Talk about Newsnight

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Wednesday, 13 December, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Dec 06, 05:24 PM

As the investigation continues, is it time for a change in prostitution laws? A rare report from inside North Korea; and are women funny?
Comment on Wednesday's programme here.
Join the prostitution debate here.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:01 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • william cameron wrote:

why don't they show the car registration

that would stop the trade.

in this day and age surely we as a society can help these girls to lead a nicer life.

i hope so.

  • 2.
  • At 07:44 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Dear Newsnight

Good will come out of the tragedy in Ipswich, as with other awful events, but after this is over the women who have being murdered must not be forgotten, or their families and bereaved children or the suffering of women forced to work as prostitutes in this town and elsewhere.

A debate on prostitution is underway, certainly these people are in no way criminals, though the law must come down heavily on those who push others into this, as for people who use others in this way -I find it appalling.

Drugs on prescription and help should be available for people who are addicted. More is emerging about how addiction has driven the victims to work as prostitutes to pay for the drugs. These women should be helped but they are exploited in a terrible way -how can this be allowed to continue?

And a DNA database would lead to the immediate arrest of the person or people responsible. I fear it is the second. Random DNA testing and covert testing, not sure what the legalities are on this but if a person cannot be asked for a sample, there are probably ways to secure one quite easily.

Police forces should be immediately able to call on other forces for help, and perhaps teams of officers from other forces could be used undercover to help deter other attacks and perhaps catch the criminal/s.

Using the sophisticated technology that is available to more specialised intelligence gathering organisations would provide a huge amount of information. If this was another scenario we would put an intelligence gathering net over a town or city and powerful IT would sift the information that would pour in.

I would also make much more use of these organisations, whose work has now extended to catching drug dealers and other violent criminals, I'd see if their role could be further developed for cases like this.

Finally relating to postings made in previous days on this site, I am surprised for example that a media outlet, perhaps a Tabloid has not yet taken the initiative to provide the drugs and money needed to keep these women off the streets. This may not be far off. I'm not sure any legal challenge to them doing this would get very far.

Bob Goodall

  • 3.
  • At 10:43 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Mr. S wrote:

Are Woman funny...

I had tho think about this... My conclusion is the ones on TV certainly do not seem to be Catherine Tate, French and Saunders are more embarassing than amusing.

The only Woman I can think of who are funny are not comedians but TV presenters like Claudia Winkleman and Writer Marion Keyes when she's stalking reality TV show contestants like some sort of middle aged female Avid Marrion.

Those who are given shows and we are supposed to believe are funny people like Jan Ravens or Ronni Anconna, and the others I mentioned to me have no content and no timing, Heck I can not even think of any stand out woman of any humorous worth on the panel shows.

Shame really - I guess One has to put it down to a difference in tastes or a lack of talent.

But when I think of most of the woman who are supposed to be funny I'm left more puzzled why they were hired in the first place than laughing... Catherine Tate being the prize example of the exemplification of "Not Funny & Female".

I hope we do get some decent female performers sometime... but in general.. I'm still waiting for it to happen.

  • 4.
  • At 11:05 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • dimitri wrote:

In tonight reporting there is something needed to be commended compare to Newsnight usual style of reporters, am here pointing out to the reporter and editors in the beginning of the issue and the reporter choices of words which has been Journalistic prof. and wise choices but again through the program added in clips on earlier style was totally ignored i.e. what to call these victims?, etc.
this where we always parted from Newsnight style in reporting and investigating by adding in more comments from people who they should be given a chance to see earlier recorded views on the subject in doing so you could save more time in argument and bravados so we could all have new views on the subject and distant the program from the attention grabbing tabloid style

  • 5.
  • At 11:17 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • jim mcwhirter wrote:

Two refreshing points of view on age old problems - prostitution and drugs - were aired tonight. When will we learn that prohibition works for neither?
All drugs should be legalised to reduce crime and ill health and allow help rather than criminalisation for those who have addiction problems. It would also generate revenue for the state. It works for the dangerous drugs alcohol and tobacco, why not for all others?
Similarly, as prostitution is inevitable it should be decriminalised and regulated for the same reasons.
I am an NHS GP

  • 6.
  • At 11:21 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Ian Kershaw wrote:

Well gee whiz Mr Paxman and Mr Easton smugly come on and say how much correspondence the translation piece last night generated - is this because it was so distorted by the shock and horror reporting and ensuing Paxman barrage. Why couldn't last night's piece have been conducted in the same vein as tonight's discussion on prositution. I hope this is an indication of your intended approach and that Mr Paxman has been reigned in.

If you are going to press for a "true cost" of translation - something of a fool's errand - then please also press for a costing of the benefits as well so more considered judgements can be made.

Personally I would hope that when a translation service is required to ensure people have access to basics such as justice, health and education our society would find there was a price that was worth paying. By all means Newsnight, encourage a debate as to where we set a bar.

Finally it is intersting to look at Tower Hamlets because of its massive diversity and deprivation but for that very reason it is not somewhere to draw national conclusions from - indeed it makes the point that what is needed in one area will be differnt from another - so once again a global cost does not do a great deal to further this debate.

