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Friday 18 September 2009

Verity Murphy | 17:08 UK time, Friday, 18 September 2009

Coming up on Newsnight:

We've had a week of pronouncements from the political parties on cuts in public spending.

Today we learned the Chancellor Alistair Darling is meeting Cabinet colleagues to identify savings.

We'll be analysing what looks like a change in Labour's rhetoric and strategy, and what it means for the Conservatives.

We also have a fascinating film from American pollster Cornell Belcher.

Mr Belcher worked for the Democratic Party and Barack Obama ahead of last year's presidential election.

He has visited two marginal constituencies to hear people's views and its not good news for Gordon Brown.

And we'll also be joined by our usual political panel to discuss.

Here's Kirsty with what is coming up on Newsnight Review:

Our guests Germaine Greer, John Harris, Oliver Kamm, who is a banker-turned-leader writer, and comedian Robin Ince, bring their own perspectives and prejudices to the Newsnight Review trading floor.

This week they've watched and listened to two BBC dramas about the collapse of Lehmans, and a documentary, and read a book by a Lehmans insider.

They've been to London's Royal Court Theatre to see a preview of Enron, Lucy Prebble's new play which turns that spectacular crash into a song and dance affair, and to the Shunt theatre company's Money - a multilayered performance piece in a giant warehouse in London Bridge, based on Zola's story of a 19th Century banking scandal.

And... Oh how we laughed! Comedians, satirists and cartoonists have found easy prey amongst the banking giants who fell to earth. Does humour help us through the crisis, or reinforce a simplistic view of it?

Join us for all that and more.


  • Comment number 1.

    Trust me with the knife, I’m a politician!

    We are constantly reminded that this financial crisis is a global, once-in-a-lifetime event (it happened twice in mine) surely justifying more dialogue with the public about what to cut or tax. Did the NN poll, to which you referred earlier,ask for any public feedback on this issue, or just ask in which politician they would (blindly) place their trust?

    BBC’s ‘Have Your Say’ invited views and those (at 6pm) with the highest ‘recommend’ scores for cuts in spending were:

    Cut the benefits to make work pay; specific emphasis on single/teenage motherhood as an alternative to work;
    Get rid of local authority 'Diversity Officers', 'Community Engagement Officers etc., and stop translating every public document into 50 different languages;
    Save 6 billion right away by leaving EU (e.g. Switzerland does OK);
    Reduce foreign aid: we need to take care of our own massive debt;
    Give prison inmates basics, not x-boxes and satellite TV;
    Make immigrants pay for health care: anyone who hasn't paid into the system for at least 5 years shouldn't be getting it free;
    Stop wasting money on consultants’ reports: rarely implemented; and
    Get rid of the government that has wasted so much money on the above!

    It doesn’t take a management consultant to point out examples of profligacy, which are reported daily in our local and national newspapers, such as the almost quarter million pounds that Hackney spent funding a Afro-Brazillian dance troupe to teach children a form of dancing involving head butts and kicks, devised by African slaves. It was intended as Third World Aid money and I’m sure many in poverty could use the money to buy anti-malaria nets and anti-polio immunisations, saving lives.

    NN Review asks if humour helps us through the crisis; for many, it's no laughing matter, unless you're one of the fat-cats that caused it and walked away even richer.

  • Comment number 2.


    could you ask mr cameron if he uses tax efficiency schemes and related companies to minimise his tax.

    just a flyer, perhaps he pays as much tax as he can, but there again perhaps he doesnt,

  • Comment number 3.

    nothing on the energy price fiasco and the neutered 'regulator' who hasn't the power to regulate anything? more 'free market fundamentalism' that privatises the profits and socialises the loss? gas has been at 7 year low prices worldwide and at least 2 in the uk.

    here's one for susan

    SOMA (Stochastic Opponent Modeling Agents) is a formal, logical-statistical reasoning language within which we can express knowledge about the behaviors of a group of interest, and compile a set of rules in such a language into an �agent�. Within SOMA, we can express rules about the probability that a given person or group will act a certain way in a given situation.

    SOMA has developed algorithms to find the most probable set of actions that that person may or may not take. To do this, it uses a possible-worlds model in which a world represents a set of actions that the opponent can take.

  • Comment number 4.

    ' hear people's views and its not good news for Gordon Brown.'

    Not sure, but I think you'll find that going out anywhere, and not just marginal constituencies, might just end up with the same result.

    I just worry the bloke is so bad folk are growing to need him for comic relief, like Dr. Zachary Smith in Lost in Space (an oddly apt metaphor there, too):

    Trouble is, he is still at the controls, not just trying to sabotage them.

  • Comment number 5.

    Newsnight Review - Kirsty Wark, Germaine Greer, John Harris, Oliver Kamm and Robin Ince. Five lefties. Give that one a miss, I think.

  • Comment number 6.

    re Newsnight Review, I increasingly look forward to creative stuff after the banality of what has proceeded it, not a crit of NN but the way the world is going, by the way (if) you did do this, and dumped two reviewers about 2 years ago, after some bad form on the show towards another guest, I think this was absolutely the right thing to do. If that is.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi again,

    any news of Bank/sy?

  • Comment number 8.

    #40 from previous page from mimpromptu
    I sent you a response from Queen's in French but didn't realise such linguistic practices are not allowed on the BBC blogs so here it is in English.
    It has often crossed my mind that indeed jj may be hiding in Paris. In the days when I listened to Europe1, a French radio station, his presence in the studios and 'essential' manipulation of what was being said became more and more apparent to the point that I had to abandon listening to it altogether. It's a shame because they do have some very interesting and fine journalists working at the station.
    I even went specially to the Olympia in Paris to a performance given by a very talented and funny commedian, Nicolas Canteloup, who is a regular contributor at Europe1, but again, it became quite obvious that jj was interfering with the contents. Well, that made me very angry although I didn't show it, obviously.
    I do have other reasons to believe about jj being le Pauvre Jean de Paris but it would take too long to write about it now.
    If that is the case that he does 'reside' at Europe1, that would explain his free access to all the media and secret gadgets, etc. On top of that, he must have some 'friends' at the BBC and, I suspect, some UK politicians.

  • Comment number 9.

