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Wednesday, 26 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Sep 07, 06:51 PM

BURMA

Watching ten thousand protesters march past the Embassy in Rangoon, the British Ambassador described today's demonstrations to us as "quite exceptional". He says despite nuns and monks having been beaten they will keep coming back onto the streets. Mark Canning also tells us of his 500 mile trip to meet the government. On the day the military junta began its crackdown we'll be hearing first hand accounts from inside Burma.

Following the Foreign Secretary David Miliband's interview with us yesterday on the extent of British investment in Burma, we have had further responses from the Foreign Office and the Burma Campaign which you can see posted on our website. Our Business Correspondent Paul Mason will attempt to clarify the position and to uncover the extent of British investment and trade with Burma.

AFGHANISTAN

We have an extraordinary film from video journalist Vaughan Smith. If you want to know what life is like for soldiers in Afghanistan this is the nearest you'll get to it.

LABOUR CONFERENCE

And Michael Crick has been wandering around the Labour Party conference armed with his election calendar. He's been looking at November 1st and 8th as possible dates for a General Election. And he's been talking to psephologists and a former cabinet minister about what could be going through the Prime Minister's mind.

Do join Jeremy who's safely back in the studio, at 10:30pm tonight.

Comments  Post your comment

ELECTION DATE

If the referendum issue is not settled before an election is run, I think the following should cost Gordon some sleep:

We are told all EU member states agree that the old constitution is “ABANDONED”.
We are further told there is an “AMENDING TREATY” that Britain will sign up to.

What does this treaty amend? An amendment cannot exist on its own. An amendment is a modification of SOMETHING ALREADY EXTANT. It cannot amend the space where an abandoned constitution used to be, neither can it stand alone.

Why November 1st or 8th for possible election days?
More appropriate dates for the electorate to pass judgement on would be either October 31st so we can know whether it's to be 'Trick or Treaty'? or November 11th so we can remember what it was our ancestors fought and died for.

Why November 1st or 8th for possible election days?
More appropriate dates for the electorate to pass judgement on would be either October 31st so we can know whether it's to be 'Trick or Treaty'? or November 11th so we can remember what it was our ancestors fought and died for.

Gordon could also choose 5th November, but that might be pushing his luck.

Why November 1st or 8th for possible election days?
More appropriate dates for the electorate to pass judgement on would be either October 31st so we can know whether it's to be 'Trick or Treaty'? or November 11th so we can remember what it was our ancestors fought and died for.

Gordon could also choose 5th November, but that might be pushing his luck.

  • 5.
  • At 11:06 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

"If you want to know what life is like for soldiers in Afghanistan this is the nearest you'll get to it."

Crikey, Mr Paxman, you aren't kidding..

  • 6.
  • At 11:14 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

New-ish, New Labour's hypocrisy stinks! ...Typified by Quentin Davies .. sycophantic, unprincipled, treacherous, untrustworthy...ugh!.

Are the Electorate really bamboozled by rehashed rhetoric ?...cannot they see beyond NL's present theatrics & remember the last 10yrs.!
May they reflect in horror if they get GB for the next 5 yrs.

  • 7.
  • At 11:20 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • Bill Bradbury wrote:

Having waited so long for the job of PM my bet will be May 2009 to give him time to do a Nixon and bring the troops home, plus to stamp his own authority and policies on the party.
If financially or politically Labour has made a mess they will also have time to clear it up, hence the "New Wave" Theory. That's what it means.

The downside is that it will give Cameron time to distance himself from being a "Blair Clone" and to try to adopt the new "gravitas" of the moment. Apeing Blair may have been appropriate a few years ago but the voters have had enough of image politics. They don't want a Blair Mk.2.

  • 8.
  • At 10:43 AM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

Well done on the Bernard Kouchner scoop as well.

  • 9.
  • At 12:11 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Cloe F wrote:

RE: Barrie Singleton #1 &co.

The initial idea of establishing an EU constitution was that it would incorporate all previous text into a single legal entity (removing contradictions, clarifying roles of the various institutions and the like).

The Draft Reform Treaty, which is to be finalised at the 18-19 October Council meeting in Lisbon, is merely a text that further amends the previous European Treaties (mainly Rome, SEA, Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice). The 'Constitution' was never ratified and is therefore not an agreement; hence it cannot be amended.

The referendum should have been held before and, at least in part, about the recent enlargement. Admitting that many states all at once was one of the EU's biggest mistakes. Those states that did not even meet the main conditions for entry should have been put on a waiting list and told to try harder.

Even prior to enlargement it was obvious that the EU decision-making process was too cumbersome for a much larger EU and that it needed to be reformed. However, any reform treaty to this end should have been discussed, put to a vote and passed well before enlargement. The latter should have been postponed until the EU had sorted out its act...

A referendum now would be besides the point, particularly as it would only serve to reject a treaty that is desperately needed. What should have been rejected was enlargement or at least enlargement at this speed and in these quantities, not the subsequent treaty enabling the EU to at least pretend to get on with things.

