely with the 'Carpometer'.

    Meanwhile when it comes to discussing what's wrong, one can be sure the BBC and its mighty analysts will always be ready to highlight the salient points...

    'Labour MP Chuka Umunna, of the Treasury Select Committee, who requested the detail, described it as "shocking"....

    'Uncomfortable truth'

    Mr Umunna said the relatively low share of tax paid in the UK reflects the government's failure to take the robust action needed to make sure that the banks which caused the crash pay their fair share.'

    Indeed. but odd no mention of who was where and when, as such things took place.

    With further fiscal memory loss recently, as I recall (ironically), on QT, when Yvette Cooper had a narrative malfunction, and that gallant Mr. Dimbleby saw fit to give her a pass there too.

    Maybe we are in for an era of a kinder, gentler, Aunty when it comes to pinning pols down on what is said and what is (has been) done. On occasion.


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