BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: From the web team
« Previous | Main | Next »

Friday 29 May 2009

Verity Murphy | 18:04 UK time, Friday, 29 May 2009

Here's a taster of what's coming up on Newsnight and Newsnight Review:

From the web team:

The MPs' expenses row shows no sign of abating and the body count is rising. The careers of two more MPs are hanging in the balance today.

David Cameron has warned that veteran Tory Bill Cash has "very serious questions to answer" after it emerged that he rented a London flat from his daughter - even though he already owned another closer to Westminster.

And there is speculation that former environment minister Elliot Morley will announce his intention to stand down after a meeting with local Labour Party officials in Scunthorpe this evening.

Tonight we will ask just how arbitrary is the court of media and public opinion? Why do some MPs have to step down, while others - who appear to have committed worse offences - carry on, relatively unscathed?

So what determines who has to go and who has to stay - we'll try to find out.

Also, the D-Day row. No royals will be attending 65th anniversary commemorations in France next week - they weren't invited says Buckingham Palace.

Instead Presidents Sarkozy and Obama will remember the achievments of their countrymen in 1944.

But wait a minute what about the 62,000 British troops who took part? Has the British role in D-Day always been underplayed in popular French and US mythology and what role has Hollywood played in this.

Join Gavin Esler at 10.30pm on BBC Two for all that and more.

From Martha Kearney:

Moran has gone so has Kilbride.
Politicians taking us for a ride?
Or the media mob in full hue and cry
Watching trust in democracy slowly die.

Well, I won't be putting in my application for Oxford Professor of Poetry, that's for sure.

Luckily we have had a much better selection of your political poems some of which we will be hearing on our poetry special tonight.

We have a great panel of people who are passionate about poetry. There's Simon Armitage, one of the country's most popular writers. His work is even on the school curriculum.

Luke Wright, himself a poet, curates poetry at the Latitude Festival in Suffolk.

The novelist Josephine Hart has been very influential in bringing classic poetry to a wider audience through her readings at the British Library and dissemination of anthologies to schools. She is also chair of the Forward Prize judges this year.

And you may remember Akala from an earlier programme. He is a rap artist who has been touring the country showing kids the similarity between hip hop and Shakespeare. (He has also played for Wimbledon FC and is Ms Dynamite's brother!)

There's plenty for us all to discuss especially this week after Ruth Padel stood down as Oxford Professor after being accused of a smear campaign.

The contest for Poet Laureate was also more keenly fought than in recent memory. So does that reflect the intense competition which has existed in poetry since the ancient times?

We'll be asking has the gaze of modern poets turned inwards rather than exploring broader political themes.

In the 60s Adrian Mitchell was renowned for his protest poems. We'll review his last book and see whether anyone has picked up that baton.

Clare Pollard will be reporting on the huge growth of young poets online and in performance. And spoken word performer Scroobius Pip claims that poetry has a bad image problem - just too old fashioned.

Have the combined forces of Armando Iannucci, Griff Rhys Jones and Simon Schama done anything to combat that in the BBC's poetry season?

We also have Damien Lewis reading exciting new poems picked by our panel.

So Poetry Please at 11pm tonight,



  • Comment number 1.


    I have often referred to Westminster as a 'citadel'. The citadel wall is currently breeched by the allowances/expenses debacle, but the core bastion of that terrible place - The Charter of Overall Deception - is untouched. This is the Charter that dubs MPs 'honourable' on entry, and then permits them to hit us routinely with the double behavioural-whammy of "I will not answer your question but I will insultingly 'perform' in the manner of an answer".

    If we do not press on into the black heart of Westminster governance, while the wall is yet breeched, 'they' will fill the gap with our 'voter-dead', while making the whole damned edifice multiples more impregnable.

    Let's slip the word to the 'pathetic three', that the way to gain more kudos, in their sad competition to be PM, is to admit to the practice described above, and to promise to stop using it and allowing it in their acolytes. Just watch Clegg be first to admit his guilt; Shiny-Boy-Dave leaping to be every bit as guilty; with poor wee Jimmie G Brown bringing up the rear.

    Suppress pity. BRING DOWN WESTMINSTER.

  • Comment number 2.

    the myth is the west won ww2 when in fact it was the russians who broke the back of the german field army.

    perhaps if the uk head of state was elected rather than the bauble of a clique of role gamers whose membership rules discriminate by race and religion there might be more respect for it? it just looks silly these days.

  • Comment number 3.

    For the past decade I've been telling my MP that it's not just a bunch of aliens to this country who are becoming radicalised: many indigenous citizens, like myself are, because we have not been listened to by our government.

