Talk about Newsnight

A blog and forum.

Thursday, 11 October, 2007

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 11 Oct 07, 04:41 PM

Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficileThe catalogue of failures over the pervasiveness of the Clostridium difficile bacterium in hospitals in the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is so damning as to be, potentially, the subject of criminal charges.

Appalling hygiene, patients left in their own excrement, food kept in clinical fridges, patients with c.difficile nursed alongside other patients - it's therefore no surprise that the Healthcare Commission described events as a "tragedy." There were 1,176 cases of the bug between 2004 and 2006, and the report estimates that 90 had died as a result.

We are also pursuing the story of Rose Gibb, the Trust's former Chief Executive - in charge throughout this time. Does she accept responsibility and did she get a payoff when she left?

If you or someone you know has had an experience of bacterial infection contracted inside a British hospital, we want to hear from you. And if you're a hospital worker who knows why this is happening, do let us know below.

Nobel prize
Doris Lessing has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and I am about to go to her house to interview her for tonight's programme. In a body of work that so far spans more than sixty years she has explored the inner lives of women, but she repeatedly rejects the label of "feminist."

The Swedish Academy called her an "epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny." As one of the generation who devoured The Golden Notebook I'm delighted to be speaking to her, both about the award and about her outspoken views to find out where her criticism is focussed now.

Why Democracy? Bolvia
And in the latest of our Why Democracy? film series the Argentine journalist Rodrigo Vazquez travels in Bolivia with Evo Morales on his election campaign. He was elected the first indigenous President, almost forty years after the death of the revolutionary Che Guevara. His crackdown on cocaine production, with the help of the US government has united many indigenous people behind him. Will he foment an indigenous revolution?

Brown and Me

  • David Grossman
  • 11 Oct 07, 01:02 PM

gbdg_430.jpgNumber Ten say that the Prime Minister will be watching this weekend's the Rugby World Cup semi-final England v France at Chequers. As is well known he’s a keen fan of the game, having played in his youth and lost the sight in one eye after a Rugby injury. I actually sat in front of him during the England V Scotland semi-final of the 1991 Rugby World Cup. In order that I can show off a photo I have of this event I'm going to shamelessly borrow someone else's idea. (Well if Alistair Darling can do it...) Adapting a contest from Newsnight Political Panellist Daniel Finkelstein’s fantastic Comment Central blog, I want to launch a “Brown and Me” photo competition. Obviously this can’t be a real competition as we in the BBC are not allowed to run any for the time being. It will have to be a notional competition where everyone wins, even those who don’t take part. So send in your photos saying where and when it was taken. The best will appear here*.

*If there are no entries BBC Newsnight reserves the right to quietly drop the idea and never mention it again and probably blame Daniel Finkelstein for coming up with such a duff idea in the first place.

Recruiting from the Darkside

  • Richard Watson
  • 11 Oct 07, 10:53 AM

Taxi to the darksideA remarkable new documentary from the BBC’s Storyville strand once again prompted me to ask the question: what turns a British citizen into a potential suicide bomber, mentally prepared to murder fellow civilians to “please” God and further an Islamist cause?

There are many factors at work: religious conviction, alienation (but not poverty), and the secrecy and seduction of being part of an anti-establishment cult. But the most fiercely debated question is the extent to which fallout from the so-called "war on terror" has motivated attacks. And that is where the Storyville film Taxi To The Darkside comes in.

The documentary tells the story of the brutal treatment of an Afghan man who was detained without trial by the US military at Bagram airbase near Kabul in 2002. It shines a penetrating light on human rights abuses linked to the "war on terror" which have undoubtedly been a gift to terrorist recruiters.

Continue reading "Recruiting from the Darkside"

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