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Wednesday 31 August 2011

Sarah McDermott | 18:34 UK time, Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Paul Mason will report on the shake-up of British banks, which government sources have indicated may not come into force for several years.

David Grossman explains why the fifty per cent rate of income tax required of people earning more than £150,000 a year has illuminated the divisions within the coalition.

We'll return to a story from last night's programme - about changes to abortion counselling services rules so that clinics which offer termination services do not also provide advice. Tonight Downing Street said "the discussions currently underway do not represent any moral shift in the government's approach to abortion as an issue". We'll debate the government's moral agenda and its commitment to social liberty.

And Tom Heap visits Croatia, home to the richest cave fauna in Europe, which is under threat by pollution and development.

Join Jeremy Paxman at 22:30 on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    Whatever Vince Cable bleats on bank reform the Tories are never going to pass any legislation against the wishes of their stock market parasite funders / puppet masters !

  • Comment number 2.

    People will move away from the UK with a 50% tax rate. No-one voted for high taxation, and no-one voted for a coalition either. If anything, we need tax cuts to kick start the economy.

  • Comment number 3.


    That has to be the oxymoron of the age.

    Today I caught Nick trumpeting: "Those who break the law must answer for their actions." Some while back I sent Nick PROOF of the Conservative false instrument, employed by some sitting MPs at the 2010 General Election. Issuing a false instrument contravenes the "Representation of the People Act" - section 115.


    Moral is as moral does.

    If free speech is exercise in a forest of immorality, where no one has the integrity to listen, was anything spoken?

  • Comment number 4.

    #2 76uk

    Typical ten bob fat cat celebrity worshiper mentality but I do agree we need tax cuts starting with road fuel duty if you genuinely want to get the economy growing and benefit low income people for a change, put the personal allowance for income tax up to 15K, stuff the fat cats we could probably do far better without them !

  • Comment number 5.

    This would account for quite a few of those (massively) over the £150,000 who should be targeted. Was this dodgy deal implemented, or frustrated?

    But the main target should be those with several directorships, often sinecures for providing impressive titles, such as The Honourable or Lord, on company documents: many of the latter having had the title bestowed for party loyalty alone, some allegedly for cash.

    ‘ The Chancellor branded the 50p rate ‘uncompetitive’ and said there was ‘not much point’ in having taxes that brought in little revenue. In an interview at the weekend, he said the 50p rate risked driving wealth creators out of Britain at a time when they were needed to create jobs and boost growth.’

    Are the above, and the horde of overpaid Quango staffers, the ‘wealth creators’ George refers to? They certainly create wealth for themselves.

  • Comment number 6.

    The British Bankers' Association says that reform could "risk recovery". Recovery from what? A global and UK crisis cause by bankers irresponsible gambling using money they created out of nothing. They either do not understand their own business, or are deliberately disingenuous, or both. It's funny how shareholders, including pension funds, have in the case of a majority of British banks, lost somewhere between 70% and 100% of their capital since 2007, yet the bosses of the self-same banks still seem to form a powerful lobby, and command obscene remuneration. To them, £150k is chickenfeed, but to a care-worker in a nursing home, it may be 15 year's full-time pay. Perhaps Mr Osborne should consider that next time he visits his tax accountants.

    As I've said before, it is a sick society where someone handling banks' petty cash is paid nearly double someone looking after vulnerable people.

    Note too, that the banks are queueing up for more state support. Madame Defarge, (I mean Lagarde) has already led calls for European banks to be "recapitalised".

    Some of the more enlightened rich, perhaps with an eye to their owm survival, have a different view.

  • Comment number 7.

    We can`t have a meaningful independent British government and our own tax regime any longer.

    As early as 1929 the behaviour of financiers in New York sent economic,social and political shock waves round the globe over the next twenty years.

    2008`s little sub prime tsunami has hardly got started on its wrecking spree!

    Westminster politicians are just scapegoats and puppets.

    Even the BBC cares less and less about British politics with each year that passes,as it homes in on the views of Americans and Germans and oligarchs across the world.

    This is the politics of distraction.Neither Cable nor Osbourne (far less Milliband) matter a jot to the people who control our children`s future here in Britain.

    If we know all this (and we do) why go on tolerating this empty pantomime?

