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Monday 13 February 2012

Len Freeman | 15:12 UK time, Monday, 13 February 2012

The Greek government has approved an austerity plan in order to pave the way for a 130bn euro ($170bn; £110bn) bailout from the EU and IMF to prevent it defaulting on its massive debts.

The deal, which has not yet been finalised, could write off around half of Greece's privately-held debt, but news of the decision has been met with rioting in Athens, Thessaloniki and elsewhere.

Tonight our economics editor Paul Mason, who is in Athens, will report on the violence and ask what happens next. Can Greece deliver the cuts and will the bail-out money be enough to prevent a default?

Peter Marshall reports on the police raids which led to the arrest of five Sun journalists and the claim by the paper's associate editor Trevor Kavanagh that the paper's publisher - News International - is the subject of a "witch-hunt".

We will be joined to discuss the matter by Rupert Murdoch biographer Michael Wolff, lawyer Charlotte Harris who has spent years pursuing newspaper hacking claims, and former News of the World journalist Nick Ferrari.

We will also begin a week of special films marking one year on from the start of the Arab Spring. Tonight Sue Lloyd-Roberts investigates whether the revolution has betrayed women in Egypt.


  • Comment number 1.

    so these days we try police until they are locked up and release ' serious threats to society'?

    'a number of complaints from boat traders about the fees that British Waterways have set for moorings along the Regent's Canal during the Olympics.'

    no doubt more of those similar benefits of pricing people out of london that the olympics will bring us?

  • Comment number 2.

    Anyone who thinks Greece can deliver on these numbers is out of their mind.

    Therefore what can be the gameplan from the EZ? It seems to me to be kicking the can down the road - again - the hope? something will turn up.

    The most likely outcome is that they get the bailout, but miss their numbers by a mile, then will be back in the same situation within weeks or months.

    At this point the ludicrous demands for austerity will be exposed as unworkable and the EZ will have to choose between massive debt foregiveness or the end of the Euro Project.

    It's also clear that the Greeks themselves are now completely detached from their political class - an election will see a massive wave of support for those opposing the austerity programme, which may well wipe out the parliamentary majority that voted for the plan yesterday and an incoming government that will be willing to go back on it.

    Meanwhile in th background interest rates of other PIIGS' debt will ramp up and we will see a repeat performance in these countries too. Once Spain or Italy reaches the same point as Greece, it's game over for the Euro - and incidentallyfor UK banks who are very exposed to much of this debt - as well as a Sterling crisis that will cause massive new inflationary pressures, so further cutting living standards.

    Wit the single market in tatters, disorderly defaults and a wave of bank failures, the new economic reality can only be massive devaluation and/or explicit trade policy of import controls and foreign currency controls as well as a steep ramp up in austerity.

    Globalisation will then be dead - the armadas sailing from China will have no markets for their goods and the prohibitive cost of imports will force the indebted economies to become much more self-sufficient in food, energy and manufactured goods.

    As in Eire, the UK will be forced to nationalise the banking system when it folds, there will be a slaughter in the City & financial services as their market disappears and the UK's rising tide of unemplyment will become a flood.

    A litre of Petrol? £20.

    A loaf f bread? £5.

    A Kw/Hr of electricity? £2.

    House prices? Down 50%.

    When it comes the impact of the collapse will have the same effect on ritish politics as it has in Greece - the only question is whether this will favour UKIP or the left - given the political climate here, I fear British nerofacism will be the main benefactor and driving force after a meltdown.

  • Comment number 3.

    Worth watching 2 & 3 as well !

  • Comment number 4.


    Hello Sue! Can you 'hear' me? You seem so very far away - from the truth of Westminster's devaluation of Women, DISGUISED AS ADVANCEMENT. Is it to late to bring you to awareness?

    It will take Egypt some time to sink as low as UK; come home and I will explain that you have work to do HERE!

    Under Westminster, only WOE-MEN think they are prospering. The world is going mad for want of Mother; WE are leading the nihilistic charge; Diabolical Dave is no Saviour.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 5.

    "Our economics editor Paul Mason will ask what happens next."

    There is another outcome that is possible and as yet, not discussed and for very good reasons and upon which it is very much better, not to speculate on by 'name'.

