Talk about Newsnight

Latest programme

Friday, 4 May, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 4 May 07, 05:09 PM

From Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark:

Party supporters wait for results in AberdeenTonight's the night when, barring any more problems north of the border (and lets face it Scotland's natural disposition is to cause problems!), the political picture of Britain will finally become clear. On our special hour long edition of Newsnight we'll have the very latest results and analysis of how it all changes the way we'll be governed, and the impact the results will have on Gordon Brown's grand plans for leadership.

Michael Crick will be in the studio with me, along with senior key figures from each of the parties. The biggest upset of the night may yet be the scandal over the way the vote in Scotland was conducted - both the estimated 100,000 ballot papers spoiled by people confused about the voting system and the computer failure which has held up the vote and may have rejected ballot papers. An official Inquiry has just been announced.

Gavin will be live from Edinburgh where any one of the possible final results is going to cause fireworks, after Labour's worst result in half a century. The prospect of Prime Minister Brown and First Minister Salmond, is one which the former abhors and the latter relishes. In Wales, Labour may be forced into coalition.

In England, the results that affect the majority of the UK, the complexion of many councils has changed as Labour has lost one after another. Tony Blair says the results are a "springboard" for a Labour victory in the next general election, but could the Conservative’s showing at the local elections be enough to catapult Cameron towards Downing Street - or is this as good as it gets for him? And what about The Liberal Democrats - to continue the momentum analogies - is Menzies Campbell on the Big Dipper after last night's dramatic plunge in the polls?

We'll be asking whether the Iraq war was the main reason Labour took such a drubbing, and speaking to the man who wants to challenge Gordon Brown for Number 10, Michael Meacher.

Tonight's the night for reconvening our wise and witty panel - Danny Finkelstein, Peter Hyman, and Olly Grender - to give the whole thing a bit of a spin.

Review is resting but will be back with a bang next Friday.

Please leave your thoughts below...

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:18 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Csharp wrote:

looks like labour are paying 'the blood price' for adopting the neocon world agenda?

is it more that labour have lost power rather than anyone else winning it ? indeed why should the tories feel the need to put forward any policies when it looks like they will be handed power on a plate without them?

Independence for Scotland looks a done deal. As british society is fracturing into a 100 different ethnic groups who don't talk to each other then it is logical that those fractures have weakened the force of intellectual identity behind the idea of union for a population who see it as irrelevant or even negative [because of Empire memory] to their own cultural interests?

  • 2.
  • At 08:12 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • ally wrote:

So Kirsty, now that Salmond is First Minister do you plan on holidaying with him too?

  • 3.
  • At 08:24 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

England swing like a pendulum do...So the government's support for the war in Iraq will likely cause the political landscape in the UK to swing to the right while in the US it now seems it may cause it to swing to the left. How confusing. Isn't it more likely the usual case of throw the current scoundrels out and bring on a fresh lot? Election officials in Scotland found any ballots with hanging chads?

  • 4.
  • At 08:53 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Manjit wrote:

Message 1#

"looks like labour are paying 'the blood price' for adopting the neocon world agenda?"

Yet Labour won the General Election in 2005 despite the Iraq war. If the Iraq war was so crucial to the people of Britain, then why did the Lib Dems not do better in the 2005 General Election?

I think this Mori poll around the time of the last General Election sums up the situation. Thou the Iraq war is important to the BBC because it is still hurt by the Hutton report for the masses it just comes ahead of animal welfare when it comes to making voting decisions.

'Mori Election Research'

  • 5.
  • At 10:37 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Sara wrote:

Will Salmond now resign from Westminister or is he going to just continue with his money grabbing ideas, 2 salaries at £50+K each.

I think the SNP will be bad for Scotland but I suppose we will just need to wait and see, thank god for the mute button - can't stand Salmond or any of his sidekicks, only sometimes can I bear to listen to politicians & not very often. Most are a waste of space.

