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Monday, 17 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Mar 08, 05:15 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman

Markets slump

markets1_203100.jpgMarkets from New York to Tokyo have recorded heavy losses in reaction to the emergency bailout of US investment bank Bear Stearns over the weekend. In New York the Dow Jones Industrials tumbled 194 points, more than 1.5%, in early trading before recovering. London's FTSE 100 index was down 2.7%. The Bank of England today made an extra £5bn available for UK banks to borrow to ease credit fears. The money was five times over-subscribed.

Meanwhile, on the markets, US, UK and European banks were hammered; Lehman Brothers fell 30%, UBS lost 13%, HBOS 10% and Commerzbank fell 7.9%. Investors are worried that the collapse of Bear Stearns, one of Wall Street's biggest names, is a sign that the credit crunch is getting worse and lending might seize up.

The BBC's Economic Correspondent Hugh Pym will assess how big the problem is and what the potential market solutions are. We'll also be looking at the impact on the UK economy. And Stephanie Flanders will join us live from New York to give us the latest on the fallout in the US.

We'll also be reconvening Newsnight's Shadow Monetary Policy Committee to cast their expert eyes over events.

Markets slump on banking worries

Tibet

The deadline for Tibetan protesters to surrender to the police has passed, after a quiet day in the city of Lhasa. China had given demonstrators in the city until midnight to give themselves up or face punishment. Exiled Tibetans said security forces had been rounding up political dissidents and witnesses said there was a heavy police presence on the streets. Dozens are feared dead after days of rioting in Lhasa, with each side accusing the other of excessive force. Other parts of China also saw rallies on the weekend, while Tibetans in Nepal and India are continuing to protest. Mark Urban will analyse what's been happening and examines whether the Chinese Government will crack down hard on protestors just months before the Olympics.

Tibet protester deadline passes

Iraq: 10 Days to War

Five years on from the war in Iraq we speak to former Cabinet Secretary, Lord Butler about the use of intelligence on WMD.

And from the web team

The countdown continues with 3 Days to War. In You Are Welcome Here, with UN diplomacy dead, the weapons inspectors continue their fruitless search in Iraq. Watch a preview of tonight’s episode here.

Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban has written up his recollections of reporting on the preparations for war back in 2003, and shares his thoughts on how – with hindsight – he might have reported things differently.

And Michael Crick has added to the Big Fat Politics Blog with a few words about how Shadow Education Secretary Michael Gove has been “cracking the whip” with the leader of the Tory party; plus some thoughts about the many novelists Parliament and British politics have produced over the years…

bbc.co.uk/newsnight

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 08:02 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • Ben Dolley wrote:

I work for a housing advice charity as a housing advisor. Last week I helped 1 client who was given a £145k mortgage when earning £14k a year and was then given a £25k secure loan on a property worth £165k. I also saw 2 estate agents who ironically can't now afford their mortgages as they've come off the fixed term. I also saw numerous other clients who are paying 50% plus of their income on their mortgage who didn't know what they would do once they came off their fixed rate.

I believe we haven't seen the worst of the so called 'credit crunch'.

  • 2.
  • At 09:28 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • PC wrote:

So we head for a slump / recession / slow down / call it what you will totally generated by greed. The greed of the financial institutions who too readily leant money to people who couldn't afford to pay it back; the greed of the borrowers who shunned any thoughts of saving and didn't have the common sense to work out that they couldn't afford the repayments; and the greed of governments who wanted people to believe that their economies were prospering!

When I was a child in the 1950s I wanted to buy a Matchbox toy costing one shilling (5 pence to those of you born after 1971). I had saved enough pocket money and was dragging my father in to the toy shop when he pointed out that I also wanted a Dinky toy costing five shillings. He told me that if I bought the Matchbox toy then I would have nothing left but if I carried on saving then in a few weeks I could buy the Dinky toy. I can't remember what I did, it doesn't matter. But this was the most valuable lesson I was ever taught about managing my finances. What a pity that government ministers and bankers did not have fathers like mine. Thank you dad!!

  • 3.
  • At 10:01 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • TJ wrote:

Bear Stearns bought by inside trading JP Morgan, see this at Wikileaks-

https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Whistleblower_exposes_insider_trading_program_at_JP_Morgan

The £30BN loan from the Fed to JPM is non-recourse i.e. does not have to be paid back, we are way beyond "rogue traders" and violations of the odd regulation we are knee deep in a the most criminal financial enterprise ever seen consisting of the US and UK banks and their governments, the crimes of Russias oligarchs or petty third world dictators siphoning off money to Cayman island accounts pales in comparison, fortunately for us it is coming to an end, and we can take back our country from the criminals at the top.

