Talk about Newsnight

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Wednesday, 6 September, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Sep 06, 05:26 PM

blair3_203100.jpgResignations and rumours – just another chapter in the story of Blair’s future? Natasha Kampusch, the teenager who spent eight years locked up in a Vienna basement, gives her first interview, and ethical man Justin Rowlatt gets on his bike to take his cycling proficiency test. Comment on Wednesday’s programme here.

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If Blair tries to stay then there will be the second Winter of Discontent.

  • 2.
  • At 09:23 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Norman Bliss wrote: speculation...or I may have to get myself a satellite dish...the electorate gave Blair another full term...he decides when to go...not Newsnight and the rest of the some news...or change your title.

  • 3.
  • At 10:43 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • The Pedant wrote:

On Newsnight tonight the reporter said Jack Straw had betrayed his real thinking when he talked of Tony Blair in the past tense, then played quote: "...he has done great things..." Sorry - but "he has done" is not the past tense. It's the present perfect. "Tony Blair is the present perfect" is very different from "Tony Blair is the past tense". I expect much better of Kirsty Wark and Newsnight.

  • 4.
  • At 10:44 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • V Gillen wrote:

Unbelievable. Boys dying in Iraq and Afghanistan on Blairs order and this lot get more worked up about the possibility of their losing their jobs. Embarrassing. Get your priorities right MPs. Shocking

  • 5.
  • At 10:58 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Norman Bliss wrote:

...ok Ms Wark...I give up. 23 minutes into the programme and you are still going on like some gossipy old fish've lost me...give me a call when there's some news.

  • 6.
  • At 11:07 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Zoe C. Moran wrote:

Just watched Hazel Blear , a very competent woman , trotting out the approved line . As a former Councillor , I regonise the training ; say nothing sensible if it doesn't fit the question .
On the doorsteps in Luton people aren't saying thank you for the working families tax credit but 'what is the Labour Party doing about Lebanon and Iraq ?
We had a Labour Council in Luton before 2003 which was doing a lot of things to benefit the most vulnerable people in our community . thanks to TB's sycophantic relationship with Bush we lost to the Lib Dems who have cut services etc , etc .
Lebanon will probably deny us the chance to win the council back so the sooner the aristicratic Blair goes the better

  • 7.
  • At 11:08 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Zennia Esterson wrote:

It is deplorable that Newsnight is leading the coup against Tony Blair! Is this still a democracy? Not it seems as far as Newsnight is concerned.
Instead of analysing news, people like
Kirsty Wark et al at Newsnight seem to be obsessed with indoctrinating the viewers and using this slot as a platform for their views.

  • 8.
  • At 11:27 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Dean Rodgers wrote:

Have I just heard Justin Rowlatt ask a young child whether he was "pissed off"? Forgive me for asking but do the BBC no longer employ journalists for whom using good English is a necessity? Moreover, is it really appropriate for what is still classed as foul language to be used to a minor; if a teenage "hoodie" on a street corner had used such a term it would be classed as symptomatic of "anti-social" behaviour. Responsible journalism only please!

Ok Norman (5), if eight members of the government's payroll resigning isn't news, what would you have led on tonight?

  • 10.
  • At 11:34 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • matt wrote:

many people have wished tony blair gone since certain choices made in 2003

blair, remember the marches against the war...everyone who attended those marches you tried to suppress and intimidate, is celebrating now, but watching closely to see if john "george bush" reid is to become our new general

say no to john reid

  • 11.
  • At 11:35 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Lynne Summerfield wrote:

I'm disgusted at the gross disloyalty being shown by Labour Ministers who have turned on Blair. They are acting like puppies of the tabloid press, stiring up trouble. Tony Blair has won 3 elections for the party, the economy is in a fantastic state. Policies to tackle poverty are starting to work (such as tax credits) and so are lots of other policies. What do they want? I agree that Blair was short sighted to be so close to Bush, but there is more at stake here than that. Gordon Brown is an excellent Chancellor, but I doubt if he's got what it takes to be a successful PM. Tony Blair will be a hard act to follow, and the rebels are just feeding the amunition to the other side.

  • 12.
  • At 11:49 PM on 06 Sep 2006,
  • Norman Bliss wrote:

ref 9...CIA secret prisons...Airbus sale (UK jobs?) ...more deaths in Afghanistan...

