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Tuesday 21 June 2011

Sarah McDermott | 12:09 UK time, Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Tonight Sue Lloyd-Roberts goes undercover in the Syrian capital Damascus to speak to opposition activists there about the anti-government protests, the regime's response and what the demonstrators hope to achieve.

Then our Economics editor Paul Mason considers if the likelihood of banking contagion if Greece defaults has been overblown.

Amid claims of a government U-turn Michael Crick is looking at sentencing, and technology correspondent Rory Cellan Jones asks if the personalisation of the web could limit our access to information, enclosing us in a self-reinforcing world view and making our social circles more homogeneous.

Join Jeremy for all that and more at 2230 on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    No sniggering at the back. Jenkins! come to the front and draw me a Brazlian. was just a ten minute chat about sexualisation in society and has it all gone a bit top-heavy? Women wax more than their legs so lets not be shocked now with what was discussed with Jezza and his guests yesterday evening. The core of the discussion went where it was gonna go anyway: the pressure's of looking good, for men as well as women and the lengths they'll go to in that aim. The bottom line, the crutch so to speak.. is men like looking at nice firm breasts -hairless preferably - and women like to look at the size of our wallets..and the bigger the wallet, the happier they appear to be.

    Some people of a certain age. Be careful now when you jump off your high horse.

  • Comment number 2.

  • Comment number 3.

    re: sentencing/U Turns

    There's a lot of waffle about U turns and indecision - so is the coalition "weak" and "dithering"?

    I don't share this view - I think there is a much more important factor involved- competence.

    The libertarian politics of the Tories and the "Orange Book" LibDems provides a belief system based on the sole objectives of reducing the role & size of the state. Virtually all the Ministers responsible for policy and their advisers come from the richest class in society and have little or no practical knowledge or direct experience of the lives of ordinary people.

    This means that many of the ideas and policies they come up with owe more to ideology that practical, pragmatic policies that will work at all, or without unacceptable side effects

    This lack of compentence therefore results in ideology coming into conflict with reality - the policies are naive, the result of prejudice or dogma and when they come into the public gaze, the contradicton between their dogmatic view of the world and reality iof everyday life s thrown into sharp relief.

    Cameron's "we're listening" reponse to this is therefore entirely genuine - as each unworkable, damaging and doctrinare policy disappears under a storm of protest from everyone from the Daily Mail to GPs, ramblers or rape victims, he has no choice but to back down or pay the political price for his beliefs - and the only recourse he has is to be seen to be "flexible".

    Is this a sign of weakness?

    It's not the weakness of "I'm not sure, so I'l dither about a bit and see who shouts the loudest", it's a much more fundamental weakness in the value system that the Coalition have let loose in government - "true believers" in the "magic of the market" are finding out that there is no such thing as magic, its just a deluson like any other blind faith in the supernatural.

    Reality is complex and our problems won't be solved by the dogma of simply taking every opportunity to slash public spending and deregulate the economy. Cameron's personal experience of his tragic loss of a child did at least open a chink into the real world and he conducted himself with great personal courage through that experience, but it was a limited and narrow view of a tiny part of the reality for the majority of people by a very rich man from a very priviledged background - those around him are even less aware of what their ideology means when applied to vulnerable people.

    Sowe're not taling about a little weakness - we're seeing the fatial flaw in%

  • Comment number 4.

    #3 U-turns
    Don't disagree with your analysis, though I am grateful that decisions found unacceptable to the GBP are being rejected or reversed. Maybe more MPs are now responding to the pressure from their electorate rather than blindly following party Whips? If so it's a better alternative than having expensive (rigged) referenda.

    ....and it seems that policies and legislation can be 'modified' - going forward:


    As NHS waiting lists mount, six hospital trusts (under MoD 2-year contracts worth £45m) will be in breach of contract – with all the consequences that might entail – if they fail to fast-track military patients – including non-combatants – requiring procedures for minor complaints within 10 weeks.

    This arises from Defence Secretary Liam Fox’s pledge to give the Military Covenant legal standing and comes as waiting times rise in the NHS in England since last June, when health secretary Andrew Lansley ordered his department to stop monitoring the 18-week referral-to-treatment target put in place by the last government. The fast-track service may be used by all 176,000 members of the UK armed forces “if considered appropriate by the referring clinician”

    UNISON’s Christina McAnea said “The Government needs to tackle the growing waiting lists hitting patients now, instead of simply creating a two-tier health service.” But a hospital official stated “Civilian patients will not be disadvantaged by this requirement. Regardless of any waiting time target, our first consideration in deciding the order of treatment is clinical need, not how long they have been waiting.”

    Almost invariably ‘one man’s advantage is another’s disadvantage’ and this hardly seems like joined up thinking. I wonder whether Trevor the Leveller will shout ‘Foul’ at this example of ‘discrimination’? Or will he back off, not wishing to do battle with the military, as he did with Archie Cant, stating that anti-discriminatory law should stop at the door of the church or mosque’ (or the recruiting office)?

  • Comment number 5.

    All New NN

    should Cheryl get back with Andy?

    and a debate about tramp stamps- are they liberating or an oppression?

    can we have another kirsty fashion shoot?

  • Comment number 6.

    "Rory Cellan Jones asks if the personalisation of the web could limit our access to information, enclosing us in a self-reinforcing world view and making our social circles more homogeneous. "

    can do. It could also go the other way. Depends who is designing and controlling the direction of the web and products, corporates would probably like it to end that way, as consumers are easier to control thus.

    this also ties into the reports last month of the attempts to end the 'open-platform' web, to allow corporate ISP's to decide what pages you can visit through their portals.

    if people themselves want to choose this direction, that is one thing - imposed from above by corporate mind-[bleep]ers, that is a very different beast.

  • Comment number 7.

    #3: i agree. However i would also point out the wing-nut press are *deliberately* creating public storms in tea-cups, for their own ends. But it is the lack of true democracy, become ever more obvious during this Parliament, that is hindering the political progress of the UK, and leads to the ideological (ivory-tower) policies that are utterly opposed to the REAL needs of the UK Public. And is also leading the obvious corruption of the last 30 years or more, especially with the various, and variously titled, Privatisation programs.

    as for "military jumping the NHS queue", i propose that BY LAW all MPs (ALL politicians?) be REQUIRED to use the NHS (private use banned, overseas trips involving medical care investigated and punished if necessary), and they are the LAST people on the lists. And yes, that includes Ministers.

    "we are all in it together" - PROVE it, [bleep]ers!!!!!!! X(

  • Comment number 8.

    Eco-Fascists squealing like stuck pigs !

  • Comment number 9.

    Seeryia is top story on NN again - for a second night running. You'dav thunk it.

    Sthue Lloyd Roberths reporting undercover from Damasthcus.

    Thousandths attended the rallies at great riskth to themselvths.

    I wonder what's happening on shores nearer to home?

  • Comment number 10.


    Very edgy.

  • Comment number 11.

  • Comment number 12.


    Same old 'might is right' of the base animal; 'the individual is culpable' of the failed state (and failed statesman) and a simplistic inference that the internet Matrix has us all in thrall.


    Modern complexities of Life are way beyond the cipher ninnies of Westminster; they are chosen by parties to be good at politics – and it shows. Super-ninny Dave, will apply his deep sense of right and wrong, to coming strife; what a prospect.

  • Comment number 13.


    That's a bit cruel MuseV. You are perfectly formed in every way eh? I understand SLR far better than I understand Kirsty Wark.

  • Comment number 14.


    Fair point!

    Anyone is better than Kirsty Squark!

  • Comment number 15.

    One thing that your Internet search experiment probably proved was that the eco-fascists have got the searches on " are wind farms efficient " sown up. Perhaps no big surprise given that Google are allegedly one of the 70 KKKorporates pushing for a 30% reduction in CO2 target in the EU ( according to my earlier post #8 ) ?

  • Comment number 16.


    Just tried it here, its obvious that Google already know I am a full blown Climate Scam skeptic !

  • Comment number 17.

    Brilliant Jeremy tonight - Burt more or less stated that nothing was going to be done with the Syrian situation (no-one actually cares :p). Interesting debate with Tett et al. Best of the night was Jeremy's debate with Pariser & Weisberg on internet bubbles.

  • Comment number 18.

