Talk about Newsnight

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Monday, 25 February, 2005

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Feb 08, 05:34 PM

Jeremy has spent the afternoon speaking to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz about his new book - The Three Trillion Dollar War. It is an attempt to put a price on how much was spent invading Iraq. He tries to put numerical values not only on the damage to the world's economy but also the personal cost to those who fought and the many who died in the war. The book is the latest in the Newsnight Book Club - read an extract and leave your thoughts here.

The former Jersey children's home Haute de la GarenneheBut we'll start the programme with the police investigation in Jersey which looks to be uncovering remains at the site which once was a children's home. Is there something about the way Jersey runs its government which allowed this to go unchecked? We'll debate.

There were cheers for the Speaker when he called "Order, Order" in the house today; that after a rough weekend of headlines calling for his resignation. But it does seem that his parliamentary colleagues are giving him their support. For now. Does that damage the reputation of the House? We'll speak to an interesting figure who in his time was also responsible for damaging parliament's reputation.

Finally we have a report from Chad - not somewhere we often take our cameras. Many refugees from Darfur are sheltering in the country but they are far from safe. The complicated local political situation leaves Chad's borders vulnerable and the French peace-keeping troops have split loyalties. It is a difficult but important film to watch.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:34 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • John wrote:

Is there any response from Newsnight regarding the free plug that Campbell received on Friday?

It was such a bizarre piece of editorial 'judgement' that it really does require explanation.

  • 2.
  • At 08:30 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Jeanette Eccles wrote:

I asked that question too why did this not be a subject for Newsnight Review ?
Given the way they sneered when Campbell sent a message in error from his Blackberry not that long ago.
My post was deleted on Friday so I shall ask again.

I'm happy to respond to this - I don't think it was a bizarre decision at all. Alastair Campbell has been one of the most prominent and newsworthy public figures in Britain in recent years. He is a source of fascination and/or vilification for many and always arouses strong feelings when he appears on TV. The fact that he has now written a novel is I think a suitable subject for discussion on Newsnight and is of interest, particularly as it deals with mental health issues rather than politics. As the book won't be available for some time to come our item hardly constitutes a plug.

If - for example - Charles Kennedy announced he had written a novel I'm sure we would ask him on to discuss it.


  • 4.
  • At 09:32 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • John wrote:

Thanks for the post Peter. Stupidly naive of me I suppose, I didn't know that 'news' worked like that; I thought it happened and you reported on it, rather than someone creates a work of fiction and you invite them round for a cosy chat, despite their reputation as an author being zero. Friday didn't strike me as such a news void that you had to create it. Besides, there is a review programme on Friday, so why fill part of an already truncated 'news' slot with more book chat?

Your justification that Campbell makes a fine pantomime villain is demeaning, both to your fine programme and it's viewers, plus your comparison with a former party leader is highly spurious.

Far be it from me to second guess the machinations that go on between the media and spin doctors, but is this chat some way of the BBC and Campbell trying to bury the hatchet? Sorry to be cynical, but I find your explanation as convincing as Campbell's most famous work of fiction, the dossier.

Anyway, I noticed from your blog that viewing figures figure prominently in your thoughts. As soon as Campbell popped up on screen I turned the TV off. I very much doubt I am alone in this.

Could you possibly get Guy De Launey to post a report on the KR trials?

  • 5.
  • At 10:46 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Stephen wrote:

Oh, really, Mr Barron! Do you think we're all fools? Not 'a plug' because Campbell's book 'won't be available for some time'? Ever heard of advance publicity? It might have been news and thus worthy of Newsnight if it had been published; or if you'd used the opportunity to question the whole ethos of celebrity 'novelists' getting a book out on the back of their fame in a non-literary field. It was a stomach-churning love-in which would have made even Richard and Judy blush.

  • 6.
  • At 11:02 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Stephen du Toit wrote:

Having just watched the piece where the Chief Minister of Jersey was asked about the investigations, I found it extraordinary that he was almost immediately faded out so that more questions could be shouted at him. Paxman asks some of the questions we all want asked - why are we so frequently denied the possibility of hearing them answered?

  • 7.
  • At 11:33 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • neil robertson wrote:

I am waiting for his unedited diary!
Only met the man once - when he was
with T. Blair at the Scottish Labour
Party conference in The Eden Court Theatre in Inverness during their
attempt to persuade the party to
remove their ideological backbone
(Clause 4 Part 4). Campbell stood
behind us on The Press Bench and
clapped loudly behind our lugs to
makes sure the FT man and I knew
which bit of the speech to report.

