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Monday 27 June 2011

Sarah McDermott | 16:53 UK time, Monday, 27 June 2011

Tonight David Grossman will be asking where public opinion is on the planned strikes over pensions that are due to take place on Thursday, when teachers and civil servants are due to walk out causing widespread disruption.

Then we have front-line reportage from Andrew Harding who is in the besieged city of Misrata in Libya.

As Liam Fox vows to bring budgets "under control" at the Ministry of Defence in an overhaul likely to see a cut in the number of senior officers, Mark Urban explains what the reorganisation might like look like.

And Matt Frei delivers his valedictory essay for Newsnight in which he asks if the US is in long term decline, and we discuss if the 21st Century might really be the Chinese century.

Join Jeremy at 2230 on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    'Tonight David Grossman will be asking where public opinion is..'

    Sort of like those Editors' Picks on the blogs, only around the office? Or maybe a bit further into London, also missing the folk busy at work when the Nick Robinson blog is open for 'business'?

  • Comment number 2.


    While, in the real world, flouting them wholesale. Or, being able to take arms, at will, against a sea of falsely righteous Western leaders, quietly enunciate the Mandarin for "Get stuffed Conniving Cameron".

    That is the rhetorical question.

    Dave should have told Wen Jiabao how well the Chagossians are doing. WE really CARE about Johnnie Foreigner we evict.

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.


    "Vice President Gore, like all who aspire to lead great causes, must reconcile his advocacy with his conduct — that is, he must conduct himself in a way that is consistent with the great cause he seeks to promote."

    Tony Blair please note. Dave is OK - arrogance is as arrogance does!

    They are small and needy boys, strutting and orating while getting silly-rich. And all elevated by us.


  • Comment number 5.

    ‘Tonight David Grossman will be asking where public opinion is on the planned strikes over pensions that are due to take place on Thursday…’

    Instead of BBC deciding where ‘public opinion’ resides I suggest it try to Inform and Enlighten instead of providing yet another little ‘entertaining’ (and usually edgy) piece based on a random (bias?) sample.

    Why not produce a simple table showing:-
    (1) pension contributions from various levels of income, invested at a range of realistic growth levels;
    (2) the resulting size of these ‘pension pots’ over a normal working life; and
    (3) the amount of pension they would yield for current life expectancy after 65.

    Such a table would indicate whether a pension based on final salary and indexed over a normal retirement lifetime is financially self-funding. I believe it would show that a considerable amount of additional funds would be necessary – i.e. subsidised by other taxpayers.

    On retirement I was asked to select various options from my private pension investment. A straightforward single-life pension, without any indexation or other enhancements, was the only option that paid anywhere near a living pension in retirement; all other options showed huge reductions in the monthly payment.

    I forgot to ask Equitable Life to get other taxpayers to contribute to my lifestyle.

  • Comment number 6.

  • Comment number 7.

    For some strange reason I posted on Tuesday 21st..what the...!
    I hate repeating myself but you can hazard a guess what was in it.

    Words I do remember using are as follows:

    Mark Mardell
    and Michael Crick

    I don't think I used that last one...but I'll include it, it looks right somehow.

  • Comment number 8.

    This item on the teachers' strike is a total disgrace. Where is Paxman's impartiality? Since when has Newsnight been a mouthpiece for government propaganda? I am appalled by Paxman's attitude and he is normally so good. To hear him bring up the old chestnut about teachers' holidays is an embarrassment to somebody whose broadcasting acumen and insight is usually so reliable. Was any mention made of Gove's intimidatory letter to Headteachers? No, of course not. Rarely have I seen such unbalanced journalism on the BBC. The nature of the questioning was as puerile and transparently biased as the drivel we had on BBC Breakfast 12 hours earlier. Not asking for support, just a balanced airing of the debate. We didn't get this. Very poor.

  • Comment number 9.