    From newsnight blogs recently and again today (#1 and #2) it would seem that we have reached that tipping point, with little respect for our parliament or our titular head of state. Add to that (i) our total disenchantment with wars that most citizens were against from the start and that have clearly shown to have no good outcomes for this country or for those that were to be 'liberated'and 'developed'; and (ii) the undermining of our society by the overcrowding and importation of alien cultures. What will we hand over to our grandchildren that they can feel patriotic about? Perhaps, if we are bold enough, a complete overthrow of outdated, privileged cabals, such as royalty and parliament?

  • Comment number 4.

    are the Russians invited to the anniversary next week? The Queen is miffed and it has all the hallmarks of a French PR disaster. The Russians lost 27 million in the last war, total Allied losses, French, Canadian, US and British 923,000. Who made the greatest sacrifice? We should get down on our knees and thank Field Marshall Zhukov and his mates for saving our sorry arses, anything else is just 'properganda' as Albert Finney said

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm interested to see that a selection of our poems will be read out. The web page which is meant to display a selection of those received has been stuck for days - it says it was last updated on Tuesday. I wonder if our later offerings have been safely gathered in, or if only the few on display have made it?

  • Comment number 6.

    It is very sad that Mr Cash doth protest so much. I suppose being a grandee millionaire allows that privilege?

    It is a defense which really goes to the heart of the public outrage being voiced, shouted and bleated in blogs, e-mails and on the top deck of buses.

    The increasing public indignation must surely centre on that these miscreants do not seem to be willing to acknowledge that their actions have been judged by the public to be unworthy of those that are placed to work in our best interests - and values - and consequently they, the Honourable Members (sic), are judged as amoral, immoral and socially corrupt.

    Perhaps the Honourable Members incapacity to atone before the firing squad plays a part in as to whom is ( is not ?) given the coup de grace?

    The question is raised as to whom appears to be getting away with it and why?

    I would suggest that they are all getting away with it purely because we are being swamped with one more serious - at best - indiscretion after another and increasing public incredulity forces the previous days revelations to the back of the agenda. However the only way that these Honourable Members will get real is if all the sleaze comes out in full detail to the bitter end. A very good reason not to call a General Election!

    It is interesting to note that FINALLY the media is picking up on the severance allowances which is the real reason that these bods have chosen to stand down as opposed to vacate. Surprise, surprise.

    Will the Media now look in more detail at the likes of the actions of Mr Cashs Daughter - whom it should be noted is an A lister awaiting parachuting into an unsuspecting and perhaps unwilling constituency - whom surely must have been aware that her rent income was courtesy of the Great British Public? Should her involvement now preclude her standing as a PPC?

    Ironically Mr Cash is on record this evening as saying that Mr Cameron is a fair man. The irony is that if our MPs and members of the upper house were fair perhaps we would not be in this mess.

    And now the rats want to abscond to the upper house!

    Where perhaps they will all seek social housing and claim allowances on an empty property/

  • Comment number 7.

    Cash did the public a good service on the European Scrutiny Committee. He'll be a loss to public service if this expenses charade hounds him out.

  • Comment number 8.

    The expenses theatrics seem to be a (perhaps necessary?) cross-party agreed distraction from The City given the role the latter plays in the economy. A Machiavellian purge to distract the electorate from what they can't do anything about, i.e venal people who could make life much more difficult if they chose to? :-(

  • Comment number 9.

    Surely a large proportion of these bonkers expenses claims can be seen as fraud and should be properly investigated legally rather than the MP's in question just resigning or being sacked. (Getting away scot free in other words). can we the public, sue or take some other form of legal action? it is after all the people's money they have been abusing.
    with salaries about 3 to 4 times the national average should they have expenses in the first place?
    claiming money food food, mortgage's travel etc. what exactly is their wage for?
    where can i sign up to be an MP? my flat could do with a moat.

  • Comment number 10.


    The Telegraph is a pro Conservative paper. The Conservative party is, ideologically, basically anarchistic. That's Conservative policy if you look at it closely, it's also New Labour's and the Liberal Democrats', all of whom are Liberal-Democrat/Neo-Liberal anti-statist in practice.

    For the Telegraph/Conservatives, the less government (by any party) the better.

    Enough said? Except, why is A C Grayling on?

  • Comment number 11.





  • Comment number 12.


    Wherever you are. Have you checked out this weeks Kerrang?

    Or just have a look at the cover in the newsagent or supermarket over the weekend.

    For others we had a do, JJ called it a Celtic thing dAllan put cryptic clues in posts on music which I followed.

    Barrie I have had no contact with the band, the magazine or art director at all. So how did these 'rosette stands' appear?

    Talk about Heart of Gold and infinite improbability drive.

    Eh Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 13.

    Who won WWII? Our ally the USSR with Germany's collusion? First Germany rolled up to The Channel, decided not to bother, withdrew most of its troops to the East and then in June 1941 got up to some odd goings on with the USSR which resulted in the USSR effectively occupying all the Eastern and Central European nations which Germany had occupied including part of Germany itself. It then waged a slow economic/demographic war against Western Europe and with the help of the PRC in recent times, the USA too.