    It's not that far away - it has happened before in Greece and it is not that 'unlikely'.

  • Comment number 6.

    'Our economics editor Paul Mason will ask what happens next.'

    I predict a riot. I hark back to Douglas Adam's 'Rain God' Rob McKenna in this regard.

    There was a lovely Greek lady on SKY at lunch, who conceded that perhaps some still living within their means might be a bit chary about handing over more cash and/or forgiving debt to those who lived 'high on the hog' for so long and seem less than keen to 'learn from mistakes' much longer than it takes to buy a few more months by saying they have changed... honest.

    Doubt she'll be invited into any other studios soon, especially on more domestic equivalents closer to home.

    Still like the most liked comment on this, oddly pronto pulled thread...

  • Comment number 7.

    Did anyone notice the small print in the build-up of all this excessive Gvt debt (whether in the UK, Europe, the US etc)?

    I think it was something like:

    "Your country’s economy and democracy is at risk if you do not keep up re-payments on Gvt debt."

  • Comment number 8.

    'Sue Lloyd-Roberts investigates whether the revolution has betrayed women in Egypt.'

    Didn't kick off too well for some simply reporting there, as I recall.

    But that didn't seem to faze the boys on the balconies, even those airflown in to celebrate with their 'expertise'.

    Funny what the edit suite leaves in, or out... or 'forgets' as events overtake the narrative plans.

    Even this seemed rather whisked past..

    One man.. er .. person's revolutionary is another's... what again? Guess you had to be there.

    I'll be interested in what Ms. Lloyd-Roberts 'investigation' uncovers.

  • Comment number 9.


    Oh no - jus hearing Obama has a fairness plan . . .

  • Comment number 10.

    Greece cannot avoid defaulting on its debts. It is patently obvious that Greece et al cannot be competitive at exchange rate parity with the northern core, and without the means to depreciate, coupled with massive debt repayments, it has not a snowball in hell’s chance of recovery. And, this isn’t a bailout; it’s just a transfer of liability from private to public aimed solely at cushioning the Eurozone from the inevitable default further down the line. In the meantime Greece remains locked inside the ‘burning building’ with EU bully boys daring it to jump from a top floor window.

    Rather than chastise Greece, other Eurozone members should reflect on an inconvenient truth; Greece wasn’t alone in choosing an economically unsustainable path. All over Europe, populist govts avoided unpopular policies to address growing uncompetitiveness and instead exacerbated it by enlarging the state and borrowing to fund it. Greece just happened to be the first to arrive at the inevitable destination.

    It’s ironic to note however, that in Germany, Gerhard Schroder did the opposite and he lost his job.

  • Comment number 11.

    Until the public can accept part of the responsibility for causing the debt in Greece they certainly won't accept any thing else, I suspect this is just a bad case of trying to put lipstick on a pig.

  • Comment number 12.

    Some thoughts ….

    When they insist that I appear sic on Desert Island Discs there will definitely be one track on my playlist …

    “It’s not right, but it’s OK!”

    A saddening waste with an early demise ….

    But Boy!

    She could sing!

    And …. Oh yes!

    Q …. (Nn) …. investigates whether the revolution has betrayed women in Egypt. … unQ.

    Why actually does Nn not ‘investigate’ what will be the biggest ever betrayal of women in the twenty first century, which primarily - and tragically - emanates from political shenanigans rather than ‘job done’ ?

    Namely ….

    The premature withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan!

    And we claim that we stand up for human rights?

    Shame on us!

    And …. Oh yes!


    There is a programme on BBC2 on Friday night called ‘The Review Show’.

    So why do we get so much airtime on Nn taken up by ‘arts’ sic related filler stories?

    And that question begs another …..

    Is it anything to do with Nn production team's egos?

    And …. Oh yes!

    An excellent attempt last week at trying to turn the spotlight on the employment ‘attitudes’ of the four main members of the Distributive Trades cartel. Due credit where credit is due. Sadly one has to say “… attempt at trying … ” as - having managed to weadle their way into the powerhouse sic at the top of british politics Hint: Think of a number between nine and eleven! - one must surely only come to one conclusion i.e. that they are ….

    Too big to curtail!

    And that is very - seriously - worrying!