    I cannot believe my ears! I am sitting here planning my lessons having just finished an evening of marking. I have cleared 2 weeks in the summer "holidays" for a break whilst during the other 4 weeks I shall be busy preparing for the new academic year. And Jeremy Paxman has the gall to make a flippant remark about teachers enjoying 13 weeks of holiday a year! CORRECTION Mr Paxman; children have 13 weeks holiday per year, whilst most teachers will be beavering away for most of this time to ensure they provide children with the best possible education they can provide. Strike action damaging teachers' reputations? Why bother - just speak to Mr Paxman; he obviously has a fair and accurate opinion of the teaching profession!

  • Comment number 10.

    Paxman was well out of order to argue that teachers get three months holiday, regurgitating this kind of outdated rhetoric is hardly impartial and makes him look like some hand wringing daily mail reading toady. Teachers work extremely hard, doing far more hours than they are contracted to do despite receiving no overtime. they are told exactly when they must take their holidays and cant even have the odd day off! Paxman went down in my estimation tonight!

  • Comment number 11.

    Excellent debate on the rising Chinese economy with Stelzer et al and also Matt's report too. All the children will be happy teachers are on strike so they can have the day off. Unfortunately, the parents are not going to be so happy :p

  • Comment number 12.

    Also wanted to add, I hadn't realised Michael Gove was an ex-BBC reporter!! It was a shock to say the least, and in those glasses too :p

  • Comment number 13.

  • Comment number 14.


    Backed up all the way back to 20.25pm - mmmmmmnn.

    Just popped in to pointlessly say that I still don't get this Big Boy's protocol, that says you can bomb Johnnie Foreigner, almost on a whim, but torturing and killing YOUR OWN, gets you to the Hague. Surely, if we must kill, killing should begin at home - like charity?

    But then I look at Dave, wrapped in dead mercenary heroes; Billy the Spud, planning sand for heroes to play in; and Field Marshal Foxy, rearranging Admirals on a sand model of the Titanic, and all is made clear.

    These poor cipher-ninnies have not one grain of philosophical awareness between them. The idea that this is all leading to some better future - rather than more of the same, or worse - is right off the Crassometer scale.

  • Comment number 15.

    The US decline can be mostly attributed to Bill Clinton and his destruction of industry. To be fair to Cliniton, the global market place and its rise (and fall) was always gonna pull the power of the US down to size but Clintons policies pushed its demise in double quick time with over-reliance on financial service industries and the like, giving the US little time to adjust or steer out of the economic downturn when it came in 07. The banksters and Obama are banging the 1st few nails in the US coffin with their heavy duty borrowing..the trickle up poverty programme is gaining some speed now..unstoppable speed. Isn't that the intention of the Obama administration anyway...well he is a hard core communist.

  • Comment number 16.


    There is an irony here somewhere - if only I could find it.

  • Comment number 17.

    5. At 20:25 27th Jun 2011, indignantindegene wrote:
    16. At 00:44 28th Jun 2011, barriesingleton wrote:
    This comment is awaiting moderation.

    Mods on strike too? Or just 'wrong views'?

    Either way, one way to deal with public opinion if it doesn't suit.

  • Comment number 18.


    This Circus will never fly.

  • Comment number 19.

  • Comment number 20.


    What's up doc?

  • Comment number 21.

    Ah, you're back. And... no comment so far on the 'closing'.

    What happened, didn't you hire Johann Hari just at the wrong moment?

  • Comment number 22.

    Why isn't there a new blog for today's show? Surely that's half the point of having this NN programme trail/comment blog at all?

    This seems to be the rule now - don't announce the show until its virtually on....

  • Comment number 23.

    The (MAD) world is (far) too much with us.

    Do the words 'advocate' and 'devil' not spring to mind?

    Perhaps it's me - but I have never taken something said/asked by Messrs Paxman, Esler, Wark or others as being representative of or pertaining to their own opinions or the prejudices/bias of the BBC. I take their lines of questioning as being openings to the general debate. The guests who get rattled and defensive merely play into their hands and guarantee that in the interests of 'entertainment' similar lines will be used again.

    I didn't particularly like the clumsy and clunky way the same old dogma was rolled out but ask most non teachers in the street and those are the phrases on their lips. Surely it was to be expected that the commonly held conception would be wheeled out in order to draw more facts, figures and prejudices of the other side(s) (namely that ALL teachers are wonderful, caring, supportive, hard working........... ) into the debate.

