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Monday 6 February 2012

Verity Murphy | 14:32 UK time, Monday, 6 February 2012

UPDATE AT 1810GMT:

There has been a change in the plan for tonight's programme. We will now have a report on the news that radical cleric Abu Qatada has been granted bail following a hearing at the UK's Special Immigration Appeals Commission instead of Paul Mason's Greece report.

Also on the programme Tim Whewell, who recently visited Homs, will be reporting on the situation on the ground in Homs, which has seen a day of heavy artillery fire in one of the fiercest attacks since an anti-government uprising began 11 months ago.

Plus, Mark Urban looks at what pressure the international community can bring to bear on the Assad regime, given the division in the UN Security Council. And what the Russians hope to achieve when Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, along with Foreign Intelligence Service Director Mikhail Fradkov, visits Damascus on Tuesday.

We look at the decision by Network Rail bosses, including chief executive Sir David Higgins, to not accept bonuses this year, and Jeremy Paxman will be speaking to Transport Secretary Justine Greening.

And our Culture correspondent Stephen Smith has an interview with the comedian and actor Jackie Mason.

ENTRY FROM 1432GMT:

The Syrian city of Homs is being bombarded by artillery fire in one of the fiercest attacks since anti-government unrest began 11 months ago.

The army assault comes after Saturday's veto of a UN draft resolution criticising Syria by China and Russia.

Tonight Tim Whewell, who recently visited Homs, will be reporting on the situation on the ground and why this is happening now.

Plus, Mark Urban looks at what pressure the international community can bring to bear on the Assad regime, given the division in the UN Security Council. And what the Russians hope to achieve when Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, along with Foreign Intelligence Service Director Mikhail Fradkov, visits Damascus on Tuesday.

We look at the decision by Network Rail bosses, including chief executive Sir David Higgins, to not accept bonuses this year.

As government talks in Greece to try to agree new austerity measures needed to secure bailout funds and avoid defaulting on its debts are delayed, Paul Mason reports on what measures the EU, ECB and IMF troika are actually demanding.

And our Culture correspondent Stephen Smith has an interview with the comedian and actor Jackie Mason.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO "Humanitarian Intervention"

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24591


    "There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest in Syria: unemployment has increased in recent year, social conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption in 2006 of sweeping economic reforms under IMF guidance. The IMF's "economic medicine" includes austerity measures, a freeze on wages, the deregulation of the financial system, trade reform and privatization. (See IMF Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation Mission's Concluding Statement, https://www.imf.org/external/np/ms/2006/051406.htm 2006)"

  • Comment number 2.

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    AGE OF PERVERSITY

    The behaviour of Christian America, and her rhetoric, has all the hallmarks of a "rogue state".

    "How can you say to your brother: 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 5.

    'Paul Mason reports on what measures the EU, ECB and IMF troika are actually demanding'

    If this could be done on a factual basis, without resorting to adding narrative on a personal basis that compromises what is, and is known, vs. what is desired by some, or disliked and felt in need of framing negatively, that would be good.

  • Comment number 6.

    Greece is just further down the road than the rest of us - what is happening there is simply going to ripple through the debtor nations, even if it takes 5 years to reach us here in the UK.

    Another $50-75 Bn of QE from the MPC seems on the cards which would no doubt simply go where the last lost went - to buy Gilts from the banks, who then deposit the cash with the BoE or the ECB etc to rebuild their balance sheets.

    The BoE already has £200 Bn of gilts stuffed in its back pocket - so this would take the value of UK government debt held by the BoE's Asset Acquisition department to £275 Bn.

    The financial system tanked because it managed to persuade politicians to make it deregulated, then it globalised and was allowed to run amok, often criminally so.

    In the UK the last government with cross-party support bailed out the banks to prevent the whole system collapsing.

    This was funded by a massive new issue of debt.

