Wednesday 11 August 2010
Here's Kirsty with news of what's happening on tonight's programme:
Are you confident about the recovery? The Bank of England has today lowered our expectations with its revised economic growth forecast for next year. In May they forecasted 3.4 per cent, now its 2.5 per cent, and Bank Governor Mervyn King delivering his quarterly report said it will take many years before bank balance sheets and fiscal positions return to anything like normal.
There is a weakening in consumer confidence - is that because of the coming hike in VAT, combined with the knowledge that big spending cuts are coming, faster and deeper than was expected before the election? Or is it because people are simply saving what they have and not spending?
Tonight we'll examine the impact of the Coalition's hit-'em-hard-now-and-see-the-benefit-for-the-economy-later policy with John Redwood and Lord Myners, the ex-City minister.
Our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban is just back from Kandahar where he went independently to gauge local feeling, before embedding with the military. The city is the central focus of President Barack Obama's troop surge because it is here that Nato and Afghan troops are battling the Taliban in Operation Hamkari.
It is also the power base of Hamid Karzai's family, and possession of the city itself has long had a powerful symbolic importance for the country's dominant Pashtun tribes. Mark spoke to young women about their education, and how much they fear the Taliban, to a man who doesn't know which forces murdered his brother two weeks ago, and to a police lieutenant who is the only one of his 132-strong family who supports the state.
Read more and watch a preview clip here.
And should we be flying the European flag more? EU head honchos certainly think so and have fined the UK government and organisations which have received EU funding. Why are we so reluctant? Is it because we don't want to admit to taking the money? Or that we don't really think we are Europeans? Or is it (my favourite) because it is such a dull flag?
Billy Bragg will be here to wade in to this discussion about identity.
Join us at 10.30pm on BBC Two.
We have a film tonight from our Diplomatic editor Mark Urban who has recently returned from the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, Afghanistan's second biggest city. He spoke independently to people who are struggling to maintain normality in their lives amidst growing violence and also had exclusive access to the security offensive there.
More details later.