    What "reform" would really empower us rather than perpetuate our reputation here in Britain for being gullible dupes?

  • Comment number 8.

    the current banking model

    go long the taxpayer and call it 'free market' and competition.

    its the same model used for all the 'privatised' industries.

    if banking reform is about the public not backing private industry and returning them to moral hazard then there is no 'risk of recovery' only the risk of loss of easy money/life as they join 'the real world'.

  • Comment number 9.


    I am in no doubt that if they ever hear of OUR plight - degradation of all stages of life from conception to death - they would be prepared to make great sacrifice on our behalf. The pity is that they will probably be sacrificed anyway, and we shall continue on our wisdom-free, nihilistic slide into oblivion, regardless.

    Do you think that angle might be covered by NewsyNighty?

  • Comment number 10.

    Shadows of what will happen with UK alleged green jobs based purely on massive subsidy ?

  • Comment number 11.

    @2 Don't worry Mistress, I don't think your Jeremy will do a bunk - he has far too elevated a view of his own morality.

    Jonathan Woss still thinks "because I'm worth it"

    but he's absolutely welcome to go - as far as possible! As the BBC creates these so-called "stars" (I nearly misspelled "srats" there), there should be a standard claw-back clause in their contracts. If they jump ship and go commercial, 50% of anything over £150k goes back to the Beeb to invest in real talent: eg young musicians etc.

  • Comment number 12.

    Paul - get someone on who's in favour of REAL banking reform!

  • Comment number 13.

    Hear, hear Sasha!

    The banks are incredibly weak at the moment. The latest round of stress tests unveiled incredible bank weakness that has been excascerbated by the stock market volatility.

    The banks are scared that if the separation of casino and retail banking ops will expose their investment banking arms to the real market and hence, bankruptsy/failure.

    They don't want the separation legislation because they are still exposed to market forces.

    I short, they want banking reform kicked into th e long-grass.

    don't be taken in.

  • Comment number 14.

    Excellent discussion by Jeremy with John Redwood on why there shouldn't be a 50p taxation rate and why at 40p instead, more revenue is raised. I suspect, that for a number of "proposed reforms," there have been too many focus groups or think tanks involved.......hence.
    :p there is a big difference in saying that someone should be paying more tax (eg Warren Buffet) and ACTUALLY paying more.

  • Comment number 15.


    What do we know in our hearts would happen even if "we got someone in favour of banking reform"?

    "We" don`t have the opportunity/means to invest them with the power to act in our interests, even if they got selected by a political party and elected to Parliament in the first place.

    Remember the scene of Diamond and Murdoch before those Commons Select Committees? And when will people representing the Pentagon and the CIA and the EU high command and Wall Street elite and the US president, answer to "our representatives" for the expense they occasion us and damage they cause to our interests. Never!

    British politics is theatre. It`s Tommy Cooper magic and clumsy deception which a few hours of Newsnight with guest presenters like Max Keiser and Stacey Herbert might blow to smithereens forever.

    Where is the BBC in this? We keep hearing about the power of Murdoch over our society but no one dare ask why the BBC uses its political power as it does!

    Would Lord Reith spin in his grave to watch folk like Mandelson,Blair, Clinton, and George Soros treat the BBC as an uncritical handmaiden in their quest to build a neo-liberal American global empire in which the British public are powerless hostages of what amounts to a global dictatorship?

  • Comment number 16.


    Have we forgotten already that Dave was prepared to pay any price, in terms of abandoned integrity, to be PM, and Nick was prepared to sell any number of souls to be Deputy PM?

    Have we forgotten already that Dave smeared Nick, in the AV 'NO' campaign, as only a viscerally nasty boy can?

    Are we so dumb as to not have registered, from before the election, that Dave is a PR-trained manipulator, while Nick is still trying to work out what the bright light is?

    No NewsyNighty - if illumination is needed at all, it is to highlight to the dullard masses, the venal nature of this Coalition.

    Could do better.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

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

  • Comment number 19.

    DOING THE JOBS THEY LOVE (off topic but topical)

    Radio 4 'Today' News reports that a man who loves the porn life, has been prevented from teaching in UK schools. The following item (Thought for the Day) was about our mercenary military, who love the violent life, being deemed 'heroes'; no doubt welcomed into our schools.