    #8 continuation from mimpromptu
    Re: route London - Paris
    I wasn't sure why Gavin closed last night's programme with a phrase 'across the pond'. Was it perhaps something to do with le Pauvre Jean de Paris?
    We have previously covered his other international connections so I'm not repeating them here.
    A funny thing happened to me tonight outside the rink. An American gentleman came up to me and gave me a packet of Marlborough cigaretes with a teethy shark and a box of matches which says 'England's Glory'. I may keep them together with my other treasures.

  • Comment number 10.

    "Does humour help us through the crisis, or reinforce a simplistic view of it?"

    The latter.

    Predictably, we are now being warned or threatened by the very sorts of people who were induced to leave Germany in the 1930s for what they did. Now they're threatening the UK with the consequences of their leaving, having massively contributed via New Labour and The Conservatives towards the destruction of the UK as a nation through globalization!

    Now......... how funny is that?

  • Comment number 11.

    during ww2 humour was an essential weapon with shows like itma. these perverted days it would be called rcist if not illegal to make fun of your enemies?

  • Comment number 12.

    This is what we need less of

    "Greater use of contraceptives could help reduce the global impact of climate change, according to a leading medical journal.
    In an editorial, The Lancet said more than 200 million women worldwide wanted contraceptives but lacked access to them.
    Addressing this need could prevent 76 million unintended pregnancies each year, slow population growth and reduce demographic pressure on the environment, it said.
    The journal said: "Countries in the developing world least responsible for the growing emissions are likely to experience the heaviest impact of climate change, with women bearing the greatest toll".

    Instead of cutting aid to developing nations, UK/UN should supply free contraceptives and tie further funding to a formula which pays according to reductions in birth rate.

    Governments should discourage parents from having more children than they can support and feed, rather than constantly require aid-funding ostensibly to reduce the levels of child mortality. Our government should also disincentivise irresponsible parenting by paying child allowances for no more than 2 children per family (interpreting 'family' in the traditional sense).

  • Comment number 13.


    Does humour help us through the crisis, or reinforce a simplistic view of it?

    I think it help us and also reinforces a view of it....

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 14.

    why the hell do we need Obama's pollster to tell us what we already know? People are stupid... We don't ned the "glamour" of Obama's statistician to tell us that.

  • Comment number 15.


    Where to start? Why bother? Do you have a mission statement NN? Any chance we might read it?

    You managed to illustrate the ills of the world - but I don't think you had any idea you were doing it.

  • Comment number 16.

    I do wish Newsnight would lose its habit of asking American pollsters over to do slow and boring sessions which only produce predictable comments anyway. And we are promised more of the same for the party conference season. Oh dear. I think I shall switch off and read a book.

  • Comment number 17.


    Why discuss the realities (purported) of Britain and the world, in party terms, when the focus of political parties is on one thing alone - WINNING THE NEXT ELECTION?

    If we must discuss money, let it be the size (the TRUE size) of each party war-chest (and its provenance) to be squandered on dirty tricks at the next election? (Will Iran and Afghanistan send observers?)

    If we are to quote political utterance, let it be made clear, in that moment, that no policy, no promise, no manifesto pledge, is made by a political party that cannot be reversed or discarded. Parties have no soul, no morality, no shame - only a drive for winning, and taking power for its own sake.

    If we must compare leaders who have ALL risen from the swamp of an unreconstructed Westminster (the Chamber pot for the potty) let us remember the terrifying behaviour of Blair, Thatcher, Major. To wrangle over the relative merits of the current three, is akin to deciding whether to watch X-Factor, Big Brother or Weakest Link, while forgetting we once knew quality entertainment.

    This is way past 'fiddling while Rome burns' - it's more akin to the nutty posh bloke in 'Titanic', waving his gun and rushing into the bowls of a sinking ship. Worse, we have THREE nutters, the sinking ship is Britain (not just metaphorically) and the bullets go unerringly into their politically-flat feet.

    This is way past weeping. Great Britain PLC must be ripe for take-over!

  • Comment number 18.


    I notice Cameron seems set to waste hospital and school time. Is this related to the coming election?

    Might Newsnight ASK the prancing ministers, DIRECTLY, if the disruption to our institutions is warrented? I doubt the poor punter waiting for the promised bed-pan thinks so.

  • Comment number 19.

    Review missed the two most important parts of both the For Love of Money documentary and the Fall of Lehman Brothers dramatization. Lets start with For the Love of Money part 2, the computer programmer who was writing the computer model for valuation of mortgage securities described how he was told that the group put chicken through a mincer and steak came out the other end, now if a butcher tried to sell minced chicken as fillet steak he would be committing the criminal offense of fraud, but somehow the programme makers did not pursue that line, and then near the end the same programmer was saying he didnt know whether what he had done constituted guilt, from a legal perspective I can tell you the answer is yes. In the drama about the fall of Lehman, Paulson gives a speach about the West being finished, I was surprised to hear such a clear and concise assesment of the situation in any TV programme.

    For everyone that thinks the situation is getting better, let me share a few things from the last few days.

    The first is the start of a Debtors revolt in the US, while this has been going on quietly for some time, with people handing back the keys to their houses rather than paying the mortgage in what has become known as "Jingle Mail" the revolt is now out in the open with people actually posting their intent to not pay on YouTube, it started a week ago with this

    That video has now been viewed 232,687 times, it was only around 173,000 times yesterday with 3,710 comments and 2975 5 star votes and since the video went up there are now around 200 others, just type "debtors revolt" into YouTube and see for yourself.

    The Pound dropped today, and parity to the Euro is expected by Q1 next year BNP Paribas have said. The only reason it is doing well against the US dollar is because their government is doing even crazer things than ours.

    Banks have been writing CDS (Credit default Swaps) on debt that they sold, so the risk has not been transfered from bank to purchaser, the latest to have a light shone on them is Wells in the US.

    Angela Merkel has come out and said 2009 German GDP may contract 5% to 6%.

    The Daily Mail had a good peice on the violent drop off in shipping activity, something anyone who watches the value of Baltic Dry Index would have known for some time, but the pictures were useful to those who don't know their BDI from their DJIA.

    Perhaps the BBC could spend it's time more on what is happening now and the repercussions, perhaps Review could do a review of media related to systemic societal collapses, review Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive by Jared Diamond and The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter, or the rise of the economist Nikolai Kondratiev and the possibility of a K-Winter? These would all be far more useful to the masses in dealing what what is on its way rather than looking backwards as if it's all over when the second act hasnt even begun.

  • Comment number 20.

    from mimpromptu
    This was supposed to be a spoof around the theme of the lovely song 'But It's Only a Paper Moon' but that's the only thing I've managed to come up with. I'm sending it to the blog only because there's has been on the NN pages quite a bit about tea:
    Discovery of confidence
    But it was only a plastic spoon
    That I broke while sipping tea
    But it wouldn’t be worrying me
    If I believed in me.

  • Comment number 21.

    by mimpromptu re: the route London Paris

    When to beau Paris I went last year
    Week after week, you might want to hear,
    The end of April and the beginning of May,
    Some creeps there chased me right all the way.

    It started in London at the Euro Star station,
    At the hotel they too played some attention,
    Then by the Louvre games were arranged,
    And so on and so forth by chasers deranged.

    It ended my weekend on Euro Star train
    By one of the waiters giving me pain
    It wasn’t physical on the train, I mean,
    But rather by games by the deranged too keen.

    How many more years is it supposed to last
    This chasing around by men from my past?
    The French, they themselves were great, I might add,
    Making my stay enjoyable and all that.

    Hope you have a good weekend

  • Comment number 22.

    Hopes she skates and ditties
    her way home from the mines of mind

  • Comment number 23.

    I have to agree with the several posts above that stress the need for a deeper and more realistic analysis of how people feel about the debtor crisis and proposed solutions than was dished up last night by NN.

    The so-called 'focus groups' item came across as totally superficial and was anything but scientific. A first-time-in-England American polster asking such basic questions of a random group of people did not contribute anything of the anger of the GBP against our government, such as to be found in responses like BBC 'Have Your Say' or the growing debtor revolt in USA posting, which is bound to be replicated here.

    Since I posted #1 the same proposals for cutting wastful 'services' have increase their vote significantly, yet BBC continues to select random e-mails in response to news items, rather than quote the views 'recommended' by the greatest number of people on their 'Have Your Say'.

    We may not agree with those views, but this is democracy and until we can come up with a better means of distilling wisdom - perhaps from a very large sample of the public who have been administered a series of test acknowledging them as being well-read and qualified to analyse and evaluate situations - the BBC and politicians should take on board the responses of groups like Newsnight bloggers.

  • Comment number 24.


    More like that please Turbo.

    My current reading is Chris Mullin 'The View from the Foothills'. In a low key, oblique way, it blows Westminster governance (in the full flush of Labour Newnwess) right out of the swamp water. We are 'governed' by default.

  • Comment number 25.


    That's what it feels like.

    See this in microcosm here

  • Comment number 26.

    mimpromptu (#20)"
    But it wouldn’t be worrying me
    If I believed in me."

    What should be worrying you is that you don't believe in others enough.

  • Comment number 27.

    Hi Indignantindegene


    Perhaps the problem with NN and other broadcasters is that they like much of society seem dominated by OXbridge and Public school types, and these places have created a snobbish, me-first, almost 'apartheid' system in our Country based on the old school tie, perhaps these places should be shut down and our society would become healthier and as you and I would very much like to see much more OPEN to differing points of view and new ideas?

    best wishes

  • Comment number 28.

    newsnight review in twelve months...guests...David Cameron, Maggie Thatcher lookalike, Genghis Kahn, Patrick Minford and any assorted Mussolinni's, no will give that a miss but it should interest the occassional fascist...

  • Comment number 29.

    #25 from mimpromptu
    Mr Singleton
    #19 smells of jj to me
    it's full of blackmails and threats
    it's one thing to complain and insist on spoiling party games and so on
    it's another to blackmail into submission

  • Comment number 30.

    The man known as the "godfather of neoconservatism", Irving Kristol, has died from lung cancer at the age of 89.

    Mr Kristol rejected the communist beliefs of his youth to become a leading right-wing thinker and writer.

    his political journey profile fits many in new labour?

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm touched, Streetphotobeing
    Thank you

  • Comment number 32.

    bookhimdano (#30) "Mr Kristol rejected the communist beliefs of his youth to become a leading right-wing thinker and writer."

    The type of 'communist' he was was a Trotskyite aka Anarchist (free-marketeers if one looks ever so closely). The fact is that a devious game was played whereby Soviet Stalinists in the USSR, i.e those who expelled the Jewish Trotskyites and other original Bolsheviks/Anarchists as part of the Russification of the USSR in the 1920s/30s, were treated as the enemy by disempowered American Jews, hence the Cold War against the 'communists' or statists. All the time, the Trotskyites and other Anarchists were getting support within the USA as free-marketeers. It was most cleverly done at the expense of a non too bright population. A population made ever less bright by immigration and dysgenic fertility alas?

    But yes, New Labour are Trotskyite free-marketeers as judged by their actions/behaviour rather than their verbal spin. Old Labour didn't stand a chance.

    This should have been more obvious than it was, but hey ho...

  • Comment number 33.

    In England, there is, I understand, a long established convention in the House of Commons that any politician that lies to Parliament has to resign as a matter of Parliamentary code of conduct.

    Gordon Brown would appear, beyond reasonable doubt, to have lied to Parliament regarding 'cuts' so when is he going to do the decent thing, for once, during his term in office?


  • Comment number 34.


    Poor wee Jimmie Brown. He just HAS to be greater than Tony Blair. It follows that he HAD TO LIE to Parliament.

    Blair had natural qualities of dominance and optimised them, in spite of his gnawing childhood angst that drives him ever-on today.
    Brown, by contrast, is an overgrown swot, with few attributes for 'greatness' (who failed to realise that, for Blair, it was easy) trying to ape a 'natural', and driven mad by serial failure. He is not even a good liar!.

  • Comment number 35.