As for the ballot papers - if people had listened to the information officers and the polling clerks they would have known what to do, one old lady told me to hurry up & then put her papers in the wrong box - the customer knows best (ha ha)

  • 6.
  • At 10:52 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Mike Debens wrote:

at the start of the piece on the election result there was reference to an election analysis which sounded like 'surfologist'. we have never heard this term. can u tell us the correct spelling and what it means?

  • 7.
  • At 11:13 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Will Debens wrote:

wat r u tlkin bout u overweight lord of apes. ive seen more inteligence among a herd of rhinos!!!!!

Mike (6)

The word was psephologist, defined as
a political scientist who specializes in the study of elections; an electoral analyst or commentator.


  • 9.
  • At 11:43 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Trevor Black wrote:

How kind of Kirsty to fly down to England to give us the views of the Scottish Labour Party. I thought Newsnight's policy was against flying, but of course that only applies to ordinary people who want to go on holiday. The political Editor is Michael Crick a journalist with a pathological hatred of the Conservative Party. Typical BBC even handedness then.

  • 10.
  • At 11:49 PM on 04 May 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

Watching the election story unfold today I was amused as Labour kept saying that things weren't as bad as expected. That's rather like saying Dunkirk won us WW2. Three things have become crystal clear. The Scots don't know what they want, the Welsh want everybody to govern and the English don't seem to care as people in the North keep propping up the worst government in living memory. No doubt the Celts will keep taking the £29 billion per annum of Westminster money with business as usual. Salmond may however have done the English a big favour as more and more south of the border realise what a lousy deal they get from the Union and tonight a Welsh nationalist confirmed they are for partition also. HOORAY. It should be remembered that some 80% of general taxation is raised in England

  • 11.
  • At 12:10 AM on 05 May 2007,
  • Jonathan Rogers wrote:

There has been no mention this evening on the Parish Council elections that have been held on Thursday. Not really a surprise as they are generally non Party Political. As a candidate in one such Election, I am rather indignant that the results of our Parish Council election are still not published 26 hours after the polls have been closed. Here in South Shropshire we were treated to an online declaration of the District Council election results as they happened, but then it stopped just as the Parish Council counts started at about 3.30 p.m.
As Parish Councils are at the very base of local democracy are we to accept that we are to be treated as second class Councillors, just because we do the work for nothing without any expence accounts or allowances,and just for what we believe our electorate expect from us.

  • 12.
  • At 12:10 AM on 05 May 2007,
  • vikingar wrote:

Stayed up last night to watch last nights fun.

So enjoyed NN further in-depth analysis.

One part of me feels, well if that’s what you want Scottish electorate, then you deserve it.

Personally, would not wish Smirking Salmond on anyone, esp when accompanied by his diehard Socialist minions.

The sizable but minority vote the SNP have acquired rocks the political boat, but that does not make them competent to pilot it.

Not does the passengers (Scottish electorate) wish them to lead the mutiny (i.e. indepedence)

Q.1 how many votes for SNP were simply two fingers at un popular ruling Labour party?

Q.2 how many votes for SNP did not endorse SNP independence policies? (ref Q.1)

Q.3 which party lost out to the electoral irregularities & loss of 150,000+ ballot papers? [1]

Q.4 which party gained most out of the electoral irregularities & loss of 150,000+ ballot papers? [1]

Q.5 will Nicola Sturgeon Deputy leader of SNP, look to ensure her 744 majority, is not compromised by the 1220 papers rejected in her Govan election? [1]

But can someone please answer three things …

1) where is there a successful Socialist state in the world, that balances the books & meets expectations?

2) any reason why Socialist SNP (a minority party) believes that the majority of Scots will endorse their separatist plans to split the UK?

3) if SNP leader leaves the party (support drops off) then re-leads the party (support climbs) what happens to SNP when Salmond next abdicates? [2] [3]




  • 13.
  • At 12:36 AM on 05 May 2007,
  • vikingar wrote:

hear hear

Ref Parish Council elections.

