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Thursday, 4 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Oct 07, 06:14 PM

Gordon BrownWill today be called Wobbly Thursday? Our programme has been picking up signs today that Downing Street may be wobbling over calling an election next week. With two opinion polls set to publish tonight we ask has Gordon Brown lost his appetite for an early election? We'll be investigating and getting political reaction live.

Gordon Brown was just ten days into the job of PM when he announced a major NHS review headed by Lord Darzi, the then new health minister. Today he produced his interim findings, and unveiled his new title. Lord Darzi will become "Champion of Innovation" - there's to be new patient friendly GP hours, greater infections control - in particular over MRSA - and a better productivity measure. But so far it's hard to work out whether Lord Darzi reckons the extra millions already poured into the Health Service have had any real impact on patient care.

Both the government and the opposition say that the NHS will be a major battleground in the next elections - whenever that may be. We'll be debating the Darzi report, not with Lord Darzi who is unavailable but with a Health Minister, and his Conservative and liberal democrat opposites.
NHS review targets GPs and bugs

Political trends
We'll also have an exclusive interview with major US political strategist Mark Penn about his new book Microtrends. He's currently Hillary Clinton's chief strategist, and advised Tony Blair, so what does a UK election look like from where he is standing? Read more of Mark Penn's thoughts - Microtrends is the latest entry to the Newsnight book club.

Kenyan satire
We also have a film about the rise of political satire in Kenya, mainly the work of a comedy group called Redykyulass. They first made their name lampooning the one party regime of President Moi. Now with an election in December they are focussing on President Kibaki and his wife Lucy, and trying to get people interested in the political process - just 6 million Kenyans out of an electorate of 33 million voted last time. It seems to be working. In areas where they make people laugh - where they take potshots at corruption and the slow pace of change, voter registration goes up.

Watch Paul's last film from Kenya, looking at how mobile phone innovations are making real differences to people's lives.

Microtrends by Mark J Penn

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Oct 07, 02:51 PM

The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes
By Mark J Penn with E Kinney Zalesne

microtrends1_203.jpgIn Microtrends, Mark Penn explores the trends in American society today. He suggests that the ideas shaping our world are relatively unseen – under-the-radar forces that can involve as little as one per cent of the population, yet their impact on society is huge.

Mark Penn is Hillary Clinton's chief strategist. An interview with the author will be shown on Newsnight on Thursday 4 October.

From the introduction

In 1960, Volkswagen shook up the car world with a full-page ad that had just two words on it: Think Small. It was a revolutionary idea—a call for the shrinking of perspective, ambition, and scale in an era when success was all about accumulation and territorial gain, even when you were just driving down the street.

At the same time that America was becoming the world’s superpower, growing the dominant economy and setting the pace for global markets, the Beetle took off as a counterculture phenomenon—representing individuality in reaction to the conformity of the 1950s.

America never quite got used to small when it came to cars. But ask two-thirds of America, and they will tell you they work for a small business. Americans are willing to make big changes only when they first see the small, concrete steps that will lead to those changes. And they yearn for the lifestyles
of small-town America. Many of the biggest movements in America today are small—generally hidden from all but the most careful observer.

Continue reading "Microtrends by Mark J Penn"

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