Talk about Newsnight

A blog and forum.

Wednesday, 22 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Aug 07, 05:26 PM

From tonight's presenter Kirsty Wark:

The EU Constitution is back on the agenda today with the news that three trades unions are throwing their weight behind the campaign for a referendum on the draft treaty. The GMB and RMT are considering using the TUC conference as a platform to press for the vote which was promised on the Constitution in the Labour Party's 2005 election manifesto. The government insists that there is no need for a referendum on the basis that the latest watered down proposals don't amount to a constitution, and don't cede sovereign powers to Europe. But can the Labour Government withstand the political pressure to hold a vote? Sadly Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel are otherwise engaged at a football match but we'll have some pretty high powered substitutes - politicians, thinkers and trades unionists.

Is Russia using Soviet era methods of repression to deal with critics of Vladimir Putin? Larisa Arap - a member of Gary Kasparov's opposition United Civil Front - has been released after being forcibly hospitalised in a psychiatric clinic near her home city of Murmansk. Her case was taken up by human rights campaigners and activists who claim her detention was revenge for exposing the alleged abuse of children at that same psychiatric hospital. Newsnight has secured an interview today with Larisa and we'll also be joined by former political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky who tells us he knows of other similar cases.

Others have likened America's involvement in Iraq to its role in Vietnam in the 1970s. Now George Bush himself has made the link. In an interesting speech in Kansas, he uses the example of Vietnam as an argument against early withdrawal of troops from Iraq saying in both cases a US withdrawal is harmful to American credibility with its critics. We'll have reaction to the speech from Washington.

And are children getting smarter? Stephanie Flanders has being trying to find out why children seem to perform better in IQ type tests than they used to. Are these children superbrains or were their grandparents just thick? Is it to do with better nutrition, smaller families, or do video and computer games mean that children are better at solving abstract problems?

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