Talk about Newsnight

Latest programme

Wednesday, 28 March, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Mar 07, 05:21 PM

HMS CornwalAmid hopes that one of the 15 sailors held in Iran might be freed Britain freezes bilateral communications with the country. Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban will have the latest and provide his expert analysis.

Plus: as Sainsbury's comes under the gaze of a private equity firm Paul Mason asks if such buyouts are good or bad; political blogger Guido Fawkes accuses the mainstream media of being too close to politicians - watch and comment on his film here - he debates live with the Guardian's Michael White; and how super will the Government's supercasino plan look after tonight’s votes in the Commons and Lords?

Jeremy presents Wednesday's programme - your comments below please.

Comments  Post your comment


It is clear that the radical regime in Iran has purposely engaged in 'Kidnap & Hostage' as a tactic to engage/tackle organisations, nations & dissenters against Iranian action & policy [1]

With a nod to ongoing sensitivities ...

Q. is the kidnap of Alan Johnston (BBC Reporter) in Gaza related? *

* esp given Iranian influence from the backing & support of Islamic groups (terrorist & political) in the region.




  • 2.
  • At 10:37 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Edified not by casinos but knowledge wrote:

Edified not by casinos but knowledge: An 800ft high pondering man eating the fruit of knowledge as an international library of culture and technology instead

Why make gambling culture the edification of society when it is the ruination of lives and companies...

We all know High level players slosh budgets at casual collections of staff who gradually work out what to do as people play for positions and more and more get pushed off as the aftermath accounting is done and the work somewhat progressed gets saved whilst other projects are slashed...

The budgets are squandered in worthwhile ways that miss opportunities to get more done with appropriate people continuities...

Gamble culture is sports players view of big business... a cr#p socialism of intimidated degeneracy... played over by us opportunist young business adults... where sh!t flies in the face of the incompetently prepared and over delegating...

Decades of cr#p senior executives want to excuse themselves and corrupt the young into wasting money that is not always available in the slosh cycles and degrades them into sackability and underperformance...

Prospective views are 800ft high pondering man eating the fruit of knowledge as a international library of culture and technology is what we want public funds spent on at the dome site with a £2 billion budget iconic of knowledge of the of the world to date in the 21st century...

Above the primitive sports of men in fields... who could not be bothered to excel...only to occupy and defend themselves and share out the grub to their mates or take it off their adversaries for the fun of seeing them lose...

We have often played faster smarter and got more done quicker...and will progressively have the money off them for our projects instead....!

  • 3.
  • At 11:04 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • A man over politics wrote:


Company cultures work..much better than political thesistical philosophical proof fighting discultures crooking the public purses...

Great company is what we want in society not politics...

Paying tax should be like paying into a bank...and accounted just aswell...banks created the mechanisms for successful lawful accountable trading from criminal economic coercions..or moral violence..

Based on a friends reunited model ...coupled to a kind of web representation / identities database

Could take hold of electoral legitimacy via the support of every Scot for direct customer representation over and above political socialist interdependencies...

Into a national executive collating common customer demands into propositions for consultancies to take over services...

Every Scot could account for their lifetime tax contributions via the site and claim a share certificate for a small fee...

Scots companies should be included and accounted in suitable share issues and tax contribution accounts...

....but what would stop other competition better?

Companies have built Scotland... Scots have lived their own ways in Scotland...there should be only contribution without economic distortion without moral denial...

Every man woman and child has their own agenda and propositions of great building works and service improvements...all should be heard..all are share holders of Scotland..stronger as contributors....

Maybe nations only need two taxes...Variable Advantage Taxes and Squander a society with no income tax ...

Maybe house prices could be trinity accounted..into property / residence / and location ...with locations expressed in shares...

Excitements in preparatory intuition can become nightmares of practical economic realities

Benedict Davey... emboldened by Scottish thought....

  • 4.
  • At 11:24 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Stranded in Babylon wrote:

"My source for that was Nick Robinson!"

You mean, the Nick Robinson who doesn't work in No.10 and therefore couldn't know unless some insider he has a working relationship with had told him?

And your second source?

Looks like you were sold a pup, my son!

  • 5.
  • At 11:35 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • John Nixon wrote:

I thought Newsnight was a serious programme. How can you give air time to a clown like "Guido Fawkes"? Anonymous interviewees in UK for no good reason? I hope it was a send up.

  • 6.
  • At 11:39 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Allie wrote:

Oh, that was wonderful! I'd been wondering why Newsnight was wasting its time paying attention to the so-called `blogosphere', and lending unwarranted credibility to any of its participants.