I'm just watching Jeremy Paxman interviewing Lord Butler about the pre-war intelligence on Iraqi biological weapons. Jeremy thinks those who believed the pre-war intellignce were "laughably wrong".

Has he read the updated 2002 edition of "A Higher Form of Killing" https://www.amazon.co.uk/Higher-Form-Killing-Chemical-Biological/dp/0812966538/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1205795801&sr=8-1 which includes a chapter which states in no uncertain terms that Iraq has biological weapons? Published before the dossier, the authors are Robert Harris and Jeremy Paxman.

If Jeremy Paxman wants to say that no-one sensible believed Iraq had biological weapons then he is condemning himself.

  • 5.
  • At 11:48 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • david hartley wrote:

Still no closer to the truth.....


Every night this topic comes up commentators skirt around the truth though tonight for a momemnt we nearly came a little closer with the comment about oil.

Firstly the sub prime crisis or credit crunch and the dot com bubble were created by the former fed chairman to inflate the economy and avoid recession..
The new fed chairman is now using more of the same medicine which is like pouring petrol onto a fire.
The subsequent inflation mentioned by Nigel Lawson will help to raise commodity prices further ie. oil,gas ,metals grain etc. causing inflation in the real economy as the dollar falls and exporters who will eventually want to be paid in currency other than the dollar will decouple (unpeg) their currencies.

The commodity price rises are a symptom of inflation not the cause.
The markets know this which is why the dollar is falling.

Keynsian economists are not the only brand-the Austrian school knows this lesson well so every time the fed prints more dollars its value falls.

Its a very simple truth which is well understood by those who benefit first and therefore most from inflation ie. governments.And of course the reason they dont like to talk about it

  • 6.
  • At 11:53 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • David Lawson wrote:

Mark Urban analysis seemed extremely biased towards the Chinese viewpoint with a snide comment about Richard Gere "Bless him"
One can only assume his vision was obscured, as he seemed to be so far up Chinas **** all you could see was his ankles.
Earlier in the evening I had watched an upset TV crew in Beijing being manhandled and arguing for the right to film a peaceful demonstration by Tibetan students,in the new free China. Perhaps Newsnight was trying to redress this biased report from the safety of the studio. My Chinese isn't up to much but the phrase Kòu tóu (Kowtow) springs to mind.
You may gather from this, with or without an in depth analysis, I am a supporter of the Tibetan cause. Perhaps after fifty years of the cruelest repression Tibetans see this moment in time as the last place to make a stand.
No doubt if enough people die we can look forward to a ten days before the final destruction of Tibet series. Pray god it doesn't offend the Chinese though.

  • 7.
  • At 11:55 PM on 17 Mar 2008,
  • Dan wrote:

Really enjoyed Mark Urban's analysis of the events in Tibet - first piece I've seen on the BBC that gives a fuller account of what has been going on and, in so doing, acknowledged the complex moral nature of the events. All other reports have been morally-loaded, claiming, without verification, that the actions of the Tibetans are concerned with independence and have focused attention on the response of the Chinese, drawing links between Hu's stint as governor in 1989 and the response in 1989 while skirting over the fact that the Tibetans have been attacking local Chinese.

I read the original first edition of " A Higher Form of Killing" but I haven't found anything on an updated 2002 version claiming that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq pre-dossier! The link posted at #4 by David Boothroyd merely gives a link to purchase the book on Amazon.
Tonight's show was excellent - particularly on the economy with my favourite Irwin Stelzer, Nigel Lawson ("Would you like to be Chancellor again?" - Jeremy) and the professor too.

How is the economic downturn going to affect house prices? Is it going to help or harm young people who want to buy houses over the next few years but can't at the moment over high house prices?

  • 10.
  • At 12:06 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Jon wrote:

Credit Crunch

While it is admirable that both the US and UK governments are trying to bail out organisations from the mess of these unwise investments, based on the need for a quick return on a massive scale; and a follow the pack mentality for fear of losing out to other participants. It creates and encourages a moral hazard, and this must be addressed. If a global depression is to result from this, regardless of action being taken now, then protecting these organisations is futile and counter productive in the long-term.

What is clear in the UK is that the overvalued cost of property, its linked debt and the unrealistic ratio of income that has to be devoted to servicing it, will simply not maintain itself at its current level. If the US housing market is expected to fall further in the coming year, and the UK housing values have yet to move downwards, then when this happens it will impact the UK economy severely. We have created a global property bubble. The problem with this debt, which most individuals have, is that unless wiped out - people face many years of tuff repayment schedules - and few opportunities for growth exist in our economy and this does not currently present the government with much room for choice. Public debt is high and further tax increases will be required if a downward trend continues.