    Jospehine Hart defending Ruth Padel's egregious politics - classic verbal self-aggrandizing nonsense.

  • Comment number 14.

    polly toynbee had a good point about lack of leadership/foresight. & the 2 MP's were worth having on the programme. please don't have the heseltine hairdo imitation "philosopher" again (grayling I think you said his name was) his contribution was a complete waste of time, a sort of third rate failed attempt at the obvious.

  • Comment number 15.


    Is it just possible that one of the BBC backroom ninnies had a very vague notion that the whole PHILOSOPHY of governance is at issue here, and simply called in the one philosopher the media folk all know and love. Of course, no one asked him to deliver on 'philosophy of governance' for lack of edginess, and fear of ratings.

    In passing: I see Joanna of Arc is on the Wossy Show. Personally I would have chosen the stake. How are the mighty fallen. With a bit of luck though, Ross will go too far and find his innards investigated with a fancy knife or two.

  • Comment number 16.

    I travel around and visit a lot of companies. What I find is that the attitude of the top management is always reflected right through the company structure. The corruption of the MP's is going to be reflected right through the structure of their "company" which is the public sector. That makes me wonder what is going to happen with the ballot boxes for the EU Elections which have got to be stored for a few days after votes are cast. Given that the top tier of management, the MP's are corrupt how are we supposed to be sure that they won't be tampered with. Especially given that they've got form for this. Perhaps Newsnight could look into it.

    Trust is going to be a problem for Government until after a General Election. If the same people are returned it still will be. Will they change their ways? Unlikely, so it's difficult to know what happens next. Clegg, Cameron and Brown are all tainted so no solution they come up with can be trusted.

    Really the only solution is to sack all of them and ban them from public office from life then start over.

  • Comment number 17.


    I am in total agreement. I have recently challenged BT over an increase in my advanced charge; explained as a 'one off billing adjustment'. Having made it very plain, by an exchange of emails, that I see this as a scam to raise working capital, I received a call from India. The chap was at pains to tell me it was APPROVED BY OFCOM!! When I stopped laughing I said: "Have you not heard? Everything is corrupt here!" he said he would make a note of that . . . I guess the world is doing likewise.

  • Comment number 18.

    Where is there a news item on the BBC website about the French outrageous snub to the Queen for the D-Day celebrations?

  • Comment number 19.

    #16 Simon 987

    In the 80s I spent years developing a system which could predict many things relating to the interfacing of socio economic and planetary ecological systems.

    In 1991 for example I knew the date more or less to the day of the 2007 flooding in the UK. Plus all the other things you see in the world which are reported as "unforeseen natural disasters".

    I took my work to a local authority. (Think widely reported by-election last year). I had my clicky heeled shoes, my suit and gave them a presentation of how thousands of jobs and £billions could be generated by stopping these events happening around the world.

    I got a note from a County Councillor to meet him after the presentation. A very frightened man, who happened to know the head of research of a Uni who had taught me, told me I was in serious danger.

    He told me that the local authority didn't want jobs creating because they were 'paid' by the Government to create jobs. It was in the best interest of the local authority to stop the creation of jobs.

    This very frightened County Councillor on the economic development sub committee told me that the local authority were going to stop me creating jobs, to ensure they continued to receive grants from the government. Grants to address high levels of unemployment they had deliberately engineered, in order to receive the grants.

    He warned me that if I did not take his warning seriously. The local authority would be prepared to take the 'ultimate sanction' to stop me. And they had the resources and means to cover it up.

    Corruption in the public sector? If only you knew.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 20.


    Here's a question/point to ponder for all those who have called for MPs to fallen on their swords over the unforeseen Credit Crunch/self-serving behaviour of those in public office and Financial Services whose behaviour has been at the expense of the rest of the population:-

    If what's said here is not the case, why have we not heard of a major purge of Civil Servants in the Treasury, FSA and DTI?

    Is it not their function if we still had effective governance rather than Wizard of Oz theatrics/sinecures, to be accountable to MPs for overseeing and regulating i.e. governing as the executive arm of the state?

    Have we not had empty rhetoric/deregulation from Treasury MPs? Ruth Kelly went to spend more time with her family very early did she not? What would Yvette Cooper know? Why all the attention on the non-professional public face of all this, i.e. the House of Commons sinecure hopping politicians rather than permanent professional Civil Servants?

    It's almost as if MPs and Civil Servants colluded in all of this is it not? Why the extreme lack of governance if not to explicitly let the system fail......... so it could be restructured?

    For compliance with what? The Lisbon Treaty?

  • Comment number 21.

    Apologies for the first paragraph.

  • Comment number 22.


    Now THAT is what I call a provocative question JJ! I never learn ANYTHING by listening to he outpourings (and I use that word advisedly) from the mouth of Yvette Cooper. She is the epitome of the point I made at #1 above:

    "This is the Charter that dubs MPs 'honourable' on entry, and then permits them to hit us routinely with the double behavioural-whammy of "I will not answer your question but I will insultingly 'perform' in the manner of an answer".