    After the election the Coalition then blamed Labour for this huge level of debt and announced an austerity progamme to repay it in five years, saying the credit card is maxed out and we can't afford it.

    Now the Treasury is putting up taxes and cutting spending, taking £110 Bn out of the economy as we slide back into recession, which equates to up to ONE TRILLION pounds of aggregate demand.

    This money is then being used to pay the interest on the gilts to....

    .....the Bank of England.

    Salvador Dali, the inventor of surrealism would say we are having a laugh and sue us for breach of his copyright.

    The economy here is being squeezed white so that we can create a vast pile of cash in the BoE to pay off our debt, most of which is currently held by OUR OWN BANK!

    IMHO the bank crash & bailout was a one off, so unlike general government spenidng & debt, it should be ppossible to "retire" these gilts held by the BoE and simply stop taking vast quantities of money out of the economy via the Treasury, only to hand it over to the Bank of England.

    In Greece where their gilts are held overseas a haircut of 50%+ seems on the cards, whereas here because so much of our debt has been bought up with QE money, it could be "retired" without any for of default or haircut and we could avoid the downward austerity spiral.

  • Comment number 7.

    WILL NEWSYNIGHTY BE SENDING SOMEONE TO REPORT ON A MAGNIFICENT FUSION OF CORRUPTION AND LOCALISM IN NEWBURY BERKS?

    It has now passed beyond farce and into the surreal. To have packed so many errors into 500 yards of road, ADJACENT TO OUR PRESTIGIOUS NEW SHOPPING MALL, should gain a (very short) lifetime award for those officers responsible. You would think Frank Spencer had got a job in Local Governance.

  • Comment number 8.

    What an unusual, strange, peculiar, bizarre and somewhat carppy world we live in!

    Big media campaign, plenty of pieces to camera, queues of pundits and plaudits - mostly irrelevant - wringing their hands ( not always graciously perhaps, hard times all round so we are told ) in anticipation of appearance fee and inflated [ Oops! Sorry, commensurate! ] expenses!

    Why?

    ‘Coz someone (Let’s ignore all the - many - others for now!) might, or might not, get point three of a mil approx, give or take, for meeting - Oops, not meeting! - operational targets!

    But here’s the ‘oddness’ of it all ….

    Virtually nothing about someone getting 20 times approx for the supervision of a group of seriously overpaid people that kick the modern day equivalent a leather-clad pig’s bladder for a living!

    What a world!

    And we can’t even cure the common cold!



    137.

  • Comment number 9.

    OVERT TYRANTS KILL THEIR OWN PEOPLE - THEY ARE EVIL

    STEALTH TYRANTS only kill Johnnie Foreigner - they are righteous.

    Is it me?

    (Any news of the Chagossians returning ome from UK deportation?)

  • Comment number 10.

    Abu Qatada. Yet another reason to get out of the EU permanently!
    The transport lot don't want to be hated as much as a certain RBS boss who got awarded (but declined) his bonus......
    OMG - Wow, I am stunned to see you've got Jackie Mason on the show tonight :)

  • Comment number 11.

    @10 Get your facts straight! The European Court of Human Rights has NOTHING to do with the EU. And the UK was the prime mover in setting it up after WWII.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Court_of_Human_Rights.

  • Comment number 12.

    these days i watch NN to see what the govt want us to think.
    basically its
    1. war on iran
    2. war on syria
    3 war on russia
    4 war with argentina if they want it.

  • Comment number 13.

    @11 Addendum. There are two problems: the first is that sometimes lawyers and judges are adept at interpreting the letter of the law in ways that go against the original intentions of the drafters. Often thsi brings them more cases and more money, for example ambulance chasers and tax lawyers.

    The other problem is that ANY law protecting individuals against the state will inevitable be used by some unsavoury characters to avoid their just desserts (or deserts in this case.) You have to look carefully at the bigger picture. There may well be a case for shifting the balance, but it is wise to weigh up the possible consequences of abolishing such protection.

