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Monday, 28 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Jan 08, 05:53 PM

Dear Reader,

kenya203_28jan.jpgTonight we have a report from the BBC's correspondent in Nairobi, Karen Allen. Last week we asked her to report for us on how Kenya, seemingly such a stable country, could face such violence after December's troubled elections. Karen was filming at the weekend just as the violence flared again. It makes a depressing, but we think important film to watch.
( Watch Paul Mason's recent Newsnight reports from Nairobi)

Secret trials
Author Allan Chappelow was murdered just over a year ago - found dead in his own home underneath copies of one his own books about George Bernard Shaw. This week a man will stand trial for his murder. But much of the evidence will be held in secret for issues of national security. It is a very unusual thing to happen - and a very odd case too - we'll debate whether it is ever right for trials to be held in secret in this way.

State of the Union
Odd to think it but tonight George Bush will give his last State of the Union speech to the American people. Matt Frei has his assessment of the president and prediction of what he will say.

Fiscal prudence
We all suspect George Bush will tee-up a spending package to buy the US out of recession. Surprisingly the new boss of the IMF has given him the green light to do so. But Stephanie Flanders will explain why most EU countries also have the fiscal resources to buy their way out of recession but that, despite all Gordon Brown's talk of prudence, Alistair Darling does not.

NHS wards
Finally it has been a major commitment of Labour Party manifesto's since even before Tony Blair was elected - an end to mixed sex wards. Today in the Lords, the surgeon and health minister Lord Darzi admitted that single sex wards in the NHS is "an aspiration that cannot be met". We'll be asking why the government's given up on such a long held commitment.

Simon Enright

Comments  Post your comment

But surely the long-term problem with the UK economy is the housing market ?

Is there anything the government can do to control house prices, to one degree of another, in the future - to help prevent over-spending / people getting into huge debt / sharp recession in the future ?

(also, there are lots of young people - middle, as well as working, class - who want to get onto the housing market but can't - this is bad from both from just a human point-of-view as well as an economic-point-of-view)

Britain, Ireland and a few others are obsessed by the housing market. Surely we need to do something about this to stop future economic downturns ?

Or is this a complete red-herring to what is really going on in the economy?

  • 2.
  • At 10:57 PM on 28 Jan 2008,
  • Ivor Gaber wrote:

I am writing my first Newsnight blog to express my profound disappointment with Carol Allen's report from Kenya. It was a really crass, superficial piece of reporting - largely descriptive and totally lacking in understanding. Allen's script implied that all Kenyan politicians were equally to blame, tarring the opposition with the same brush as a Government, that had brazenly cheated at the polls. Allen's report gave the impression that the strife in Kenya was simply about old tribal rivalries, rather than being caused by the legitimate anger felt by Kenyans who felt they had been cheated out of a fair election. Let me add that I have no connections, or special knowedge, about Kenya - but I do know poor reporting when I see it. But thanks for covering the story anyway.

  • 3.
  • At 11:01 PM on 28 Jan 2008,
  • BMcD wrote:

I was in Kenya, in and around Molo, in 1991. I was only there for a couple of months in the summer. My memory is that: not long after I got home in September violence broke out; there were horrific massacres across the rift valley and Molo was particularly badly hit. As far as I remember it didn't get much coverage here, just a few lines in the paper; the only reason I noticed it was because I'd just been there. Of course, my memory may be playing tricks on me, and I may have my dates confused, but I don't think 1991 is that long ago. I was, therefore, quite taken aback not just with what's been happening lately in Kenya, but with all the recent coverage of how stable Kenya has always been, how unexpected this sort of violence is, how nobody's ever see this sort of thing before. I make no claims to know anything about the country, just some vague recollections in passing. But I'm pretty sure the massacres in 91 didn't get much coverage, I'm not sure what's changed so much lately to warrant so much air time now. I'm glad that it does warrant it, but I feel oddly offended at, what seems to me, (given my memory of things) the pretense that everything was fantastic before hand and suddenly its all gone to pot since the last election. Whatever the cause, I hope it gets better soon.

  • 4.
  • At 11:43 PM on 28 Jan 2008,
  • Alan wrote:

Is it something about the French in general or perhaps the Soc Gen affair that leads Jeremy to worry about a plague of frogs?

Outstanding Jeremy again tonight (53/10) particularly with Dr Michael Powers QC & Alex Bailin on secret trials and also with Andrew Lansley on single sex wards. What a surprise that no-one in the government showed up for that!!!Oh and how fantastic that Jeremy's underpants raised £1400.00 for childrens charity NCH and Students Partnership Worldwide. :-)

  • 6.
  • At 09:52 AM on 29 Jan 2008,
  • stevie wrote:

I was disappointed with the report on Kenya but who would want to go there at this time so I really should shut up as if things continue as they seem we will be lucky to get anyone in there. The court case to be held in camera was a worrying development and Jeremy was good at his usual interrogation.

