Talk about Newsnight

A blog and forum.

Tuesday, 31 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 31 Oct 06, 05:46 PM

parliament_203.jpgMPs vote on whether there should be an inquiry into the Iraq war; ethical man gets his house tested and housing minister Yvette Cooper drops in for a cup of tea; UN envoy Jan Pronk discusses Sudan; and a rare report from inside Burma.

Discuss Tuesday’s programme here.

Monday, 30 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Oct 06, 05:45 PM

earth_spain203.jpgTonight: the cost of tackling climate change. We pour over the details of Sir Nicholas Stern's report before speaking to its author and the environment secretary David Miliband. We'll have the science, the economics, the consumer and the Ethical Man.

Comment on Monday's programme below.

Newsnight Review - 27 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Oct 06, 10:07 PM

The panel, chaired by Martha Kearney, discuss:

Anthony Minghella's Breaking and Entering; Lisey's Story by Stephen King; Dirty Dancing The Musical; and Yusef Islam.

Comment on the latest edition of Newsnight Review here.

Can technology beat the internet censors?

  • Paul Mason
  • 27 Oct 06, 09:31 PM

netcafe203.jpgIts predecessor is 2000 years old but the Great Firewall of China is the wonder of the online world - so powerful that it can control net access for a fifth of humanity - it represents China's determination to control what's supposed to be uncontrollable - and it works. Watch my report here. In 2004 Shi Tao, a journalist in contact with democracy websites, took notes of a government briefing concerning how he should report the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and sent it using his Yahoo email account. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison....

Continue reading "Can technology beat the internet censors?"

Yes, Hilary Benn will stand for deputy

  • Paul Mason
  • 27 Oct 06, 07:37 PM

As you read here first two days ago, Hilary Benn MP is to stand for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. He will apparently announce it tonight at his constituency party meeting. It is nice to be right - and I am glad the rest of the media is catching up: the Scrawl may be Idle but he is not very often wrong :)

Friday, 27 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Oct 06, 07:10 PM

internet203100b.jpgFreedom of speech and the internet in China; the BBC's Head of News Peter Horrocks and Conservative and shadow Defence spokesman Dr Liam Fox discuss Newsnight's film in which David Loyn interviewed members of the Taleban; and the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams in China.

Comment on Friday's programme here.

Thursday, 26 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Oct 06, 06:24 PM

qe203100.jpgPrince Charles wants a multi-faith coronation - but is it time to separate the church and state for good? Liam Fox calls Newsnight's Taleban film (watch it here) "obscene" - the head of BBC News responds;a new book makes fresh allegations over CIA rendition flights; how much does your MP spend; and Electric Proms and new horizons with musician Damon Albarn.

Newsnight is at 10.30, BBC2 in the UK (live on the Newsnight website too) then it's over to you - comments below please.

Ghost Plane by Stephen Grey

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Oct 06, 11:51 AM

ghostplane203logo.jpgBritish journalist Stephen Grey's Ghost Plane documents his investigation into the secret CIA practice of transporting terror suspects to third countries - known as "extraordinary rendition".

The book claims many of those prisoners subsequently suffered torture at the hands of regimes such as Syria - publicly pilloried by the Bush administration but, it says, privately colluded with the name of defending the US.

Read an extract here and post your comments and reviews below.

Wednesday, 25 Oct, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Oct 06, 06:53 PM

taleban203100.jpgOn Wednesday's Newsnight: David Loyn meets the Taleban in southern Afghanistan; why electric and hybrid cars may not be much more environmentally friendly than 4x4's; pensioners put their questions to Pension Minister James Purnell on the day a thousand marched on Westminster; and Wendy Ainscow's story.

Hillary Benn for Deputy?

  • Paul Mason
  • 25 Oct 06, 04:54 PM

benn203.jpgVeteran Labour types will be rummaging through their lofts tonight in search of their old circa-1981 "Benn for Deputy" badges. For - never let it be said that the Idle Scrawl does not rush straight into print with single-source intelligence about the Labour leadership contest - I have learned that Hilary Benn is set to throw his hat into the ring for the position of Deputy Leader. I have checked with his office and there is "No Comment". At least we can be sure he is not throwing his hat in the ring for leader! They categorically denied that. Mmm.

Tuesday, 24th October, 2006

  • Stephen Smith
  • 24 Oct 06, 05:27 PM

reid203100.jpgJohn Reid's plans for Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham criticises government faith school plans, and we launch our bid to tackle the fall in number of science students.