  • Comment number 14.

    7 given incompetence is the norm is it really news anymore?

  • Comment number 15.

    No need to mention 'tax dodging' again tonight?
    NN can safely drop that one knowing that world events can often - 'come to thy rescue'.

    Otherwise, what is the main difference between Syria and Burma?
    Burma is 'closer' to China?

  • Comment number 16.

    13

    interesting 'the most dangerous man is the uk' [that the state is unable to prosecute and convict for anything] only weapons are his words? unless we put it down to a medical condition of beardaphobia and/or flowing robitis among those in govt?

    it seems fitting this happens on the same day as the role gamers event.

    given the national oath is about protecting one family and not the rights of the british people the uk state sees the uk population a threat? the state is obliged by law to 'go after' anyone who thinks human rights for all and freedom of speech are greater than the position of the anti democratic norman role gaming monarchy?

    we have several people who have been locked up for years on an indefinite basis without being charged for anything. so the spin is this man is 'dangerous' but they can't prove anything against him? surely a dangerous person will commit offences in short order and so could be charged. but no. we are 'told' he is dangerous and must accept that without question. Its the days of prince John over again. the norman monarchists frightened by shadows and darkness of their own minds?

  • Comment number 17.

    "The Daily Mail's editor was aware the paper was using private detectives but not of the extent to which it was doing so,"

    so he is incompetent then? who is really in charge there? who sets the policies the newsroom runs under?

  • Comment number 18.

  • Comment number 19.

    @12 Such cynicism, but not quite cynical enough! We are not the big bully, we are his disposable would-be "best friend".

    1) Shouting at the intended victim hoping to share the spoils.
    2) Interfering in a domestic, hoping to be invited to dinner with the new partner.
    3) Shouting at the rival bully, from a safe distance.
    4) Sabre rattling, threatening a fight, but hoping it doesn't happen, knowing that you haven't got the stomach.

  • Comment number 20.

    @17 All of these editors were paid huge sums for NOT being in control, and NOT knowing what was going on.

    It doesn't surprise me in the Mail's case. Compare Kevsey's link yesterday with the following one today:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2096277/Global-warming-James-Delingpole-claims-green-zealots-destroying-planet.html

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2096142/Sperm-whales-How-plastic-bags-poisoning-planets-greatest-predators.html

    Although the "Wail"'s general "balance" is more towards the sentiments of the first article, there seems to be a clear case of editorial schizophrenia.

    Barking, if not actually howling - not surprising so close to a full moon! ;-D

  • Comment number 21.

    UNFORTUNATELY WE ARE ARCHETYPALLY MILITARISTIC - ESPECIALLY IN THE HIGHER STRATA (#19)

    A few years back 'they' purged steriotypes from children's books;but no one saw that all major pageantry is STERIOTYPICALLY MILITARY. The monarchy is about to give it another boost (marching; fly-pasts; warships 'dressed overall' etc).

    Thus, to those who received their institutionalising in public school, the 'Just War' is JUST ANOTHER WAR. Never more so than to Margaret, Tony and Dave, who do not have to fight or send their children. To our shame, our young mercenaries queue up to kill Johnnie Foreigner, for reasons they either do not know, or don't understand. At best, they are blinded by the jingoistic steriotype!

    I suspect Dave will embrace an asymmetrical, distant war, if it comes his way.

    This is not civilisation it is STEALTH DESPOTISM.

  • Comment number 22.

    @ Sasha#10 - Quoting Wiki? Good grief!!!! Anyway, the good news is that Cameron is going to opt out of the Jurisdiciton of the ECHR.

    Source: https://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/7633528/camerons-coming-battle-over-the-echr.thtml

    And I still maintain we should get out of the EU asap :p

  • Comment number 23.

    Outstanding debate by Jeremy with Alexander Nekrasov :o) He is correct on Russia.

  • Comment number 24.