    What’s that ‘mantra’ I keep repeating?

    Oh yep!

    Got it!

    I remember now ….

    Follow the money!


  • Comment number 13.

    I remember how this high ranking policeman was thrown down our throats on a regular basis by the leftist media.

    The first time I clapped eyes on the man; straight off the bat.. I knew he was a bent copper.

  • Comment number 14.

    John Gaunt and Nick Ferrari. Welcome to the Jeremy Kyle show.

    Talk about dumbed down. Where were Anne Atkins,Abu Hamza and Stephen Green?

  • Comment number 15.

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

  • Comment number 16.


    Only now, after thousands were entrapped by a nice little West Berks Council earner, involving a new "bus gate", slap-dash signage, and a stealth camera, am I discovering JUST HOW UNACCOUNTABLE a Unitary Council is, to those it pretends to nurture.

    Councils are feudal fiefdoms, seemingly answering to no one, EXACTLY LIKE POLITICAL PARTIES. Hence, 'we the people' have no redress when these petty 'Sheriffs of Nottingham' decide to rape the peoples pocket. And when Robin Hood (blush) challenges them to do their worst (take me to court) they just drop the charge. Neat. That is CORRUPTION, UNDER D MOCK CRASS Y. A million miles from "Democracy under the Rule of law!

    It runs right through the land. Once again we are confronted with the awful truth: ALL THAT IS REQUIRED FOR EVIL TO PROSPER IS THAT GOOD MEN DO NOTHING. It would, of course, help if bad men got their come-uppance!


  • Comment number 17.


    What a joke! See #16!! You don't even get candour from a jumped up Sheriff!!!
    The NHS is just another feudal institution operating under the Westminster ethos.

  • Comment number 18.

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

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    Right, thats it!..the Moderator is a marxist who reads the Guardian!

    Thats the last time I bother suggesting the police are a bit *****

    how does one spell 'dodgy'?

  • Comment number 21.


    How do you spell "Blogdog"?

  • Comment number 22.


    Yeah right. Is this a known precursor to revolution?

    Oh dear.

  • Comment number 23.


    If I can stop shaking with ironic laughter long enough, I will type:

    Yeah right!

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    Ladies.. fire up your iPhones! Am guessing our Sean is on a plane to share his expertise with Newsynightie as we speak.

  • Comment number 26.

    Also from the above piece...

    "Greece’s appointed–not elected–prime minister is Lucas Papademos, He is a former governor of the Bank of Greece, a member of Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, and former vice president of the European Central Bank. In other words, he is a banker appointed to represent the banks.

    On February 12 the appointed prime minister, whose job is to deliver Greece to the banks or to Brussels, failed to see the irony in his statement that “violence has no place in a democracy.” Neither did he see any irony in the fact that 40 elected representatives in the Greek parliament who rejected the bailout terms were expelled by the ruling coalition parties. Violence begets violence. Violence in the streets is a response to the economic violence being committed against the Greek people."

  • Comment number 27.

    Liking the 'most liked' trend here:

    I do, however, predict a closing if it is maintained.

    Can't wait to find out who is on tonight to 'analyse' the 'proper' way.

  • Comment number 28.

    @20 Kev- I think the spelling you were looking for is c*o*r*r*u*p*t? ;-D Mind you, News International is extremely "dodgy" too.

    Mr Murdoch has expected - and received - obeisance from newly elected Prime Ministers and other politicians. rewarding those who "kiss his ring"* with lucrative book contracts as well as favourable publicity. He is a foreign citizen and resident who nonetheless believes in his right to interfere in our political system. Let us not forget that his cheerleading for war, on BOTH sides of the Atlantic, helped cause hundreds of thousands of futile deaths in Iraq.

    Mr Kavanagh 'said senior members of staff had been treated like "an organised gang" and insisted that the tabloid was "not a swamp that needed draining".'

    M'lady doth protest too much methinks. IF indeed it has been "standard practice" for journalists to pay police for information, then the whole system is systemically "dodgy". In any case, the irony of 'The Sun' accusing others of a witch-hunt obviously escapes him.

    BTW, I think the correct spelling of swamp in this context is s*e*w*e*r!


  • Comment number 29.

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

  • Comment number 30.

