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Thursday 28 July 2011

Sarah McDermott | 11:15 UK time, Thursday, 28 July 2011

On tonight's programme, Paul Mason retraces the epic journey from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to the Californian promised land taken by migrant workers the Joad family, which John Steinbeck described in his 1939 Great Depression novel The Grapes of Wrath. Paul's been finding out how it reflects the realities of America's current debt crisis. Read more here.

General David Petraeus has been speaking to Newsnight about his time as Nato's commander in Afghanistan. The new Director of the CIA also talks to us about difficult recent relations between the US and Pakistan -- he tells Mark Urban both sides have "stepped back from the abyss after looking into it". Read more on Mark's blog.

And Stephen Smith examines the research which claims that if you stay up to watch Newsnight after your partner has gone to bed, it's a sure sign your marriage is in trouble

If you can stay up till 10.30pm, do join Gavin Esler over on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.


    when you feature jokey content about marriage breakdown, in a country that has lost the family plot, the mothering plot, the childhood and the gender plot; institutionalising the young for a moribund Mammon, and eschewing wisdom in favour of cleverness. J'accuse!

    Do you intend to fill the odorous vacuum, left by The news of the World, NewsyNighty?

    So much you COULD do if you shook off juvenile, edgy, nihilistic FUN and chose to serve the nation with gravitas and rigour.

    Cc Lord Patten.

  • Comment number 2.

    In keeping with the Grapes of Wrath comparison, I presume then that Newsnight will reveal the latter-day underbelly of the US; the business cartels (esp. Oil, commodities and finance), obsessively industrialised agriculture (i.e. Monsanto), the hired-heavies (now with suits and legal qualifications rather than sticks and Stetsons) and modern day slumlords.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well, nice to see the priorities are again well locked down, and luckily matrimony in the UK seems pretty secure, if the Newsnight viewing figures are any guide.

    Me & the missus will be snuggled up and asleep or catching up a movie, being that we have real lives, and have better ways to prepare for work the next day than sitting through the pre-selected topics and guests of a very out of touch and small bubble.

  • Comment number 4.

    As the only one published, thus far (mods in meltdown again?), wot 'e ed...

    '1. At 13:13 28th Jul 2011, barriesingleton

    One presumes it whisked around the bubble quick-smart, being by media about media, and twitter elevated it from a few score to 'what the nation is gripped by' as soon as you could chirp RT-metoo.

    When you find the actual plot, let us know.

  • Comment number 5.

    squirming listening to the Roy Greenslade interview with Richard Bacon on BBC 5live, why don't they just say the whole business is corrupt and should start over....

  • Comment number 6.


    Pay attention Glasshopper 007!

    "If you wish to debate with me, first define your terms." (Voltaire)

    Plot (as in "we have lost the") is, to my mind, Nature's Matrix.

    Plot (as in "Shapeshifter Lizards ate my Hamster") - is for conspiracy theorists -WHAT ARE THEY LIKE!

    So Junkk: I reckon Nature's Plot is fairly discernable, but it takes courage to look at, square-on, and realise WE CAN'T GO ON LIKE THIS.

    So be nice - ask me which way is the greater part of Nature's Plot to be found? That is easy: just turn 180 degrees and point!

  • Comment number 7.

    Still a few rocks to lift on the phone hacking scandal:

    Bit of shame though that Jenny Jones seems to be turning this into a personal tirade against Johnson, when in fact she planned to ask some incisive questions of the police:

  • Comment number 8.

    The Grapes of Wrath are small potatoes - it's the Wizard of Oz that is the real comparison - and it came some time before the 1930s, the period "Grapes" covers.

    Published in 1900, L. Frank Baum wrote the book in South Dakota during a major econoimic depression - IMHO the wizard= the President, Tin Man=industrial workers, Cowardly lion=trades unions and straw man=farmers - Oz=Washington D.C.

    BTW, they were SILVER slippers in the book, (not ruby as in the film), that Dorothy wore on the Yellow Brick (i.e. gold standard) Road. The wicked witches are the banks and the muchkins are the ordinary people of the Mid West.

    Althoug hte hidden, subversive nature of his book is still disputed, Baum elegently casts the banks are the souce of real evil in the land, indicates that the President is powerless to do anything and it is only by the little people realising they can only rely on themselves to sort things out, that change will happen.

    The film's anti bolshevik approach of casting the witches' forces as russian cossack mutants was IMHO a deliberate attempt to wrong-foot the audience away from the underlying tacit support of the storyline, broadly supportive of the little people fighting back, which by the 1930s was given substance by the International Workers of the World Movement backed by the Comintern - the "Wobblies" - who opposed the foreclosures of farms and homes in the 1930s in the mid-west.