Brown was positioned right at the
back of the hall - skulking - and
the key warm-up man was Douglas Alexander fresh from losing a by-election in Perth and Kinross to
the SNP - after Nickie Fairbairn
died .... What I also noticed was
that for the first time in Labour
history since the 1950's key women
who wanted jobs like Wendy Alexander turned up to meet the new leader and
wore hats! It was therefore hugely encouraging when left-winger Susan
Deacon (who went on be Scotland's
Health Minister for a time but who
has since quite politics in disgust
over Labour's attitude to war) was
one of the few Scottish Labourites
of her generation who refused to be
'Folletted' and arrived both late and hat-less ....... She was then
left off the 'approved' candidates
list but got back on after a long
appeal and made the first Cabinet.

The stuff of novels, indeed .....!

  • 8.
  • At 12:21 AM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Chris Donovan wrote:

Jeremy's condemnation of the Jersey Senator concerning the goings on at Jersey's childrens homes is understandable however:-

Jersey is 'unfortunate' in being an Island and therefore the fault lines running through its systems of Governance can be seen with greater clarity as there are fewer avenues for escape[transference of blame -dilutions of responsibility].

Let's be clear about it - the events in Jersey are not particular to Jersey - they are particular to human nature.

Is it going to take the death of real children to make the UK as a whole wake up to its child like and irresponsible [any connection?] addiction to self regulation and its collective refusal to engage in Adult Governance of just about every institution in the country?

I found myself practically drowning in the irony of the story that followed on: - the Houses of Parliament's regulation of its own members' expenses. The Speaker in charge of addressing something he himself is a part of [I speak neutrally - the fact speaks for itself]

Absurd! palpably and tragically absurd!

Does anyone see a pattern here - a pattern that runs right through British 'Governance' like the Jam [pun intended] in a Swiss Roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is contemptible!!! Anybody less in thrall to their own 'imagined' cultural moral superiority could have seen it coming - why in God's name are you all so surprised?

Do you have a Mother of Parliaments or a Mother of a Parliament?

Power always needs to be divided and set against itself - Isn't it time we all got to it!!!????!!

Enough of this endless hand wringing and moral indignation!!

  • 9.
  • At 12:41 AM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Jonathan Morse wrote:

if I was in charge of some authority and I suspected child abuse had happened in the past I think I would think twice about doing anything about it if the efffect is that you get a public lynching from Paxman for things you haven't done but were done in the past. Any paedophile who felt threatened by the police inquiry in Jersey because he or she had done a similiar wrong elsewhere can now feel reassured that nobody will risk their career by initiating an enquiry.


You took the thoughts right out of my head regarding the parallels in terms of governmental self- regulation. As far as I can see, Westminster is a well defended club, immune to all but the most powerful attack. I was part of the turn-out against the war that Terrible Tony brushed aside, and tomorrow I shall be at Westminster demanding the stolen referendum. We need a powerful ally but power and politics are one weave and, as I coined long ago: "The cavalry never comes".

  • 11.
  • At 02:10 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Cloe Fribourg wrote:

What was the point of the Chad film: that French troops are inadequately deployed or that France has (once again) been stoking the flames and now that the fire's out of control she seeks to spread the blame? Having sat through two military coups in that region, my experience is that what France says is what goes, be it Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo-Braza or Ivory Coast (whose leaders depend heavily on those infamous French 'technical cooperation' agreements). At times French authorities will even refuse to defend/evacuate 'their own' (including women and children) for fear that this will reveal just how bad the situation on the ground really is. EUFOR (or any other mission) doesn't stand a chance as an peace-keeping force so long as France continues to back regimes who see it as legitimate to support 'rebel' operations in neighbouring (often non-French dominated) regions.

  • 12.
  • At 08:05 AM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • Dave Badger wrote:

As it was myself who made all correspondence with Egg in this alleged fraud case I will put the case straight for them, As they have made another false statement “ well they have been shamed into answering their correspondence this time” The vital information they required was a general questionnaire that repeats the questions asked when the credit account was reported out of order. “VITAL” Egg were advised the form would not be returned due to the case been investigated. During this enquiry there were six letters sent to Egg by recorded delivery asking questions like why are you investigating the wrong card.
1. What was the number assigned to the Egg card that expired in January 2007?
1. A new card was issued in December what was the number assigned to that card?
2. What date was the above replacement card sent out to me?
3. What was the expiry date for the above replacement card?
4. What date was the above card activated and by what means?
1. Another card was sent to me in March 2007. What was the card number?
2. What was the expiry date for the above replacement card?
3. What date was this Egg card activated and by what means?

Unfortunately they did not have the decency to answer or acknowledge any of these letters or questions.
The best they could do was write to the police and retract there security experts witness statement. Oh he was wrong they were investigating the wrong card. With a great help from Ross and his team the case was thrown out of court due to no evidence to offer.
Egg state
at no point did we hold our customer liable

Well they still have about £800.00 pounds of Jane’s money and to date have made no attempt to return it. With them removing the money by direct debit after they were advised of the unauthorised action on the account, they must be holding their customer liable. Are they about to issue another retraction statement???
Dave Badger

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