...the resignees jumped on the media bandwagon..newsnight must be delighted with their coup (see 7)...well done

Some of you lot get in there quick. Must be waiting with your laptops by the telly. Must be Devil's advocates, provocateurs or just plain arch. Without the sophisticated wit provided by chiefly myself. So let's liven the thread up a bit.

Last night's programme was maybe a hint of things to come, with Milly Stubbleband, Hilary Cringestrong and a chap who looked like a Baldrick clone. And that horrible Brummie who slurs her drear and envy. Plus a few other odd bods, including the magical facelift champion and the stage translator.

Tonight was more substantial, now that Labour is mixing its metaphors in a meltdown of back-stabbing and resignations. I'm glad you dispensed with the Gordaq, maybe you should have a Blearsdaq. What are the prospects of arch ey-up-lass Hazy Blurs clothing the post of Minister of Defence by May 31st?

The unspellable Kuenssberg was back. Is she now a permanent fixture? Can't she change her surname to Smith or something?

Paul Mason also interviewed some typical working class lass called Basil Bunting or similar. Where does one get members of the Labour Party from?

I like the tripartite panel with Winklestein, Portly and Schnozzle. But tonight's programme did leave them all spinning like tops, and the hostess wriggling her thighs. They all pretend to be ex-this and ex-that, so that they can continue to do agit-prop for their respective parties.

Rowly-Powly the Ethical Cyclist. In faraway Holland, where I live, they have lots of cyclepaths. Pity that the word is a homonym with another, more manic, pursuit. Only toddlers wear helmets in Holland. Because here we have a decent provision, not just the token cyclepath here and there. I find the idea of a cycling instructor faintly comical; if mum and dad taught the kids, such bike-nannies would be rendered redundant.

Talking of cyclepaths, now to Austria. Tim Whewell's report on the unfortunate Natascha showed her oddly together after the years of ordeal.

Finally, Bill Patterson may be a great reciter, but did I not hear hints of T.S. Eliot who was not mentioned? A pastiche on MacCavity or whoever?

  • 14.
  • At 12:09 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Laura Macleod wrote:

Seems like Britain is turning into a little fascist state when a group of simpletons (politicians) can turn a government upside down by resigning. This is a democracy (of sorts) and Blair is the elected leader of this country -like it or lump it. A substitute cannot be installed on a whim.Or what is really going on here...a few likely lads running a country; head boy is dismissed for bad behaviour and Bily Bunter gets promoted to Head Boy because he's in charge of the tuck shop. Get real people of Britain; we are living in dangerous and scandalous times, the country is sinking in debts and wars of terror and blind journalism gone to riot. We need a common sense prime minister and I am ready for the job. from an ordinary housewife.

  • 15.
  • At 12:41 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Steve wrote:

Can we have Tony over here across the pond? You're going to miss him when he's gone!

  • 16.
  • At 01:01 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Manjit wrote:

Pater (9) Are parliamentary private secretaries (PPS) on the Government payroll? I thought they were Minister's bag carriers?

  • 17.
  • At 02:12 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • matt wrote:

#15...a lying three faced hyppocrite illegal war monkey ? missed ?


Manjit (16). You're right - 7 unpaid aides (PPSs) and one junior minister. But I think all would count as members of the government's payroll vote - here's the definition from the BBC's website.

Payroll Vote

The term payroll vote refers to those MPs who can be relied upon absolutely by the government to vote in support of their policies.

It applies mainly to those members of the government, such as ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries, who are paid increased salaries in recognition of their ministerial responsibilities.

The term also covers those MPs who are obliged to support the government if they want to keep their unpaid posts as ministerial aides, such as parliamentary private secretaries (PPSs).

  • 19.
  • At 08:49 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Ashley Ballard wrote:

Will you please stop giving Eric so much attention, as I'm worried that his head may soon implode under the weight of his own ego.
"...the sophisticated wit provided by chiefly myself"
Oh yes Eric: "Hilary Cringestrong", "Rowly-Powly". You're a veritable Oscar Wilde! And as for "a chap who looked like a Baldrick clone", what exactly do you expect, considering that he's the actor who played Baldrick?
Eric's rather tired punning and simplistic style of avoiding any of the facts you report that don't support his already-formed views do not deserve prominence over everyone else.

  • 20.
  • At 09:28 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Jennifer Watts wrote:

Hi Newsnight: I give up gracefully on my other comment re finding my name & Email adress still at the bottom of a comment I made re your book club.
However, the more important issue is whether Tony Blair should be forced to resign, almost by blackmail, and yet we have no word from Gordon Brown. This I find unusual since he is suposed to be PM elect. I would say come clean, GB, are you behind all this crisis or not? Make a statement and do not hide in the closet. With regard to yesterday's Newsnight ptogramme, I found it interesting and enlightening. must say I find politicians rather egoist persons, and though Newsnight's handled the situation well. Congrats, Jennifer W.