  • 7.
  • At 12:03 PM on 29 Jan 2008,
  • Neema Njambi wrote:

As a Kenyan, I honestly believe that both Raila and Kibaki have lost the plot and deserve to go! What we needed was a Statesman but what we have are two power-hungry individuals wrangling over the highest office in the land. They are both oblivious to the plight of the suffering masses and are doing little to solve the issues. The current violence has escalated well beyond the elections. What we are seeing are ethnic quarrels that have been going on for a very long time (see BMcD) with deep rooted causes.

Its time for change!!!

  • 8.
  • At 03:32 PM on 29 Jan 2008,
  • the cookie ducker wrote:

Kenya: its true what thay say when birds of the same feather flock together and in Kenya's case; tribal differences make them fight each other over resources and power. What we witness in Kenya is a primitive urge hardwired in man (as well as beast), and prove that religious, cultural or political differences without the glue of civilised society is usually problematic.It was very telling that in this newsnight report, mentioned was the view that the tribal violence brought about by the 'elections' are historically based on the "indiginous and the outsider".

  • 9.
  • At 08:26 PM on 29 Jan 2008,
  • James Pritchard wrote:

Look out folks, Newsnight is pitching in for some journalism awards. Usual method - get somebody in a war zone. Never mind the quality of the reporting, just look at the threat to the journalist's life: that equals credibility, dunnit?

Last night we had this silly woman jumping about Kenya with her oh-so serious voice and yet all through her film I waited for a detailed explanation of what lies behind this violence. I waited. And waited. And waited. Ethnic tension, tribes, blah blah. Yes and what about the beliefs of these tribes? That's what will be fuelling all this. But nothing. Just vague drivel.

But wait, Jeremy speaks to her on the big screen: "What's triggered this upsurge in violence?" I leant forward in my seat to hear: Waffle, waffle, waffle, "church was set fire" waffle, waffle, waffle.

What was that my dear, that you slipped in there? Buried away in all that BBC euphemistic rhubarb? A church? Set on fire? You mean a religious symbol. A place of worship. Ah madam, I think you know a little bit more than you were letting on in your film - and I also suspect that Jeremy and Peter Barron do too.

Look at this:

The opening paragraph reads: "Raila Odinga [the man who lost], the current frontrunner in the upcoming presidential election in Kenya, has promised to implement strict Islamic Sharia law if he receives the Muslim vote in the predominantly Christian country and is elected president."

This violence has a great deal to do with the attempt to Islamise Africa. It is, in essence, jihadist. But that puts organisations like the BBC in great difficulty, doesn't it? Because you very much like to do what you did last week when Kirsty Wark interviewed that British Muslim lady - let go unchallenged the propaganda that any jihadist-related violence is (to paraphrase that woman) because of US/UK foreign policy.

The BBC is the last place on earth you'd ever hear a debate about the influence of teachings like: "Make war on the unbelievers and on the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate."

Keep patronising us if you will Newsnight (and taking a licence fee for the liberty of it), but don't think none of us can see through you.

  • 10.
  • At 01:21 PM on 30 Jan 2008,
  • anne wotana kaye wrote:

Here is why single-sex wards are not a viable option for this present Nu Labour controlled NHS and government.
A perfect example is home care of the aged and vulnerable which is against the centralisation principles on which this government bases everything. Schools, hospitals, everything in fact is supposedly run to a standard of uniformity. Even the sexes of patients are blurred, and single-sex wards have been banished. It is easier for procurement and HS departments to 'fiddle' the books when dealing in hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds. Despite Nu Labour distain of the USA. the NHS is going to use an expensive American to control initially three NHS primary practices. This is reminiscent of Livingstone's dependence on USA 'experts' for the crumbling London underground. If MP Conway's story has caused dismay, we ain't seen nothing yet!

I don't know why this bugging issue has come as such a shock to everyone. It was common knowledge whilst I was in prison that the visit room was bugged. This is why any sensitive information was exchanged in the form of handwritten notes with the visitor, to avoid the authorities gaining an unfair advantage from having access to my intended legal action.

This interference in communication with those outside the prison was not limited to the visit room. A sequence of several of my solicitor's privileged letters went missing at a critical point in my legal case. Letters to Members of Parliament were not considered "priviliged" and had to be passed unsealed for reading by the prison censor. So any thought that a prisoner could have private correspondence with their MP went right out of the window.

My MP Andrew Mackinlay visited me on two occasions at HMP Full Sutton, and we discussed many issues about sensitive aspects of my conviction for espionage, for which I was serving a sentence of 20 years. It is interesting that shortly after one of these meetings, and following some parliamentary questions by Mr Mackinlay, his home in Tilbury was burgled, and Mr Mackinlay was of the opinion that the security service were implicated in this - you can see his cryptic comment in Hansard for 26 October 1999.

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