Do let us know your thoughts on the programme below.

Can you do my homework?

  • Stephen Smith
  • 24 Oct 06, 03:48 PM

blackboard203.jpgNewsnight editor Peter Barron had a notion recently to explore the dearth of science students in this country by ordering one of Newsnight's top correspondents to sit a physics exam.

But they were all busy, he explained, so I would have to do it. So I've joined the physics A-level group at Newsnight's local college - and it's not proving a simple matter.

Maybe you'll have more luck with vectors and scalars than I did. Join me now in the ultimate website 'extra' - yes, the Newsnight Homework Zone! Test your physics prowess against the posers that my teacher, Mr Mhlanga, set for me. NB Mark yourself down if you lose your answers on the bus or your dog eats 'em.

On with the homework...

Continue reading "Can you do my homework?"

How to solve Iraq?

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Oct 06, 03:13 PM

On Monday we devote the programme to the examining the future of Iraq.

iraqmap203.jpgMany options are on the table. Is now the time to be leaving Iraq or should we be staying the course? Should there be a phased withdrawal or is the only way to solve Iraq to partition it? Perhaps there will be no stability without talking to Iran and Syria. But will the American government allow that?

Are there any other alternatives? Tell us what you think.

And don't forget to watch at 10:30 on BBC 2 and the website.

Stop whinging

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 23 Oct 06, 10:25 AM

jamaica203.jpgI have come in for a staggering amount of stick for our decision to fly to Jamaica (watch my report here). We set out to explore whether it is ever ethical to fly. If the response to the programme is anything to go by, in many people’s minds it is not.

But the fact is, most of us do.

Of course we knew that the idea of a man who claims to be “ethical” getting on a plane would upset some people, but what better way of illustrating how carbon intensive flying is?

As I made very clear in the film, that one flight pretty much bust my carbon budget, undoing most of those careful carbon reductions my family and I had been making...

Continue reading "Stop whinging"

Newsnight Review - 20 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Oct 06, 07:50 PM

spamalot_203.jpgThe panel, chaired by Martha Kearney, discuss:

All the King’s Men; Monty Python’s Spamalot; Longford; and Velazquez at the National Gallery.

Comment on the latest edition of Newsnight Review and let us know if you agree with our panel Brian Sewell, Grayson Perry, Sue Perkins and David Aaronovitch.

Friday, 20 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Oct 06, 06:06 PM

putin_203.jpgEU leaders in Helsinki for energy discussions; Iraq exit strategies; Indian takeover of Corus; and the people of Panama go to the polls.

Comment on Friday’s programme here.

Thursday, 19 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Oct 06, 05:39 PM

nuclear_203.jpgIs Britain is in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? Mark Urban reports from Iraq; the future of party funding; and an interview with film director Ridley Scott as he approaches his 70th birthday.

Comment on Thursday’s programme here.

Lancet Iraq survey methodology under fire

  • Paul Mason
  • 19 Oct 06, 04:53 PM

Over the last couple of days two new themes have emerged in the debate over the Lancet/Johns Hopkins University report which estimated an excess 601,000 violent deaths in Iraq as a result of the invasion...

Continue reading "Lancet Iraq survey methodology under fire"

Mrs Pritchard, I presume?

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Oct 06, 02:02 PM

cheque203.jpgThe man charged with looking into the murky question of how political parties are funded has issued an interim report into the issue.

He states that "everyone knows that political parties are essential to Parliamentary democracy."

But are they? Are there other ways than political parties of getting a political message, campaign or agenda highlighted?

Let us know. If you are a real life Mrs Pritchard - or just know one - then get in touch.

And don't forget to watch Newsnight tonight at 10.30pm.

Wednesday, 18 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Oct 06, 05:01 PM

ustroops_203.jpgThe future of Iraq – will US policy shift towards asking Syria and Iran to help reduce violence in the country? Plus, the Conservatives’ long-awaited tax proposals…

Comment on Wednesday’s programme here.

Tuesday, 17 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Oct 06, 05:32 PM

benn_203.jpgA world exclusive interview with a former member of the Janjaweed; Development Secretary Hilary Benn discusses the interview and whether the Sudanese Government has been actively involved in war crimes; ethical man looks at flying; NHS cuts; and Britain blogs in the name of history,

Discuss Tuesday’s programme here.

"Ethical Man my a***"

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 17 Oct 06, 05:01 PM

plane1_203.jpgToday the National Trust is encouraging us all to contribute a diary to an online archive of a day in the life of Britain.