    I could only, ever, deduce the slavish BELIEF of YC - 'my party right or wrong' but never anything she actually KNEW. She ALWAYS 'performs in the manner of an answer'.

  • Comment number 23.

    #22 Cooper

    I can confirm, as can the above having had a letter from her, that she did know there was a shortlisted proposal for the Millennium Dome that would have generated £50 billion per year for the UK economy.

    £50 billion is 4-5% of UK GDP, the amount involved in the present slowdown. £50 billion from 2001 to the present per year is £400 billion. The amount that has now has to have been borrowed re public sector requirement. This is no coincidence.

    As this letter was from early 2007, she would have known these shortfalls would result in the present UK economic situation. The letter abdicated responsibility to the National Audit Office for this loss.

    I have to assume that in such an important matter she would have consulted the appropriate Government records prior to writing. As such would have known about the catastrophic which occurred a few months later.

    The documents are with me from my side, and I am sure the media in such a significant matter could obtain the Government's involvement under FoI etc.

    Cooper did know in 2007 the Government could have prevented the present economic situation.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 24.


    barrie (#22) OK, here's another provocative question in the same vein. As I've said ad nauseam, I don't think we have much in way of effective government these days, just a shell for appearances sake and to keep the unemployment figures down. I don't think our Civil Service employs to brightest and best anymore, on purpose too. What I'm interested in is whether there is a 'cunning plan' at work (either by the Eastern SCO block or our own EU/US partners) or whether it really is only cockup and dysgenesis, as the data trends would seem to reflect. That is, are these trends engineered or just natural?

    Any views? Or are these concerns merely the thoughts of a madman? ;-)

  • Comment number 25.

    d day

    so what has the bbc done recently on d day. any dramas? the lefty multiculturalists hate the topic of uk standing alone, national pride, etc so smother it. for them history [or what they might call the process of internationalism] starts in 1997.

  • Comment number 26.


    North Korea abandoned the peace because South Korea joined the PSI. Now the US forces are on alert in South Korea. China, India, Iran, Pakistan like North Korea are not signed up to the Proliferation Security Initiative either, but Russia (in the SCO) and Mongolia (interested) are. Are the latter keeping an eye on the USA's efforts to rule the waves? China leads the SCO, and India, Iran and Pakistan are apparently interested.

  • Comment number 27.

    poetry as fetish?

    poetry is an art. an art has a benefit. if it has no benefit then it is not an art. if not an art then its not poetry.

  • Comment number 28.


    As I am much persuaded that the 9/11 'Pearl Harbour' had more than a little help from interested parties, and being in no doubt that major theories in science, even though tentative or falsified, are propped by institutional fool/knaves, I pay serious attention to your underlying hypothesis JJ.

    However to nail his greater crime, Al Capone was done for tax. An example nearer home is the assertion that untaxed cars are disproportionately run by individuals breaking a host of other laws. The small can confound the large. I, personally, doubt it is possible to expose the engineers behind the 'engineering' for which you make a case. However, I half believe we might so discredit Westminster governance, as to bring about a radical restructuring. And what might then be revealed? Draining a swamp is not unlike the tide going out . . .

    Meanwhile I continue to pay respectful attention to a certain 'person of madness' and slot data provided into my world view. Just don't go on any luxury yacht trips JJ.

    Still mourning Saint Joanna's sullying error with Drossy Wossy. (:-(

  • Comment number 29.


    barrie (#28) Bernad Ingham on Gavin Esler's DATELINE today made short work of the expenses saga by reiteratingthat they were all encouraged to do it in lieu of salary rise, but ten went on to say that we don't need major reform. Here's why we do need major reform.

    When Parliamentary Democracy was created and could have been sensibly run, we had a population of no more than about 4-6 million. MPs were elected by men only, and only men who had above average cognitive ability (by proxy) and so knew what government was for, and what was required in their constituency. Note, with a population of 6m and 650 MPs would mean one MP to about 10,000 people, elected by a tiny fraction of that 10,000 given that the 10,000 included all ages, plus women and children. Halve that to exclude the women and take a fraction again to exclude the children and very elderly, and then a tiny fraction yet again to select the more cogntively able men and it all made a kind of sense.

    However, since exponential population growth in the C19th and thoroughly daft, self-serving, Reform Acts, in the latter part of the C19th, MPs have not only ended up representing every daft Tom, Dick and Harriet allegedly in the name of equalitarianism and 'democracy', but the ratio of MPs to constituents has become ridiculous because of exponential population growth.

    Now we hear them talking of reducing the number of MPs further!

    I blame Disraeli. The clue is in the name. He was a Conservative - aka an anarchist. How can anyone today take MPs and politics seriously?

  • Comment number 30.


