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Tuesday 8 June 2010

Sarah McDermott | 12:28 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Ministers are to give details about a "once-in-a-generation" re-examination of the way the government works, as it prepares to make "painful" cuts.

The Treasury is to ask for the public's views on which functions the government should perform and which could be done by other bodies to save money.

A "star chamber" of senior figures will be created, before which ministers will have to justify their spending.

Tonight Michael Crick and Paul Mason will be analysing the politics and economics behind George Osborne's plans to eradicate the country's budget deficit.

And we will be having our very own mini-consultation on where the cuts should come and what should be kept in the Newsnight Star Chamber.

We'll convene a committee of people with public spending cut proposals and others who'll be making the defence to save particular areas from the axe.

They'll be pitching in front of a panel which will include John Redwood MP - who today proposed on his blog that the government "should stop the cash and cut the interference".

Plus, ahead of the World Cup celebrations, Tim Whewell travels to the 'rainbow nation', South Africa where he finds deep race divisions.

Tim meets two young men with very differing views - controversial ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and Ernst Roets, chairman of white pressure group AfriForum.
Read more about that here.

Do join Jeremy at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


From earlier today:

Ministers are to give details about a "once-in-a-generation" re-examination of the way the government works, as it prepares to make "painful" cuts.

The Treasury is to ask for the public's views on which functions the government should perform and which could be done by other bodies to save money.

A "star chamber" of senior figures will be created, before which ministers will have to justify their spending.

So tonight we thought we would have our own mini-consultation on where the cuts should come and what should be kept.

And ahead of the World Cup celebrations, Tim Whewell travels to the 'rainbow nation', South Africa where he finds deep race divisions. Tim meets two young men with very differing views - controversial ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and Ernst Roets, chairman of white pressure group AfriForum.

More details later.


  • Comment number 1.

    "So tonight we thought we would have our own mini-consultation on where the cuts should come and what should be kept."

    Abolish all state provided education.

    It is unable to do what it says on the tin (just check the stats) and only encourages the worst possible kind of utter irresponsibility.

    If someone makes a personal life style decision to bring a human being into existence on an over populated, resource-drained, environmentally degraded planet then they should be solely and financially responsible for providing and caring for that child.

    The status quo of exponential increase in human population is simply not sustainable and has no possible future so the government is going to have to get a grip on this issue anyway.

    Now that bankrupt Britain is completely bust, this is an excellent opportunity to make parents pay for the children that they have chosen to have and to force them to provide for their child's education by scrapping state schools.

    Also abolish maternity and paternity pay and child benefit for the same reasons. The state shouldn't penalise people if they want to have children but neither should the state reward them for doing so as that can only lead to welfare dependency and disaster.

    Many would undoubtedly argue that it is their "human right" to have children but it's not. It is, however, a child's human right to be brought up by loving caring parents who provide everything that child needs and that includes a decent standard of living as well as paying for the child's education.

  • Comment number 2.


    Martin Rees seemed to think we will progress, in spite of the idiots. Does he not know that a certain type of 'idiot' is driven to strive 24 hours a day, to gain status, adulation and power, FOR WHICH HE HAS AN INSATIABLE NEED?

    There is good reason to term our seat of governance "The Westminster VILLAGE!"

  • Comment number 3.

    how can anyone get enthused about a competition which puts people earning an average of a hundred thousand a week and the average African who besides not being able to afford a ticket lioves on a dollar a day. The whole competition is a fraud and a sop to the middle classes of the world and their lofty view on the poor beleagured African...(shades of colonialism) after it is all over, the rich 5 per cent will return to their mansions and their agents over indulgences and the poor African will go back to his mud hut and think how lucky he is...what a farce...what a travesty...

  • Comment number 4.


    It was exactly my gut reaction, BYT, and I'm going to re-listen what precisely Jeremy said though suspect he wasn't expressing his own views. That's partly why i asked earlier about any changes that may be in the offing with the
    new government now in Westminster, especially that I've read quite a few complaints by different people working for the BBC about the reign of Soviet style terror atmosphere in the place.