They want to know what you ate, where you went, what you listened to on your iPod. The idea is to compile all the humdrum events of one ordinary day to create a unique social history of Britain for future generations.

So how many of you will record how you thumbed through brochures looking for your next exotic holiday or for that matter flew off to some far-flung idyll? And now pause and consider whether that’s something you are likely to be doing in 20 years time – or for that matter in 10.

Because the most striking thing I’ve learnt since my editor appointed me Newsnight’s Ethical Man is just how polluting flying is.

In the weeks before the project began my family flew off for some cheap winter sun in the Canaries. When we worked out our carbon footprint that one short holiday was responsible for more carbon dioxide than heating my house for a year or all the emissions from the family’s estate car.

That message was banged home today in a report from Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. It says aviation will consume an increasingly large proportion of Britain’s carbon budget even under the most conservative growth forecasts and concludes that current aviation policy is at odds with the government’s targets for climate change.

But are there ways we can neutralise the effects of our extravagant carbon consumption and continue to fly? That’s what I set out to find for tonight’s Newsnight and what’s more I flew all the way to Jamaica to find out.

I know some people will be shocked that a man who claims to be trying to minimise his carbon footprint took a plane. My wife certainly was, not least because since we are now living as an “ethical” family we’ve eschewed aviation, given up our car and took the train to France for our summer holiday.

“Ethical Man my arse,” she said when I told her that me and a cameraman were off to Jamaica for the weekend. You can see her full reaction tonight.

Watch the programme if you can and please tell us whether you think we were right to fly all the way to Jamaica for this item. Is carbon offsetting an answer to the challenge of reducing carbon emissions or will it just compound the problem by discouraging us from changing the way we behave now?

Answers on an postcard, please – or at least via the comments form below...

Click here to watch the report

My One Day In History - 0600-2359

  • Paul Mason
  • 17 Oct 06, 07:38 AM

The British Library is encouraging us all to blog about our daily experience today. If you want to have a go, click here. It's being done to promote "history" and you are supposed to include stuff about how history has affected your day. It will all be useful in 2207 they say. Since most of us are not lucky enough, like Samuel Pepys, to be able to write "got up, drank my morning draught, went to France to bring about the restoration of the Stuart monarchy, got drunk, snogged the housemaid..." it could be a tall order. However I am about to give it a go. For the entertainment and enlightenment of Newsnight viewers I will be updating this regularly throughout the day. If your blog intersects with mine - ie you see me on the bus, or I am unlucky enough to be put on telly tonight - put me in as a keyword, and Newsnight. Here goes....

Continue reading "My One Day In History - 0600-2359"

Monday, 16 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Oct 06, 05:12 PM

prayer_203.jpgThe super-mosque being planned for East London; the evolving taboos concerning religious and cultural criticism; Madonna’s adoption controversy; identity fraud surveys; and the Briton who’s been in a US jail for 20 years, despite evidence to suggest his conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

Comment on Monday’s programme here.

Lancet report: was the pre-war death rate assumption too low?

  • Paul Mason
  • 16 Oct 06, 01:57 PM

A number of commentators have questioned one key assumption in the Johns Hopkins/Lancet report: the pre-war death rate of 5.5 per thousand. If the pre-war death rate had been higher, the difference with the post war finding (13.3) would have been smaller and the number presumed killed as a result of the conflict lower....

Continue reading "Lancet report: was the pre-war death rate assumption too low?"

Writing that "655,000 dead" report

  • Paul Mason
  • 16 Oct 06, 09:46 AM

I would just like to add some points, as the reporter who covered a story that has now become controversial on the BBC Editor's Blog:
1) The "pre-mails" were interesting, generally forwarded to me by Peter - but they did not influence my report. I became aware that some of them might do - the point is I do not care whether somebody complains in the aftermath about my stuff, as long as I have worked in good faith and followed the (i) the principles of my profession (ii) the rules laid down by my bosses (distinclty in that order)....

Continue reading "Writing that "655,000 dead" report"

Friday, 13 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Oct 06, 07:51 PM

dannatt1_203.jpgThe aftershocks from the comments from Sir Richard Dannatt; our diplomatic editor Mark Urban has been in Basra with British troops examining the very question that the Army's top general has raised: whether the British presence exacerbates violence.

We hear from the senior Iraqi officer who says the security situation would actually be better if the British were not on the streets in contact with the civilian population, and from the British commander who admits that every day since the liberation of Iraq, consent for the British presence has gradually waned.