    #25 JM

    I wonder what Mr Penn's views of Amerikan colonialism over the UK are?

    Oil in the Falkland Islands: Argentina's corrupt governments will never challenge the United Kingdom

  • Comment number 31.

    Ex Workers Power Paul's reports should have a health warning? People looting shops are not 'angry at the political system'.

    Meedja playing Violins?

    one definition of organised crime is

    "Organized crime is a nonideological enterprise involving a number of persons in close social interaction, organized on a hierarchical basis, with at least three levels/ranks, for the purpose of securing profit and power by engaging in illegal and legal activities. Positions in the hierarchy and positions involving functional specialization may be assigned on the basis of kinship or friendship, or rationally assigned according to skill. "

    if the cap fits?

  • Comment number 32.

    #23 Aw Barrie, Warsi isn't interested in the christian religion or it's values, it's all a red herring. She doesn't want religion to disappear here, and secularism hold sway, otherwise islam would disappear as well, and she wouldn't want that now would she!

    As you've often said our desolute lifestyle will get all of them in the end!!! ; )

  • Comment number 33.

    In a time of austerity, why is HMG wasting our money by sending a delegation to Darth Benedict in the Vatican?

    Baroness Warsi stated that "to create a more just society, people need to feel stronger in their religious identities and more confident in their creeds" It is a little strange that a muslim should be telling those she believes to be Christian to be "more confident" in their creeds. The most confident amongst them might ask her whether she herself plans to spend her eternity "smoking or non-smoking".

    Having been educated both in religion AND rationalism, I find the two thought systems to be incompatible and, not being a politician, I cannot comfortably profess something I no longer believe to be true. The theology subsidiary I took at university (KCL) helped me reach my present position. "Now I am a man, I have put away childish things".

    I do not know the Truth, or even the truth about most things. The closest to ut I found in the Quaker philosophy of "look for the light within", which has never let me down when I have purged sufficient anger and had the courage to apply it.

    Therefore, as a seeker of truths who looks for the light, and also believes in humour, I shall record my religion as "Pastafarian Jedi" on the next census form.

    This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.
    (Polonius, Hamlet)

  • Comment number 34.

    '30. At 12:55 14th Feb 2012, museV wrote:
    I wonder what Mr Penn's views of Amerikan colonialism over the UK are?'

    Love to hear 'em which, given his straw-person, Morello-grove picking grasp of facts to date, we most likely will soon be treated to by those UK media who know a good bit of heat over light when the ratings-measuring bonusses get doled out.

    That being... all of them.

    Be a certain irony if he is the one to ram within the 200 mile limit Lauren Booth's Penguin's for Peace flotilla en route to Port Stanley, in his hybrid PT-109 replica.

  • Comment number 35.

    Love it.

    One of the BBC's top 'reporters' has just updated his latest which was a bit shy on detail as... by way of excuse, he is on school hols... again.

    World class.

  • Comment number 36.

    Hey, hey hey.. the next QT line-up is announced, and it looks like Newsynighty's favourite green roomer is on the plate.. again.

    Apropos of nothing at all, some news sources are currently quite excited about the memoirs of some young staffer JFK seduced, deflowered and had on tap for a fair old while in what might be considered an abuse of executive power.

    I wonder if secretarial extra-curricular demands of high office and role modelling might crop up as a Q in QT for, say, an aspiring Police Commisioner?

    There's always...

    Or will it be more 'John will be John' level?

  • Comment number 37.


    Well the dumb voter certainly can't, nor can (will) the monarch, so Murdoch might as well . . . But we could resolve to DISMANTLE WESTMINSTER and the place to start is to SPOIL PARTY-GAMES.

  • Comment number 38.

    That Michael Wolff put Nick Ferrari in his place last night...

    "Respond to the consequences of the alleged crimes not the police response!" i.e. play the ball etc. etc. Of course he didn't and wouldn't.

    But what else did we expect from those dupes such as Ferrari and John Gaunt who have both taken the Murdoch shilling.

    If I remember rightly, that last time I heard Gaunt on radio he spent most of the show bragging about his new "Jaguwar" car.

  • Comment number 39.

    #32 lizzy

    Maybe Warsi's kind are feeling under attack in the HoP.