  • 7.
  • At 11:22 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Thomas B wrote:

It actually was quite funny to watch Ruby Wax try and get her head round the debate, but for all the wrong reasons. She's certainly funny, just not "haha" funny.

  • 8.
  • At 11:23 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Mike Bryan wrote:

Why aren't women funny?
Rather pathetic timid debate that J.Paxman chose to hide from. Always wondered why so few women comedians are really funny - still don't know or understand why. But women comedians really aren't funny. To prove this think of the 20 funniest comedians of all time.. how many are women - answer - Zero

These discussions are becoming ludicrously fragmented. One is called "Wednesday, 13th December 2006", then there's another covering Ipswich and prostitution. This is the way that the new technology of blogs and babble, if ill-managed, ends up with no one being able to find the discussion they want to join. If Newsnight would restrict all this wonderful bloggery and Babel to one site per night, we might be able to find our way around.

Management is the clue. Freedom of speech still requires focussed forums (or fora, if you did Latin at school) to enable people to join mainstream discussions.

  • 10.
  • At 11:50 PM on 13 Dec 2006,
  • Lesley Boatwright wrote:

The confrontation between Christopher Hitchens and Ruby Wax was a hopeless confusion of incoherent babble, prejudice, silly statements and pseudo-psychology. But it was a daft topic anyway and potentially hurtful. If people could just stop belittling women - any aspect of women - the world would be a better place. Get sensitive to the feelings of half the population, please.

  • 11.
  • At 12:26 AM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Derek wrote:

Well, both the police officer and the former sex worker offered some constructive comments, apparently seeking workable improvements rather than perfection. I'd consider that to be a realistic approach which could quickly bring a steady series of social advances; and for the purpose of this comment I am regarding reducing murder, violence and professional criminal involvement in the drugs and the sex trade as social improvements.

However, the politician couldn't bear to think of some of the things that were suggested. I imagine most politicians probably wouldn't be directly or frequently affected by any of the sex/drugs/criminal issues being discussed so, of course, having to actually think through the consequences of what the policeman and the sex worker were suggesting would probably seem unpleasant compared to a politicians cushioned lifstyle.

And that was the frame of mind I was in when she said "preparing legislation is a slow process", but what I heard was 'we are so isolated from the problems that we can afford to take our time, consider every unlikely possibility and finally will come up with an ineffectual piece of legislation that will not adequately address the problems, and will make it clear to those who have to deal with the problems that our remote musings are superior to their real experiences. Welcome to party politics.'

The best part of Wednesday Newsnight was Ruby Wax v Christopher Hitchens!Absolutely hillarious - what a pity Newsnight couldn't have gone on for longer with those two!!!(Particularly women faking a laugh for a man!)Brilliant.

  • 13.
  • At 11:16 AM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • hilarious female wrote:

Two politicians (originally economists) go for a walk in the Lake District and they get lost. Looking at the map together one says to the other, pointing to a hill yonder, 'Aaah, I see. According to the map, we are on that hill over there'!!

And in real 'life' - I once saw a newspaper clipping from the Boer War about a platoon (or whatever you call them) that did, literally, climb up the hill next to the one they were supposed to climb up, and when they got to the top they saw their enemy on the hill next door - only the British!!!

  • 14.
  • At 05:11 PM on 14 Dec 2006,
  • Cloe Fribourg wrote:

Ipswich murders:

Very good, sensitive report by Liz Mackean. Can you keep her as your main reporter on this topic? The discussion that followed was excellent: interesting and, for once, fairly balanced. I was surprised by how little political spin there was from Fiona MacTaggart.

Translation services:

See Ian Kershaw #6. The comments on the Newsnight website, 97 at the latest count, are not 95% in favour of the report. Yes, a majority (56%) are broadly in favour of the report's line, i.e. expenditure of £100mio is excessive for translation, or think that Jeremy Paxman did a good job at quizzing the minister. However, over a third of comments (36%) either disagree entirely, think that it was a poor report or support the provision of translation services; a few comments (8%) are unrelated.*

Some quick calculations to bring in some perspective [1a-d]:

- £100mio represents roughly 0.021% of total current expenditure for 2005-06 (~481bio) and 0.022% for 2004-05 (~455bio)
- if translation costs were £400mio, given on yesterdays News at 10 as the 'value of the translation sector in UK', it would still only represent 0.083% of total current expenditure 2005-06 and 0.088% in 2004-05
- when compared to a very rough approximation of total expenditure in the sectors concerned (health, home office and local authority: ~230bio), £100mio represent around 0.04% for and £400mio around 0.17%

* The reactions to the report on News at 10 are more numerous - 703, but they still do not make up the "thousands" (quote Mr Easton). Why did Newsnight need to talk about the reactions? To give the report more credibility? It is a pity that a report, which was so clearly biased in its opinion and which gave so little in the way of facts, gets this much coverage.

Expenditure data sources

  • 15.
  • At 05:45 PM on 17 Dec 2006,
  • Jenny wrote:

Derek wrote: "...the politician couldn't bear to think of some of the things that were suggested."

She didn't really hide that she has prejudices that stop her thinking clearly. Fortunately she is no longer the responsible member of the government, but then we didn't get to hear from the person who now is.

Sex work is a very complex subject, and several issues it involves are very dangerous and charged, but prejudices always get in the way of intelligent solutions.

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