All of this raises an interesting question. If this is what the troops on the ground know, and Sir Richard has had the courage to say, are British troops really in southern Iraq now not to provide security but to provide some kind of political solidarity with President Bush, who is facing some very difficult elections within the next few weeks?

Comment on Friday's programme here.

Newsnight Review - 13 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Oct 06, 07:44 PM

cabaret_203.jpgThe panel, chaired by Kirsty Wark, discuss:

The History Boys; Cabaret; Test Site at the Tate Modern; David Hockney Portraits; plus there’s music from The Lemonheads.

Comment on the latest edition of Newsnight Review and let us know if you agree with our panel Julie Myerson, John O’Farrell, Natalie Haynes and Kerry Shale.

Thursday, 12 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Oct 06, 06:00 PM

afghan203100.jpgBehind the scenes with British Paras fresh back from Afghanistan; assessing the efficacy of crime and punishment in the UK; the case of a man who’s admitted to a series of terror plots; and the startling claim that a British lawyer was behind suicides at Guantanamo Bay.

Comment on Thursday’s programme here.

Wednesday, 11 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Oct 06, 05:44 PM

coffin_203a.jpgOn Wednesday's programme we examine figures published in The Lancet which suggest that more than 600,000 Iraqis have died since the 2003 invasion. Paul Mason reports - and you can read his analysis of the figures here.

And forget shopkeepers, is Britain becoming a nation of shoplifters? Some want non-custodial sentences for a crime which has risen by 70% in the last six years and cost business £2.1bn last year. What would stop the theives then?

We find out if it was Groundhog Day at the All Party Talks on Northern Ireland.

Finally, Steve Smith goes in search of Chuck Berry.

As ever, your thoughts are welcome...

In search of Chuck Berry

  • Stephen Smith
  • 11 Oct 06, 05:06 PM

chuck_duck203300.jpgTo many, he's the king of rock 'n' roll. He's also its first outlaw.

Chuck Berry, the original hip gunslinger of the guitar, turns 80 next week (18 October) and axe-fancying Newsnight supremo Peter Barron sent me to St Louis, Missouri, in search of the great man. But Chuck's reputation goes before him and we knew we wouldn't get him on a plate. He is possibly the least biddable man in showbusiness - no mean distinction. Allow me to direct you to the excellent Berry rockumentary, Hail, Hail Rock 'n' Roll, in which the guitarist has a full-scale stand-up row with Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones over how to set an amp. It's not often that Keef makes you feel protective towards him but he has your sympathy here, as he patiently explains to his hero that turning the thrashed Marshall stack up to 11 is all well and good for putting Chuck in the moment but won't be so pleasing on the ear of posterity.

Continue reading "In search of Chuck Berry"

601,000 reasons to regret?

  • Paul Mason
  • 11 Oct 06, 03:50 PM

iraqcoffin203.jpgImagine an Iraqi village with about 14,000 inhabitants. In the year before the invasion, 82 people in that village die - two violently. In the three years after the invasion 547 people die, 300 violently. Of the 300, 77 die in explosions, 169 in shootings. Twenty six children die in air strikes. I have never been to Iraq but that picture does not jar with my mental image of what's been going on: particularly as 2/3 of the violent deaths are the result of insurgency or incipient civil war rather than "coalition military action".

But extrapolate that figure to cover the whole Iraqi population and you get the stunning headline that is racing around the internet right now: 601,000 violent deaths since the invasion. The problem is the body count says that "only" 50,000 died.

Continue reading "601,000 reasons to regret?"

Tuesday, 10 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Oct 06, 05:43 PM

uk_soldiers_203.jpgThe Lieutenant General in charge of the MOD’s Defence Academy speaks to Newsnight; Defence Secretary Des Browne talks to us about “tax bill” bonuses for UK troops; Justin Rowlatt asks why North Korea wants a nuclear weapon; Tim Whewell tries to piece together the story of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder; and the winner of the Man Booker prize is announced.

Comment on Tuesday’s programme here.

Deconstructing the two-way

  • Martha Kearney
  • 10 Oct 06, 01:23 PM

jp_mk_203.jpgIf you have always thought that Jeremy and I just have friendly little unrehearsed chats in the studio, I am sorry to shatter your illusions. There is also no Father Christmas.

After Monday night's strange events, I thought I had better explain how it all works. A combination of time constraints (for God's sake, Martha, surely you can explain the entire government criminal justice policy in two minutes) and need to play in clips (that two minutes must include a clip of the minister and the opposition parties) means that some kind of orchestration beforehand is needed.