My concern was misplaced. Paxman's answers made it plain that he couldn't understand why on earth he had to submit to interrogation by someone likely to fail GCSE Media Studies, and the studio discussion at the end - the preposterous device of anonymity which was promptly demolished by the wonderful Michael White, the destruction of every point or claim that the whining fool `Fawkes' made - was the most uplifting piece of TV I've seen this year.

Please, can we now get back to treating bloggers with the contempt they deserve?

  • 7.
  • At 11:45 PM on 28 Mar 2007,
  • Bill Bradbury wrote:

Every now and again Newsnight bares its soul especially over "bloggers" and how they can ignore the symbiotic or should that be sychophantic way Paxo and Co. have to defer to politicians or else they don't get a story or interview-the "empty chair" which was quoted.

I long for the day when we get a "Nott part 2" interview who gets up saying that "they have had enough of this". One of the best TV moments ever.

I enjoy reading the Yahoo postings where you tend to get all sorts of clear and biased/prejudiced/ excellent points of what people really think of politicians, free from censure. Websites such as "Newsnight comment" would tend to supress any such views especially if critical of the BBC.

Well done Newsnight. "Guy Fawkes" may be a bit of mischievous reporting, and I thought the Guardian bloke made some excellent ripostes, but for once a bit of dangerous ground for Newsnight. You heard that if Paxo does not toe the party line the BBC might suffer a bit of the "Sky" treatment of politicians refusing to play ball, as Adam Boulton found.

Not to worry, it's election time and so they will all want to parade on TV, so long as the BBC does not pull its punches. I await with eagerness the Paxo/Brown interview where Brown loses his rag.

  • 8.
  • At 12:06 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Frank O'Brien wrote:

Has Newsnight looked into the possibility that the combatants strayed into Iranian "disputed" waters 'accidentally on purpose'? You mentioned briefly that the US does not recognize Iranian International boundaries - isn't sailing close to the border as on US(& UK?) maps would put them into the Iranian territory to test Iranian resolve… or that is intended to be a provocative act?
The fact that the UK forces had verified GPS guidance meant there was "no chance of error" would seem to point to this possibility.

Is this then another example of Britain chained to US policy, or a just an act of Gunboat diplomacy? Maybe Jeremy should be asking awkward questions about this political storm in a oilfield?

Two in a row for NN, a great program tonight.


Have enjoyed the insight, rumours & plots of Guido Fawkes prose [1] but do prefer the Michael White above the parapet variety, but seemingly there is history here [2a] [2b]

Both sources in unison, for the discerning consumer of NCA, it’s a heady mix.

But tonight proved why the anonymity of such creations, is best left to the imagination of the reader.

Seeing on TV the outline of an 'in the shadows' Guido Fawkes, putting shape & voice to creator of such blog prose, is like meeting up to do the dirty with a great text sex operator, with just enough light & volume, to shatter expectation & bring on disappointment *

* btw - presuming it was them, with respect those ears, hair cut & seemingly a dyed? kwif (unless a wig) are a dead give away old son at night time & talk about dropping the 'sources' penny v muted discretion ref Nick Robinson.

Questionable tactic to play away on the opposition home turf, Guido Fawkes at a distinct disadvantage, not playing too their strengths.

All in All ... some things are best to left to the imagination.




(20/10)Superb Jeremy tonight - particularly the "Guido Fawkes" aka Paul Staines interview and studio debate with him & Michael White! Loved Mark's graphics tonight while he was discussing the British sailors being held captive in Iran. Excellent Michael (C) & Jeremy tonight too, as well as the discussion on private equity companies taking over firms such as Sainsbury's. Very interesting. :-) Even better still we get Jeremy back on air tomorrow which means we also get him for weekend Newsnight too!!!!!

  • 11.
  • At 02:41 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Mr Wallace wrote:

Interesting to see newsnight have its self "challenged",regarding the manner which journalist operate to get their stories,
Micheal White was clearly unhappy that his profession is under question from some young upstart who runs his own website that gives the web user an alternative from the established news media .(what has fawlks shirt wearing choice's have to do with any thing,that was just a stupid comment from White).