    Even by news night standards the 18th September edition was abysmal. The open segment telling us about the upcoming cuts to public services began with Jonathan Rowlatt saying "politics is all about showmanship" followed by "politicians have to offer us thrills, drama and excitement" and finally "politicians have no say over the direction of policy." Showmanship, thrills and no direction how can a journalist working on flagship news programme for the BBC come out with such nonsense. Maybe thats how Mr Rowlatt, on a handsome wage, and what seems to be a cushy job likes to see politics. As a nice bit of charming theater for him to review in a jolly manner and anyway its all out of control. Unfortunately for large portions of the UK population our government and the businesses they serve are damaging, corrupt and destroying them. Perhaps if he could look beyond the showmanship, I realize for a BBC journalist this is almost impossible, he might be able to see this glaring fact.
    Not to be out done we were then subjected to a pollster. Who are these people asking vague questions to elicit vague answers from people they know make up the largest part of society but who they despise for obvious reasons the lower classes.
    He told us people were looking for change and hope, the same hollow words that helped bring obama to the Whitehouse. At least he told the truth that now the presidents ratings are sliding as no change or hope has come about. He was the pollster for President Obama.
    Finally to finnish Kirsty Ward was going to discuss all of the above with "a sharp witted political panel" enough said.

  • Comment number 36.


    Surely, to properly inform the public, we need panels that stand outside politics? Am I not unassailable when I assert that anyone who 'signs up' to credo or dogma, is instantly denied access to some truths and revelations? This, indeed, is why I am at ease in repeating SPOIL PARTY GAMES so often.

    What use to the people of Britain are three DOGMA-LIMITED views, from tacitly self-confessed 'belongers'? 'Sharp wits' mediate against alignment with any group; sharp wits (dare I say wisdom?) yield mature, competent, INDIVIDUALS, who can comment honestly on the matters of the day, without political (or any other) bias. They must be out there Newsnight. I know you are addicted to EDGY strife, but try to remember (a) you do not live or die by audience figures, and (b) you are not 'Big Brother'. A bit of public service here?

  • Comment number 37.

    Obamas survey said neee! neee!:

    The pollster fella knows his stuff, no doubt a coup for NN getting him, shame about the audience participation segment. Are these really representative of what you could call the general public. As this unfolded i started to wonder, were they plucked randomly from the bus stops of these towns . "Hey! you there, do you want to be on TV? Its a bit like X factor/skating on ice but with a political yeah... will Simon and Bruce be there?". It would appear we do have our own versions of the deep south hillbillies in our own towns and cities, Maybe we have concentrated on our politicians a tad too much and not enough on the mental and educational ability of the electorate. One question asked was what was important to them, family or self? one answered 'self' but changed it to 'family' when he remembered he had children. Now i have on occasions found my self dazed and confused (drunk ect) but at no time did i have difficulty recalling i was a daddy. I could be lying down on a pavement covered in my own vomit...but never have i forgotten their smiling happy asking-for-more-money faces, c'mon, you can't forget that...well some can apparently. To be fair there were some decent comments made but on the round it was a bit pointless and... there's more to come!

    The review was interesting, especially the bit when yer man from the Guardian ripped into the former banker. The people of Birmingham are losing their jobs in great numbers but the man from the Guardian -whom i quite like even though he thinks Cuba's a great place - is defending them from the evil bankers that ruin their lives. "I'd like to talk to you about it for an hour later"...tear your head off more like, er ..verbally. All this with clips from South Park and other comedic takes on the financial crisis just shown...great stuff:o)

  • Comment number 38.

    #33. from mimpromptu
    I'd like to back you on that, nautier
    I'm not particularly keen on him using my expressions neither
    I sharpened my teeth yesterday morning and he comes up with 'sharpening his axe'.
    This sort of thing has happened many times before while allowing you know who getting away with telling nasty things about me & worse. There is no real substance to Gordon, i'm afraid. His place in the history of British & international politics is doomed, anyway.
    Resign, Mr Brown, your time is up.

  • Comment number 39.

    mimpromptu (#38) "This sort of thing has happened many times before while allowing you know who getting away with telling nasty things about me & worse."

    You appear to like making things up, fine - just try not to let it get out of hand. Most people posting here are well meaning people. You should listen to them more.

  • Comment number 40.


    HI JJ. Have you read the House Rules lately? they are on a par with The MPs Code of Conduct.

    I am becoming increasingly curious about the vetting sequence/mechanism/scrutineers. By inference it/they is/are probably chaotic, costly and inexpert.

    But then - I still don't know the raison d'etre of this forum, so it is not really possible to judge its moderation! I wonder if Newsnight knows its purpose?

  • Comment number 41.

    barrie (#40) I agree. I find it rather galling that someone can misread a post, assert that it means A, B or C (their own construction), complain about it and demand that it be removed, when all they've really done is demonstrate their own inability to grasp what was written. This seems guaranted to reduce the level of critical analysis/posting, and dumb a forum down even further.

    It seems self-destructive for the BBC to me, but there you go. People will drift away in the end :-(

  • Comment number 42.

    #38, written outside Queen's Ice Rink in Queensway on my iphone, continuation on my laptop
    When I attended the most interesting Media Society evening with Steve Richards at the Groucho Club, at question time, I suggested that Gordon Brown had lost mandate from the British people to carry on as the Prime Minister.
    Now, I was not booed out of the room and everybody I've spoken to since (including people in high places) seem to share my opinion and talk of miracles.
    Gordon Brown may be treated decently, i.e. diplomatically, by his foreigh counterparts, but the majority of them (as well as quite a large proportion of general public) know, what vile, unacceptable and against all human rights violations have been (and are being) committed on my person. Mr Brown knows all about it but then has the cheek to use bits from my ditties and conversations to promote himself. This seems to me beyond any decent comprehension.
    When books and documentaries re: the issue start coming out it will be even worse for Gordon. There may be schemes planned to silence me but the truth is already known so it would serve absolutely no purpose. It would become even worse for Mr Brown and the Labour Party as a whole. The thing is the whole scandal is very damaging to the country itself from many different points of view.
    I have authorised David Cameron and a few other people to bring the issue into the open as I am not afraid of being confronted about it by the public and the media. We are supposed to be living in a democracy and not in some cooked up totalitarian regime.

  • Comment number 43.

    JadedJean (#40 )

    Far be it from a conspiracy theory, but perhaps certain more recent posters have been directed here as a deliberate plant to undermine what long standing posters have to say in the run up to the general election. The quality of debate has gone rapidly down hill in the past six months and perhaps you are correct to suspect that long term regular viewers could be turned away. Who wants to read pointless poetry unless its designed to illustrate a particular political point ?

  • Comment number 44.


    I need not point out that you have chosen to post under the number 42 and it is well known that Douglas Adams was a spy for aliens AND NOT A SHAPE-SHIFTER, no matter what David Eyck might say. (How else could Adams have all that accurate data about intergalactic propulsion systems?)

    I have been reading on the flying saucer phenomenon since the early 50s, and am well versed in earth lights, ley lines, crop circles, and anti-gravity - not to mention the effects on matter of rotation (remember Prof. Laithwaite?) Do you levitate while spinning? Do metallic objects become warm?

    I am concerned that you might be acting as a pawn of aliens, without knowing it, and could endanger our top politicians. Watch 'The Quatermass Experiment' if you can find a copy, and prepare yourself to expel aliens should they try to make you act strangely.

    Good luck. Be alert - the World needs Lerts.

  • Comment number 45.

    barrie (#36) "Surely, to properly inform the public, we need panels that stand outside politics?"

    Exactly. The NN 'Political Panel' is a joke where three ex spin doctors collude in faux debate over the same failed anarchistic dogma. They don't inform, they just gossip like a trio of fishwives (no offence to fishmongers).

  • Comment number 46.

    brossen99 (#43) It may well be the effect, whatever's brought it about.

  • Comment number 47.

    #44 from mimpromptu to Barrie - point by point
    What a silly question - you know well what happened to me and where!
    Ah, the numbers, to hell with numbers!
    As far as the crop circles go, I did let myself be duped about them at the beginning of the nineties, the fool that I was at the time! Although, I might add, I was already making inroads into the lights glowing at me from the screen.
    Do I levitate? - No, not in the supernatural way though I experience a sort of elevation, particularly when twirling to the more eerie musical pieces or songs, like for example 'Miserer Mei, Deus', a 'Requiem', Miriam Makeba's 'Laku Tshone Ilanga' or Elvis' 'Blue Moon'. With flamenco I seem to get fired up. With some of Fernandel's songs, or 'Swinging on a Star' I just have fun, etc.
    Do metallic objects get warm? Haven't got a clue. Should there be metallic objects within my body, then I'm sure they do. Otherwise, from some of the comments I've had sometimes a few 'hearts' warm up, apparently.
    The game of chess? Well, that's what they think they're doing. I'm fully aware I've been used for years and years by the so-called 'engineers' in one way or another but they'll never reach the core of me, they're not capable in this area though there are some who are, those on similar wavelengths, as they say.
    In terms of politics, I've been trying to be understanding and fight for my basic human rights with the minimal possible damage to the currently in place politicians and that's why I sometimes challenged your 'spoil party games' slogan but I've reached the point of having had enough. Hence, my challenge of Gordon Brown and Mandy. After all, they claim to be in charge. As for the rest, well, depends really. Oh, I'm definitely not keen on George Galloway.
    Barrie, this doesn't seem like a particularly humorous response but thank you for your support.

  • Comment number 48.

    come off it, brossen99, if you don't know how to read into my ditties then don't read them but I suspect you're just provoking me into responding to you
    well, there you are, you have the first and last response from me, unless you're jj, who knows? but then I'm not interested in finding out anyway - we are not on similar wavelengths, these sort of differences are irreconcilable

  • Comment number 49.

    Since we've entered into discussions about the future of UK politics, I would like to take this opportunity to descibe the evolution of my attitude towards the European Union.
    Although I have always been for full cooperation between the European countries at the cultural and social levels, in the late eighties and early nineties I worked myself up against too much cooperation at the monetary and political level, fighting any way I could against it. One of the reasons for it was the fact that some of the European leaders at the time were trying to threaten and blackmail Britain into submission. I thought Helmut Kohl was the worst in this respect and he really turned my back then. I also had personal reasons to feel rebellious as it was then that I realised I was being used as a pawn in the hands of politicians and the creeps from SSEES.
    However, my position has now changed and although I'm definitely against the EU becoming one single state, I've come into conclusion that very close political, economic and military cooperation is very important in view of potential threats and attacks from any of the totalitarian regimes which, alas, still exist in the world. This does not mean that I would recommend the UK to necessarily accept the Euro, for example - I'm not an economist.
    Thank you Barrie for taking interest in me, my thinking and wellbeing.

  • Comment number 50.

    from mimpromptu, as above
    It remains to be hoped that the President of the USA, Mr Barack Obama, and Gordon Brown will discuss the issues raised by our reent postings when they meet up in Washington.
    Have a good day

  • Comment number 51.

    And to round up my postings for this morning, I would like to add that I kind of officially agreed to take part in the political game at the suggestion of Kenneth Baker who was at the time the Home Secretary but didn't expect for the game to be seized upon by a few deranged individuals turning it into the absolute of limits of invasiveness that can be committed on a human being.

  • Comment number 52.

    Speaking of Bad Brown Days... again... the other day I had cause to mention 'another fine Baroness...'

    Seems she is still in the news, and not in a good, 'lessons have been learned' way:

    Not that senior, no real power, need not be viewed as much of an example.. move along.

  • Comment number 53.

    from mim
    Streetphotobeing, a new day is beginning.
    Ready I’m getting to enjoy the new day,
    Though in my bowels I’m having some pain.

    That’s not going to stop me from dittying and skating.
    And Sue, anyway, for me will be waiting
    To show me new things I will then have to practice
    To make my movements on ice more attractive.

    Have a good day yourself, Streetphotobeing,
    Enjoy yourself whatever you’re doing.

  • Comment number 54.

    from mimpromptu
    message taken in and accepted,
    if that was the intention /though further communication may be necessary/

  • Comment number 55.

    54. At 09:16am on 20 Sep 2009, mimpromptu

    It might, but only if it is pleasant or at least in the spirit of civil debate, as I fear I am unsure what message I might have transmitted so specifically beyond hoping our national broadcaster's premier news magazine could see fit to concern themselves again and more on the travails of a senior government officer who is at best erring on 'Do as I say, not as I do', and the 'getting on with the jobsworthiness' of the fellow (who might have hired her and) she reports to.

    Also, for the sake of others, not so keen on O/T a deux exchanges (especially downward spirals), but to clear doubts OK. Too many misunderstandings on blogs where 'tone' gets lost:) Happy to clarify.

  • Comment number 56.

    Well, there seems to be a degree of modesty in your blog at #52 whereas previously you seemed to be waiting to take things over, etc. I need to push off now but may get in touch with you over this blog later. I'm only guessing, of course, who you might be, I admit.

  • Comment number 57.

    + to #56
    who was talking of O/T a deux exchanges?

  • Comment number 58.


    The trouble is, however it's dressed up by the well-meaning, it just comes down to not being very bright and making too many babies which are 'not very bright' (and not making enough which are). This matters.

    #49 Sixteen or so self-referential pronouns is too much self-reference, and is indicative of unhealthy egocentricity.

  • Comment number 59.


    I would expect Cortisol level to be in there somewhere - and what about alcohol level? And then - Cortisol + ALCOHOL? Then all the same questions, but replace alcohol with any drug of choice.

    It's a fascinating field, but as the relevant group don't vote, our cynical politicians will not be too engaged.

    Whiskers Winston is due another TV outing. How about getting him to investigate, Beeb?

  • Comment number 60.

    why didn't the guardian reveal the journalist names it said it had evidence for breaking the law? isn't that aiding and abetting?

    is the media fick as feeves?

  • Comment number 61.

    57. At 10:01am on 20 Sep 2009, mimpromptu

    Irony:) I yam who I yam. Happy for my words to be taken for my beliefs ("til they evolve with circumstances), and argued accordingly. Not interested in much else, in particular personal stuff, except where it aids context, which between bloggers it rarely does.

    ' seemed to be waiting to take things over, etc. No posters of Al Haig over my PC here, I fear. I am not selfish enough, especially for my family's sake, to seek more than to be interested in their futures. And to comment freely upon it, when I can, however I can, while I can.

    But with that, I regret, and in part because it, this must be over... and out. It's sunny. My kids are keen to go out and play in the garden. Life, for now, today at least, if I try hard, is looking rosy.

  • Comment number 62.


    barrie, Please can you suggets someone other than 'Whiskers'? It really does help to reinforce an already bad impression.

  • Comment number 63.


    A little more on the process of making stuff up and its beneficicaries...

  • Comment number 64.


    What was I THINKING JJ! I reckon Clarkson is quite capable of running a show that samples blood levels of this and that, and addressing anger (probably through the medium of cars).

    I might even take a tranquillizer and watch.

  • Comment number 65.


    This morning’s Andrew Mar show with Nick Clegg, was a typical example of what represents serious political policy debate nowadays – just slagging off the other two major parties, and avoiding specifics on how to get us out of the financial crisis.

    ‘Nick’ was in the ‘Tony’ mould, hot-gospelling, waving his hands about and preaching what ‘he passionately believes in’ not addressing what the GBP says is needed. If I were a liberal, which I am definitely not (cue for Gof1 here) I would prefer to listen to Vince Cable discuss his financial recovery plan in his usual quiet, structured manner; but he might have been sidelined as a danger of eclipsing Clegg.

    The other crisis - what the other ‘quiet man’ Iain Duncan Smith, referred to as ‘Our Broken Society’ – no longer rates a mention, it’s become accepted as our chronic status quo. IDS in conjunction with the Centre for Social Justice has recently produced a further in-depth analysis of poverty and welfare in Britain, with specific
    proposals for reforming our benefits system, one of the causes of social breakdown.

    The Centre for Social Justice has produced a number of reports, based not on a foreign pollster asking simple questions of a random ‘focus group’ but following lengthy research actually in the relevant areas by staff professionally qualified, well experienced - and not politically motivated.

    Can NN leave the financial crisis until some specific proposals are forthcoming to debate, and devote at least one entire programme to some of the findings and recommendations of IDS and the Centre for Social Justice. In the short, medium and longer term this is far more important than the one aspect of financial crisis in our society.

    p.s. Don't invite any politicians (or fishwives)!

  • Comment number 66.


    Apparently, farm animals don't use toilet paper (their hooves lack opposable thumbs and tey don't get to supermarkets much). It also seems to be the case that they're prone to use their tongues instead!

    So...helpful tip for mums and their kids - don't kiss (etc) farm animals!

  • Comment number 67.

    JunkkMae from mimpromptu
    ah well, I may have miread you
    but who do you refer to in your post at #55 as 'she'? and what do you mean by that?

  • Comment number 68.

    from mimpromptu
    I've been wondering all day whether ever Churchil and Stalin are iconciliable but haven"t been able to come with the right answer. Something tells me that this particular combination may be rather difficult to digest fby the British stomach.

  • Comment number 69.


    I should be vacuuming, but see - you have set me off.

    If IDS is, by any measure, bright, then I have lived all these years and learned nothing. I am still fuming that he held the door to Iraq open for Saint Tony 'bathed all in light' (through the dazzled eyes of Simpleton-Smith) while a million highly-visible dissenters (and who knows how many passive ones?) who had 'called it right', said a principled NO to war. ALL were, of course, invisible to a dazzled Simpleton Smith.

    We have had more enquiries than you can shake a bent stick at, but never an enquiry into what the Devil was going on in the unimpressive mind of IDS. I can only conclude that, as Tony was pleading Bluebottle-like: "Can I be the man who stands shoulder-to-shoulder with you My Capting?" of Bush, that IDS was pleading along similar lines, to Great Tony!

    No wonder IDS is busy doing 'good works'. Shades of Profumo.

  • Comment number 70.


    Given that bottom-licking is a comonality JJ, might they, also, all have the same supplier of pre-bagged 'treats' for the animals? All that unsellable (contaminated?) food has to go somewhere! I envisage hot hands holding 'hot' pellets, with high transfer. Redolent of BSE?

  • Comment number 71.


    History was one of the many O-levels I didn't pass Mim. I can't compute all this Hitlerist, Stalino-Trotskyite, UncleTomCobbleyate stuff. I can only smell rats that currently live under my floorboards.

  • Comment number 72.

    barrie (#70) I don't know, but it seems to me that closing down farms (and other industries) has been a rather peculiar penchant of this and previous 'governments of the people'.

    Little 'petting farms' occupy land, like public parks, and no doubt, in some areas, land is an investment/development opportunity which is 'going to waste'? In other areas, farms are competition to suppliers abroad? Is it nationalist/racist/protectionist to say 'abroad' these days?

    Someone else with a better knowledge in this area might shed some light?

  • Comment number 73.