So I usually provide Jeremy (and more obedient presenters) with some questions in advance.

On Monday these were entitled "Idiot's Guide to the Two-Way". Maybe that was a red rag to a bull but anyway he got the order completely wrong and chaos ensued.

Perhaps you think the whole format is ridiculous anyway as one Tory backer told me at their conference in Bournemouth last week: "What's the point in journalists interviewing each other?" he understandably wanted to know.

I tried to explain that in political journalism you are often told useful and illuminating information "off the record" and a studio chat is the best way of getting that across. Well, sometimes.

Click here to watch the two-way

Why Youtube? Why now? What next?

  • Paul Mason
  • 10 Oct 06, 12:39 PM

Youtube made it from garage concept to acquisition in just 18 months: a dream shared every entrepreneur on Dragon's Den etc. But how did they do it, and how do you spot the next Youtube? To me the answer breaks down into three concepts:
- the technology
- tapping the zeitgeist
- the needs of the acquiring corporation...

Continue reading "Why Youtube? Why now? What next?"

The Goldilocks Enigma by Paul Davies

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Oct 06, 05:58 PM

goldilocks203logo.jpgProfessor Paul Davies' The Goldilocks Enigma tackles fundamental questions about the nature of the universe and our attempts to understand it. Scientific breakthroughs, he argues, have brought us to the brink of comprehending the underlying structure of nature or "a final 'theory of everything'" to replace all previous models - both theological and scientific. Central to finding this solution, he says, is answering the Goldilocks Enigma - why is it that "the universe seems 'just right' for life"?

Read extracts from The Goldilocks Enigma and leave your comments and reviews below.

Monday, 9 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Oct 06, 04:09 PM

nkorea203100.jpgIn Monday's programme: assessing the threat of North Korea following its nuclear test and the diplomatic reaction; an interview with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad; Science editor Susan Watts on Professor Paul Davies' book The Goldilocks Enigma; and how John Reid plans to tackle the prison overcrowding crisis.

Please provide your comments on the programme below.

Friday, 6 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Oct 06, 06:49 PM

veil1_203.jpgAn exploration of whether the cracks and tensions appearing in Britain are a result of multiculturalism.

Why are Muslim women covering themselves to all but their close family? And why was Jack Straw motivated to make his comments?

You can watch Kirsty's interview with two Muslim women on why they wear a veil here.

Comment on Friday’s programme here.

Newsnight Review - 6 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Oct 06, 06:40 PM

index203.jpgThe panel, chaired by Kirsty Wark, discuss: The Devil Wears Prada; Peter Pan in Scarlet; Robin Hood; USA Today and The Turner Prize.

Comment on the latest edition of Newsnight Review and let us know if you agree with our panel Antonia Fraser, Meredith Etherington-Smith, Mark Kermode and Mark Bolland.

Newsnight podcasts

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Oct 06, 03:34 PM

VODPOD.jpgThe Newsnight audio and video podcasts appear every Friday featuring the best of the programme's interviews, reports and discussions. You can download them via the Newsnight website or via a podcast application.

You can discuss the podcasts and their content by posting your comments here.

Thursday, 5 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Oct 06, 07:01 PM

straw_203.jpgJack Straw causes controversy by asking Muslim women if they would remove their veils when visiting his constituency surgery; the “wonder drug” for treating blindness that still hasn’t been licensed to treat eye disease; the J Curve; and Nicaragua.

Comment on Thursday’s programme here.

The J Curve - by Ian Bremmer

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Oct 06, 06:37 PM

jcurve_203.jpgThe J Curve is an attempt to sum up in one simple graph what is arguably the world's most pressing geopolitical challenge: how to turn authoritarian regimes into stable, open democracies.

In Thursday’s programme Paul Mason tests out the curve and we talk to the book’s author Ian Bremmer.

Read extracts from The J Curve here and post your comments and reviews below.

A hidden hand?

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Oct 06, 03:04 PM

blog_203.jpgIncredibly, nearly 1200 viewers have now commented on our item about Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion, breaking all records. We had a spooky moment yesterday when the steadily rising numbers suddenly stopped. Had everyone who wanted to leave their comment finally done so? The number at which the clock stopped? 1,111. Intelligent design sceptics breathed a sigh of relief as a few hours later the numbers started to climb chaotically again - last count 1163.