These links are quite useful:

https://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/eu-reform-treaty/article-163412
https://www.euractiv.com/en/future-eu/foreign-ministers-open-eu-treaty-talks/article-165800

These for further info:

https://europa.eu/abc/treaties/index_en.htm
https://www.consilium.europa.eu/showPage.asp?id=1317&lang=en&mode=g

  • 10.
  • At 12:50 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • csharp wrote:

People don't just give you Justice, Freedom and Human Rights you have to fight for them. You have to claim them. You have to take them.

In our own history the Civil War is taught in schools [if taught at all] as some kind of 'mistake' which is why the 'superior model' of government,i.e. monarchy, was returned after the temporary 'aberration' of the masses with the usual sneer of 'didn't they ban christmas?' as if that was the essential reason for the war.

The current manifestation of the New Model Army today swears an oath to the principle of hereditary monarchy not to parliament or to a constitution that enshrines Justice, Freedom and Human Rights. We do not celebrate the principles or dates of the civil war with national holidays. We do not call our aircraft carriers after Cromwell but after Princes.

When, in our own model of society, we are so far from a cultural affirmation of our own Justice, Freedom and Human Rights how can it be a surprise when as a society we do not manifest these qualities to the extent we would like in either our domestic or international relations?

We are given the power of choice. Is it not rational then to decide to choose the better over the worse, to promote the better over the lesser?

In mythology those who cannot decide or have decided [for any number of reasons] to choose the lesser are usually pictured as half men. Let us not be among them but decide to choose the good.

  • 11.
  • At 01:08 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • steve wrote:

Sir, Is the EU a toothless tiger when we talk about Burma? How deep are the financial ties that associate us with this despotic regime? As Jeremy dragged out of David Miliband last Wednesday we didn't hang about for UN and EU resolutions so why not act independently over Burma? If we didmn't have the luxury of Newsnight...would we ever know? Sincerely, Steve

  • 12.
  • At 03:38 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Adrienne wrote:

Haven't we seen this all before in 1989 (China), and haven't we seen
what too hasty 'democratisation' (what sort is it, Trotskyite?) and switching to a so-called market economy (anarcho-capitalist which makes out falsely that people are uniform just so one can preach caveat emptor?) can bring elsewhere (the 'Tiger' economies and S America)? The harsh reality is that people across the globe are not all ready to embrace and benefit from free market liberal democracy to the same degree. China has repeatedly made this point, and Russia illustrated (with the help of 'The Chicago Boys') just how badly things can go wrong, in the 1990s.

The Burma Socialist Programme Party 1962-1988 was the only legitimate
party in terms of the 1974 constitution.

https://www.burmalibrary.org/show.php?cat=1140

This is still the constitution despite efforts to create a replacement which promises to establish multi-party democracy, a market economy (instead of the old Soviet/Maoist system), put the military under civilian control and establish irrevocable western style Human Rights). But bear in mind that there is democracy and there is 'democracy' (see the role of Aung San Suu Kyi's father, Aung San in the history of pre and post colonial Burma).

All that we see would clearly be in Western commercial (rather than Chinese or even CIS) interests. On the other hand, transition to western style multi-party democracy could conceivably result in the same levels of corruption and chaos which we've seen in places like neighbouring Bangladesh, now considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Whilst the deregulation which comes with liberal democratic free-market economies may serve western commercial an strategic interests, it may not help the people of Burma any more than it did those of the USSR, S America or the Tiger economies.

Like it or not, the present military government is effectively defending
the existing constitution and will no doubt defend its actions on the
grounds that it is maintaining law and order ultimately in the best interests of its people.

See articles 11, 18,19,20 and 178 of the 1974 constitution.

https://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Constitution%20of%201974.htm

Just some food for thought given that Newsnight hasn't yet given us the full picture. And a somewhat rhetorical question: If the West is so opposed to such regimes, why is it so happy to invest in China?

Some more context:

https://travel.guardian.co.uk/pictures/image/0,,-18104786955,00.html
https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7014173.stm
https://in.reuters.com/article/southAsiaNews/idINIndia-29739920070927?pageNumber=2

"There are 400,000-500,000 professional monks in a country of about 50 million people, but many more laymen worship alongside the monks for a few weeks at a time throughout their lives in order to earn spiritual credit." and

"But the historian stressed that only about 10% of Burma's monks are
politicised, and many of the monasteries may be unaware of the scale of the agitation currently under way in the country."

The 1974 constitution has been described as a fusion of Marxism and Buddhism, which complicates matters.

An earlier remark:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/2007/09/tuesday_25_september_2007.html

  • 13.
  • At 07:17 PM on 09 Oct 2007,
  • Linda Kirby wrote:

Do we have any laws to protect family's in this Country, if so can someone please tell me how my father a double millionaire in 1987 was classed as a tax exile, or thought he was classed as a tax exile, his solicitor told him, when he was not registered as living in any other country, and everything he and his family worked for was taken out of his hands in 1991 and I mean everything. court case 91 D 222 Doncaster Court 23rd February 1991.
Everything he and his family worked hard to build up was taken without their knowledge. We have a copy of the court case which proves this. Is this how the Government will meet their quota's? Is this how it has been done before, the elderly robbed.
The blood family are refused any information why?

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