    Is it me?

  • Comment number 20.


    I have no idea of Sarko's credentials in the democracy department.

    But DE MOCK CRASS Y Dave?


  • Comment number 21.


    Might this have some bearing on women's acceptance of DIFFERENTIAL INCOME (which they also prefer to be analogous).

    Is Mother Nature STILL applying Her insidious influence, after all Westminster has done to stamp out such pernicious contamination?


  • Comment number 22.

    Bank Reform

    If the “Casino” side of things is separated (ring fenced) from the more conventional side of banking , who or what is going to pay for the free banking that millions of people now enjoy ?

    Will customers have to start paying for their transactions ?
    Will retail banks charge more interest on loans to pay for its depositors interest and free banking ?

    Maybe when the proposals are published NN will inform us on these closely related issues.

    Here are a few other suggestions for reform -

    I assume in all this reform speak that the taxpayer will still have to guarantee depositors funds in case these private banks over lend on a bubble again ?

    120% mortgages ?

    I still don't know why taxpayers have to guarantee business transactions between a customer and a private company. I can not think of another example of this in a normal commercial activity.

    Why can't depositors buy their own insurance for their own bank accounts ?
    This would allow insurance companies to price the risk of a bank , the higher the risks a bank is perceived to have taken on ,the higher the premium insurers would demand from that banks customers to insure their bank accounts, thus making the high risk bank economically unattractive to its customers.

    I also wonder if a bank did fail , then there is a question of getting the best value for its assets to pay off its creditors, most notably in the form of its “loan book” (I Owe U) sale.
    Why shouldn't any called in receiver not notify a banks debtors that his or her debt is going to sold and invite them into the bidding process ?

    During the bank crisis commentators stated that one of the problems was that financial institutions did not know the real value of some loans a bank had on its books, aka bad debts. Who better to know what a loan is really worth than the person who took the loan out in the first place.

    In effect this would be like changing mortgage providers, but with the possibility of getting 30% off you debt. A great way to lower the scourge of negative equity in a population suffering the aftershocks of a debt fuelled boom and bust.

    Just a few passing ideas.

    Fifty Percent Tax

    Normally I would say its immoral for government to steal 50% of someone's income, I would also say 40% is very close to being morally wrong and taxing anyone earning below £20k is self defeating. But given how we are told that everyone wants big government to provide services for them, save their deposits in any and all banks and be good Samaritan all around the world , then government has to tax until our pips squeak to pay for it all.

    As for any future tax cuts , I would go for incentives.

    Breaking the benefit trap; just because you have a council home or other housing benefit there should not be immediate benefits punishment for getting a job and bettering your income.

    I would also set part manufactures business tax at 10% as part of rebalancing the economy agenda. Its a quite small sector so would not cost a lot and any taxed induced growth would go towards future years tax decreases.

    Strangely I would make one increase in taxes, on people leaving and entering the UK.

    As for reducing VAT , I would love to , to zero percent in time, but given the situation, the last thing we need is a consumer led recovery ,further depleting UK savings ratios and helping Germany and Asia to recover from their export slowdowns.

    Isn't collective poverty a itch.

    Social Liberty -

    Do you mean welfare liberty ?

    If so , I have always thought those two words contradict each other in practice.

  • Comment number 23.

    i see the 4 billion a year public subsidy to millionaire landowners for merely owning land is still ring fenced. is that the sort of 'public service' that needs to be paid for by taxes to be a 'civilised society'?

    or should taxes be for the poor and needy?

  • Comment number 24.

  • Comment number 25.

    It may be becoming increasingly apparent to many people that the UK was under Blair and then Brown, little difference under Cameron & Clegg being run for and in the financial interest of the stock market parasites. In fact Major was probably at it as well but it has to end if we are ever going to make a sustainable recovery, totally re-design the Tax and Benefit system to reward people who actually employ other people.

  • Comment number 26.

    The stock market parasites would be stuffed, after all they usually destroy jobs with mergers and acquisitions, and now companies like Autonomy ( cutting edge technology ) get sold abroad to puff out the FTSE index. The next on the list is ARM holdings, but in reality had both outlived there usefulness to our economy. All the control stuff like ANPR cameras are out there and they have electronic fingerprinting on the street, the police don't actually need any new technology. They are floating the idea that it might be a good idea to drive your car by computer on motorways, but the ideas they come up with now are totally unnecessary like last night's new idea for disposing of the deceased. We have enough technology for everyone to live a decent life now without wasting any more good money on fantasy like the Climate Scam, which must be fatally wounded by the latest CERN research alone.