  • 11.
  • At 12:08 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Jon wrote:

Credit Crunch

While it is admirable that both the US and UK governments are trying to bail out organisations from the mess of these unwise investments, based on the need for a quick return on a massive scale; and a follow the pack mentality for fear of losing out to other participants. It creates and encourages a moral hazard, and this must be addressed. If a global depression is to result from this, regardless of action being taken now, then protecting these organisations is futile and counter productive in the long-term.

What is clear in the UK is that the overvalued cost of property, its linked debt and the unrealistic ratio of income that has to be devoted to servicing it, will simply not maintain itself at its current level. If the US housing market is expected to fall further in the coming year, and the UK housing values have yet to move downwards, then when this happens it will impact the UK economy severely. We have created a global property bubble. The problem with this debt, which most individuals have, is that unless wiped out - people face many years of tuff repayment schedules - and few opportunities for growth exist in our economy and this does not currently present the government with much room for choice. Public debt is high and further tax increases will be required if a downward trend continues.

UNTRUE DETAILED AND AUTHORITATIVE

Tonight Jeremy taxed Lord Butler on the Dossier and related “intelligence”. It reminded me that when Aaronovitch interviewed – at length – Tony Blair, Blair said to camera that the JIC raw data is now all on the web. I could not find it. Labour HQ, by inference did not know its location and referred me to the Cabinet Office. The latter are taking a long time to reply . . . Do any bloggers on this site know the truth of it? Was Blair compounding the dossier manoeuvre by doing what he does so well?

  • 13.
  • At 12:11 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Ian Sloyan wrote:

It is very fitting that Jeremy Paxman discovers the Blarney stone on St Patrick's day. It seems now that Newsnight (if I am to believe the editorial slant of tonight's programme) has resigned itself to believe that the reasons given by the British Government for the war in Iraq are indeed legitimate and beyond repute or at least archaic. By that I mean that the BBC (or Newsnight) is suggesting by its season on 10 years to war (historical dramas and revisionist interviews on Newsnight to plug these dramas) that any discussion about the motives and politics at work at that time should be resigned to the academia of history and political science, a distraction from important news, rather than be an issue that deserves discussion with repercussions for Members of Parliament that are still answerable to the electorate. I have never been so disappointed by a journalist than by Jeremy Paxman's impotent and complicit interview with Lord Butler tonight.

  • 14.
  • At 12:43 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Keith Bowkett wrote:

Just watched Jeremy Paxman interview with Lord Butler & the pathetic defence of Tony Blair's lies.
Was it not the same Tony Blair who told the country he personally had irrefutable evidence that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • 15.
  • At 12:55 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • David Hartley wrote:

David B. at No 4

Excellent post thanks.

There is also a massive short selling issue building up in the US on trades that fail to deliver.

Brokers working with the clients and SEC doing what it can but like walking through glue.

(Did`nt that bank start out in ye merry olde englande mr. peabody!)

  • 16.
  • At 08:29 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Ms J Eccles wrote:

@13

Yep after that dire interview Jeremy should be the face of pants !

  • 17.
  • At 09:00 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • Bob Goodall wrote:

Bankruptcy:
moral
financial

If we had decent diplomats China could be persuaded to leave Tibet voluntarily,

for the senior civil servants who colluded with the invasion of Iraq and keep making bad mistakes in various areas of policy, serving the national interest requires skill, and daring and keeping to certain moral codes,

if you cannot meet these essential requirements for this work you need to be removed from your posts for all our sakes

Bob

  • 18.
  • At 10:07 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • steve wrote:

the interview with Butler was a sham. The smug, sneering face of this attack dog for Blair made my blood boil, he had a smirk on his face for the whole interview. Why didn't Jeremy say to him 'Lord Butler why are you smiling, doesn't the deaths of 188 squaddies concern you, or 600 thousand Iraqui's....'something like that but to let him ramble on with all the tired, discredited cliches was sickening. Channel four gave this disaster some depth in it's excellent programme on Sunday evening. This used to be BBC territory but after Hutton they have become lame puppies, where is the reporting zeal that used to stalk the corriders of the Beeb, keeping Brown sweet I suppose.

  • 19.
  • At 10:14 AM on 18 Mar 2008,
  • steve wrote:

the interview with Butler was a sham. The smug, sneering face of this attack dog for Blair made my blood boil, he had a smirk on his face for the whole interview. Why didn't Jeremy say to him 'Lord Butler why are you smiling, doesn't the deaths of 188 squaddies concern you, or 600 thousand Iraqui's....'something like that but to let him ramble on with all the tired, discredited cliches was sickening. Channel four gave this disaster some depth in it's excellent programme on Sunday evening. This used to be BBC territory but after Hutton they have become lame puppies, where is the reporting zeal that used to stalk the corriders of the Beeb, keeping Brown sweet I suppose.

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