    Would you buy a used jowel from that man? Ingham was a great asset to Thatcher - he was even more objectionable - made her appear almost pleasant!

    With you on the analysis JJ. The voters had de facto 'Certificates of Voting Competence'.

    Needless to say - I know nothing of Disraeli. You blame - I'll hold your coat.

    'Seriously?' How are you spelling that . . .

  • Comment number 31.

    barrie (#30) "Would you buy a used jowel from that man?"

    No. But then, 30 years ago, very few people critically asked what the freedom, which Maggie and her sex pistols were promising, was freedom from.

    It's still being peddled around the world today. We are indeed, as you frequently say, apes confused by language (Natural Language is intensional you know ;-)

  • Comment number 32.

    All this lot is a diversion from what's going on in the economy, it can never be sorted until all the " false money " comes out. The FTSE is having itself on again, mainly on mining stocks but two of them have proposed a merger. Perhaps recent experience with RBS and critically the Lloyds TSB-HBOS it would appear that the reason FTSE companies merge is to hide impossible debts, yet the mining share prices went up.

    As for the alleged recovery in the housing market, an elderly relative of mine has just sold her house in a once mega popular Ribble Valley village. The estate agent originally valued it at 150k, over the year its was progressively reduced to 115k, she has just now got 95k for it. The market is dead for ordinary family houses, lots of schemes to extend three bed council houses into mini mansions. To be fair to the local council they have refused planning permission in such cases, I know objections have been made on the grounds that it reduces the number of " affordable houses. Its actually council policy to increase the amount of social housing, but the market wont play and if they do the NYMBY's are out in force.

    The statistics are probably warped due to the fact that there is now an increasing market for 500+k country retreats. Stock market parasites have to spend their bonus from their latest investment scam, its not real money so who cares what the price is. In any case they can use the theoretical value of their house to borrow even more against and buy even more shares. They would appear to be desperate to get the oil price back up to 147 dollars a barrel, it may be the case that the price has risen because there are not enough empty tankers available to service global demand. If they can't borrow extra any more the oil price is likely to implode, have to find some false growth somewhere soon.

    Their puppet politicians are far to busy thinking up good excuses in the expenses scandal to actually pass anymore stupid legislation. Parliament is paralyzed and leaving it all up to Mandy on the GM crisis, everyone else is practicing the art of not being seen. The unions are squealing but perhaps only in the interest of preserving funding for their current number of fat cat executive officers.

    And guess what GM Europe is being bought buy a Russian state bank ( effectively nationalized by Putin ), never heard of the Canadian car part firm, probably the brand name of a new group of recently merged formerly bankrupt companies. It would appear that the Russian population as a whole are pretty good savers. In communist times, many kept major cash savings under the mattress, but Gorbachov changed the 20 ruble note and wiped everybody out. Many had enough for a new car, but the excuse was that their was a waiting list and not that much on the shelves in shops. I suspect that they are still very thrifty, its just a pity British people are not encouraged to save in cash. Current low interest rates are strangling the real sustainable British economy.

  • Comment number 33.

    brossen99 (#32) "It would appear that the Russian population as a whole are pretty good savers."

    Have you read Golitsyn's 'New Lies for Old' and his follow-up? :-(

  • Comment number 34.

    "Day [pick a number] of the Expenses Scandal."

    What would be worse: up to 100 MPs not standing for re-election or the candidates who could replace them? I can't say I was particularly enamoured by the three new candidates that "Newsnight" interviewed recently; intellectual heavy-weights they certainly weren't.

    You could say that the MPs we have at present or who we could have in the near future are all we need, given the lack of power Parliament now has, but it would be nice to think that we deserve better. It can seem, at times, given how some MPs act in such a dim-witted manner, that, with a perverse logic (befitting of MPs), we are being punished for having the temerity to elect them: 'just look at what you made us do. If only you hadn't elected us, we wouldn't have been able to emasculate Parliament, so wouldn't be left twiddling our thumbs, fiddling our expenses and spouting twaddle'. I would like to think I'm not to blame for this sorry mess, though, and that if I vote for the first time since 1997, I could finally elect an MP who would be allowed to act or be capable of acting in more than name only.

    "Media Hounds."

    Of course the media are hounding out MPs. Broadcast journalists are petrified at being forced to act in an impartial and 'dry' manner, broadcasting points of view they don't agree with, irrespective of whether some of the viewing public does. They want to create the news; bringing stories to the public that they hope will interest them and so protect them from any political interference. Have a look at America's 'CBS News' or 'ABC World News' to see what our news could be like - professional and studiously impartial. Keeping the public ignorant of the other, sometimes numerous, points of view, is a deliberate ploy as you can't miss what you don't know exists.

    "Great Britain falling by the Way-side in the Story of the 2nd World War."

