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Friday, 30 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 30 May 08, 06:26 PM

Terror, consent and ticking timebombs

binyam_203100.jpgThe last Briton in Guantanamo Bay has just been charged with terrorism under its Military Tribunal. Binyam Mohammed - who says he was tortured in Morocco under extraordinary rendition - could now face the death penalty. We don't know, to be frank, if he's a terrorist. But we do know that when the very practices used by the West face eyebrow raising scrutiny, and questions of legality, the so-called War on Terror itself is in danger of being undermined.

Tonight we talk to the author of Terror and Consent - a philosophical roadmap for fighting the often intangible issue of terrorism. We ask Philip Bobbitt what methods should and could be used to protect ourselves whilst retaining the values that allow civil societies to hold their heads high.


Earlier this week the prime minister called this week the "third great oil shock" of our times. It's been an extraordinary few days. New price highs, the first haulier protests against petrol tax since 2000, pan-European demonstrations and promises by the government to help those in fuel poverty. We look back on whether we've just witnessed what might - in years to come - be seen as the week oil tipped us into recession. We'll also be speaking to a man who believes this will be the last oil shock.


It's the perfect script for a John Grisham novel - the underdog abandoned by a corrupt government - and the elaborate conspiracy to cover it all up. Tonight we look at the revelations that Harold Macmillan - in the year before he became prime minister - opposed a public health campaign on the dangers of smoking. He argued, as chancellor, that he needed the tax revenue from cigarettes and didn't believe the scientific evidence of the time was strong enough anyway. But it's enough to make you wonder what dangers we're ignoring today on the basis of useful taxation revenue.

Oil shocks

  • Newsnight
  • 30 May 08, 01:35 PM


If there has been one dominating theme this week, it's been oil. The price of it. The tax on it. The availability of it. It could be enough to make or break a government - and not only in the UK.

Thousands of fishermen in Spain have gone on strike today over the rising cost of fuel - there's also unrest in other parts of Europe.

And of course, the week began with protests in the UK, as lorry drivers took to the streets over government plans for a two pence rise in fuel tax.

The government has said it is listening. The prime minister and his chancellor, Alistair Darling, have met with oil producers to discuss an increase in production.

And fuel poverty is another factor on the government's well-greased oil radar - plans were unveiled today aimed at helping people on low incomes pay their fuel bills.

Are we in the middle of the third great oil shock? Newsnight will debate tonight - but we'd like to hear your stories of how the price of oil has affected your behaviour.

Our colleagues on the Have Your Say site have also been collating views on the fuel poverty plans, and you can watch Newsnight's coverage of the week's oil-related stories on iPlayer (UK viewers only).

Post your thoughts here...

Prospects for Friday, 30 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 30 May 08, 10:45 AM

From today's output editor, Robert Morgan:

Hello everyone,

We've got a few good stories around today. There's the continuing fuel prices story, Brown's travails, 42 days, and the AQ Khan interview. The Macmillan story is quite extraordinary. Peter Marshall also has a really strong story for tonight which I'll tell you more about in the meeting.

Do come to the meeting with ideas on how to do these or any other stories.

See you in a minute,


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