    How weird is it that the grassroots movement of the moment now in the USA is the Tea Party - quite what Baum would have made of it is anyone's guess, but their free market ideology would seem to me to be more supportive of the witches than the people and city of Oz.

  • Comment number 9.

  • Comment number 10.

    RB #8: the bolshies (using your analogy, which i'd never heard before but rings true - kudos!!) *never* supported "the little people", they were a marxist vanguard group that would use ANY line to come to power - and once there behave like all the other Marxists in power, from Lenin to Mao to Ghadaffi.

    barry: the "collapse in traditional values" you are bemoaning is the normal consequence of liberalisation and rights-equalisation. Children need BOTH parents, not just "mothers at home" (kinder , kirche, kuche, eh?? "Nuff Sed"), and the workplace ALSO benefits from both genders.

    in a moral society, workers would take part in the running of companies, there would be crèches at work, subsidised child-care, and BOTH parents to get parental leave. Hours would be reduced (increasing employment), leaving working parents more time to spend at home, or in other pursuits. The reason this is not happening is because we have an economy controlled by kkkorporates and exploiters, and the political class is almost entirely in their pay, - it seems.

    for a moral society, we need a moral Govt.


  • Comment number 11.

    #8: also, the Tea-Party's "free market" is more of the same *anti-free-market* kkkorporate monopolisation and deregulation. Slogans, not knowledge, is what this FauxNews inspired group is led by. Shame, because many of their actual criticisms of what is happening in the US are quite valid. Lenin would be proud of the organisers behind it!

  • Comment number 12.

  • Comment number 13.


    Newsy of the WorldyNighty - at its best.

  • Comment number 14.


    Not the first time that a convenient 'truth' has found it's way into the newspapers - doing the government's dirty work for it. This is never going to end until Westminster is purged, and its ethos exorcised.

    In passing: successive governments were NOT SCARED OF MURDOCH, only scared of LOSING POWER if Murdoch changed sides. Note that final word: SIDES. Were it not for factional politics, under the Westminster Ethos, Murdoch would have had no power over governments. All the more reason to


    PS Sorry about spelling at #13

  • Comment number 15.

    Wifey can't compete with the charm and intellect of Kirsty Wark so she goes to bed well before me. She is a good 10 years younger than the Warkster so why the catty remarks when the Scottish-one is presenting I'll never know. Wifey departs for the wooden stairs and tells me to "leave me to it".. Which suits me fine thank you very much.

    Wifey will stick around and watch Newsnight if that fella, whose name escapse me at present..the one who used to be very scuffy looking, didn't wear a tie..but has recently smartened up. Totally forgotten his name..he's a bit of an investigative Journalist.. dark hair, but not Mark Urban..the other fella..he's put a bit of weight on over the years. You know who I mean...well, she likes him.

  • Comment number 16.

    on the wind a harpsicord sounded
    as the dark blanket descended
    the sound stirred the breezes
    and the blanket tattered.

    the dawn broke soon after
    and the valleys of darkness turned
    to face, as Light pored over them
    and through them, illuminating them.

    together their hands reached out to one another
    a current of light and love

    and more pockets joined.

    the children play under the sun
    and bombers do not fly.
    all people are real people.
    all animals are people.
    and all lives are sacred.

  • Comment number 17.

    '9. At 17:26 28th Jul 2011, brossen99 wrote:

    With the edit suite already doing stirling work on a voluntary basis across most areas that may not suit, one wonders how long before politics, crime, etc, need an inquiry to decide that the edits are not really going far enough in ensuring what doesn't need to be covered won't be....

  • Comment number 18.


    NN posters, I invite you to sample the terms and conditions

    YOU must be understandable in your petition, but not HMG (in its presentation) it seems:

    "Matters which are not the responsibility of HM Government -
    Party political material"

    How then are we to SPOILPARTYGAMES such as coercive lying at election-time?


  • Comment number 19.


    My late brother had a high regard for Prof Jones, in his 'snail days'. I think he would be less impressed today.

    Some Chinese wisdom for the Professor: "Every day the clever man finds he knows something more - and the wise man is a little less certain."

    His certainty will - of course - suit the BBC, but professing right does not make it absolute.

  • Comment number 20.


  • Comment number 21.