  • 21.
  • At 09:49 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Fergal MacErlean wrote:

While the Blair/Brown debacle may be diverting it also is a potent reminder, as the sagacious George Orwell wrote, that "all power corrupts ...and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

I suspect that you are always going to have problems with the contrast between the terms "payroll" and "unpaid" especially on television where the "paid" in "unpaid" seems to be the past participle of the "pay" in "payroll".

The person I was watching Newsnight with also misunderstood the situation as he thought that the MPs had resigned their seats, rather than from the government.

I know you know that you are right, but without explanation the whole story looks like gossip. I know it isn't, but Newsnight has to understand that the arcane differences between "payroll" and "paid" and "government" and "parliament".

Briantist (21), to be fair the payroll confusion was something sown by me on the blog - we didn't use this term on the programme, but I take your point about making clear the distinction between resigning from government and resigning their seat. On your other point, I am surprised how many of the bloggers think the media - and indeed Newsnight - are fuelling this story. I find that pretty amazing - when formerly loyal MPs sign a letter calling for Blair to go immediately, and then eight of them resign their posts that's surely massive news, not hype.

  • 24.
  • At 10:44 AM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • JPseudonym wrote:

The Pedant (msg #3) wrote:

"Tony Blair is the present perfect" is very different from "Tony Blair is the past tense". I expect much better of Kirsty Wark and Newsnight.

You might expect better from Kirsty Wark and Newsnight but I don't. The programme is getting more and more like the Today programme - increasingly tending towards the 'Big Brother' audience.

I wish Blair would just go. He's been an appalling PM in so many ways, and his hanging on isn't helping anyone.

Least of all me, who gets cold sweats on hearing his voice nowadays.

  • 26.
  • At 12:55 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • helen wrote:

Was disappointed that Newsnight allowed itself to get into such a froth about coups, plotting etc. rather than looking at how Blair is actually regarded these days by the Labour Party and by the country. He was a liability in the last election (won with fewer votes than they lost with in 92), and he's a liability now. If he had any integrity he'd have gone after it became clear that he'd misled us into a war. I don't care what he's done domestically (though he has plenty of detractors there too) -- the past 5 years have shown me that there is nothing more important than the way a country conducts itself in the world. I'm glad that the party seems to be finally finding the courage to do something about him.

  • 27.
  • At 06:25 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • AS wrote:

The whole media coverage of the Austrian girl kidnapped is just the 'Missing White Girl Syndrome'. There are thousands of other children in other parts of the world have seen far worse - slavery, bonded labour for all their lives. Why is one person story given so much coverage, compared to far more important stories in the world. And on yes, I am really happy for the girl to be set free, but the media frenzy is just overblown as she is white girl.

  • 28.
  • At 06:57 PM on 07 Sep 2006,
  • Manjit wrote:

Peter (18), thanks for clearing that up.

  • 29.
  • At 02:08 PM on 08 Sep 2006,
  • kevin Davies wrote:

The problem as always is language - if we elected 'Representatives' rather than 'primeministers/leaders/fuhrers', those who assume such roles may then be protected from getting grandiose ideas about their own self importance. 60,000,000+ people make this country 'work' not just one or two men.
If I hear another minister come on TV and say "what the people want" when in reality they mean what they want I'll scream. Just over 20% of the electorate put Blair in power this time around - even then believing he would be replaced quickly after that election and only 40% of those who calim to be a labour supporter want him to stay. 40% of 20% isn't very many at all.
More representative government is required at all levels - which means we need to change how we do politics period - it is time for proportional representation.

  • 30.
  • At 11:44 PM on 10 Mar 2008,
  • steve gardner wrote:

Hoo hay. I've written a blog which criticises the UK government. It's just my opinion and I don't back that opinion up with any kind of evidence, but my blog is called 'Civilserf' therefore it must be worth broadcasting to millions. Ask the bbc who just did. To quote tonights newsnight 'I may or may not be a woman. I may or may not be thirty three. I may or not work for the department of work and pensions.' BLA BLA Peter Hain is lazy. The government are generally bad. BLA BLA- What's the point in me writing this.

well it's not the kind of news that is worth discussing. i wonder why are you all here so excited?

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