Talk about Newsnight

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Tuesday, 3 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jun 08, 05:30 PM

From tonight's presenter, Gavin Esler:

clintons_nn_203enlarge.jpgClinton and Obama
Is it finally the end of the road for Hillary? And have the Democrats chosen the right person? We'll have the latest from the final US primaries.

Eat your Greens
Is going vegetarian the answer to the world's food problems? Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN climate agency, thinks so. We'll discuss.
Click here to join the debate

The Winners
Some people are doing well out of the credit crunch. Who are they? And would they lend me a tenner?
Watch last night's report on The Losers

The RSPCA says we have an increasing problem with dangerous dogs. Why?

When did the Lib Dems last lose a seat in a by-election?

  • Michael Crick
  • 3 Jun 08, 05:02 PM

The answer to the question in yesterday's post is the 1957 Carmarthen by-election, which many Liberals regard as the nadir of their party's fortunes (they were left with just five seats in the Commons).

The wound hurt all the more for two reasons: 1) It was delivered by Megan Lloyd-George, daughter of the great Liberal Prime Minister, who had defected to the Labour Party before the 1955 General Election; and 2) One of the issues was the Suez war which the Liberal Party opposed but its candidate supported.

Prior to that there was the October 1934 Lambeth North by-election, also a loss to Labour. The last by-election loss to the Conservatives was the March 1926 Combined English Universities by-election.

If Mark Oaten is negotiating, his hand is very strong. A loss to the Conservatives at a by-election would be almost impossible for his party to explain away.

Is it time to turn vegetarian?

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jun 08, 12:30 PM

"The best solution would be for us all to become vegetarians".

cow2_203100.jpgSo suggested the head of the UN climate agency, Yvo de Boer, who is attending UN-led climate talks in Germany this week. He was responding to criticism that measures to tackle climate change are partly to blame for the rise in food and energy costs. Carbon-cutting biofuels, for example, use food crops to make alternatives to gasoline.

Meanwhile, Patrick Wall, chairman of the European Food Safety Authority, has questioned whether it is "morally or ethically correct" to be feeding grain to animals while people starve. Speaking to the Times, he argued that it's time to end the EU ban on the use of animal remains to feed pigs and chickens. Lifting the ban would allow grain to be diverted to millions of starving people.

And the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, hosting a much publicised summit in Rome this week, has warned of global catastrophe unless food reaches parts of the world where it is needed most.

So, does the global food crisis demand a radical rethink of how we distribute food? Should we worry less about feeding our animals and prioritise getting grain to people suffering food shortages - even if that affects the availability of meat?

Is it time for us all to become vegetarian? Leave your comments below.

And remember when Ethical Man went vegan for a month to reduce his carbon footprint? Watch again here:

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Prospects for Tuesday, 3 June, 08

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jun 08, 10:24 AM

Today's programme producer is Shaminder Nahal. Here's her morning e-mail to the production team:

clintons_nn_203100.jpgAt 10:30 tonight, we could be hours away from closure in the fight for the Democratic nomination in the US. Or we could not. But anyway, the last Democratic primaries are being held today in Montana and South Dakota. When will Hillary leave the stage? What are the super delegates going to do? Shall we discuss Bill Clinton's extraordinary comments on "the bias of the media for Obama" and his view that "this has been the most rigged coverage in modern history"?

Forty world leaders (including Robert Mugabe) are descending on Rome to try and work out how to solve the global food crisis. What should we do on this?

The Burma Campaign has published its dirty list of companies that trade/invest with Burma. Should we name and shame them?

Ryanair has announced a 20 per cent rise in its net profits for the last financial year. But its chief executive, Michael O'Leary, says if oil prices don't fall, he only expects the airline to break even this year. Is cheap air travel dead?

The RSPCA is worried about dangerous dogs. Are you? What does the apparent increase in ownership of dangerous dogs tell us about ourselves?

And: Olmert is Washington - his farewell tour? Maths standards are down. We'll know the details of the 42 days concessions.

And the upside of the downturn. Part two of our mini-series on the winners and losers in the credit-crunched world. Gillian Lacey-Solymar explains why the economic slump is good news if you sell lipsticks or cushions, and if your work-place is in need of some Dunkirk spirit.

See you in a minute,

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