Talk about Newsnight

A blog and forum.

How to b******t about football without talking b******s (an occasional series)

  • Paul Mason
  • 31 May 06, 01:17 PM

crouch4_203300.jpgThey say football is a world language, and that it is footy conversations that give men permission to express themselves in emotional language that would otherwise be bottled up inside our stilted selves. But at times like this football also becomes the default topic of conversation in many workplaces and nearly all business meetings. One of Newsnight's producers lamented last night that they would now have to "start talking about why Peter Crouch should not be played in the starting line up" (with a face like Wayne Rooney being asked a question on logical positivism).

So I am starting this occasional series on how to talk with unwarranted confidence about football, while avoiding talking obvious rubbish. What are my qualifications to write this? None! Welcome to the club...

PART I: Why Peter Crouch should not start for England... (or why he should…)

Continue reading "How to b******t about football without talking b******s (an occasional series)"

Freddie Starr ate my producer

  • Paul Mason
  • 23 May 06, 02:23 PM

freddiebite203.jpgOn Newsnight it is producers who do all the work. As business correspondent I get a regular producer assigned to me, and this is often seen as a career path to the heady heights of going into warzones, or the BBC's Millbank political nerve centre. However this is what happened to the career path of one recent business producer. I am not sure whether he qualifies for an Equity card for this... Why is he doing this? Click here.
Watch on Wednesday night for the full story...

Why I worry about Google…

  • Paul Mason
  • 23 May 06, 01:15 PM

I went to Google’s “Zeitgeist” conference for its European business partners yesterday. The non-business highlight was that the England team were in the same hotel and David Beckham wandered into the reception in his kit! For the record his metatarsals looked in great form...

The business highlight: here is an anecdote told by Eric Schmidt, the CEO, about how they came up with their world beating online ad system (which is destroying everybody else’s business model of advertising day by day):

“Larry Page was stapling spreadsheet printouts to a whiteboard one Friday afternoon...

Continue reading "Why I worry about Google…"

That Newsnight relaunch in full...

  • Paul Mason
  • 22 May 06, 12:02 PM

Keep a watch out for Newsnight's relaunch tonight. Like all relaunches it will be underhyped in case it goes wrong. It is in fact a redesign of the studio, with whizzy technology, and more kinds of seat for people to quake in as Jeremy interviews them (inlcuding me!). The title music has apparently been sped up by 2 beats per minute...

Continue reading "That Newsnight relaunch in full..."

Random facts on world migration

  • Paul Mason
  • 19 May 06, 03:58 PM

In lieu of a blog because I am frantically multitasking on several stubborn stories for next week...some facts. We did a piece on Newsnight last night about migration. In lieu of a proper blog I am including the stats we used and a link to the United Nations very useful chorizo of a report. The facts...

Continue reading "Random facts on world migration"

No third way for Chavez

  • Paul Mason
  • 15 May 06, 05:11 PM

President Chavez has promised to speak for only 15 minutes. He is giving a eulogy to the various Latin American freedom fighters of the Bolivar era, and to the enlightenment tradition of the House of Commons going back to William Pitt. "We are all in danger...capitalism has degenerated into an empire," he says. The Labour Campaign Group of MPs is here in force, though nobody has yet proposed running Chavez as a stalking horse in the leadership row.
"There is no time to lose" he says, "tomorrow the White House could give the order to attack Iran, or Venezuela...even the UK if sentiment grows vs Bush."
"I don’t want to meddle in Labour Party but the Third way is impossible, capitalism cannot be given a human face” (Huge round of applause...)

Meeting Mr Chavez

  • Paul Mason
  • 15 May 06, 04:44 PM

I'm at a House of Commons reception for the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Filing this from my phone... more on Chavez as it happens...

A craft survives against the odds...

  • Paul Mason
  • 15 May 06, 10:41 AM

In December last year I reported from Varanasi, Inda, on the plight of silk weavers in Varanasi. (You can also watch a selection of my reports from the link in the Links section on the right of this page.) To recap, they are being driven out of business by imported Chinese silk which is, as one admitted, cheaper and more colourfast. Since thousands poor peasants had flooded into handloom weaving because of problems making a living off the land this is a problem. At its worst it is leading to starvation and suicide among the weavers. It seems that my report, which was screened on BBC World, has prompted an inquiry and campaign headed by the Crafts Council of India aimed at trying to save the weaving craft by marketing it in the developed world and protecting its intellectual property....

Continue reading "A craft survives against the odds..."

Amanece, lo veis? in des Morgenroth's Strahl?

  • Paul Mason
  • 11 May 06, 09:23 AM

Continuing the foreign language theme on this blog, there is a a bit of a kerfuffle going on in the USA over a Spanish version of the national anthem (listen to the MP3 here). It was released by campaigners for an amnesty for America's 11m illegal immigrants. The latest is that the Senate has backed a resolution calling for it to be sung in English only at official occasions, and George W Bush has told campaigners to learn it in English. They have hit back...

Continue reading "Amanece, lo veis? in des Morgenroth's Strahl?"

A front page in history...

  • Paul Mason
  • 9 May 06, 08:27 PM

Newsnight's competition to select the best front page of the last 100 years kicks off tonight. You can vote on the Newsnight website. While my colleagues are bickering over whether it is to be "Gotcha" or "Freddy Starr Ate My Hamster" I have been trying to come up with something to raise the tone a bit. Here it is...

Continue reading "A front page in history..."

The instant pundits...

  • Paul Mason
  • 5 May 06, 05:04 PM

Below is a selection of snap reactions to the election results and the reshuffle from within the Labour Party and the wider blogosphere. It's useful to take a snapshot of what's being said in publc and compare it to what comes out by Sunday morning in the papers....

Continue reading "The instant pundits..."

Revolving door

  • Paul Mason
  • 5 May 06, 10:41 AM

There is a revolving door at the BBC's Millbank studio that is going to be revolving pretty fast today as the ministerial reshuffle takes place. Charles Clarke, after winning the Newsnight poll, is to be "axed". And that's just the start.

I invite you to hit the comment button and let our political editor Martha Kearney know what you think about it all, as it happens. The BBC website is currently a flurry of election stats and ministerial comings and goings. And News 24 will be following it all live. At the end of the day I will give you the latest Newsnight thinking on what it all means...

Bolivia's carbon nationalisation - Africa next?

  • Paul Mason
  • 3 May 06, 10:21 AM

It's not often you see a decree on nationalisation these days, especially not one that starts "Heroes of the Chaco!" and accuses previous governments of high treason. So what is Evo Morales doing? In the first place this is not a classic Marxist expropriation. He is promising to buy back 51% of the oil and gas assets of private companies - albeit at a price set by him in 6 months time: ball or get out.... (See my report on all this last night here).

Continue reading "Bolivia's carbon nationalisation - Africa next?"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites