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Tuesday 28 June 2011

Sarah McDermott | 12:54 UK time, Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A planned shake-up of higher education in England, being set out to MPs, aims to increase competition and give consumer powers to students. We'll speak to the Universities Minister David Willetts about that later.

Police have fired tear gas in running battles with stone-throwing youths in Athens, where a 48-hour general strike is being held against a parliamentary vote on tough austerity measures. Paul Mason is there and we'll get the latest from him tonight. Meanwhile, you can read his thoughts on his blog.

Then Mark Urban considers what went wrong with the project to upgrade the Kajaki dam in Helmand Province that was supposed to bring electricity to millions of Afghans. A quest into which lives and money have been poured, the turbine remains unassembled, exposed to the elements and overgrown with weeds, three years after being brought to the site by the British military. Read more here.

And Johann Hari, interviewer and columnist with the Independent, has admitted inserting quotes into his interviews that were not from the original interview itself. We'll be discussing if that's plagiarism - or harmless journalistic sleight of hand .

Join Jeremy at 2230 on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.


    I see our delusional, grandiose politicians, of the upper reaches of imaginary governance, notionally perched on the British safety-valve, there to get a better view of Johnnie Foreigner's aberrant behaviour: the Shite Man's Burden - Coalition style.

    No more bust - just a loud British BOOM!

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    'We'll be discussing if that's plagiarism - or harmless journalistic sleight of hand'

    Be interested as to with whom this will be, being that the Green Room Graun pool has pretty much decided in favour of integrity for once. Bar Polly... please let it be Polly. That would be too rich!

  • Comment number 4.

    Looks like we're in for a good night Jeremy v Willetts!
    :p If someone inserts non-quoted "quotes" - then it is a mere lie.....this leads to the person who inserted the non-quoted "quotes" getting sued.

  • Comment number 5.

  • Comment number 6.

  • Comment number 7.


    Just watched the Keiser Report, linked @ post 5. It made me think of H G Wells' Martians - eating humans. Nuff sed.

    It seems likely that power only corrupts those predisposed to corruption. Time to rewrite the old adage: "Power is feverishly sought by potentially corrupt; nothing but ABSOLUTE POWER can satisfy the absolutely corrupt."

    I guess it works if you are a Gorilla troupe; HomSap is unsuited. No idea about lizards . . .

  • Comment number 8.


    I am not literary, but I sense we are watching, in that YouTube clip, a scene from some heart-wrenching - mind-curdling tragedy, thousands of years old. The link to my post #7, is all too apparent. In this entire inter-glacial period, we have achieved nothing but greater scope in failure. May this planet be rid of us soon.

  • Comment number 9.


    I wonder if NewsyNighty will 'do a number' on this one? False colour; art shots; geometric INSERTIONS; musack injected like water in a cheap chicken?

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 10.

    Johann Hari being controversial....never....

  • Comment number 11.


    Guess what group of 'public servants' doesn't want the spotlight shone on their platinum-plated pensions?

    'And so to a mere taster of their perks. Just 15 years' work could build up a pension of £24,000, a recent FT assessment noted, whereas private sector employees would have to amass £700,000 to generate the same income when they retire at 65.'

  • Comment number 12.

    ...and I was right!
    "You have no idea" - Jeremy to David Willetts :o)

  • Comment number 13.

    Two brains are no match for one Jewish brain!

  • Comment number 14.

    Wey hey NN is addressing a slightly interesting topic 2nite.

    Re university subjects

    Only real science subject should be taught at 'universities'?

    Mathematics - check

    Chemistry - check

    Biology - Check

    Physics - Check

    Engineering - Check

    Accountancy - Nein

    Banking - Nein

    Spot the trend anyone?

  • Comment number 15.


    You elicit admiration, especially wrt to the goggles and face mask re the riots in Athens today.

    But you have to admire the libertarian/trotskyite persistence of the female greek mp on your piece 2nite.

    These types are certainly consistent even in th eface of overwhelming resistance.

    These trotskyites/libertarians will lose in the end.

    great stuff!

  • Comment number 16.

    Priceless interview tonight with Ann Leslie on Jonathon Hari :o) by Jeremy "He's an idiot" - Ann on Jonathon Hari

  • Comment number 17.


    Masterful, unstinting use of hectoring, sneering, mocking, dismissiveness, facetiousness and flippancy. I cannot think of any other Media Giant who can run that gamut, in one unedifying interview. Incredible - literally incredible.

  • Comment number 18.

  • Comment number 19.

  • Comment number 20.

    '10. At 20:39 28th Jun 2011, stevie wrote:
    Johann Hari being controversial....never....'

    Actually, I was more interested in the precedent being set by his editor in saying there was no problem because 'no one had complained before'.

    Certainly will make a whole raft of 'news' a lot easier to pass over if adopted.

    But the concept of 'Avon Ladies' and their make up stories is one to treasure, along with Ms. Leslie.