    Having experience both side of the chalk face I would say that, like in all walks of life, some teachers are all of those things and very diligent - others do enjoy long relaxing holidays and some other unseen benefits.

    The question of striking, pensions, negotiations wasn't particularly well drawn out but in truth it's way too big to do justice on a 7 minute slot or whatever. The easy options are seldom very satisfying and needs to have a good helping of creme anglais to stop some humble pie.

  • Comment number 24.


    Nah mate, this is Contradiction Corner. You should have stopped for a Hot Dog, listened to the Jumping Frog, taken the Alberquerque bypass (clearly signpposted) aimed at the second star to the right.... and straight on til morning.

  • Comment number 25.


    Oh come on - just one of course - AND they spend the entire Summer holiday on preparation, and Risk a Assessment.

    I'll get me games kit.

  • Comment number 26.


    Persuasive Dave is speaking heartfelt words of pensions, to the public sector workers. What a passionate, caring man.

    BUT WHO WROTE THE SPEECH? I think we should be told.

    'Ask not' how much Dave cares for you, ask who told him to say so.

  • Comment number 27.


    When you have to disrupt the status quo, slaughter and degrade the indigene (like the Israelites, annexing the Promised Land) and replace sustainability by Mammon as the price of the American Dream, then it is a nightmare from the start, and always going down.

    Now - if Dave had been a Pilgrim Father, and Billy the Spud Abe Lincoln, it might have gone far, far better. Yeah right.

    Coming down from the trees was an error; after that, fire, farming and technology, coupled with language and writing have all led us into darkness. America and China are just pimples on the great backside of growth and 'progress'.

    Doom is the new Gold.

  • Comment number 28.

    “Children have 13 weeks holiday per year, whilst most teachers will be beavering away for most of this time to ensure they provide children with the best possible education they can provide.”

    In this case, I suppose it will be no problem to make it mandatory for teachers to work during the summer and winter holidays too, since that's what they are doing now anyway.

    The school curriculum doesn’t change very much year after year – the earth always goes around the sun, and 2 + 4 = 6. Perhaps it is necessary to spend one/two summer holidays preparing a new class if it is someone’s first time to teach it. However for those experienced teachers, years of repetition should allow them to teach a class without much preparation.

    Paxo is doing his job - he is asking the questions those of us outside the teaching profession have on mind.

  • Comment number 29.

    In case anyone was wondering, I asked nicely and had a prompt reply:

    'The comments were closed while a tech problem was resolved. All working again now.'

    Now, if the entire BBC machine had got around the notion of addressing the issue as it happened, it may well have put some minds at rest even earlier.

  • Comment number 30.

    Jeremy having a go at ''anyone'' over holidays..he should be the last to talk, a million quid of our money and more holidays than the sheik of Araby (and he had some) and being a Tory mouthpiece, why isn't he as beligerent with Gove for messing up a tried and well tested education system... I am so glad it rained at Wimbledon today for all those BBC types with their expense account lunchboxes toddling of to SW19 to do some 'research skiving' well the weather put paid to that one because I watched a thrilling encounter in brilliant sunshine at Aigburth Liverpool watching Lancashire v Durham and the sun blazed down and not a bowl bowled at the England v Sri Lanks match and Wimbledon washed out...yup, a brilliant victory for the north.......

  • Comment number 31.

    Just viewed this show on PBS (USA). Personally, I think Matt Frei's report on America's decline (and the following discussion) are spot on. I thank him, and you, for succinctly reporting on this problem. There have already been millions of words on this topic (books, articles, blogs, tv programs, and a myriad of other discussions), but you have captured its essence in a very limited time frame. Thank you.

    One has to wonder, though, if anyone with the power to change things is watching, or cares about solving it. After all, the ones who CAN change things have "already got theirs", and the problem is not pressing to them. I "chat" with folks from all over the world, and most of them are wishing that the USA will "wake up" and take the necessary action.

    I do too. :-)

    Thanks again for what I consider supreme excellence in the style and content of your reports.

    Jim Benn, Chicago, IL, USA.


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