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Prospects for Monday, 12 May 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 12 May 08, 10:17 AM

Good morning. Here's today's e-mail to the production team from output editor Simon Enright:

Hello All,

"I don't feel anger just sorrow for the parent's of our son's killer." The dignity with which the parents of Jimmy Mizen have spoken about him and the horrible way in which he died is striking. Sadly they are not the only parents to be dealing with the death of their teenage children AND it appears to be other teenagers who are carrying out the killing. Stopping these awful crimes was one of the main promises of Boris Johnson but how would you do it? Who are the people best placed to know and can we get them to debate on the programme?

But there are other things around... Burma, Gordon Brown's state of mind - does it matter if he's enjoying himself or not? Embryology debate?

We also have a piece trying to measure the real cost of inflation. All the papers are doing it but how accurate are their assessments? Hugh Milbourn and Gillian Lacey Solimar on the case.

As always looking for good ideas and thoughts. See you at 10.30.



  • Comment number 1.

    (Memoir-gate and the causes of Memoir-gate)

    Human mentality, perhaps particularly British mentality, when combined with party politics, brings about elevation of weak, unwise and even dangerous individuals to positions of power and influence; positions that they are unsuited to, and unqualified for.

    It is part of the paradox of complex human behaviour, that the inherently immature can rise in social ranking by maximising factors such as display and educational success. They take on a false persona in the interest of survival, but insecurity lingers.
    Political parties share an ever-present fear of loss of power; they too, in a word, are insecure. Hence they prize a level of quick, alert thinking and/or persuasive appeal and, poignantly, this is often present in individuals who are viscerally defensive.

    Under the UK system, power-orientated, insecure parties accept or select aspiring candidates for office as MPs, who share precisely those attributes. The voters are then presented with a choice of the “poor in spirit” of each party-persuasion, to choose
    between, and to vote for.

    Small wonder that The Commons performs in such a bizarre and inefficient way, that individual dissent is rarely heard and that group rebellion only manifests in extreme circumstances.

    The current rash of memoirs and diaries, from some in “high places”, serves to highlight the UNDERLYING mentality (immature, needy, petty) that typifies our leaders, their minions and their beloved close advisers. Britain’s party political system isn’t working; Britain is thereby the poorer.

    There is no sign that this situation will improve, as it is self-perpetuating in a negative direction. Just as alcohol is so infused into our culture that no one will characterise it as a scourge, so is the idea that “employment” (as opposed to a positive, competent life) now driving early nurture and schooling. (Schooling should never be confused with education.) It is a painful irony that such preparation for life will inexorably yield a source of narrow, disturbed individuals, from whom the parties may draw their next adherents.

    Finally: it is unlikely we shall be rescued by the rise of women in parliament. A Harvard study has shown that even the “Sacred Feminine” is eclipsed under an ethos where, effectively, nothing is sacred.

  • Comment number 2.

    Simon, may i ask one question on the street-murders issue? Where is the description of the offender? And if the police haven't released one, why is Newsnight not hammering the door down to demand one? There were several witnesses. I happen to know that the police know the name in this case and that he is known to them. And yet all the voter/taxpayer is told, is that police are appealing to a middle-aged man who witnessed the attack, to come forward. As you know perfectly well, politicians, police and you in the media are far more interested in managing the racial perceptions of these cases than in catching the culprits.
    By all means enjoy your place on the media, but please don't insult our intelligence by asking 'What can we (or Boris J) do about these awful crimes?' You could start by reporting the full facts.

  • Comment number 3.

    To Barrie #1

    Have you got anything positive to say? Any eloquent solutions?

  • Comment number 4.


    I make a point of not having a go if I have no solution to suggest. (Unless I am behaving badly.)

    Click on "Visonary Stuff" (not as arrogant as it looks) at website

  • Comment number 5.

    Note to Simon and others...
    Please listen again (if you can bear it, I cant!) to Victoria Derbyshires appalling and unforgivable questioning of Mrs Mizen who appeared on this mornings programme on 5 live. I urge all those who heard the show and those who listen again as well as those reading this blog entry to complain vociferously about the disgusting Ms Derbyshire. Both as a statement of support for a grieving mother and as a protest against the sackable misjudgement Ms Derbyshire and her production team displayed this morning. I am not a religous person, but to question the grief of a mother 48 hours after the brutal murder of her son was a new low for 5 live and should not be accepted or tolerated.