    #68 & #71
    As I sent off the text at #68 from my iphone without my glasses on I've made a couple of spelling mistakes:
    iconciliable should be reconcilable and there shouldn't be an f before by
    So, I repeat: can we employ both Churchill and Stalin to do the same job, re: defend the British lands and British souls?
    Barrie, does it sound easier to answer? I just love your honesty about your academic achievements! And, at the same time, am delighted to be blogging with you rather than the spreading disease Oxford graduates we have to deal with. By the way, my own education has been more than patchy. The only two of the numerous post secondary school courses involving exams to my credit have been my Secretarial course in Putney and a French A level one, also in Putney. All the others have had to endure tortuous journeys, but I'm not complaining. It's been more interesting this way, apart from the creeps following me around.

  • Comment number 74.


    wasn't it all said about greed in a no rules society in the Third Man?

    Lime: 'would you feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? if i offered you 20,000 pounds for every dot that stopped moving would you really tell me to keep my money..'

    Lime: 'no one thinks in terms of human beings,Governments don't why should we? They talk about the people and proletariat i talk about the suckers and the mugs its the same thing'.

    Lime: Don't be so gloomy. In Italy under the Borgias they had warfare terror murder bloodshed but they produced michaelangelo, leonardo da vinci and the renaissance...'

    i thought the pbs frontline docus were better. the uk plays had dialogue that was only there to be explainy.

  • Comment number 75.

  • Comment number 76.

    Society keeps children in a sanitised world, away from all 'threats' that might stimulate and strengthen their immune system. Everything they touch has has 99% of all household germs removed from it.

    Then they are taken out for one day at the age of 5 into the great reality. Is it any wonder their immune systems can't cope.

    So they answer is children shouldn't touch animals. Well for 150,000 years they haven't done them any harm. Counter intuitive policy planning as Prof Jay Forrester would say.

    Perhaps if kids were allowed to get dirty from the time they crawled, stroking an animal might not have been such a shock.The sad thing is for such children there are now correlations appearing between cancer and the lack of stimulation of the immune system in the early years.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 77.

    #69 barrie
    It was at the back of my mind that my #65 might provoke an allergic IDS reaction from you; sorry to interrupt your domestic tasks, but why not let the dust settle on IDS's past? Maybe he felt that an anti-war stance would be a disgrace to the memory of his dad (a WWII airman hero) and he also suffered a defeat for his party, so perhaps he has reformed? He is probably more sincere/ trustworthy and less self-seeking than many others in all parties.

    I'm sure most of the research work for the CSJ report was carried out by non-political professionals and proposes a radically reform of the benefits system, which I have argued almost from inception would create a sub-culture of invertebrates. No previous government seemed able or willing to 'think the unthinkable' and carry it through. Now they all seem to have pushed both reports into the long grass. Yet another conspiracy to encourage a failing state?

    Don't suppose Newsnight will bother either, as the subject matter needs discussion between professionals and the affected public rather than politicians and celebs.

  • Comment number 78.


    In this age of apology, perhaps IDS will apologise, IDG2?

    Anyway, it is what Blair and IDS (et al) are SYMPTOMS of that is my true target. We have to stop promoting these lame duck/headless chicken crosses to positions of authority. I am not yet half way through Chris Mullin's diaries, and already my inferences about the Westminster charade are confirmed. It is odd: Mullin seemed to half-realise he was 'living within a lie' but there is some psychic poison in the Westminster air that shuts down the faculty of 'Up with this I will not put'. I might write to him when I get to the end.

    I loved 'sub-culture of invertebrates' - well turned; nice grain. Keep 'em coming.

  • Comment number 79.

    Dear Newsnight Investigators
    I would be most of obliged if could kindly forward the following ditty:
    To Professor Richard Dawkins

    To LibDems Richard Dawkins went to speak
    On how the machine experiment to keep
    Going with the hope of great discoveries to make
    Not realising that the whole thing is only a fake.

    Abandoning his God he’s abandoned his soul
    By pronouncing some crap on behalf of the mole
    Who one minute feels that Stalin he is
    While the next he’s Churchill, he thinks, so it seems.

    Dear Professor, come back to your senses
    Before your downfall into the abyss soon commences.

  • Comment number 80.

    from mimpromptu as above
    Which version of the 'Quatermass Experiment' should I get, the one from 1953 or 2005?
    Looking forward to hearing from you soon

  • Comment number 81.

    from mimpromptu
    The best service that could be done for the future of British politics and for me personally would be for my involvement in the 'game' to be finally spelled out by either a politician or a journalist, with today being the optimal date. The rest can be worked out by negotiations.

  • Comment number 82.

    from mimpromptu

    Streetphotobeing, Monday's beginning
    With new challenges that we'll be facing.
    Hope you enjoy the hours to come
    Wherever you are, whatever your plan.


  • Comment number 83.

    indignantindegene (#77) "the subject matter needs discussion between professionals and the affected public rather than politicians and celebs."

    That's a very important message the BBC needs to take on board generally. These days, we have no end of pseudo-experts, usually from dubious, self-created 'think-tanks', opining on all sorts of matters, simply because they are easily solicited, when in fact, most of the real experts shun such limelight because they know 'it's more complicated than that' (or are bound by ethnics, confidentiality etc). It's a point which barrie has made repeatedly in other contexts.

  • Comment number 84.


    STV IS COMING (how liberal can one get)

    NN presenters too often have to admit that 'no government spokesman is available to comment'; fine, that's the opportunity to invite real experts for their unbiased findings and/or opinions. They can shun the limelight with a bit of NN's cloak-and-dagger expertise - wearing a mask or in a darkened studio with just the back of their head showing and an actor speaking their words. Some background music, such as 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' might be appropriate.

    On a similar vein, I've been watching a promotion of STV (not Sex TV) but the Single Transferrable Vote, as favoured by Lib-Dems at their conference. Unlike the straight PR used for the recent election of MEPs, this would allow voters to choose from a number of candidates put forward by political parties or independants. It could be a step nearer to Barrie's objective. Any views from the electorate?

  • Comment number 85.

    Vince Cable - nicely crafted speech, but in the end, just more anarchism.

  • Comment number 86.


    indignantindegene (#84) "They can shun the limelight with a bit of NN's cloak-and-dagger expertise - wearing a mask or in a darkened studio with just the back of their head showing and an actor speaking their words. Some background music, such as 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' might be appropriate."

    Very nice idea, but they did that with GuidoFawkes and look what happened to him - outed by a journalist on NN! Just imagine what Mme Mim would get up to! She's competing with Kirsty Wark as Mme Guilotine I reckon.