I have more tv channels than ever to choose from, and the news coverage is wall to wall with sky, BBC 24,ect,but my internet usage has increased to the point that the tv is rarely on, except when newsnight is on ,of course, .I hardly ever watch the BBC 10 oclock news as its presented in an almost blue peter fashion.
Websites such as guido fawkes can have editorials and comments that are questionable or they can overplay the conspiracy theories, but we, as the reader or viewer of sites such as fawlks, have been empowered and the inquisitive mind gets more information from a story than just the established news media. We can make up our own minds of the stories of the day .Amatures are doing their own reports and gathering information with little outlay and the established media news jurnos dont like the new kids on the block. The comments and the contempt shown by the guardian hack,mike white, towards"guido fawlks" was disgracful and paxman had already made his opinion known of sites such as fawkes in the report shown before the discusion.
Some young dog marked his scent on the territory of a couple of older dogs, and pax and whitey were angry.
the "attack dogs"were out on the prowl tonight, weren't they jeremy.
woof woof..
Here whitey ,good boy,ive a nice bone for you,and a good story..IS THAT HOW IT WORKS ??

  • 12.
  • At 10:39 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • dicky wrote:

Are private equity the vampires of the night? Creatures let loose by the treasury with special tax breaks to cull the weak and stupid? What gordon fails to understand is that the largness of the size of their targets is causing instability and affecting thousands of people. PE now have access to capital that can target even the largest institutions and raid their pensions or property stock etc. The key to sainsbury is their property assets. Supermarkets are fierce competition working on 2% margin so how can that be any more efficient?

Guido seems about as rational as the iranians? He doesn't understand the science of questions and is stuck with the blunt instrument of aggression which is the only recourse if you lack the intelligence to use the science of questions?

  • 13.
  • At 10:45 AM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Howard wrote:

I thought Paxman and White's treatment of Fawkes was way over the top. He produced a good film and then was mauled by both of them Fawkes only error was not to be seen. Remember the item Crick did on the Smith Institute was based on Fawkes blog. Nick Robinson deserves to be dropped in it. He is the worst Political Editor the BBC has ever had. Fawkes provides a useful blog which is very entertaining. Why Paxman did not control White is a question the Editor should answer.

I have never thought much of White. He always comes over as a condescending arrogant person. Last night proved it.

  • 14.
  • At 02:12 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • rob wrote:

How disappointing to see to see the subject of the Iranian kidnap dealt with in such a poor manner. Quotes from Mr Paxman as "this is hardly the Royal Navy's proudest moment' are neither constructive nor informed. Indeed he and his 'expert' went on to suggest that the sailors and marines should have defended themselves.
This is simply not an option open to a boarding team operating with small arms, when confronted by rocket propelled grenades etc. Further to this if the situation had been escalated by the British sailors, Mr Paxman would not have been discussing a hostage/kidnap situation, but an armed conflict with Iran, and a considerable body count. Indeed, however unfashionable it maybe it would be nice to see some praise for the personnel involved, or even a neutral informed perspective, rather than an misinformed sensationalist stance.
I am an avid watcher of the program, and I am disappointed to see such an important subject treated in this way.

  • 15.
  • At 04:49 PM on 29 Mar 2007,
  • Bill Bradbury wrote:

Rob, Jeremy was only echoing what many people thought, however misinformed they might be. As you rightly point out such an idea of fighting back, even if they had the support and armour, might have been in the best tradition of The Admiralty or Horseguards of the 19 Century. In fact the Captain should have his sword broken and sent home with dishonour, but we live in a diffrent world than of gunboat diplomacy and rules of engagement.

My only criticism would be that they were left out at sea with no support from the air, even if the ship could not get closer due to sandbanks.
So Paxo needs to put the questions we are all thinking to elicit a response in mitigation or not.

Apparently now the Iranians recognise no line in the sea so we can't win, as this imaginary line is where they determine it to be, or not!!

  • 16.
  • At 09:52 AM on 30 Mar 2007,
  • Peter the Bohemian wrote:

Guido Fawkes Interview: “Well, my source for that was Nick Robinson, so maybe.”
Guido Fawkes Blog: “ … that last line about Nick being the source, did not mean he was the source …”

Guido Fawkes Interview:
Jeremy Paxman: “Mr Fawkes.. for so we must call you, I gather... why do you insist on this preposterous disguise?

Guido Fawkes: Well, so I can go undercover. I can remember a year ago having a discussion with a senior Guardian journalist who didn't know who I was, having a drink with him a couple of months later, and probably if I bump into Michael next week in a pub, he won't know who I am then.

Guido Fawkes Blog:
“Well the live interview was definitely a mistake and against my better judgement, as was the in-the-shadows idea of the Newsnight editor, …”

Can someone explain?

This post is closed to new comments.

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