    Maybe the reason Great Britain and her Commonwealth allies have been all-but airbrushed out of the Second World War has something to do with the enduring U.S. administration's policy of making all government war photos and film footage available 'royalty' free. If you're a publisher or broadcaster, which photos and film would you use - the free U.S. ones or 'not-free' U.K. ones? Thus, Tommy rapidly disappears from the picture. This does seem to be indicative of the U.S.'s greater understanding of how to project a positive image of herself. Maybe, if we haven't yet followed suit, the next British government could find some time to make sure we do, even if it is rather late.

  • Comment number 35.


    Strugglingtostaycalm (#34) Who won WWII? Stalinist USSR won WWII. Why does the USA behave the way it does today? Because it's still waging ideological warfare against atatism at home and abroad. Why did the Cold War heat up after Stalin's death and why did the HUAC concentrate on Hollywood? It's been relentless. This message even gets pedddled as anti-totalitarian funny ANTZ and BEE MOVIE, not to mention the never ending anti-nazi and pro individualism/narcissist outpourings supplemented of course by anti-hate laws to deter people from thinking too clearly about all of this ;-)

  • Comment number 36.

    CIPHER MPs (#34)

    "I can't say I was particularly enamoured by the three new candidates that "Newsnight" interviewed recently; intellectual heavy-weights they certainly weren't."

    Parties with 'leader worship syndrome' and whips, do not want MPs of calibre. Just another reason to SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

    Brown has dropped his moral compass and is harping on about 'Presbyterian roots'. I suspect the latter have grown into the former and jammed the works. If he had not been on the same program as IDS, he might have looked stupid.

    Even our finest satirical writers, never thought of this mess.

  • Comment number 37.


    Mr Brown says his party is considering extending the franchise to 16 year olds, i.e. they're seeking a mandate to behave even less accountably.

    Why don't more people see this is a silly question :-(

  • Comment number 38.


    Hey JJ! Are you implying that with all the (triple) educational advantage applied to students over the last ten years, 16 year-olds are not highly aware and perceptive? I admit I have called for a Cetificate of Voter Competence, but as any exam will be multiple-choice (1 from 3 for each question - pass mark 33%) I am sure the failure rate will be quite low.


  • Comment number 39.

    Interesting article on the BNP in the Observer:

    BNP 'Previous convictions

    Nick Griffin, convicted of violating section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, relating to incitement to racial hatred. He received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

    Kevin Scott, a BNP supporter and former North East regional organiser, has convictions for assault and threatening behaviour.

    Terry Collins, a party member, was jailed for five years after waging a year-long terror campaign against Asian families in Eastbourne.

    Joe Owens, a former Merseyside BNP candidate and bodyguard to Nick Griffin, served eight months for sending razor blades to Jewish people and another term for carrying CS gas and knuckledusters.

    Colin Smith, former BNP south-east London organiser, has 17 convictions for burglary, theft, stealing cars, possession of drugs and assaulting a police officer.

    Tony Lecomber, a former BNP propaganda director, was jailed in 1985 after a nail bomb exploded as he carried it to the Workers' Revolutionary party offices. Jailed again in 1991 for assaulting a Jewish teacher on the Underground.'

    I believe also that Kemp, I think, had a bit of a run in South Africa regarding the murder of Chris Hani.

    Apparently some of the BNP are half Jewish. Hard to believe really.

    I wonder whether the disaffected, like Tyndall, who probably don't read the BNP Discipline manual, might have some interesting stories?

  • Comment number 40.

    #36 barriesingleton

    "Parties with 'leader worship syndrome' and whips, do not want MPs of calibre. Just another reason to SPOIL PARTY GAMES."

    I seem to remember the far right poster Jaded_Jean on this page describing me as being, according to the Ladybird Book of Far Right Ideology, "an anarchist and a Trotskyite" for "painting Hitler as darkly as possible".

    Oner of the few occasions where that poster said a lot with a very few words.

    Also given one of her comments this was not merely an historical observation:

    'Hitler, Mussolini and Roosevelt did what they did in the 1930s (essentially running planned economies) because of the catastrophic financial mess which had been brought about by anarcho-capitalist 'democratic' deregulators peddling the merits of 'freedom'. Yet you and others of your ilk are still naively arguing for precisely this.

    On the other hand, if you want to see history repeat itself, just keep thinking the way that you are.

    I hope people will revere democracy and protect it from any challenge by fascists and those fellow travelers who are currently too intellectually weak to state their true beliefs.

    The "calibre" of the BNP is defined in #39.

  • Comment number 41.

    Where is McBride? Surely there must be media interest in tracking him down. If he were to tell the House of Commons committee that Brown did know about the campaign - or his story was not credible so people assume Brown did know - then surely there would have to be a general election.

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.

    thegangofone (#39) "Apparently some of the BNP are half Jewish. Hard to believe really."

    Why? Why not set up or infiltrate a party which is close in many policies to Old Labour, and then make it as odious as possible in order to render the credible statist party (Old Labour) unpopular with the electorate by association?