  • Comment number 6.

    Who'd have thought 10-20 yrs ago that children would be killing each other at the rate of one per week?

    There are serious problems with society's attitude towards children. It is not an accident that a significant minority are behaving in such a violent aggressive manner.

    Teenagers need as much care as toddlers yet we chuck them out on the street, let them fend for themselves, hardly ever speak to them, give them all the culpability and no responsibility. It is no surprise that without adequate nurturing that they create their own 'family' model, based around primitive impulses like the protection of territory and assertion of physical superiority.

    We expect them to behave like empathetic adults spontaneously yet the teenage frontal lobe is insufficiently developed to understand empathy and many boys lack suitable mentors to learn by example.

    We expect them to have ambition yet do not supply them with the tools to achieve.

    We say they should be respectful to their elders yet their elders never spend any time with them, always too busy or too tired.

    We expect un academic children to live in a vacuum, 'no ball games, no drink, no smoking, no work no skills no life'

    It is time for the government to adopt a holistic approach to battle this problem.

    Teenagers Need:

    1.Someone to talk to - a parent at home is best, youth clubs second best. Parents need to be able to spend more time with their kids. Kids need proper alternatives to academia.Call for the minister for Work and Pensions: James Purnell and the minister for education: Ed Balls.

    2. Proper assessment of their psychological needs. We know that toddlers that spend long hours away from their parents are more aggressive. What are the effects of this on teenagers? Call on the minister for Health: Alan Johnson. Bring on experts like Rob Senior - Clinical Psychiatrist - The Tavistock Centre - Family Department.

    Society needs to realise that what is happening to some teenagers is a direct response to the way they are being treated. What happens to a domestic animal when forced to live as a wild one? They rely on primal survival instincts why are we treating our children this way?

  • Comment number 7.

    Happy 58th Birthday to Paxo he shares his star sign with Pat Butcher aka EastEnders and hairstyle too !

    x x

  • Comment number 8.


    The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust have identified a list of ills under the “weakness and evils” of society. I maintain (and have done so since 1995) that the one ROOT CAUSE is individual social competence (incompetence). By this I mean: the quality of what goes on inside each head and what goes on between heads and groups of heads, from birth to death, in the home, school, workplace, governance and every other walk of life.

    The time between birth and puberty, a time when acquisition of SKILLS FOR A STABLE LIFE is paramount, shrinks inexorably. It is increasingly given over to the interests of Mammon, as politicians are obsessed with material output and GDP.
    Below, I copy the Rowntree “Weakness and Evil” list. These troubles can only be tackled if a critical mass of individuals WORLDWIDE mature to full adulthood. My specific approach might not prove viable but I would need a lot of convincing that the problem is not as I have outlined.

    · decline of community;
    · individualism;
    · consumerism and greed;
    · decline of values;
    · decline of the family
    · young people as victims or perpetrators;
    · drugs and alcohol;
    · poverty and inequality;
    · immigration and responses to immigration;
    · crime and violence.

  • Comment number 9.


    Nothing to add.

  • Comment number 10.

    Re-5. Hi johncawley.
    Perfectly put if I may say so. But just as this is not the time to press the bereaved family on their feelings, it most definitely IS the time for all available attention to be focussed on catching the person responsible. For me, it's very much part of the same policy being enforced right across the media/political world. If you're forbidden to lead on the actual events, the massive media schedules remain to be filled with material related to the issue. Thus we have the emphasis on eulogising the victims, being told how much they had to live for etc., and from this, it's but a short step to the Victoria Derbyshire interview that you mention. And to be fair to Victoria, the victim's mother in this particular case, has chosen to make herself available to the press and to talk about her son quite widely; and this may be her way of beginning to deal with her loss. But you're bang on IMO.

  • Comment number 11.

    nulabour tough on crime tough on the causes of crime, what a sick hollow soundbite.

    come the next joke election /selection should we be tough on slime tough on the causes of slime.

    the recent rash of trash/gash coming from the blairs, levy and prescott shows how slimey they all are, can anyone? believe anything? any of them? say/write, call me sinical/cynical I Dont believe a bloody (plenty of that under nulabour) word, spot the braincell / self interest on those who do

  • Comment number 12.

    Re browns state of mind its brown


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