Talk about Newsnight

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Tuesday, 10 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Jun 08, 06:03 PM

42 days
From 28 days to 42. What are the chances of success for Gordon Brown with the serried ranks of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and some Labour backbenchers implacably opposed to this key part of the Government's Counter-Terrorism Bill?

brown_42.jpgTomorrow's debate could be a defining moment for Gordon Brown's premiership, but far from bringing more MPs onside, opposition may be hardening with key players bolstering the case against - the DPP Sir Ken MacDonald, the Lord Advocate in Scotland Eilish Angiolini, the former Justice Secretary Lord Falconer, and the former Prime Minister John Major.

On the other side - the Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, the independent reviewer of terror laws Lord Carlile, the Chair of the British Muslim Forum, Khurshid Ahmed and the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Tonight we will be doing the parliamentary arithmetic and asking whether Gordon Brown has made an effective case for 42 day detention, and if he fails is it a matter of confidence?

Why is it that the NHS in England and Wales insists that if you pay for any part of your treatment privately then you are barred from NHS care for that condition from that point on? The papers have revealed countless cases recently of people who've topped up the care and landed themselves with a bill. We know that Lord Darzi is producing a report for the government on future care but will he deal with this issue? Paul Mason is investigating and we'll debate the issue with leading proponents from both sides.
Join our NHS debate here.

Kirsty is also just interviewing President Museveni of Uganda - one of Africa's most senior leaders. He recently visited Zimbabwe and with opposition leaders there worried that elections will be neither free nor fair. She'll be questioning this friend of Mugabe about what next for the country.

The Pump
Finally here at Newsnight we've adopted a petrol station. With growing concern about the price of goods we wanted to hear views from the pump. If you too are feeling the credit crunch - and with news today that many home-owners are facing negative equity there must many of you - then please put your comments at the pump below.


  • Comment number 1.


    The spectacle of the pompous John Major pontificating in clipped prissy tones, with such utterances as: 'in my judgement' and 'thus far', while declaring (with a nod to Mandy Rice Davis) that an MP's personal life is not relevant to his Westminster function, is in wonderful contrast to the Brown Bear shambling through the woods, unable even to decide where to dump. That the BBC calls on the former to appraise the latter is right off the Bremner Scale of Satire, but it does serve to point up the damaged nature of the typical Prime Minister, emergent under our dire system.

  • Comment number 2.


    Might Kirsty ask the Ugandan President for an honest comment on Britain and the British?

  • Comment number 3.


    Did I hear rightly? That INDEPENDENT arbitration on police pay was subject to approval by the Home Secretary all along?
    And that this fact was spelled out from the beginning? If so, it is remarkably like having your sentence lengthened is it not? Lots of court time expended, then Jacqui decides.
    Definitely nothing like British Justice; either side of the law.

  • Comment number 4.

    I wish that the 42 day controversy had lasted only 42 days. This issue, and the wider complex of civil liberty issues like ID cards and CCTV cameras of which it is a part, acts as a sort of aesthetically enticing political sideshow for the guilty affluent middle-classes who need a cause with which to placate their consciences. The battle to keep the state free from Orwellian tentacular intrusion, and to keep citizens free from the state, distracts the attention of too many people from marginalised social questions. If the intelligentsia satisfies the ache of conscience by fighting the would-be totalitarian state, then they absolve themselves of the need to look at the part which they play in constituting a society in which the life chances of children are overwhelmingly determined by the socioeconomic status of parents. This more serious, more complex, more intractable, (and therefore) less appetizing set of issues should be the primary concern of all serious-minded progressives.
    I have written at greater length on this in my blog at (3rd post down):

  • Comment number 5.

    Any chance of getting through the discussion of 42 days without the appearance of that tired old cliché, "a recruiting sergeant"? Which of your listeners has ever come across a recruiting sergeant or would recognise one if he did?

    Brian Barder

  • Comment number 6.

    Well said Adam ! Although I'm afraid I don't think that if people stopped worrying about civil liberties and human rights then suddenly we would be able to solve the problems of poor life chances and crap education overnight.

    The situation in Bristol where the life chances of over 2/3 of kids in a raft of schools have the kibosh put on them before they are 16 is truly scandalous - and surely merits firing the local education authority and having a replacement solution better than offering BAE Systems a chance to take them over.

    What are they hoping ? That they'll become second-hand arms dealers ?

  • Comment number 7.

    "Newsnight", once, used to be a 'news' programme of repute, but is now a programme which regularly triggers my 'mute'-button-pressing finger.

    There's the attempt, by "Newsnight" and the 'BBC', to ingratiate itself with the public using the pointless "NHS at 60" "BBC News" pages, the highly-uninformative "Parish Pump" feature, the tedious guy who produces the "comedic" light-hearted reports (no surprise I can't remember his name) and the continued illiteracy in all of the graphics.

  • Comment number 8.

    Thought you should have given more time to the 42 days.

    The AU Ugandan President (Museveni?) was interesting but he was never going to slag off the Mugabe to the BBC even if the latter is committing atrocities.

    That said it would have added pressure and so is commendable but probably of limited value.

    Thought you could have lost the NHS story for a day. Then again if the government lose tomorrow on 42 days ....

  • Comment number 9.

    We all know each side to the argument for the 42 days law !

    Why not get down to the grit and the question why this law has not got a Sunset Claws in it ?

    How many years into the future do they see the need of this law ?

    Personally I want to know if I will be able to pass the same amount of Liberties to my children as my parents passed on to me !

  • Comment number 10.

    What was shameful was the way we were told that MPs were, or would, sell out their principals for other advantages. PO saved etc. or the Ulster U, would sell their votes. I would be a useless politician I have principals and would not sell one out to advantage me or a different principal.

    If that report had even a smidgen of truth to it no wonder politicians are so widely despised. So much for the rubbish they spout about their motives.

    Blackmail and political bribery, like being run by a form of mafia. Lock up all MPs that support 42 days for 42 years!

  • Comment number 11.

    barriesingleton wrote: "Might Kirsty ask the Ugandan President for an honest comment on Britain and the British? "

    I wish she would. Once the British people here the contempt, resentment and down right racist views most African leaders have for us we might be less inclined into being guilt tripped into paying more 'charity' into their swiss bank accounts.

  • Comment number 12.

    Could someone tell kirsty plase that 'refute' does not mean the same as 'deny'. To refute something you need to show evidence that it is incorrect

    John P

  • Comment number 13.

    Caught up on Tuesday's edition on the strength of the Museveni interview - been busy but wanted to see that.

    Good edition all round I thought. The NHS story new to me, the Parish Pump usually just the sort of thing I usually hate but it was fine and I was glad I watched it.

    The Museveni interview pretty well what one could expect, most telling perhaps been the long pan back of the president sat comfy in his chair - right, call his figure ample.

    Actually I lost some of it because I paused the netcast to make a note and when I tried to restart I got shunted by tonight's (Wednesday) program. One for your tech boys perhaps.

  • Comment number 14.

    42 DAYS

    It is now 42 days, until when? Next time is going to 90 days, 1 year...

  • Comment number 15.


    I think it is UNFAIR that if you purchase you own medical condition. Then you are not entitled to the NHS services.

    That is a double-standard.

    Go outside of the united kingdom for medical care...

  • Comment number 16.


    What is next for Uganda and Zimbabwe....

    I hope that the continent of Africa, will be productive one day.

  • Comment number 17.


    The price of petrol [gas] will never be that low..

    I know that in the United States of America, in the State of New York, we are paying over $ 4.00 dollars a gallon of petrol [gas].

    I know it costs more in Europe.


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