  • Comment number 44.

    #42 was on 1290, Calvin, the English revolution, and 1656 and its consequences.

  • Comment number 45.

    Post TwelVe Bin round n round the UniVerse, got it though Thankyou. (Sum Great Stuff About/Around)

    Got Your 19 as well, Self Serving/Preserving Society/ClubBed 2 death.

  • Comment number 46.

    Clocked g B on AM this morning Andy M mentionEd The End 2 Sleaze and BOOM BOOM and BUST BUST, I noted with Wrye Amusement how gordon Ignored/danced/memory lossed how to answer (as usual)

    That after All was his n tonys Ticket.

    Where is/was that torn/Tattered Ticket, No Chance of A Refund (yet)

  • Comment number 47.


    To date, the BBC has paraded at least three people (Ken Livingstone, Nadine Dorries and Bernard Ingham) who have made it perfectly clear that MPs have long been encouraged to take their allowance (ACA) by whatever means thay can, and that have been helped/encouraged to do so by the Fees Office in lieu of a salary rise. That being so, surely it doesn't matter how any of them differ in taking this money, as it's been sanctioned? The whole matter must just a charade to take the heat off something else, e.g. the economy, and to trigger some interest in politics amongst the apathetic public so more vote in the imminent elections, i.e. a Party Political 'fluffer' on behalf of the Labour_Liberal-Democrat_Conservative Party.

    Furthermore, this being so, how can Brown be shocked at the 'abuses'? How long has he been in Parliament? here are only about 650 of them. How can Cameron put on his concerned face (it isn't very convincing is it?), and why is Clegg standing in a street taking verbal pot-shots at Darling?

    Finally, what's all this Presbyterian moral high ground rhetoric? Not only has Scotland got it's own nationalist 'parliament', their banks were the most vebal offenders next to Wall Street were they not?

  • Comment number 48.

    erratum (#47) venal offenders

  • Comment number 49.

    46. At 4:55pm on 31 May 2009, dAllan169 - I noted with Wrye Amusement how gordon Ignored/danced/memory lossed how to answer (as usual)

    The best that interview could muster by way of description was... er... 'vague'.

    Might one suggest that when a politician answers a question they don't fancy with 'The real question that needs to be asked is...' and rambles off on self-serving waffle ending with yet more 'looking at this', a big hook comes in from stage left and hoiks 'em off?

    And presuming to know 'what people want' should mean open season with the rotten fruit and veg from the stalls.

    Any system that has operated so disastrously for over a decade really has little credibility left to be allowed to 'sort it out' or, worse, turning their dead hands to 'getting on with the job', 'dealing with the issues at hand'... and especially on the 'big issues'.

    If Mr. Brown thinks he is the answer, then I dare not imagine the question.

    I am not sure that even a cross in a ballot once every few years is now enough.

  • Comment number 50.


    Junkkmale at #49 with his hilarious (as in 'Benn') comment: "If Mr. Brown thinks he is the answer, then I dare not imagine the question" lifted my spirits.

    I needed that, because I had just heard Jimmie Brown wash over poor Evan on the Today program saying: "The European elections show the need to work with Europe"; this being arrant nonsense - they simply show we are in the EU charade.

    When Brown gets into babble mode, he often delivers such, and even more bizarre, constructs. (Incidentally, Blair also talked tripe that defied analysis as a transcript.) It is just so sad that our media, reporting from 'inside the lie' make no effort to highlight the pathetic political claptrap.

  • Comment number 51.

    Post 49 Its The Media/Auntie Beeb's Fault

    Ask Any 5 year old A Question in this CounTry and They will Give You A Straight/Honest Answer.

    If as per Normal/SOP's An MP cant do the same WHY BOTHER.

    Instead of giving the selfServers a platForm/PUBlicity why doesnt The Media just have MulTiple choice Questioner/air and ask the Public what they think their (mp's) answer would be.

    A new Comedy/Factual tv Show is Born. makes sense 2 me

  • Comment number 52.

    JunkMale (#49); barrie (#50) Sadly, Brown summed it all up on the couch with Helena Kennedy - he wasn't going to make policy on TV. It's really a waste of time having them on. So long as we have parties which assert that devolving power to the people is governance, we can only expect more of the same mess I suggest. As I've said elsewhere, we have imbibed anti-statist (usually via anti-Nazism, Cold Warism or 'The War on Terror') propaganda for so long that government itself has now been rendered almost inconceivable to most 'freedom loving' anarchists, and when it is, people are led to think BNP! When people think Thatcher, they should remember her harbinger which was brought to them via their media.

  • Comment number 53.

    I See the great Brown is ordering the peeps not 2 vote for the bnp because they would have supported the corporal

    We'll keep the red flag flying over hear. MMMM

    by defination he thinks uncle joe was a nicer chap than the corpse

    Vote for an Independant Candidate (new broom sweeps them all CLEAN)

  • Comment number 54.