    I've written extensively about my suspicions where most of it comes from, including Mandy, and sincerely hope these sources will be dealt with soon. It's all very damaging to the UK as a whole, I'm convinced of that.


  • Comment number 5.

    Personally I like the way that the coalition will show genuine leadership by leading ... and taking the people with you rather than the recent Labour elitist arrogance that their way was the right way.

    Meanwhile some Unions seem to be trying to portray this as bis business versus the ordinary people. Yet on behalf of their members they bankroll the party that was seduced by big business and ran up the credit boom that coupled with lax regulation gave us the crash.

    I am slightly dubious about the use of the "painful" expression as nobody in the public is really expecting this to be anything other than painful.

    The Blair legacy was speaking tours and dozens of properties whilst ours is a generation of debt.

  • Comment number 6.

    Its possible that Julius Malema is young and emotional but my gut instinct is that he shows the arrogance of somebody convinced he will be the leader of his country by default in due course and is showing the same intellectual corruption as the racists the ANC stood proudly against.

    But I am an outsider without all of the facts.

    I am not really expecting Ernst Roets to be anything more than a less comical Terreblanche.

    But its sad if people who are white in South Africa and were born and bred and loyal are treated as less than equal.

    In the same vein those who are immigrants over here and are of a different race should be treated as equals as there is no basis to do otherwise. There are no significant genetic differences between the races and we know from science that we are in fact closely related.

    All of this nonsense where those such as the BNP start wobbling on about indigenous people being wiped out takes no account of the fact that the country is happily multi-cultural. That's expressed in the votes at the last general election.

    By the way I misspoke earlier saying I was against immigration now (not on racial grounds) but should have said uncontrolled immigration.

  • Comment number 7.

    By the way its a bit late in the day for me to be offering Capello advice but I would suggest that three-four-two-one would solve many problems.

    Wing backs would give us natural width and if the two are Joe Cole and Gerrard in advanced midfield then we should see the best of both of them and clever interactions with Rooney who would not get so isolated.

    Just a thought really. Bit off topic.

  • Comment number 8.



    If only it were THAT simple!

  • Comment number 9.

    Sometime back there used to be somebody who posted on this page and would try to suggest that there were meaningful IQ differences between the races. Despite the lack of science to back up such claims.

    But it tells you much that those like the BNP who have tried to enforce racial membership and play the charade of saying simultaneously that they are not racist Nazi's have neither put up their "evidence" against the EHRC and so far as I know have not fully complied and therefore are injuncted from illegally accepting new members.

    Meanwhile recent documentaries have shown the English Defence League to be little more than hooligans who number the BNP in their throng are very cautious about showing their true leaders.

    They number a few naive people of race and burned a Nazi flag for the camera.

    Yet racist chants and violence dominate their protests.

    Sometimes you can't be certain that every member of such a group is an active racist but you can determine from what is not revealed - the leadership - that they have not shown their true colours to the world.

    Sometimes the silence is deafening.

  • Comment number 10.


    “ to ask for the public's views on which functions the government should perform “

    OH DEAR!

    “A "star chamber" of senior figures will be created,....”


    “...and "the best and the brightest civil servants" “


    “.....Ministers could be asked to consider whether services currently provided by their departments......”

    DEAR OH DEAR OH DEAR OH DEAR OH.............Any bets on how many say 'YES, it's a fair cop - my job/department is UNNECESSARY?

    “.....Any minister who agrees to make cuts in his department's spending will be invited to sit on the committee and give his or her verdict on their colleagues' spending plans.”

    OH ****.

    Sounds like a good mechanism for bringing honest altruism into play. No body would be inclined to offer personal cuts in return for power over other departments now would they??????????????????

  • Comment number 11.


    Not a lot of people know that the chap who ran the first Marathon, was bringing the prototypes for the merchandising. The artist who had been given the job (in consequence of a traditional bribe) had subbed the work at half the price, and further subbing meant the order was delayed.


  • Comment number 12.


    We are led by children, and they are far from centred (in the Jungian sense). So long as that pertains, they will measure a child by its fluency in a foreign langage at three, and its income at twenty-three.

    Oh - it's all going awfully well.

  • Comment number 13.

  • Comment number 14.


    I know a couple of stars with polymathic cogency (and that is rare).

    George could use Saachi-methods to target individual members of communities, and get them to send in names of truly competent individuals known to them. These are the sort of people who should judge policy. (Then they could stage a coup.)

  • Comment number 15.

    so why are troops dying in afghanistan if the afghanis have decided to talk to the taliban? do our politicians have the courage to say enough?

  • Comment number 16.


    Too right Gango. Just because massively muscled Africans (and derivatives) can run faster than pathetic Whites, is no reason to say they are different. I am as good a sprinter as any of them - I just
    don't want to, that's all, see, so there. (Are too.)

  • Comment number 17.


    Just heard on news MR Osborne will call in'expert's like head teachers to cut through entrenched practices.


    Ever met anyone MORE entrenched than a head teacher. By the time they reach post (circa 50 years old) they have spent more than 45 of them entrenched in one educational institution or another.

    AND it pays their extortionate salaries.

    Where is TRUE independence coupled with insight, understanding and expertise to be found? Pass me the shovel.

    Perhaps I should change my online nickname to Mrs Angry!

  • Comment number 18.


    We ended up trading IN THE BLACK and competing with/supplying, top names. You have NO IDEA what real pragmatism is.

    PS My sister was a Head in Brixton. But she knew that school was bad for kids, and did what she could to counteract the damage. Not many like that. Bet her phone won't ring either.

  • Comment number 19.

    Does this article signal the " end of the beginning " for the " Corporate Nazi " Climate Change Scam ?

  • Comment number 20.

    Trying to understand the surreal endgame of the Labour Party is quite difficult; a Labour party whose candidates for its leadership cannot muster a CV in industry/commerce between them, yet say they must engage with their core vote which is presumably comprised of people who work/used to/would like to/can't be bothered to work.

    Amusing also is the prospect of Crick and Co Ltd.(any real job history in there either?) playing at Star Chambers.

    Most amusing of all is the current situation whereby credit rating agencies such as Moody's and S and P, those same agencies who gave the AAA ratings to all the dodgy derivatives, are now threatening sovereign ratings the world over, to such an extent that even Mutti Merkel feels the need for austerity measures when Deutschland is in relative clover.

    To coin a phrase, it's all going terribly well.

    Finally, why do meeja talking heads feel the need to come over all smart alecky know all and cynical about the forthcoming austerity measures when everyone and its dog knows it needs to happen, no matter how unpleasant it may be. Anyone would think they were a bunch of Greeks!

    Only Nick Robinson it seems, sees the bigger picture, probing for what, how much and when, precisely, will we know the detail.

    Meanwhile, no doubt Jazza will continue to play his sniffy part of self caricature, Kirsty will pretend she understands by being rude and strident and Maitlis, well...........

    Roll on August when the usual suspects will be off on hols and Nick gets to restore some credibility to NN.

  • Comment number 21.

    wheres gove .. when you need him - & will he be able to muster up more poorly researched attacks before nn can interview him ?

    "Islamic schools cleared by watchdog - The charity watchdog today cleared two Islamic schools which the Tories had accused of being "front" organisations for extremists.

    There was no evidence that the centres run by the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation had links to an extreme Muslim group, the Charity Commission said. The ruling is a blow to David Cameron, who last year accused Gordon Brown's government of "funding extremists" by giving grants to the schools in Haringey and Slough."

    ref: thisislondon.

  • Comment number 22.

    why dont all of the millionaires forgo all of their pay and bonuses for one year and donate it to the govt to help the debt crisis .. i mean what could be any more patriotic than that .. other than dying for a lie and deceit in some mid eastern country on behalf of some of our expenses cheating politicians ?

  • Comment number 23.

    #9 thegangofone wrote:

    'Sometime back there used to be somebody who posted on this page and would try to suggest that there were meaningful IQ differences between the races. Despite the lack of science to back up such claims.'


    1. What is your scientific background that would make you able to understand any scientific data presented on this subject?

    2. What are your scientific qualifications?

    3. What is your IQ?

    Three very simple questions...the rest is up to you!

  • Comment number 24.

    Cameron wants to hear from the ordinary punter or rather his chancellor does about the savage cuts...might I be so bold as to asking each of these multi millionaires to divide their fortunes amongst the rest of, no....thought not...

  • Comment number 25.


    He STOOD IN THE RAIN to talk to Gulf fishermen. Not only that - HE TOOK THE TROUBLE TO MENTION IT AT INTERVIEW! I might never have known. No ordinary person would do that.

    It's all going to be OK.

  • Comment number 26.

    With the chancellor etc preaching prudence and cuts how can Eric Pickles promise new investment in potentially expensive in first cost but also in running, plans to weigh and reward people with more recycling in their bin.

    Not really a green idea at all if it promotes perhaps unnecessary consumption of anything, but perhaps the easiest way for anyone to benefit is to organise parties and consume copious quantities of alcohol. Plenty of weight to add with empty wine and spirit bottles, empty ale cans, who knows the poor could even benefit if the went around collecting all the bottles and cans from street litter bins. Anyway there must be a conflict of interest when it comes to the governments aspiration to reduce binge drinking. ( The bit about the poor sorting through public bins is already proven in Brisbane, where I personally witnessed people rooting through bins for ally cans because you got a good price when you weighed them in )

    Anyway Pickles's scheme is almost as much a green scam as the original bin tax instead, the whole object of the exercise being to provide a virtual welfare state for the private companies likely to be brought in to introduce and then expensively administer for the duration of a probable PFI contract. Anyway will some news presenter please question Eric Pickles where WE are going to get the money from, and even if it is technically private investment , our economy can simply not afford to fund yet another seam of non productive office workers and associated fat cat executives.

  • Comment number 27.


    You forgot: "What - is your favourite colour?"

  • Comment number 28.


    I never feel I want to put any part of my future in the hands of Eric Pickles. He can be a study in 'see if I care' when he so chooses.

    I cannot convince myself he lives to serve me; indeed, when he has served himself, I doubt thare is much left on the platter. As for the 'waffer thin mints' well . . .

  • Comment number 29.


    On one of the websites this morning, I think, there was an article about what people tend to experience in their dying moments. I'll try and find it and post it here or translate it if it was on one of the Polish websites. I wonder whether scientist dealing with life and death issues prepare themselves appropriately in the event of themselves being called upon the Maker to leave this earth, in body at least. Personally, I don't believe in after life but those who do may have special plans for future life as ghosts.


  • Comment number 30.


    I'm not sure about OK, but everything's going to be fine, singie

    M ****

  • Comment number 31.

    Danny Alexander's qualification to be a minister is that he was elected. That's the way it works here, and thank goodness for that. He is a Minister advised by experts, but not one himself.

    Can we look forward to Newsnight challenging juries in future because they have no qualifications?

  • Comment number 32.

    got a lot of comments from yesterday, haven't read from last post till now, but:

    cut the 'public' sector wages from the TOP - start reducing the top wages, there should certainly be *none* above £80,000/annum. Including Ministrs. That will make "the market" equalise too...

    that boy was barely above 20!!! "press officer", no [bleep]!!

  • Comment number 33.

    CUTS. We must stop sending money abroad - ie stop foreign aid. If people want to donate to charity then that's their prerogative, but taxes should be for domestic purposes only. Furthermore stop spending money on translators/interpreters for foreigners who live here.

  • Comment number 34.

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

  • Comment number 35.

    Show us the Treasury books and accounts ... and then we can say where to 'cut' and how much and how fast ...

    Cut all foreign aid
    Cut ALL UK involvement in Afghanistan - there are 2.5 billion people in 16 countries closer to and with a more direct and immediate interest in Afghanistan than the UK .. just pull out and let the 2.5 billion sort it out
    Trident ... we have plenty of cruise missiles and can make our own bombs if we need to
    Cut ... 20% of everything and then a nother 10% for good measure
    Tell the Civil service and other bureaucrats to manage with less money or be sacked ... just like being in the private sector
    Cut those big fat public sector pensions
    Cut those EU bloated contributions
    Cut all those handouts
    Tax all those foreign middle-men who are ruining the country out of existence

    This is not a problem ... this is an opportunity to take our country back ...

    My favourite ... dig up half of school playing fields and teach the kids how to grow vegetables etc and use them for school dinners ...

    Ban the sale of all foods with artificial and saturated fats.

    The more radical the better! This is fun! Cuts ... they're fantastic.

    Cut Labour party union vested interest political party bribery and funding.

    This is it... We're here!

  • Comment number 36.

    the Tory richwood (or whatever) - did he just say that we should either put Mcdonalds in Libraries ("franchise out"!!) - or even to put Libraries IN McDonalds!!! God almighty, we are now ruled by people who can actually say they "WANT to cut"!! :o


  • Comment number 37.

    sorry - "Redwood". My apologies, temporarily overwrought.

  • Comment number 38.

    People on the Star Panel from Demos and Oxfam, both organisations in reciept of taxpayer funds to finance the high salaries which they pay. They all seem to have offices in SW1 as well. There are similar arrangements with fake charities like ASH, Alcohol Concern, The Institute for Alcohol Studies, there are hundreds of these fake charities bleeding the taxpayer that should have all their funding cut.

    Then there are all the people on the Town Hall Rich List, half their salaries or tell them to clear off and try their luck in the private sector. Agency workers (£15 per hr to a nurse which the agency charges £125 for), consultants, Quangoes, Police in luxury cars. People like the Highways Agency patrols (more luxury 4x4's) who close the motorways whenever you want to go somewhere. There are endless cuts that could be made to all these useless people and "services" yet all we hear are people whining on about classroom assistants and Libraries. Get rid of the freeloaders as described above first then start looking at other things.

    We should not be asked for a penny more in tax as long as there is a Town Hall Rich List and a single Police Range Rover parked beside the motorways with the occupants sitting in leather upholstered luxury as they point their speed guns at us.

  • Comment number 39.

    lol, on "Atlantis" - my personal take is that it was not necessarily something in the *past*... the ancients had a very different conception of 'time'. They didn't have global digital time as a model, for instance.

  • Comment number 40.

    #27 barrie


  • Comment number 41.

    South Africa, the rainbow nation.

    Are blacks South Africans capable of racist sentiment?..surely not.
    White farmers murdered. No, that won't be racist killings will it, no, that will be black freedom fighters exerting their rights.
    Do the fascist left have a blind spot on reports such as this?
    If the wheels of your skateboard fall off and have no homework or exam revision, do you spend all day posting hate filled cut-and-pasted rubbish?

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

    I left the TV to write this post on the blog shaken! I was very many things with Alistair Darling and Liam Byrne running the Treasury but I was never ever afraid! Tonight I have real fear in my blood as to what I just witnessed on Newsnight.

    God help us all - but seriously - we have in Danny Alexander an ex press officer for a National Park as the Chief Secretary to The Treasury and a man so totally and very clearly out of his depth that he couldn't even get to the end of a sentence without looking as though he was about to swallow his tongue - his rambling and almost incoherent narrative was truly frightening to watch and listen to! At a time of national need for the very best to be at the front edge of government, and those very best to be at their very best is he only "very best" that the Liberals could come up with to fill this, their job vacancy granted to them by their Tory masters?

    Dear God - the more I think about it the worse it gets !!

    His attempts to intellectualise, his justifications and political adroitness concerning the essential nature of both the deficit and the national debt was so wrapped and clouded up in fog and the need to try and offset the blame and the problems onto someone/anyone else that any attempts to answer a question properly weren't fluffed - they didn't even register on his brain from the blank expression on his face for most of the interview.

    So, the previous government takes all of the blame for the entire world wide crisis (how very convenient) Mr Alexander - and the resulting problems that arise will be blamed on the Canadians no doubt as it's their book of answers that your copying. Oh and the "consulation" isn't really a consultation at all because you'll just do what you want in the end anyway??

    ..and Paxman is right - he had no answer to the questions as to why we ought to trust him with the job of overseeing all of this? His party had no credential in handling this issue - they had no real plan - none that would have faced up to any scrutiny anyway which is probably why he couldn't or wouldn't dare answer the questions as to why the public weren't given an opportunity to vote on them.

    My only question to Jeremy was why didn't he go harder on this guy? He is being sold as the man who will take away the livelihoods of millions of people across this nation - we deserve to see the measure of this man in full.

    These guys are making it up as they go along! As I said before - God help us all ...

  • Comment number 44.


    Problem is, before any cuts are made, some numpties will inevitably claw in £m in ‘studies’ to ascertain what should be done. I say, just do what feels right and see what happens. Follow gut feeling and common sense. A process operated, largely by email within an organisation I work with is based on: ‘here’s a plan – if I am not inundated with strongly reasoned negative responses within 48 hours, it WILL be done.

  • Comment number 45.


    John Redwood thumped in one nail.

    Huge amounts of overlap and duplication.
    Libraries, schools, community centres - many have under utilised and duplicated facilities and space. Many are closed out of 'office' hours and other venues are required to provide similar and relevant services.

    A classic examples of departments operating in competition rather than cooperation.

  • Comment number 46.

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

  • Comment number 47.


    I've enjoyed reading your recent posts to the 'scientist/s'. They are getting more & more refined.


  • Comment number 48.

    Make child benefit means tested - if you earn more than £40 000 pa then you don't get it. Also NO child benefit for 3rd, 4th, 5th etc children. Why should poor childless people pay towards richer peoples' kids?

    Scrap the EHRC and similar quangos whose sole purpose is to turn the indigenous people in to second class citizens behind immigrants.

    Withdraw from the EU.

    Scrap trident replacement. Withdraw from Afghanistan. If we don't go around poking our noses in other peoples' affairs then we won't need protection; we should be a neutral country.

    To get many people off benefits & in to work then you've got to provide them with social housing [if you expect them to do low paid work]. Don't expect them to work for the minimum wage & pay over half their wages to a private landlord - leaving them no better off than on benefits!

  • Comment number 49.

    Jeremy finished tonight's programme suggesting we tell our friends about watching Newsnight. That's precisely what I've been doing recently, particularly at Queen's.

    Re: black people following tonight's item on South Africa -
    I don't know what it is but I've been getting great vibes from black people for a long time now, even from simply passers by. I have to say that it does warm my heart enormously. And the vast majority of them do not get involved in the sw game. Wonderful to be meeting normal people.


  • Comment number 50.

    It's perfectly understandable that the Black South Africans want a bigger share in land ownership and financial riches but I don't think state ownership is the right answer to the problem.


  • Comment number 51.


    I didn't realise, singie, that Jeremy was both an editor and a journalist making decisions about how many people were in the studio and where they were sitting. It looked like a 'job' of a gnu's ilk, if you know what I mean.

    Jeremy dressing up - what for? Wasn't it you putting a 'funny' hat on feeling terribly important and proud of 'stirring' the local populace into submission?

  • Comment number 52.

    "Race within the 'Rainbow Nation'."

    If 'forward thinking' white South Africans have adopted African names, as Tim Whewell evidently seems to agree with, can Mr. Whewell tell us all what problem this solves and whether adopting a type of name, more closely related to that of the majority population, should be practiced here?

    Should British Africans, especially first generation ones, change their name to something more quintessentially British, as a way of easing their way in to British society; or, as second or third generation immigrants, contributing to the solution of some of their problems: disproportionately high failure rates in school; greater amount of drug use; greater levels of criminal behaviour; or catastrophic levels or child abandonment? Of course not; this would be the worst kind of 'racism', even if it is 'forward thinking'.

    I think you'll find that race is irrelevant, Mr. Whewell, as much as you may wish it wasn't.

  • Comment number 53.


    By 'they' I meant your posts, gango, not the 'scientist/s'. With 'them', i.e. the 'engineer/s' it's more of the same, soulless and banal action/reaction mechanics.

  • Comment number 54.

    He has a crumpet
    While I have a trumpet.
    How about that for an exchange,
    And mind and emotional range?


  • Comment number 55.

    I don't like generalisations too much as more often than not they are wrong but perhaps the thing about black people is that they seem at least to be naturally connected to their physicality and do not need to indulge in artificial stimulation. It could also be something to do with ethics and self-pride.


  • Comment number 56.

    Don't worry about the economy! We are going to have millions more tax payers, so all with be ok. ; )

  • Comment number 57.

  • Comment number 58.

    Isn't it funny I hear on the news for almost a year a blow by blow account of any USA elections, president or otherwise, and yet I've barely heard this one mentioned!

    Now are we in Europe are we an annex of the USA?

  • Comment number 59.

    WINDY MILLER (#57 link)

    "Hello Windy, I hear your wife is into wind generation." Nod.

    "Of course, it's the subsidy that makes it commercially viable." Nod.

    "You being on TV must help" Nod.

    "I suppose you will be saying 'goodbye' to simple milling?" Nod.

    "Burn the mill for insurance money?" Nod nod.

  • Comment number 60.


    They are rubbish at GLOBOPOLY Lizzy. I don't think they even know Obama is a god.

  • Comment number 61.

    It was rather unfortunate that the only time the "Star Chamber" discussion progressed beyond motherhood and apple pie, Mr Paxman hustled the argument on to something more interesting (to him at least).

    The advocate brought forward to defend the public library system was trying to make a very important point - that the cost of the service reflects the management structure. In local government, this can sometimes be spotted easily - one authority having thirty staff, while another has three, to carry out essentially the same function. In national government, uniform processes make this stuff much less visible. However, if the intention is to improve efficiency (ie deliver an equally good service for lower cost), it has to be found and corrected.

    My favorite example is the regulations for eligibility for Job Seekers Allowance which can be found on the DWP website. This document is 838 pages long, uses 280 abbreviations, and refers to 66 statutes and 134 statutory instruments. It seems obvious to me that
    1/ That level of complexity builds cost into administering the benefit - in assessing claims and handling appeals from claimants.
    2/ It is disproportionate to the the task - ie a no less fair benefit for the claimants of JSA could be fully specified more simply - my guess is that 30 pages would cover it.

    The problem is, of course, that this stuff doesn't make good television. So let's forget get about it, leave inefficient processes unchallenged, and maximise the pain by cutting as many real services as possible. That maximises the potential for real human drama, after all.

    Incidentally, for that segment of the population who don't have computers, the elderly terminals in their local library are probably the only access they have to most of the current job market.

  • Comment number 62.


    You talked about empathy the other day. It can set me off into sobbing quite speedily in fact. It's just happened outside the M&S in South Ken with a couple of ladies, one Black and one White, looking at me in an empathetic way. I wished them a good day and pushed off towards Watts' Horseman. My eyes are now dry.