  • Comment number 27.

    Only problem is that when you need a Clem Attlee your are faced with a bunch of idiots, although perhaps Philip Hammond would make a decent leader of the Tory Party as the replacement for Cameron. I just hope that the general public are not stupid enough to give Miliband the chance with the very few Limp dumps left after their annihilation.

  • Comment number 28.


    I just don`t "get" the rest of you regulars on here.

    What conceivable difference will it make if "we" replace Obama or Cameron or Merkel or even Berlusconi?

    I remain a Duffyist skeptik,because it`s all an obvious "Made in the USA" con!

    I voted Labour from 64 to 97 and voted "no" to the Common Market in the days when we still got a say in things! What was the point?

    Ditch Thatcher/Major ruination and sleaze and "vote" yourselves in a Blair/Brown or Cameron.How empowering! NOT!

    How clear do the global capitalists have to make your Hobson`s Choice democracy before you stop waiting at the Westminster stage door for a new political saviour?

    Finance and economics are global,so politics is either global or it`s just a frustrating waste of time.

    Demand to vote in American elections and make the British Isles into four new states of the Union. That`s far more likely to bring a sense of realism to our politics than the current fantasy democracy we have now.

  • Comment number 29.

    And has it not struck you that any public broadcaster in a really free society would never have to employ teams of thought police to censor your comments on threads like this.

    What is the practical difference between Britain today and Stasi-dominated East Germany?

  • Comment number 30.

    @29 "What is the practical difference between Britain today and Stasi-dominated East Germany?"

    So far as I know, no blogger has ever been arrested in the middle of the night, executed, imprisoned, beaten up or had their family threatened. Nor have they been sacked from their jobs or threatened with such. Etc Etc Etc.

    Don't get so worked up that you lose track of the real world.

  • Comment number 31.

    The greenies with guns and Fed credentials stormed a Gibson Guitar factory on account the guitar maker may have been using rare and protected woods. Its a pity President Barry Obuma and the feds can't show the same kinda zeal when protecting the southern borders from Mexican illigal immigration.

  • Comment number 32.


    As a complete amateur, it took me a while to realise that we are being duped, oppressed and manipulated, by the Westminster Citadel - all PMs being 'ANOTHER ONE' distilled from the mash of PRE-SELECTED Westminster ciphers that are MPs.

    When Nick and Dave conspired to nail a 5 year term in place (Dave to engineer Nick's demise and ensure absolute Con power; and Nick to get what he could, while it lasted) I saw the chance to DISMANTLE WESTMINSTER.

    Westminster relies on PARTY GAMES and SERVILE MPs. Between now and the next election, every MP should be challenged. e.g. "Would you have been elected without your rosette?" (aka "Have you stopped beating your wife?" "Are you in favour of recall - even on a local, unofficial basis?" Add your own.

    There is much scope for putting PARTIES under scrutiny. As things stand it seems they are ephemeral as constituted bodies (not like - say - businesses). As such, they appear to be outside the law. This apple-cart can be rocked until the pips are trampled.

    Westminster itself is a TRAVESTY OF DEMOCRACY. It is full of 'adjusted truth and reality, while the honour they wear so lightly, is on a par with Union Jack underpants.


    Currently: I am challenging my MP (Richard Benyon - Con) to take note of the State Lie that is 9/11 (he dismisses me with scorn) and to acknowledge as a false instrument, the Con Liar Flyer which he (and other sitting MPs) deployed to gain votes. The Flyer broke election law and would seem to me to be tantamount to 'misconduct in Public Office'. I have notified the Police and been acknowledged.


    I have not yet begun to fight.

  • Comment number 33.

    A MATTER OF STYLE? (#30)

    British corruption is insidious, rather than overt - perhaps our 'beatings and killings' are too'? We all know of at least one questionable, convenient death.

    I suggest you keep an eye on where Annie Machon is speaking. Her experience is relevant and sobering. I went to London - well worth the trip.