    Given her kind's representation level in the HoP relative to their proportion of the population as a whole, their natural enemy (think the 'War On Terror' protagonists) are grossly over represented given their proportion of the population as a whole, even though they number much less of the population. They out-number her kind in the HoP many times over btw.

    She must feel threatened. Perhaps she is seeking natural secularist (socialist) allies...i.e. the RC Church?

  • Comment number 40.


    For my sins (sic) take in a lot of comparative religion in the meeja. I am always at a loss to understand why no one asserts that CHRISTIANITY IS THE TRUE FAITH. It is not fiery-chariot science!

    Jesus was the SON OF THE ONE GOD - at minimum, half divine, HE FOUNDED OUR CHURCH. All other dogmo-doctrines are SECONDARY, IF NOT FALSE.

    Unless and until GOD THE FATHER HIMSELF arrives to give us a religion that ACTUALLY "DOES WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT SIN" all must accept Christianity as Sliced Daily Bread. AND FOR GOD'S SAKE - STOP ARGUING!

    (Other religions are available but this message is paradoxical.)

  • Comment number 41.

    Not a ringing endorsement of our membership of the EU.

    “Moody's changes the outlook on the United Kingdom's Aaa rating to negative
    Moody's Investors Service has today changed the outlook on the United Kingdom's Aaa government bond rating to negative from stable.
    The key drivers of today's action on the United Kingdom are:
    1.) The increased uncertainty regarding the pace of fiscal consolidation in the UK due to materially weaker growth prospects over the next few years, with risks skewed to the downside. Any further abrupt economic or fiscal deterioration would put into question the government's ability to place the debt burden on a downward trajectory by fiscal year 2015-16.
    2.) Although the UK is outside the euro area, the high risk of further shocks (economic, financial, or political) within the currency union are exerting negative pressure on the UK's Aaa rating given the country's trade and financial links with the euro area. Overall, Moody's believes that the considerable uncertainty over the prospects for institutional reform in the euro area and the region's weak macroeconomic outlook will continue to weigh on already fragile market confidence across Europe."

    Can NN have a guest on tonight who is not eu'phile and does not subscribe to the view that putting all our eggs in one basket (EU) is or has been such a good idea ?

  • Comment number 42.


    Campbell had been behaving inexcusably (this was before he notionally 'went to Lourdes') as usual. Chum Tony replied (lamely) "Oh Alastair is Alastair."

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 43.


    To make gunpowder, you mix and confine the white, black and yellow ingredients, in a brown barrel and then IGNITE. All it takes is one spark, a heated exchange, or a point of friction. We shall go from bust to BOOM faster than even James (he that is called Gordon) could ever envisage.

    Now that's what I CALL home grown Terror!

  • Comment number 44.

    It is so sad to see the country in this state.The Greek politicians playing their stupid political games when the country is literally burning and elderly are on the streets because they cannot afford to have a home or to eat.The same politicians and political parties who have huge responsibility for the state Greece is in are now appearing to be the saviours.New Democracy and Pasok have in power for the last 30 years,people from the same families again and again.The left in disarray, out of reality and surely equally corrupt if they ever see power.And in April we have elections.One doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.Papademos oversaw the entering of Greece into the euro.Nobody knew that the Greeks had 'cooked' the numbers?How can he be in the position of running the country now?Why is nobody punished for the fact that Greece entered the euro fraudulently?Did nobody from the European Union checked the numbers they were given?Did they never check whether the money they were giving to Greece were going towards development or in the pockets of the very few?Of course the Greeks have responsibility,but we were never told how bad things were.We have responsibility for the clientelistic relationship we have had with our politicians for so long,but we were always told that things were going well.In 2004 they spent billions for the Olympics nobody cared about.Nobody uses any of the stadiums they built, spending incredible amounts of money and giving contracts to whoever suited them.Not long ago we thought things were going well and the banks were incredibly aggressive,selling Christmas loans, Easter loans, car loans,holiday loans,like in many other places in the world.Not only the Greeks fell for this.But of course always the poorest people fall for this things and they always have to pay the higher price.The hardest thing is that the politicians we have are a joke and that one is more rediculous than the other.There is no hope if New Democracy comes to power again.Whatever happens the Greek population is going to have to pay the highest price.


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