  • Comment number 63.

    from last week's QT:

    Abbot was right that the same rules should apply to both the poorest and th most politically powerful. The solution is the marriage of these two. The social services have to start treating the poorest with the same rights as they would this MP.

    why should the weakest and poorest face far more stringent rules than well educated, financially comfortable upper-middle class MPs?


    so much hatred in you gangy, you have been showing it more and more. I think everyone else can spot which of us is driven by the anger that fuels extremists.


    from mon NN:

    credit bubble. Tories supported it - STARTED it! (supposed "boom")

    [love the way the current bunch of liars in Downing St are trying to claim that we "overspent" on social services. In fact, what actually happened was that the nuLabour-Tories enormously expanded on back-door privatisations (PFI springs to mind), where instead of just paying for the service - NOW we pay for the service AND for a private corporation to make profit on that service!! Now they want to "cut back", but what's the betting that will NOT include cutting back on the profits the corporations are making from running the privatised services? BOTH parties are in it up to their necks... better make that 3! parties now, i suppose.]

    on the "fiscal stimulus" - how much went to 'normal people' and how much to special interests? Yet it was still better than none (due to the inevitable recessionary effects of the collapse of the private sector).

    Germany's move is because what came *with* the stimulus (low interest rates, printing money) was intended and desired by the Global Bankster Elite(s), NOW they want to cut because the recession will drive inflation skyward, + the banks will become very rich as they grab assets from the recession. Regard the policy as intentional, look for the direction it was aiming in. Creating high inflation, cause a depression on the back of a deliberate credit bubble based on house prices, tie the two together as problem/solution, then social cuts, will collapse the economy, give the bankster class widespread ownership, no living wage, no pensions, no free heath care, return to feudal notions. Again, this 'crash' is anything BUT accidental, in fact any politically aware South American will recognise all the signs - even the same 'news' stories and spin. This is all about enriching the rich, and damn the poor!!

    re "copying Canada": as opposed to the transparent Canadian experience, the UK Public does not SEE the budgets, and where money will be spent. This means they are reliant upon the choices GIVEN to them by the talking heads. The other problem with the UK/Tory Govt is, the cuts the Public will want are NOT the cuts the Tory constituency will want. Were the Public to get a REAL choice, they would probably prefer the wealthiest losing some of their socially destructive riches, rather than seeing theirlocal hospital clos,e or having 50+ children in their children's classes (unless they can afford to go private...)

    all camoron's bunch are trying to do is continue to spin that they had no clue about the financial crisis before it happened, that in fact the expensive privatisation process continued by nuLabour from the preceding Thatcherite Govt is a CAUSE of the current problems, certainly not a solution, and that they are "listening" to "the Public" - yet no doubt the voices with the 'right' opinions get listened to more? A Tory Govt, cuts, privatisations (the poor cost too much!!), and multi-millionaires born with a golden spoon trying to claim they "understand" the problems of poverty. Next thing shoulder pads will be back, and 'DALLAS' will be back on the TV.

    why do we NEVER hear about Afghan casualties, estimated 'military' and civilian????????

    WE HAVE TO STOP THE IEDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To remove local hostility in Afghanistan, bring back what the Swiss currently use in many of their cities to deal with heroin use (the Swiss still call it the British System), use that as the basis for Fairtrade and cooperative farms in the regions our wonderful soldiers patrol in, make our soldiers BENEFICIAL to the locals. We don't need to be warring the local people who just want a better LIFE!!!!

    they are our children, our brothers and sisters, our neighbours. They didn't ask to be there, the LEAST WE CAN DO is reduce the risks they are facing, as well as ending the misery of many inner city areas - including a terrible number of ex-servicemen.

    if our troops HAVE to be there, then make the locals less hostile. Such a policy would not only save lives in Afghanistan, it would also reduce some of the crises within our own inner cities. It would require a brave Govt however, and it is noticeable the only 'bravery' this bunch ever show is when they are talking about the "pain" that normal, non-millionaires are going to feel under their imbecilic economic control.

  • Comment number 64.

    one might compare the modern youth leadership with a previous generation

    steve biko on the land question


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