  • Comment number 34.

    @33 Barrie - there have been few if any societies free of oppression, or free of generally believed myths and lies. In my view, today's Britain is less a haven of freedom and justice than it was in my youth. The integrity and capability of our ruling class has also declined. I agree that there has been at least one "convenient death".

    However, wild exaggeration and generalisation never help a case. If any "covenient death" were proven to be homicide, then there would be legal consequences for the perpetrators. Britain is not remotely like East Germany, or its modern equivalent, Belarus. Nor, despite nonsense talked by some, was it remotely like Zimbabwe under the unlamented Brown government. Nor, it must be said, is the management style of British industrialists at all like that of the former IG Farben.

    Hyperbolic generalisation is what enabled the prosecutors in Stalin's show trials to claim that "objectively" his opponents were imperialist agents.

    If these blogs are to serve any useful purpose at all, which I sometimes doubt, one must distinguish between analysis and paranoia*, and polemic and debate. In other words there must be some respect for verifiable truth.

    *Always bearing in mind that "just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you". ;-D

  • Comment number 35.

    #30 sasha

    "So far as I know, no blogger has ever been arrested in the middle of the night, executed, imprisoned, beaten up or had their family threatened. Nor have they been sacked from their jobs or threatened with such."

    Jody McIntyre (and he's wheelchair bound)

    Shocking video of police tipping disabled man out of wheelchair during student protest causes outrage

    Policeman used excessive force against disabled student protester, IPCC rules

    Jodie McIntyre dumped as Independent blogger after riot

    Jody McIntyre and the Tottenham riots: quelle surprise

  • Comment number 36.

  • Comment number 37.

    Re: Banking Reform

    Here is an excerpt of what the Barclay Chairman said last night about the banking reform that never was, with my added comment in brackets. I have never heard so much BS coming from one panel before that I respectfully demand earplugs if and when he is invited again:

    Of course we need banks to be safe (OK it is a fair statement, but it doesn’t allude to any part of what he is about to say).

    Once you have the concept of too big to fail, it doesn`t come from the bankers, that comes from politicians who don`t want depositors to lose any money. (When did not wanting savers to lose their money become a sin? Remind me, who were the guys that convinced our politicians that ATMs would shut and that people would queue outside the banks to take out their money, if they let the banks fail?!)

    Once you have the too big to fail principle, you then have to have regulations to control what bankers actually do. (The argument is so convoluted that I am not even sure it makes sense. I assume he meant self-regulation is the way to go or rather that taking away a bit of regulation will make bankers behave more responsibly going forward.)

    The trouble with substituting regulation for trying to run a bank sensibly and commercially prudently is that everybody behaves right up to the line of regulation and as soon as that happens, then you get danger. (It is better than stepping outside the line lending money to unsophisticated people who have no means of paying solely to pocket large commissions for originating and servicing those loans.)

    …so what I would do is go back to avoiding totally the too big to fail concept and trying to ensure that if a bank failed, all creditors including depositors would lose 10% of their money. (I can’t believe the other guy called it a radical solution. The emperor really has no clothes. Not only did Sir Martin reject the idea of separating the risky investment business for the lending business right off the bat, he is actually suggesting depositors pay more to subsidise the banks’ great casino business).

    That would put a great premium on running a bank really safely and that is what is really needed. There will be a real reward for running bank safely. (The idea that losing 10% of the value of their portfolio would make bank executives blink twice; blimey, we are now officially in Alice’s Wonderland. During the credit crunch, the haircut on the bad loans is not 10%; it is more like 90%! Please don’t take us for fools and try to write off RBS as a bad corporate decision. Maybe Sir Martin can explain why Citigroup’s share price plunged from a high of nearly $60 to a mere $3 per share during the same period. I guess it must have been one of those “absolutely crazy acquisitions”, and had nothing to do with “the problems of running a universal bank”!)

  • Comment number 38.

    how does someone with the name 'biasedBBC' not expect to get binned?

  • Comment number 39.


    You can be binned for almost anything. They are the converse of politician's codes of conduct - that allow them to get away with almost anything!

    I got the impression BBBBC just dropped in to make a few waves. Couldn't be JJ6 could he?

  • Comment number 40.

