Talk about Newsnight

A blog and forum.

Wednesday, 7 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 7 May 08, 05:27 PM

Hello All,

airport_security203.jpgOur lead report tonight is about airport security. You'll be reassured to know that those working airside have criminal record checks. That is apart from one group - foreign nationals. Believe or believe it not the government say they don't check their criminal records because, they tell us, it would be too complicated and cause delays. Are we sure this is good enough? The Conservatives don't think so. Jeremy will be asking the minister tonight.

We're also live in the US tonight after Barack Obama soundly beat Hillary Clinton in the North Carolina primary. He also ran her incredibly close in Indiana. Is this game over for Hillary now and when should she throw in the towel? Peter Marshall reports.

Is Labour backing the idea of holding a referendum on independence for Scotland? That's what we thought Wendy Alexander - leader of Labour in Scotland - was saying on Sunday and Monday. But that doesn't seem to be what Gordon Brown thinks she was saying. What should we believe? Michael Crick will explain all.

Finally as trailed earlier, the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband is on the programme after outlining his vision for a low carbon future in the "Ralph Miliband" lecture. He's agreed to answer your questions - and Jeremy's. We've had lots - check them out here - and we'll make sure that he has enough time to answer a fair few. He's also agreed to continue answering your questions online tomorrow so please do give us your thoughts.

Do join Jeremy at 10.30 pm.

Simon Enright

Memories of The Great White City

  • Newsnight
  • 7 May 08, 02:24 PM

Madeleine Holt, Culture Correspondent

whitecity2.jpgThe year is 1908 and everyone is talking about "going to the 'Franco".
"The what?" you might ask. Well, it was nothing to do with Spain for a start. In fact, it was all about good relations between France and Britain: the Franco-British Exhibition.

It took place on the exact spot where I am writing this now - at BBC Television Centre in White City in West London. It amounted to a vast fantasy land of white plaster palaces, waterways and trade pavilions. The whole effect was so striking that visitors nicknamed the landscape the Great White City. The buildings are no more, but the name has stuck.

whitecity1.jpgThis massive Edwardian "expo" was first suggested by the French to celebrate the 1904 Entente Cordiale. Exhibitions had been in vogue since the Great Exhibition of 1851 - so why not stage something to show off the industrial and cultural achievements of both Britain and France?

The creative vision came from an astonishing Hungarian émigré, Imre Kiralfy. A former showman, he'd already masterminded shows at Earls Court and Olympia as well as Chicago and Paris.

whitecity3.jpgThe "Franco" surpassed all Kiralfy had done before. He constructed some of the most ornate buildings Britain has ever seen. 140 acres of marshy farmland were acquired and within 18 months a team of up to 12,000 workers had built 20 extraordinary palaces (complete with a central lagoon where you could take a trip on a swan boat), 120 exhibition buildings, an entire Irish village, and a scenic railway. Then there was the "Flip Flap" - a mind-altering joy ride that was so high you could see as far as Windsor Castle. It became the source of many a popular song.

whitecity4.jpgThe exhibition ran from May 14th 1908 until October 31st. Royalty came, the French president, a Russian Grand Duchess and incredible eight and a half million people - many of them working class families who could just afford the underground fare and the shilling entrance fee. People would talk for years about their trip to "the Franco".

You can watch Newsnight's Great White City film here.

England's "dream" chance as Croatia drop out of Euro2008

  • Paul Mason
  • 7 May 08, 12:04 PM

Fabio Capello has been given the target of making the semi-finals in World Cup 2010 in exchange for his £6m contract. Dream on. Shorter term, however, England fans will have to endure a full month of silky-skilled humiliation as our entire TV network goes football crazy for Euro 2008, and we are not there.

For me it's just too much: so I have decided to experience the whole Euro footy tournament in a parallel world, into which I invite readers of Idle Scrawl/Xian Ren San Ji (confused? start here).

As of now, Croatia have just dropped out, England are back in and all their fixtures will be played here in the Newsnight office, using Subbuteo. The first fixture begins on 8 June, at 1800. In the meantime, Fabio and the squad will be warming up with a friendly against the EZLN guerillas of Chiapas, Mexico, who are still waiting to play their long-advertised fixture with Internazionale.

Now all we have to worry about is Wayne Rooney's hip as someone in the office has already stood on him - we are supergluing right now.

David Miliband on Newsnight

  • Newsnight
  • 7 May 08, 11:59 AM

miliband_nn_203203.jpgTonight Jeremy will be talking to the Foreign Secretary David Miliband live in the studio after he delivers what promises to be a radical speech on transforming Britain into a low-Carbon economy.

He argues that this is the only solution to the problems of spiralling energy and food prices as well as water shortages.

But will the shift to low carbon economy mean difficult decisions for all of us - especially the government - about how we live our lives?

If you have a question you'd like to put to David Miliband on this, or any other issue relevant to the Foreign Secretary then please let us know.

Read David Miliband's answers here.

Prospects for Wednesday, 7 May

  • Newsnight
  • 7 May 08, 10:27 AM

Today's programme producer is Simon Enright - here's his morning e-mail to the production team...

Hello All,

There really is lots around today....

Jackie Long and Meirion have a strong piece of original journalism about airport security. We hope the government will speak to us off the back.

Could we have finally seen the Democratic nomination decided? Has Obama done enough? Are there any circumstances conceivable where Hillary can still win? Peter Marshall is in Washington.

We've also got David Miliband on the programme - off the back of his climate change speech.

What else should we do to push the agenda?

PMQs will be interesting...
Will the government be damaged by ignoring the advice of the ctte it set up to look into the issue of cannabis?
What is it that we should do on Burma that other parts of BBC News are not?
How do we mark the transfer of power in Russia?

All the best


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites