Talk about Newsnight


Is the BBC to blame for attacks on Poles?

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Jun 08, 12:58 PM

The BBC is to blame for an increase in attacks on Poles, according to a Conservative MP.

Daniel Kawczynski told BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning: "The liberal elite of the BBC are using the Poles as a cat's paw in a politically correct world to talk about immigration because you won't do stories about more controversial immigrants. You always focus on Poles.

"And as a result of that, Mr Humphrys, there are increased attacks on Poles in this country."

Listen to the interview here.

Is the BBC really to blame? Leave your comments below.

Reaction to disasters in China and Burma

  • Newsnight
  • 14 May 08, 03:15 PM

china_quake203.jpgTwo big disasters in Burma and China have hit in recent days causing massive causalities.

But are they having the same impact on us compared to the Asian Tsunami in 2004?

If not why is that?

Blogging - a new era

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Apr 08, 05:49 PM

blog203.jpgAs many of you who've used the BBC's blogs will know, it has for some months been a deeply frustrating experience, not just for you but for us too.

The point of blogging about our programmes is to have a swift and informal conversation with our viewers. That's impossible if it takes hours to get your comment or our response through.

I'm relieved to say that as of yesterday we have a new system which should be much more robust and which I hope will usher in a new era of blogging for Newsnight.

One change is that in order to comment you'll need to register by filling in a simple form.
Once signed up, you'll be able to comment on any BBC blog using the same login.

Many of you have already commented on how it's working and one or two have suggested it's designed to introduce more censorship.

That's certainly not our intention. The aim is to encourage much more open discussion about the programme and much more interaction with the programme-makers. I'm sure it isn't perfect and that you'll let us know how it could be improved.

Thanks very much to all those contributors - the Bob Goodalls, Barrie Singletons, Mistress76UKs and many others - who have persevered through all the blog problems. Apologies for all the Error 502s, and welcome to the new era.

Blog fix imminent

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Apr 08, 04:32 PM

Blog closed temporarilyFrom 1800 this evening (UK time), we'll be doing some essential maintenance to the blog. As a result of this, you won't be able to leave any comments on our blog posts from that time until Thursday morning and the comments function on all old posts will close. We apologise for any inconvenience.

The work will fix the very frustrating problems we've encountered for some time now with the whole comments system.

From Thursday a new system will be in place - this will mean you will need to complete a simple registration form in order to post a comment on the blog. Once signed up, you will be able to comment on all BBC blogs using the same login. There will be more details in the morning. In the meantime - if you wish to comment on the programme you can email us via

Are supermarkets to blame?

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Apr 08, 01:58 PM

sainsburys203x100.jpgSupermarkets are often portrayed as the bad guys when it comes to the environment.

Critics point to the excessive amount of packaging used for food, the millions of plastic bags handed out to shoppers and the flying in of produce from all over the world.

Tonight on Newsnight, the Chief Executive of Sainsbury's, Justin King, defends the supermarket's record.

And he accuses the government of chasing headlines rather than focussing on the evidence and actual solutions.

Environment Minister Joan Ruddock will be on hand to defend the government’s position.

It’s one of the most important issues around at the moment – and tonight we have the two key players in a live debate

So what questions would you like us to ask them?


From 1800 this evening (UK time), we'll be doing some essential maintenance to the blog. As a result of this, you won't be able to leave any comments on our blog posts from that time until early Thursday morning. However, you can still email us your questions by clicking here (or send to with the subject header 'supermarkets').

Unsustainable world?

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Apr 08, 06:27 PM

TractorIn a short series of reports and debates this week we're look at issues of sustainability and our use of natural resources. On Monday we focus on the controversy surrounding biofuel. Tuesday's programme is devoted to food. How do we feed the world in the future amid rising populations, rising food prices and climate change? We look at the issue of recent food riots in many countries and ask what the solution is to shortages. And we have a report on how much food UK families are guilty of wasting. Finally, on Wednesday, we have a personal film from the CEO of Sainsbury's, Justin King. He'll be discussing the supermarkets' role in sustainability - and why it's not all about plastic bags.

But what are your thoughts about the issues? You can join in the debates below...

Blog problems - a solution is nigh

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Apr 08, 11:40 AM

blog502error.jpgAnyone who regularly reads the Newsnight blog will know that we have suffered from a series of technical problems for some time now. Comments disappear, the dreaded 502 'not available' message appears, and multiple copies of comments get submitted in error. (More on the problems here.)

Well, to much relief (not least here at Newsnight), a solution is about to be unveiled.

In the very near future the comments system that causes all the problems is being replaced by a BBC-wide system.

Under the new system, anyone wishing to leave a comment will need to sign in - a relatively swift and painless affair that comes with the added bonus of enabling you to leave your thoughts on blogs and message boards across all BBC websites.

Finally, we hope to revamp and relaunch the whole Newsnight blog shortly, with more bloggers, more variety, and the odd bit of video thrown in. But one step at a time...

We'll update you on the changes next week.

10 Days to War: Tell us what you think

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Mar 08, 06:17 PM

10 Days to War logoFrom 10 to 19 March before Newsnight each night BBC Two is showing a series of mini-films dramatising the build up to the start of the Iraq war.

Editor Peter Barron explained why Newsnight has supported these dramas on his blog. The lead up to war in Iraq is one of the most requested stories Newsnight receives and we've covered it extensively over the last five years.

Through drama we get an opportunity to focus on stories that otherwise we could do not either because cameras were not present or key people in the events do not want to be appear directly. Drama is also a way to reach an audience that would not normally watch the documentaries or news programmes.

We're keen to hear what you think of 10 Days to War. The purpose to the stories is to explore how we went to war, not why. Have you found them gripping? Have you discovered something new? Have you wanted to find out more or watch them again online? Can you not wait for the next one? Or perhaps you've hated them. Tell us here.

We want to know what you think of the dramas, please - not the decision to go to war.

Getting rid of plastic shopping bags - is it a no-brainer?

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Feb 08, 12:13 PM

bags203.jpgThere's a growing war on plastic shopping bags. Marks and Spencer plans to charge customers 5p for them in an effort to reduce demand. The Irish government introduced a consumer plastic bag tax in 2002 and says use fell by more than 90%. Even China - not often regarded as a leading light on environmental issues - has banned ultra-thin bags and free bags will be banned from June this year. One of the country's leading plastic bag manufacturers has closed down as a result.

So isn't it now a no-brainer that the UK followed suit?

Sharia Law debate - Newswatch

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Feb 08, 04:06 PM


A number of viewers were unhappy with the Sharia law discussion we held last week (watch it here) with Douglas Murray from the Centre for Social Cohesion, Professor Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University, and the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Hulme.

Editor Peter Barron went on the BBC's Newswatch to discuss the debate and coverage. Watch the programme here.

Has reaction to the Archbishop's Sharia law comments been Islamophobic?

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Feb 08, 10:32 AM

Dr Rowan WilliamsPoliticians from all the main parties have criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for suggesting that elements of Islamic law might be recognised in Britain. Some senior Anglican priests have defended his remarks - saying Dr Rowan Williams was talking about decisions relating to marriage and property, not crimes or questions of belief.

Has the response to the Archbishop's comments been Islamophobic or does this pose a genuine threat to British culture?

We'll discuss the issues on the programme tonight - leave your thoughts below.

Is the Diana inquest a waste of time and money?

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Jan 08, 11:16 AM

diana203x100.jpgTen years on an we're still reading tawdry headlines about Princess Diana.

So far her long-awaited inquest has heard a host of reheated conspiracy theories and evidence has included vital details such as:

Diana was called "a whore"

An "alternative therapist" believed Prince Philip wrote "cruel and disparaging" letters to the Princess

Diana had contraceptive pills in her possession, a witness claimed

A holistic healer claimed Diana's driver Henri Paul was a "maniac"

Do we really need to pay millions of public money for such details? Is the inquest a necessary exercise in transparency, or has it become a shameful circus? Let us know what you think..

The case against traffic lights

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Jan 08, 12:57 PM

redlight203.jpgDo we need traffic lights? Campaigner Martin Cassini doesn't think so. He says, "They take our eyes off the road. They make us stop when it's safe to go. They increase journey times. They maximise congestion, which costs the economy £20bn a year. They maximise emissions and fuel use from the stop-start drive cycle. They deface streetscapes. They cost the earth to install and run".

Read his full article on why they should go and the system of "peaceful anarchy" he says should replace them - and watch his highly entertaining report tonight.

But what do you think - has he got a point?

Have attitudes to sex changed?

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Dec 07, 12:11 PM

Have British attitudes towards paying for sex changed?

sex203x100.jpgThis morning the leader of the commons Harriet Harman called for sex payments to be made illegal.

She's worried about the increase in the international trafficking of women.

But is outlawing paying for sex the best way of tackling this problem and is there a wider attitude towards sex and money that need to change? We want to hear your views.

Nick Clegg and Colin Firth

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Dec 07, 06:38 PM

firth203x100.jpgIt’s been a fairly prized day for Nick Clegg, and not just for winning the Lib Dem leadership contest. He has won himself another title as some of the Newsnight female staff have commented on his striking resemblance to Mr Darcy, aka Colin Firth.

Frequent images of Clegg on the news throughout the day prompted one of the ladies to spark off this debate. Maybe it’s the skin colour, the slightly foppy brown hair or the suit and tie that recalls that Bridget Jones moment.

Do join in the debate and let us know what you think – would you swoon if you saw Nick Clegg walking towards you in a sodden shirt?

Crime and statistics

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Dec 07, 02:35 PM

crime_generic.jpgThe statistics tell us that crime is falling. Politicians tell us that we are now less likely to become victims of crime.

It’s a rosy picture – but is it accurate? Are we really safer? Or is crime still an issue which keeps us awake at night? Ahead of our special report from the Wythenshawe estate we’d like to hear from you about your experience – is crime really under control?

Stern climate questions

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Nov 07, 11:57 AM

The Grey Glacier in Chile falling into the seaLast autumn, former Treasury mandarin and World Bank Chief Economist, Sir Nicholas Stern warned the world of the economic and social costs of climate change. (Watch his 2006 LSE lecture and Jeremy’s interview with him from January this year.) The former World Bank chief economist argued that unabated climate change would cost the world at least 5% of GDP each year; if more dramatic predictions came to pass, he said, the cost could be more than 20% of GDP. (The Stern Review)

Sir Nicholas is now warning of the consequences of failure at the Bali conference on climate change which begins next week. Tonight Newsnight has an exclusive interview with Sir Nicholas Stern. What questions would you like us to ask him?

What's the future of the BBC?

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Oct 07, 11:17 AM

thompson203100.jpgOn Wednesday BBC director general Mark Thompson submits plans for the corporation's future to the governing body, the BBC Trust.

Staff will hear of his proposals on Thursday - but it is rumoured they will include up to 2,800 jobs cuts as Thompson attempts to deal with a £2bn budget shortfall caused by a smaller than hoped-for licence fee settlement.

BBC News and factual TV - which makes programmes such as Planet Earth - are expected to bear the brunt of the cuts. The corporation may even sell Television Centre, its landmark west London studio complex.

What do these changes mean for the future of the BBC? Has it become too big - does its influence across television, radio and online need to be curbed? Or is there a risk that more staff cuts, especially in news and documentaries, may damage the BBC's central purpose - public service broadcasting?

Was Sir Menzies right to go?

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Oct 07, 03:58 PM

menzies203100.jpgFormer leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Menzies Campbell has told BBC News that he was "irritated and frustrated" at his treatment by parts of the media, claiming some of them were "obsessed" with his age. He stood down, he said, in the interests of the party.

Speaking to Political Editor Nick Robinson he said he regretted not being able to fight a general election as leader.

"I think our policies and our principles and our values would have been right at the very centre of the political agenda. What we call fair, free and green -- fair on taxation; free, dealing with this authoritarian Labour government; and green of course, putting the environment right at the very centre."

He also suggested that some members of his party should not have spoken out publicly in the way they had prior to his resignation.

So was Sir Menzies right to have resigned? Was the media overly obsessed by his age - or had he lost the support of key party members?

Do politicians have the answers to climate change?

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Sep 07, 03:57 PM

EarthTonight on Newsnight we have convened a focus group to look at how politicians from the leading parties perform on environmental issues.

US pollster, Frank Luntz asked a group of sceptics and believers how important policies on the environment were to them. We'd like to know what you think.

Are you willing to pay more in green taxes? Will environmental policies influence the way you vote in a general election?

Naming cats and dogs

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Sep 07, 08:51 PM

Socks the catThe Media Guardian is reporting that a former Blue Peter editor has been suspended from the BBC over allegations of another case of viewer deception following a public vote to name the programme's cat.

It's believed the name which came out as favourite among Blue Peter viewers was deemed inappropriate so the feline friend was named Socks instead by the programme. (Visit Socks' website.)

Newsnight doesn't have any pets (unless you count the mouse Jeremy claims lives in his office) but maybe we should. Maybe we'll get a dog. Only thing is we'll need a name for the pooch - any suggestions?

No prizes, just a bit of fun...


Citizens' juries

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Sep 07, 12:54 PM

gb18_9.gifGordon Brown has launched his vision of 'New Politics' to broaden consultation in goverment decisions. Security, climate change, global competition, the NHS and schools could be opened up for public debate.

Which subjects do you think should be discussed and is a public forum the best way to do this? How effective do you think these forums will be in reality?

Let us know your thoughts by filling in the form below. You can also view other comments here or watch some video blogs by clicking here.

Credit crunch

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Sep 07, 12:53 PM

Northern RockCustomers of Northern Rock are being urged to stay calm after the news that it has agreed emergency funding from the Bank of England. Northern Rock has had difficulties raising money to finance its lending, because of the squeeze in the money markets. Despite reassurances from the government and Northern Rock bosses, some people are still queuing outside branches to withdraw their savings.

Newsnight will be covering the story and its implications in detail tonight.

Do you have concerns and questions we can put to the experts on the programme tonight? Let us know.

Newsnight Special: Sir Menzies Campbell

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Sep 07, 02:04 PM

Sir Menzies CampbellSir Menzies Campbell and the Liberal Democrats have had a tough few months since Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister.

Next week, in a Newsnight special, Sir Menzies Campbell will be quizzed by our correspondents about his leadership and what he proposes for Britain. We want to know what you would like us to ask. Let us know here and we'll try and include some of your questions in the programme.

Time to cut the confusion?

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Sep 07, 01:38 PM

David Cameron's been warned not to abandon the Thatcher legacy by a former deputy Conservative leader.

ancramnn203.jpgMichael Ancram is calling for a return to what he calls “core Tory values” on tax and the family.

This broadside against the leadership can be seen as bad timing for the Conservatives – it comes on the day of another policy review and takes the shine off a positive opinion poll that suggests the party is just a percentage point behind Labour.

Are the policy reviews sending out conflicting messages? Are the Conservatives in danger of presenting confusing signals to the public?

Broken Army?

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Sep 07, 04:14 PM

armyhelmet203100.jpgOn Thursday Newsnight will be devoting the whole programme to an analysis of the state of the Army. We'll have the first broadcast interview with General Sir Mike Jackson in advance of the release of his controversial autobiography, Soldier. Mark Urban will explore whether the funding and operation commitments of the Army have led to a crisis, and whether radical changes to its functions and set-up are needed. And we'll be releasing some fascinating polling about the public's attitude to the army, and its work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And we'll be joined by a Defence Minister, who will be answering questions from a panel which will include former serving soldiers. But we'd also like to hear from you. What is the burning issue you want the MoD to address, or the one big question you want answered?

Leave your comments and thoughts below or send your message as a video - you can upload it to a video sharing website, and send us the link. (Please read these guidelines before submitting.) We'll aim to show some of them on Thursday's programme.

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