    Don't get any ideas NN ;-).

  • Comment number 87.

    #1 indignatindegene

    "Trust me with the knife, I’m a politician! "

    Given that the great bulk of voters in general elections vote for democratic politicians I think they would indeed trust a politician.

    If you did a poll and asked, for instance, the question
    "trust me with a knife, I'm a National Socialist who is against multi culturalism"
    then you would get a significantly different answer.

  • Comment number 88.

    from mimpromptu
    JJ, Dr Faustus, BubblegumTriffid
    Thinks he is it, he is terrific
    By making people look like just fools
    While leaving others in bloody pools.
    But the world's wiser than poor Jean
    On whom they're no longer, no longer keen.

  • Comment number 89.

    #85 jaded_Jean

    "Vince Cable - nicely crafted speech, but in the end, just more anarchism."

    Well thats the thing isn't for you anybody who is not National Socialist or Stalinist is an "anarchist and Trotskyite".

    The BNP declare that they are not a Nazi party and therefore they must, according to your definitions, be also anarchists and Trotskyites. Nationalism is in itself a meaningless term as all parties would say they are "nationalist". They evade the truth and use images of Churchill and Hitler.

    I assume myself that the English Defence League and others are simply another face of the BNP that may allow them to use football hooligans as a kind of blunt SA.

    But of course beneath the facade you soon come across reverence for Hitler, Holocaust "agnosticism" and so on.

    I do hope the media don't allow the charade to continue.

  • Comment number 90.

    #72 jaded_Jean

    "I don't know, but it seems to me that closing down farms (and other industries) has been a rather peculiar penchant of this and previous 'governments of the people'."

    Given you revere Hitler and National Socialism and are "agnostic" on the Holocaust the mind boggles as to what your ideal "government of the replacement aristocrats" - as Bertrand Russell described the National Socialists - would do with a camp.

    How quickly would the barbed wire go up and you would be looking for enemies to populate the camp?

    Sometimes it is hard not to laugh when you talk of benign factors and yet represent some of the most evil aspects of human history for hundreds of years.

  • Comment number 91.

    nick clegg reminds me of, reminds me of......reminds me of....NOBODY...and that is his problem..he is faceless

  • Comment number 92.

    #63 jaded_Jean


    What a facile comment.

    You are the one that suggested that the Holocaust was made up to make statists look bad. Yet you also claim any killing that was done beyond disease killing Jews was in fact done by the Russians. Stalinists and therefore statists in your terms.

    So why would you want the statists to look bad?

    More to the point the National Socialists under Hitler, that you revere yet usually try to avoid mentioning, was easily the most evil in modern history.

    You don't have to make them "look bad" - you just tell the truth.

    But then you have criticized me in the past for "painting Hitler as darkly as possible for party political reasons".

    But you need to expand your vocabulary as "running dog of the Jews" and "anarchist and Trotskyite" and "useful idiot" tend to make me pity your obvious psychological limitations and adolescent lies.

    Like all dark things you cannot bear the light of truth.

  • Comment number 93.

    #88 addendum from mimpromptu
    Oh, there are still quite a few fools around, including some in 'high places', who give in to poor jean - once a fool always a fool - throughout history
    And yet there is nothing better than a common enemy to unite even opposite camps!

  • Comment number 94.

    On the Lib Dems if they persuaded the Tories to take on PR like the rest of Europe Labour would be crushed and possibly destroyed. Germany, where they keep the far right in check seemingly better than we do, manages fine with PR for those that saw the Euro protest vote and low turnout as the cause of the Brons and Griffin shame. Expenses was more to do with it than the electoral system.

    The resulting electoral deal would crush Labour.

    If the Lib Dems dropped the Clegg idea on education fees and sounded less happy clappy on Europe and stressed a holistic and inclusive society with job creation schemes for those areas blighted by unemployment then they would prosper.

    But the Tories won't take PR at this point and probably won't have the time to turn their own party ideas around.

  • Comment number 95.

    Prior to the election could some multi millionaire not sponsor a crossparty and union series of advertisements that showed the democratic unity of those opposed to fascist Nazis.

    Include geneticists who would debunk the false "science" that the National Socialists try to put forward by sleight of hand.

    Include historians that have sifted the evidence and reject the Holocaust "agnosticism" and denials of the twisted and evil minds of the far right.

  • Comment number 96.


    Can it be helped?

    There's a profound wisdom/humanism in the adage 'don't mock the afflicted'.

  • Comment number 97.

    thegangofone (#92) "Yet you also claim any killing that was done beyond disease killing Jews was in fact done by the Russians."

    Once again, you appear to be confabulating. In the above, you appear to be muddling 'The Katyn Massacre' (which the Soviets admitted to in 1989, see the FCO website) with 'The Holocaust', which is still very much a matter of dispute in some quarters. To the best of my knowledge, nobody here has suggested that the Russians killed concentration camp detainees, just that as the camps liberated by the Soviets went behind the Iron Curtain, and so the East and Central European detainees (where the overwhelming number of European Jews lived before the war after all) were lost to the West. That's pretty simple to grasp surely? Maybe Ahmadinejad and Abbas know something others people do not? They have friends in Moscow after all.

  • Comment number 98.

    One can tell when it's getting near the fag-end of the day's blog: you appear. I was tempted to quote the analogy of the Dustcart that follows the Lord Mayor's Show, but that at least has a practical purpose, whereas your contribution is just the same old repetitive cut-and-paste. Best stick with that material though as your response to my #1 post is indeed risible:-

    "Given that the great bulk of voters in general elections vote for democratic politicians I think they would indeed trust a politician." !!

    Where have you been for the past year? Even the Lib-Dems conference spent some time bemoaning the public's loss of trust in politicians.

    As for your final riposte - "If you did a poll and asked for instance, the question 'trust me with a knife, I'm a National Socialist who is against multi culturalism' then you would get a significantly different answer."

    Have you ever attempted to support your 'convictions' with any evidence?

    The BBC's 'Have Your Say' that I quoted in my #1 post supplied the top public responses about what should be cut: did you manage to read into that any support for multiculturalism? With the 'SangatII' closure in Calais looming, most sensible people are looking for a firm stand against any more mass immigration: sadly the main political parties don't seem to listen as they have their own devious agendas.


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