Wednesday, 4 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Oct 06, 05:32 PM

davidc_203.jpgDavid Cameron brings the Tory party conference to a close – what do the months ahead hold for politics? A special report on Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe; the unfolding text message scandal in Washington; and organic food regulations.

Comment on Wednesday’s programme here.

What did you think of Cameron's speech?

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Oct 06, 02:51 PM

cameronspeech_203.jpgDavid Cameron has just completed his first main end-of-conference speech since becoming leader of the Conservative party.

It seemed to go down well with those in the hall, but what did you make of it? Has David Cameron won your vote? Is he doing enough to win the next election?

Tell us what you think.

Is Newsnight posher than the A-list? Update!

  • Paul Mason
  • 4 Oct 06, 11:10 AM

I was so amused by Laura Kuenssberg's report last night that I spilled Special Brew all over the sofa - the one I keep in my front garden. It raised the thorny issue of class: and I thought since we've given the Tory A-list a sociological going over, what about Newsnight?

You may recall that the Beeb's bosses were distinctly unforthcoming about the level of poshness within the workforce here, when questioned by another media organisation. So I've organised a voluntary straw poll of the Newsnight team.

With 33 replies in the latest results are as follows:

I'll update this posting with the running totals, but the results so far, with about a third of those eligible having replied, are:

1) Were you privately educated? 42% (Tories 52%)
2) Did you go Oxbridge? 30% (Tories 28%)
3) Are you from the South? 60% (Tories 61%)
4) Did you have any history of working for the BBC before you joined it?* 21% (Tory equivalent question 89%)
5) Do you own a Labrador? 3% (Question not asked of all Tory A-listers)

(*This has a bearing on poshness because many years ago, before they brought in rules to make things fairer, apparently a lot of people whose dads were judges and bankers seemed to turn up for work experience.)

Some thought I should have asked the same question as last night - i.e. "ever worked for the Tory Party?"; others thought it would be more accurate to ask "ever worked for the Labour Party?". Likewise one respondent thought the result was such a no-brainer that I would have to narrow it down to "did you do PPE?" and "do you live in Islington, Hampstead or Camden?".

Anyway, the preliminary judgement is that Newsnight is not as posh as the A-list: we are just as southern as the Cameronistas, a little bit more Oxbridge educated, but far fewer of us went to public school. And only one person on the programme admits to owning a Labrador. Also, some of my colleagues from the sarf (as they call it) insist on mentioning that in the part they are from, even Alsatians have to go round in pairs.

Tuesday, 3 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Oct 06, 05:21 PM

earth_203.jpgThe cost of climate change; Tory leader David Cameron defends his “A list” but what of their social backgrounds? North Korea pushes ahead with nuclear weapons testing, and Jeremy Paxman returns to school to find out what kids make of politicians’ attempts to woo them.

Comment on Tuesday’s programme here.

Tellytubbies not included

  • Martha Kearney
  • 2 Oct 06, 11:36 PM

So what's the big talking point here at the Conservative conference? Well, apart from the Tellytubby style set (see our menu shot tonight) and rows about tax, the bars and cafes are filled with battle stories from the front or "How I Got My Conference Pass". People have queued for hours and hours yesterday and today in order to get in. Children's Commissioner Sir Al Aynsley-Green, Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti, former women's cricketer Rachael Heyhoe-Flint and several MPs were among those forced to wait. Environmental campaigner Zac Goldsmith missed a speaking slot at a conference fringe event when he was delayed. And the party chairman Francis Maude has had to cancel a fringe in order to hold an emergency meeting with the police. Shadow Cabinet ministers David Willets and Andrew Lansley were stuck outside (which doesn't say much for their profiles). Rumours are rife that Mr Lansley will have to sleep in his car because his hotel is inside the cordon.

If you do get stuck , then you wait inside the Pavilion theatre where there is a risk you will become an audience for a speech whether you want to be or not. Iain Duncan Smith the former leader decided that if people couldn't get in, he would bring his fringe meeting to them. IDS takes socially excluded message to the conference's excluded is the headline on one Tory website.

One line of spin is that the reasons for the delays is because the Tories are victims of their own success - there are 2,000 more people here than last year. Not sure that will wash with the increasingly restive lines.

Monday, 2 October, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Oct 06, 07:02 PM

cameron.jpgThe opening of the Conservative Party Conference; football and bungs in the light of Lord Stevens' inquiry statement today; and a surge in numbers of Iranian women attending university - what does it mean for the future of the Iran?

We'll also have reaction to the school shootings in Pennsylvania.

Leave you comments below.

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