    On this morning's Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 I was asked about the Eurozone crisis and whether the deal struck last week will work. Clearly it won't, as the reaction of financial markets has shown. As I wrote yesterday and commented today, the Eurozone crisis reminds me of an episode from the 1970s series The New Avengers. It is as though the bullet which will kill economic growth was fired in 2007 when the credit bubble burst. Only now are some people beginning to realise how close that bullet lodged to our economic heart.

  • Comment number 22.


    Paper money, like playing cards, is handy for doing tricks. When participating in the show, we agree to be tricked - even to trick ourselves.

    But there is a new breed of magician. The cloak is heavier, the intent less definable, the drive darker.

    The stage magician has an integrity - the global illusionists have none.

    How's that for a subject, NewsyNighty?

  • Comment number 23.

  • Comment number 24.

    Disastrous Outcomes From An Orchestrated Crisis

    While the world media fixates on the orchestrated debt ceiling crisis, the US government continues to bomb civilians in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia and continues with preparations to do the same thing to Syria and Iran. The violations of other countries’ sovereignties, the naked aggressions that constitute war crimes, the murder of noncombatants, and the horrible moral and economic expense inflicted by the maximization of the military/security complex’s profits are somehow not a crisis. These are just routine, normal, everyday necessary events. Nothing to notice or to become upset about.

  • Comment number 25.

    Paul should ask the Indians on the Rez [the dry desert where you think no one can live] about what is going on.

  • Comment number 26.

    Giant Banks Lobby to Raise the Debt Ceiling and Slash Public Benefits … So They Can Keep Sucking at the Public Teat

  • Comment number 27.


    Combat is an animal imperative. Man's thin veneer of cerebral competence is only able to override the Ape, if optimised; that is to say: MATURED.

    In The Age of Perversity with Britain's governance, by default, from Westminster's Fight Club, we have wars abroad and a powder keg at home. NO WONDER THEY CLUNG ON TO FOX HUNTING.

    Were we not now 'enlightened', one might reasonably characterise our leaders as possessed by The Devil.



  • Comment number 28.

    I see we're @ 1545 and still no details for today's programme on this blog - I thought NN was worried about it audience rating - it would help if you trailed the programme on this blog so that we have some idea of what's going to be on and the opportunity to make suggestions a timely way about it before it's too late....

    Could the moderator elbow the production team to POST THEIR LISTING FOR TODAY'S PROGRAMME PLEASE!

  • Comment number 29.


    We are getting a little pedantic here...

    The Wizard of Oz was written BEFORE the bolshevik revolution - therefore unless Baum was psychic, he had no inkling of what was coming more than a decade later..

    My comment relates to the FILM version which was made much later that attempts to overwrite Baum's wicked (banker) witches and their soldiers with the Red Menace - BTW, the Wobblies in the USA of the depression years were only very loosely allied to the Comintern.

    I find it fascinating that both the Wobblies and the Tea Party seem to in some way to tap into the US's deep distrust of government and seek to organise a grassroots movement to mobilise anti-government sentiment, but from different ends of the political spectrum. Both seem to think that the system is broken and that the suffering ordinary people undergo is the result of abuse from forces above them.

  • Comment number 30.


    When Heather Brooke set down her findings on Westminster governance, she chose the title "The Silent State." In my attempts to nail the lie in the Conservative 'Liar Flyer' I have found that our dishonourable masters, almost to a cipher, use SILENCE to defend the 'indefensible'.

    Had NewsyNighty a shred of dedication to the public, they would be on the side of right, not SILENTLY defending the SILENT CITADEL OF WESTMINSTER.


  • Comment number 31.

    '28. At 15:44 29th Jul 2011, richard bunning wrote:
    I see we're @ 1545 and still no details for today's programme on this blog - I thought NN was worried about it audience rating

    Past clocking off and still no sign.

    No reason for worry in market rate land. Immunity from reality has a very calming affect.

    John Prescott sharing his vajazzling anguish and the ratings go through the roof... with bonusses to follow.

    Prof. Jones will confirm this is for the best.

  • Comment number 32.


    That looks like 'good business' to me.

    Someone CHOSE to make false claims, yet only corporate fines are applied. In the Age of Perversity, can we now add 'Justice' to the policing, media and politics cabal uncovered in the phone hacking?

  • Comment number 33.

    Could be worse.

    Nick Robinson simply shut up shop and went AWOL.

    At least some posted a goodbye note from teacher for the school hols.

    One presumes nothing political or environmental expected for a while then?

    'Would the last one to leave the multi-billion, multi-national news empire tonight please switch off the lights'.

  • Comment number 34.

    the Yanks are going to destroy what is left of the about six days from good 'ol Uncle Sam.....


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