Talk about Newsnight

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Thursday, 24 Thursday, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Jan 08, 04:21 PM

hain_quit203x100.jpgGordon Brown eventually called his behaviour over campaign donations "incompetence" but if Peter Hain didn't think that was enough to warrant his resignation, the decision of the Electoral Commission to hand his files to the police, has forced him to fall on his sword.

A little matter of a failure to account for £103,000 has ended his unbroken run since 1997 as a minister in Her Majesty's Government. But is the man most damaged by the dither and delay the Prime Minister himself?

Should he have acted as soon as Peter Hain announced he had not met his obligations over declarations of donations because he was too busy being a minister? Gordon Brown vacillated over calling a General Election, was panicked over inheritance tax, hesitated over Northern Rock, and today came the news that the much vaunted new CGT would be modified after all. Is the Great Helmsman having trouble at the wheel?

Tonight we'll be examining the fall of Peter Hain, and asking whether Gordon Brown has a grip on Government.

One rogue trader and France's second biggest bank, Societe Generale is down at least £3.5 billion. And this was purportedly a junior banker. Given this and the ongoing credit crunch which has rocked the world economy do these so-called "Masters of the Universe" have far too much power?

nazi203x100.jpgAlso tonight, time is fast running out for War Crimes investigators who are still hunting Nazi fugitives.
Brian Barron reports on the last ditch efforts all around the globe to bring these old men and women to justice, and the mindset of both the hunters and the hunted.

He speaks to 92-year-old Vladas Zajanckauskas, the alleged Nazi war criminal who could soon be the oldest man to be deported for trial from the US. As a young soldier in Europe he was, according to the US Justice Department, part of the Nazi extermination squads. The Lithuanian grandfather claims he was a POW who was brutalised by the Germans. Should justice be done - no matter how old the defendant?

Prospects for Thursday, 24 January

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Jan 08, 10:15 AM

Hi All,

Simon Enright is today's programme producer..

Time was when Gordon Brown seemed to be so assured with dealing with events. Has that sure touch deserted him? This government does have a majority but it seems to struggle to get its way… We have a U-Turn on Capital Gains Tax today, Jacqui Smith trying where other Home Secs have failed with counter terrorism legislation and even Harriet Harman trying to persuade MPs to forgo their full pay rise. Where has this government's authority gone? I'm sure Michael Crick will investigate.

It is one of the world's biggest ever frauds - £3.5 billion lost by a rogue trader working for Societe Generale. To put it in perspective the French bank also had to write off bad debts due to sub-prime lending and that was only £1.5 billion. After Nick Leeson hadn't the banking industry put a stop to this kind of activity?

We also have a film from Brian Barron about the attempt to bring to justice various people accused of Nazi War Crimes. "The race against the grim reaper" as it is described by one commentator.

Finally there's a story about GPs making money out of the patients that ring in. It's called revenue-sharing. Is it time we challenged them?

But do we have space for all that when there are lots of other good stories around…

- Stuart has been knocked off his bike - he's fine but shaken - nevertheless he phoned in to suggest putting Council Tax on trial. (He is a devoted producer)
- Is there more to pursue on Ken Livingstone?
- China's economy has grown by more than 11%. Should we reflect that?

All ideas welcome..


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