My dad was re-elected :)



  • 14.
  • At 01:15 AM on 05 May 2007,
  • vikingar wrote:

SNP & SEATS … not all that its seems

The SNP won 20 new seats in Scottish 2007 election [1]

- Labour lost 4 seats
- Lib Dems lost 1 seat
- Conservatives lost 1 seat
- Others/Independents lost 14 seats

So SNP big success was mopping up the votes of others/Independents? (source of 70% of their new seats, 42% of which are SSP uncontested seats) *

* Scottish Socialist Party (who did not field candidates in consistency elections) 6 Socialist seats up for grabs by Socialist SNP [2]

So was there purposeful collusion between SSP & SNP? previous groundwork would confirm such possible [3]

Only thing Alex, that mopping up of such seats & votes can happen only once.

Next time, the aspirational SNP have to make major inroads against established parties, not fringe groups/independents.

The SNP will also have to knock out Independents like popular ex Deputy leader of the SNP & former SNP member, the re-elected Independent, Margo MacDonald [4] who surely? knows the manner & motives of Salmond & the SNP [5]

Reasonable to predict, that those who really wanted independence have already voted.

SNP have acknowledged their support during this election was a mixed bag as not all votes for them endorse SNP goal of Independence, rather it was protest vote against Labour.

Therefore, unless the majority of Scots take leave of their senses, given the history of Socialism (competence? in office), nature of Scottish Politics, the track record of the SNP & Alex Salmond, all point towards Scottish Nationalism, having experienced their own high water mark.

In effect, Salmond & the SNP have had their 'money shot'




  • 15.
  • At 07:41 AM on 05 May 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

Following Labour's party political broadcast, which did nothing to sell any of its own policies and chose instead to denigrate others, particularly the SNP policies, is it any wonder they lost votes. While waiting for the sale of Labour Policy I was left dissapointed to hear only gripes about another party. If parties cannot be positive about any of their own policies and chose to talk endlessly about other parties' failures, how can they sell their vision on anything if there is no vision?

I was astounded to view this piece of televisual suicide by Labour and it made my mind up about not voting Labour. It looks like most parties are negative in their electioneering but this one takes first place.

Give us something positive in future.

  • 16.
  • At 01:58 PM on 05 May 2007,
  • Geoff wrote:

One correction to the programme broadcast yesterday...there Margo MacDonald is the independent candidate and not part of any socialist party!

Now we know what the outcomes of the elections were, what does the future hold for Labour and for Gordon Brown in particular.

The statistics indicate that, at least if we still had Tony Blair (‘with a bound he was free’!) to rescue the party, we might expect that Labour would just about win the next election; especially where David Cameron did not make the breakthrough he needed and has yet to meet the challenge of spelling out his policies. With a new leader (such as David Milliband), unburdened by Blair’s recent legacy, the honeymoon – if timed correctly – might even result in a bounce which would return a reasonable majority.

But, instead, we seemingly face a future with Gordon Brown; who, it is likely, will have no honeymoon. We all have ten years of memories of him. The memories, unfortunately, include:
1. Being a poor team player. He was very lucky that Tony Blair was brave enough not to fire him for his disloyalty; others would have sent him into the political wilderness. Blair’s reward was the malevolent campaign, started a year of more ago and continued even after Blair said he would make way for Brown, to undermine the PM’s position. This led to a major bout of the the political disease of infighting which is (as with John Major) usually fatal.
2. Dourness taken to the level of an art-form, backed by invisibility at times of crisis. He, too obviously, does not fancy facing angry voters – as his disappearance yesterday showed.
3. Lack of direction. As Chancellor Gordon Brown successfully kept all his aces hidden in his hand. As a contender for PM he still does so, so that we know even less about his policies than we do about those of Cameron. Indeed, what little we do know presents him as an unattractive throwback to earlier times. Where we now look for men of the future he probably is the last one we would think of.
4. Brown is a centralizing autocrat, who does not happily take to listening to the electorate; a major problem when – especially in Scotland – the electorate want him to listen.