    EMBARRASSMENT (#21)

    Sorry about the spelling errors - I failed to overlay with the corrected version.

  • Comment number 25.

    "Network Rail have taken a sensible decision" - Transport Sec
    "Do you think your intervention made any difference at all?"
    "It is a decision they took last week"
    "Do you think bonuses are ever justified in the public sector?"
    "renumeration is bench marked to a ..FTSE 100 company"
    The minister seems to be falling apart at the seams!
    "it isn't like a FTSE 100 company, is it?"
    "Could it go bust?"
    "You'd let it go bust, would you?"
    Jeremy points out it's subsidised by the taxpayer (although private).......
    "tell us of one business where the taxpayer has a stake where bonuses are justified?"
    Um, errr, ummm..... USELESS + CLUELESS minister :p
    "You have set a precedent"
    "I was prepared to use it" "So you have set a precedent"
    Outstanding Jeremy :)

  • Comment number 26.

    If only Murray's advice was taken by the government! Sadly it won't happen :(

  • Comment number 27.

  • Comment number 28.

    :p Comedy legend Paul Mason indeed!
    Fab interview

  • Comment number 29.

    SO THE BIG CLIMATE LIE WILL SOON BE ADDED TO ALL THE OTHER LIES (#27 link)

    Slowly the DECEIT of politicians is becoming their PRIMARY CHARACTERISTIC even in the dullest recesses of the public mind. That cynical, cipher, politicians are aided by formerly trusted groups: police, media, scientists etc, will add to the tipping load. Soon 'they' will not be able to sell the Snake Oil; is that the Bastille moment? Will the tipping point be the emergence of irrefutable truth re Kelly? Diana? 9/11-Chicot? 7/7?

    The Westminster Centre soon "cannot hold". As the poem says: "things fly apart". Then we shall see whether our brand of Stealth Despots are prepared to 'kill their own people' (for the greater good) just like those terrible - overt - foreign despots.

    Beware unfounded optimism.

  • Comment number 30.

    anyone who investigates the IPCC will find its is nothing but a front for those making money out of carbon credits andor who have a kooky chinese communism/new age elders agenda.

    the only models that predict are those based on the sun. none of the co2 models have ever predicted anything correctly. Co2 is a function of temperature. they have taken the effect as the cause and reversed it saying temperature is a function of co2. thus they are forever curve fitting the facts to that 'belief'. removing suppressing ommiting evidence that does not support that lucrative narrative then name calling anyone who points out their bogusness.

    bbc staff can't report it cause anyone who did would be sent for 'retraining' in a padded cell? which means being propagandists. which is fine if you like that sort of thing. the bbc ad agency. Mad men.

  • Comment number 31.

    @30 What is your scientific background Jaunty?

    Back in the '70s, when I was studying for my chemistry/maths degree at King's London I took a course on the Chemistry Of The Environment. We learned that greenhouse effect, including that of CO2 is a good thing, as without it much of the Earth would be too cold for human habitation. The question was, could we have too much of this good thing?

    Now, despite considerable knowledge, including about the principles of modelling, I don't claim to understand the complex system which is the climate. However, I do recognise the difference between science and propaganda. Most of the links posted here are pseudoscience, directly or indirectly funded by the oil industry. What's more, they are posted by people who clearly don't have the knowledge or background to judge what they read.

    What we are seeing now is a well-financed Goebbels-like conspiriacy to shout-down one side of the argument and vilify its proponents. Opposed to the oil/dirty energy lobby, I can there are others trying to cash in on "green" credentials which are perhaps bogus.

    However, science isn't democratic, and it isn't about consensus. Far too many people, including on this blog, express strident opinions which they clearly aren't qualified to hold. That pushes me in the opposite direction from what I see as a lynch mob.

    I don't know the answers, and I strongly suspect that laymen who claim that they do know are, to paraphrase you, mentally curve fitting the facts to the belief.

  • Comment number 32.