    Google search results: I stopped using Google when they linked-up with the US Govt intelligence agencies. They have very clever software. When you think its just you and your laptop..think again. Someones been having a right old laugh at your expense..didn't you know that? oh well, you live and learn. Something tells me the mis-guided and poorly informed folk at the BBC are in their own bubble, with the way you report on the Greek banking crisis etc. Others are way head of you, literally years ahead of you.

  • Comment number 19.


    I bought a craft knife online, and am now stalked by craft knife adds. Doh!

    Er - no, Google. NOW you can guide me to sellers of whittling sticks, or perhaps an airline ticket.

    Google: muddled, non-verbal, unintelligent.

  • Comment number 20.

    is it journalism or churnalism

    try the search engine

  • Comment number 21.

  • Comment number 22.


    She is doing the 'book round' (Woe-man's Hour).

    Oh Beeb - you have 'come home' - she should be your mascot.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 23.

    ......and Italy has called for an immediate end to the Libyan War!

  • Comment number 24.


  • Comment number 25.

    'Rejecting Austerity'

    we should reject the use of the term austerity. If you earn £10 but want to spend £100 and keep funding the difference with debt in what way is cutting the overspend 'austerity'? surely the proper terms are correcting excess, return to sound economics etc?

    austerity is a subjective POLITICAL description. why does the bbc keeps pumping it?

  • Comment number 26.


    Gravitas, substance, cogency, humility - the list goes on. No way Annie's talk will appear on BBC.

    Many, many thanks for the link. All who care about currupted Britain, follow:

  • Comment number 27.


    We have a problem - Westminster Prime Ministers are too powerful. (Remember St Tony?)

    Limited Ed is scoring points at PMQs, solely because Dave is so arrogantly careless.
    Not opposition by counter-argument, more opportunism. What a way to manage a nation.

    Pride in our mercenary heroes got out of hand at PMQs today - it became an 'arms race' for who is most proud. Pride, they say, comes before a fall while COMPETITIVE PRIDE, I assert, arises from politician's GALL. What a bunch of contriving ninnies.

  • Comment number 28.

    '20. At 09:38 22nd Jun 2011, jauntycyclist wrote:
    is it journalism or churnalism

    When it's a 'report' by a 'group' whose 'findings' converge with the social engineers in the MSM, the two kind of blur.

    Speaking of which, 'they' reckon folk over 'yoof' age should cut back on the sherry as it costs the country money to fix their broken hips.

    Most Fridays the ambulances seem to be picking up younger fares.

    But then, I don't get my life coaching via Eastenders.

  • Comment number 29.

    Greek debts are mainly absorbed by domestic banks and Cyprus, and perhaps the ECB. And according to Paul’s report, banks and hedge funds have been preparing for a possible Greek default for months by winding down their CDS exposure, so it shouldn’t create a huge disaster of itself in the markets. But wouldn’t it trigger further defaults in the other peripheral countries? Wouldn’t people in Italy and Spain want to strike against austerity plans as well?

    The single currency is flawed; that is why some countries’ economies flourish while others falter. UK dropped out of the ERM following black Wednesday and it was the turning point on the road to recovery. Establishing another bailout fund is only going to buy more time before the inevitable occurs. Before Greece drops out of euro and devalues their currency, and starts dictating their own economic policies, I don’t see them recovering from this mess.

    P.S. What happened to the Syrian protestors in London is despicable. Shouldn’t the Scotland Yard launch a police investigation right away?

  • Comment number 30.


    jews protesting for human rights for all have been beaten by zionist thugs on the streets of london to 'silence' them. nothing happen there either. israel has openly said they have sent a death squad to the uk. so its a pattern of the uk state.

    the uk state is not designed to protect the rights and laws of the people but the privileges of the inner empire. the national oath has nothing about the people in it. rather it sets up anyone who challenges the inner empire as 'the enemy' and as 'subversive'.

  • Comment number 31.

    10 oclock news. Teachers strike report with a left wing does the BBC get away with this kinda reporting. oh thats right, the BBC are the media arm of the Labour Party and the self hating guardian readership.

    Is the BBC American correspondent Mark Mardell -the Obama cheerleader - a communist?

  • Comment number 32.

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


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