    If only as a caution to others...

    Probably best to assume that reality goes as far as credibility can get stretched these days.

  • Comment number 21.

    '20. At 10:11 29th Jun 2011, You wrote:
    'no one had complained before'.

    Speaking of which...

  • Comment number 22.

    Thanks to the internet, and folk actually investigatively reporting vs. 'opining', I am learning a lot on this plagiarism story and issue. For free.

    But last night's NN knee-jerk chatterati was awfully interesting too.

    Moving on...

  • Comment number 23.

    Well, I have finally received an email telling me that my post #2 failed the house rules as being 'considered likely to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend others Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable Contain swear words or other language likely to offend'

    Now I seriously try NOT to disrupt, provoke, attack or offend, do not subscribe to any 'isms' and keep my explicit sexuality mostly to behind the bedroom door after NN has gone off air. So am rather bemused as to why THIS (pt 1 - with one minor amendment) failed.


    "....And Johann Hari, interviewer and columnist with the Independent, has admitted inserting quotes into his interviews that were not from the original interview itself. We'll be discussing if that's plagiarism - or harmless journalistic sleight of hand ...."

    ....or maybe, just maybe, it's plain dishonest, misleading, manipulative and moronic.

    Re-arrange these words into a well known phrase or saying. Hand, feed and bites.

    And they wonder why the GBP trusts no one. "



  • Comment number 24.

    HE White Paper: Some basic economics for Mr Willetts.

    1. If you discount the top & bottom 10% of graduates by income, because loan repayments are only related to INCOME not the amount borrowed - and @ the £9k pa fee level, as many as 50% of graduate will never repay their loans at all - it will make no difference to them what the fee level they were charged becuase the amount they pay is not related to it. Therefore the price elasticity of demand for university places is effectively ZERO for most people.

    2. Universities are being clawed back on ther teaching grants if they charge £9k, but as they get in far more money in total from the extra fee income than they lose in the clawback, there is no incentive to do anything other than charge £9k. Therefore the elasticity of the supply curve is zero.

    3. There is therefore no market at all in terms of fee level either for the buyer - the student - or for the supplier - the university - because there is no effective price mechanism at work for either of them.

    4. Quality and risk are therefore the only other factors in play - what university would dare to charge a lower fee and be perceived therefore as offering cheaper, lower quality degrees? And what prospective student would risk taking a pace at a university that might go bust because it failed to attract enough students even by charging lower fees?

    5. Allowing elite universities to cream off the top AAB students puts the lower universities under pessure by taking students away from them.

    6. Allowing competition at the price cap of £7.5k level will attract in new players who will also take students away from the existing middle/lower ranging universities.

    7. @ the £9k pa level, student loan debt will reach £70 Bn in 5-10 years according to the PAC. This whole switch from state spending to loans was intended to enable the UK to reduce it level of public debt, but the effect of the new system will be to DRAMATICALLY INCREASE IT!

    8. The effects on reducing participation rates in the lower income families are yet to be assessed, but despite all the talk of "fairness", all the opinion poll evidence shows that significant numbers of low income children won't go into HE - and the government will still pay out for them via vocation training scheme costs which aren't fee-based.

    Economics leson over - politics lecture now follows:

    It is abundantly clear from his remarks that Mr Willetts sees getting HE out of the public sector as a critical objective - this is

  • Comment number 25.

    Continued from truncated last post:

    It is abundantly clear from his remarks that Mr Willetts sees getting HE out of the public sector as a critical objective - this is a purely political objctive - one that has little or nothing to do with the numbers of graduates, how good their degrees are or what the UK economy and society needs from its higher education system.

    Its also clear that this sector is a critical component in the UK economy, attracting in large numbers of overseas students and providig a skilled workforce in a competitive world.

    Can we therefore accept the legitimacy of making major, high risk changes to our HE system for this political objective?

    Are we prepared to see the UK dramatically increase its level of debt via student loans?

    Is it acceptable that several lower order universities are likely to go under, leaving their existing students high & dry and all the money invested in building them poured down the drain?

    Are we prepared to see private sector institutions taking resources away from the publicly owned institutions, drive them to the wall and walk off with the profits from cut price degrees?

    IMHO this is immoral, impractical and a poinltess exercise in political dogma with the future of the country.

  • Comment number 26.

    not quoting people correctly is misrepresenting the subject character ie that they are inarticulate etc


    Tony Blair still making good money off the back of iraq and afghanistan despite the failure of both wars? why are we still funding his security?

  • Comment number 27.

    BLAIR WATCH (#26)

    Quite how devious politics attempts to be, is illustrated by the gap between Netanyahu's words and actions (body language) to St Tony. I am strongly persuaded that Blair is in a permanent state of anxiety (has he lost that bogus belief?) while Netanyahu HOLDS HIM IN CONTEMPT.

    Meanwhile Dave cites the Blair view as ADDING WEIGHT to his! Duh?


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