Assuming nobody with any chance of success has the guts to challenge him, we will soon see what is the future he holds out to us. There will be three main indicators:
a) Will his cabinet be made up of his acolytes, as has been his normal style, and will any potential challengers (especially David Milliband) be effectively excluded from power? The appointment of that arch conspirator Ed Balls to the Treasury may be a key signal.
b) What will his real future strategy be? Will it be as stimulating as those of Tony Blair, and will it stay in the centre (The Third Way?) or move to the old left? Will he continue to call the party ‘New Labour’, and stick to the overall direction that has held since 1997?
c) Will he be approachable, not least by members of the other centres of power - such as the Liberal Democrats - and conciliatory in his dealings with them? Will his dourness at last be relieved by some generosity?

Unfortunately, I am personally rather pessimistic about our shared future. I fear will may have an unimaginative autocrat faced by a flighty PR man. Is their still a third way?

  • 18.
  • At 09:46 AM on 06 May 2007,
  • Steveg wrote:

I thought the recent programme with Hazel Blears talking about the local election results was very funny! Her spin and deceit on truly appalling results for New Labour, with over 500 seats lost was staggering!
She, like Blair, continue to comment saying, "the Tories hold no seats in places like Liverpool or Manchester" If they think these inner city areas are that important, why don't they simply go and govern there and leave the geographically much larger Tory areas in the Country to be run by the Conservatives in Westminster?

  • 19.
  • At 01:16 PM on 06 May 2007,
  • Bill Bradbury wrote:

Re Parish Elections, I agree with all who mentioned them as I bucked the trend and got elected as a LABOUR Cllr. on I believe was a high vote. (Was holidaying at election time on "Fraggle Rock" IOM as airline pilots call it).
These tend to get local and personal votes, away from National Politics, as one who always voted for a Conservative lady (now retired many years) as she was a "villager" an ex district nurse and who worked hard for us.

As to our "Kicking" and Scotland, it is about time we English had some say whether the Scots should "clear off" and stand on their own feet without Westminster "bankrolling" them, in order to keep then "sweet". That policy has gone so should the money.
As SNP is to get rid of Faslane plus its allied industries, as well as its large standing army, unless they are going to invade us, what the Scots always revert to (as they will have little up there- the Argyle & Sutherland can clear out of Canterbury too??!!) the next few decades of Scottish rule will be about trying to get as much money out of the rest of England and Europe as they can,as "victims" yet again of we English.

No wonder Salmond wants to stay £friends" (I'll keep the incorrect keystroke £). He knows on which side his bread is buttered.

As to the English result and our kicking, the electorate have always treated Governments like babies' nappies, to be changed often. At least, as the Newsnight pundits claim, the next Tory, sorry Conservative Government, (as PC rules OK) will give us another 18 years of perfect Government. Why vote for a Labour Government, claimed by many left wingers as Tory, when you can have the real thing?

  • 20.
  • At 08:21 AM on 07 May 2007,
  • The Krankies SNP Country wrote:

Dear Mr Barron

John Reid is 60 tomorrow please can you wheel him in to have e few words with that nice Mr Paxman ?

The only person, after all, who found it odd that he should be described as the government's "attack dog" by Newsnight's Rotweiler, Jeremy Paxman, was Reid himself.
Maybe Jeremy could wear a kilt like the one one illustrated in above the graphic.
"Newsnight" forever till we die it's fandabidozi !
Many thanks J & J Krankie

  • 21.
  • At 03:09 PM on 08 May 2007,
  • sherl Hodson wrote:

Watching the programne last night on
Whiteflight, It seems that from a lot of people this is becoming a very serious problem, and as usual we are afraid to voice our appinions, even though we are told we live in a free speaking country*
We have not been allowed to voice our appinions for a very long time, if we do we get classed as rationlise
No we care about our counrty and want to keep our own culture that our ancesters have faught for - freedom, they have built large Mosques, and there voices are heard louder than our"s, and where do quite alot of the Terrioist abide from? It is not easy to get into other countrys to live, they are very strict, Australia and USA. You have to have someone to surport you
We all feel we are going to be the minority taken over by from all directions, This is a small Ireland
There are Millions of homeless- shouldent we start with helping our own less fortunate and stop swollowing up all the land , we like green grass and country sides leave us with something, I hope more people speak OUT thanks Sherl Hodson

This post is closed to new comments.

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