    '38. At 16:10 1st Sep 2011, stevie wrote:
    how does someone with the name 'biasedBBC' not expect to get binned?'

    Well, possibly by assuming that the rules the BBC apply in one set of areas may also apply in others.

    So long as the pejorative is not excessive the name can be whatever is wished, and so long as the argument is well laid out... it would seem... odd.. to be discriminated against simply by not sharing the views of the pitch renters and ball kickers-off (the licence fee payer actually owns both, though some in the dressing room seem to forget that).

    I have actually attempted to respond to this new name on the block since this:

    Still up, for now.

    All my attempts at reply have been 'referred', edited to a point where all there was was one BBC URL and one Guardian one.

    Still obliterated. Perhaps my counter views were even less favoured?

    I am now in process of cancelling my DD and writing to my MP & Mr. Hunt.

    I enjoy debate, but not when the Chairman only allows one side to be aired. That has another description entirely. And not a happy one, if history's lessons are a guide.

  • Comment number 41.


    A whole new meaning to "The right to die."

  • Comment number 42.

  • Comment number 43.

    @39 "I got the impression BBBBC just dropped in to make a few waves. Couldn't be JJ6 could he?"

    Ha ha - not the right language pattern. No mention of Trotskyite-anarchism for a start! Like a Time Lord, each incarnation has a different personality, but the same underlying character. :-)

  • Comment number 44.

    Mr Clarkson. you have a fair point but in warming to your own idea you border on being guilty of the same sin!

    I don`t swallow the Blue Peter idea that "we don`t do torture" when we have GCHQ a few miles from my home and Qinetiq circling over my house testing who knows what "defence equipment"in the ether around me.

    We don`t do torture but we know a man who does, and he`s called Mr CIA and he has "interrogation centres" across the world.

    English nationalism is ruthlessly suppressed while Irish Scots and Israeli and Georgian nationalism is fine by Uncle Sam.Why?

    Because the CIA and Wall Street run us as a satellite of the USA and they don`t want their City of London,GCHQ,Westminster puppet regime (and their precious BBC) falling under the control of politicians who have formed the odd idea that democracy should actually do what it says on the tin!

  • Comment number 45.

    Junkkmale. Please don`t walk the plank. I have a cunning plan.

    Authoritarian organisations like the CIA and Fox News/ BBC have a weakness. They eventually ingest their own propaganda and rationalise their persecutory behaviour as "for the common good" and a necessary evil.

    Carry on posting what you (within reason)WANT to say rather than what the moderators have groomed and bullied you into believing is acceptable to them.

    Let`s see how long it is before the threads are entirely full of censored posts or the threads are closed to comment.

    At the moment the BBC can claim it is giving us a voice,but it`s only the voice they want to hear,just as voting for the Liblabcon Party allows the same political mafia to pick and mix whatever policies they choose introduce once the election is over.

  • Comment number 46.


    Your analysis is spot on.

    The banks are running rings around politicians, the media, the public and even (so I hear) the BoE too.

    When will the public wake up to the fact that "Banks don't create wealth"? A forensic examination of their proclaimed business model shows how much of a mirage it really is:

    See also:

    "In sum, the banks are not the passive victims of financial instability, but the very perpetrators of it! "

  • Comment number 47.

    '45. At 19:16 1st Sep 2011, BiasedbiasedBBC -
    Carry on posting what you (within reason)WANT to say rather than what the moderators have groomed and bullied you into believing is acceptable to them.'

    I may not always agree with what you say (rather vigourously tried to, if to little effect, evidently, last thread. At last had an advisory to just one of my several referrals. 'Off topic' it sniffed. Odd, as I was responding to your comment naming me, which remains 'on-topic', quaintly) but such as the above makes me all Voltairish (or the bloke who paraphrased him) in defending the right to say it.

    'Let`s see how long it is before the threads are entirely full of censored posts or the threads are closed to comment.

    At the moment the BBC can claim it is giving us a voice, but it`s only the voice they want to hear'

    Ah, so you have been over at 'The Editors' blog threads too? One not so long ago managed to obliterate near every comment, without irony. It was about media censorship.

    I also enjoy Newswatch, where they carefully select what they get a bloke in to say they got about right.

    No wonder the funding is also... actually probably has to be... 'unique'.


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