    Brown, who attempted a U-Tube diversion of the expenses scandal, is the man to clean up the expenses system. He is also the light touch regulator who can fix the economy.

    He will not quit after Thursday. Does he really think he will get a choice? Did he direct Michael Martins actions? Where is McBride?

    Labour have the Blair and Brown factions and Old Labour sizing up to rip each other apart. If they don't replace Gordon there will be civil war. If they do and don't hold an election there is a further cost as the electorate will be outraged. If Brown is replaced and they have a new leader nobody will want the job - except Harman by the looks - as they are doomed.

    From my personal point of view it is hard not to be gleeful as the PR issue is alive (after Labour reneged on the 1997 referendum pledge) and the Lib Dems are running second. Almost everybody else in the world has a form of PR and they have higher voter engagement and turnout than first past the post.

    It would be approaching perfection if Brown could show he "gets it" and appoints Alistair Campbell as his communications director.

    Objectively from the country's point of view the good news is that no platitudes or sticking plasters will do in this epic disaster movie that is New Labour.

    Even so Cameron is still solution-lite constitutionally and does not seem to have a coherent plan to maintain the union or to adjust policy if the union breaks up after 2010.

    I think Napoleon said "Let my generals be lucky". Clegg is young and will grow and you have to say he is lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Its just a pity that the Lib Dems are still too happy clappy on Europe and there is not enough clarity to push for a republic.

    How can you have a classless society with a monarchy?

    A reformed parliamentary system that retains "men in tights".

    Meanwhile the "modern and progressive" BNP ponder another conference in a field with a Heck cow and a bouncey castle.

    They are not a Nazi party but their supporters like race "realism"; eugenics; a planned economy and they tend to be Holocaust "Agnostics". If you tell it how it is about Hitler you are "an anarchist and Trotskyite" for the crime of "painting Hitler as darkly as possible for party political reasons".

    Was Hitlers niece called Geli?

  • Comment number 55.

    54 go1 are you a spin doctor for nulab and or a nulab quango paid person

    mr brown along with princesspit tony are/is/was the biggest disaster for this country in my/others living memory.

    Open Your Eyes/Ears keep the other shut (its called doing yourself a Flavour)

  • Comment number 56.

    barrie (#50) Calvin and his friends were seditious anti-statist capitalists were they not? If it were it not for them we would probably still be anti-usury and have a system of government which reflected voting competency and a sensible sized population (which only went exponential in the 19th). Didn't the Calvanists and their brethren peddle equalitarianism in order to bring down the status quo? Which group in history has acquired a reputation for doing this wherever they've settled? Why does all the empirical evidence suggest they are peddling lies, and why has this empirical evidence become a taboo in almost linear relationship with the rise of neo-liberalist free-market capitalism? It's not as if the data are not publicly available. It's there in every year's SATS at 7, 11, 14 and 15 - and with N's of 560,000 for each of the 4 groups, every year, it can't be argued away. So guess what, they're getting rid of SATs (i.e. the evidence). Key Stage 3 was the post puberty standard where maths, English and science were compulsory (these are IQ proxies). That is the first to go. Now they are trying to nobble Key Stage 2.

    What we need is mixed ability communities at the NUT and subordinate levels. That is, population planning by ability range with limits on migration. Yes, it is a bit Brave New World-ish, but that's how we are made and distributed. Aldous Huxley knew this (See Julian Huxley and eugenics). Making out people can be changed through words is not just false, it's hurtful.

  • Comment number 57.

    Simon_987 (#16) "Really the only solution is to sack all of them and ban them from public office from life then start over."

    Yes, but that would also require a major purge of most of the Senior and middle ranking Civil Servants as well. These are the people whom MPs rely upon. They have been elevated to their positions over the last few decades in order to ensure their own demise in favour of the Private Sector/Third Sector, i.e. so that the deregulated system devolved as it did. It is difficult for some to see why anyone would voluntarily put themselves into such positions, but the incentives were power, pensions and the lucrative opportunity to jump Sector.

  • Comment number 58.

  • Comment number 59.

    Sorry I'm late but I had to replay the programme because I couldn't believe my ears. The 'head of war studies at Sandhurst' actually said that D-Day was the last time that (Britain) really mattered and (was) a major power. Is that how you inspire young men who may be sent out to be shot at on their country's business as well as the overseas cadets who study at RMA? Does this represent the official thinking of the MOD? It is the 'alleskaput' school of history as practised by well-fed declinist scribblers (we know their names) who don't care if their children are condemned to grow up in a sort of northern Venice (once important, now no industry, dependent on mass tourism and the drains don't work) Britain now looks bit like Macaulay's State of England in 1685 yet we pulled it round then and can do so again. Last thought: if the gentleman had been on the staff at St Cyr I reckon by now he would have been out of the door without his pieds ever touching the terre


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.