    @31 afterthoought. Given that nobody on this blog is really qualified to have an opinion, how do we come to any judgement at all?

    Follow the money, see who finances the several sides of this argument. Oil companies and Nuke lobbyists have more money than wind-farm proponents. And is seems that at the moment no-one is in a position to make a buck out of tidal stream generators.

  • Comment number 33.

    #31 Don't talk stupid Sasha

    Pray explain to me why it was BP and Shell plus another ton of other slimy corporates like Tesco backing Gordon Brown to sign up to global carbon trading at Copenhagen or are you like many other ostriches who prefer to keep their head in the climate scam sand apparently suffering from selective amnesia ?

  • Comment number 34.

    FOLLOW THE INVESTMENT SASHA? (#32)

    Industry IS investing in Sea Energy; I note the first osmotic station is extant. A plethora of wave and tidal extractions are being explored.

    Government (politicians) is/are investing in wind - why? (See #29) Private ventures are investing in Sea Energy (the gamut from osmotic, to temperature-differential, wave, tidal pool/stream/rise-and-fall etc.) is being investigated. And don't write off the fringe stuff e.g. Cold Fusion et al.

    I earned my living from around 1970 to 2005, with no degrees but a lot of artisan-like acquired nous. At the end of that time, I had built a prototype device that was a giant step in emulsification of high temperature waxes. (The conservative UK industrial horse would not 'drink'.) Small chemical processing, only competes with the big boys by being smarter; my factory was stuffed with 'elegant' kit embodying undisclosed patentable innovations.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 35.

    31

    science has a method. the 'co2 as cause of everything' cult don't follow the method and shout down those who point it out as 'non expert'.

    anyone who researches in Maurice Strong will see his hinterland and the 'elder courses' on his ranch.

    apparently oil money = bad
    money from carbon exchanges = good.

    those who model based on the sun as cause have better predictions.

    i agree for the co2 cult this is about money. extracting from the many to the few via carbon taxes.

  • Comment number 36.

    12. At 21:33 6th Feb 2012, jauntycyclist
    4 war with argentina if they want it.


    Seeing that the Falklands is starting to suffer from the lack of fresh fruit and veg due to an Argentinian blockade on air cargo.

    Wondering how long it is before there will be a peace flotilla of concerned activist folk heading for the Falklands.

    With a full crew of concerned BBC reporterettes granted exclusive access by various independently-funded family members.

    Or... wrong kind of humanitarian abuse on the line?

    If a Gazan can be deemed to be suffering from a lack of Mercedes, then a banana-less Falklander is surely amongst the most oppressed there is.

    '31 (&32). At 09:07 7th Feb 2012, Sasha Clarkson

    Not sure that the ability and right to an opinion requires a qualification, and certainly one that gets given or denied... other than by an odd bunch who seem to conflate what they think with wisdom and what any who disagrees with that something which needs 'dealing with'.

    There is a lot of it about, of course.

    Back in the '70s, when I was studying for my chemistry/maths degree at King's London I took a course on the Chemistry Of The Environment.

    Golly, and there I was studying Civil Engineering a few basements down. I am proud of my alma mater too, but tend to prefer the quality of argument inspired by what I learned than simply the fact of having been there.

    However, I do recognise the difference between science and propaganda.

    Me too! Coincidence or what? If, oddly, in a different way (funny how that works out, and some can live with that... others less able). I ended up in advertising, so a whole new ability to spot smoke and mirrors a mile off was added.

    Most of the links posted here are pseudoscience, directly or indirectly funded by the oil industry.

    By 'here', one presumes this thread, as opposed to the only fonts of wisdom that 'should' be paid attention, namely the broadcast only sectors of the BBC, Guardian, Wikipedia, etc? That rather smacks of looking in a small mirror, liking what gets reflected, and being happy enough not to wonder what else is not shown.

    What's more, they are posted by people who clearly don't have the knowledge or background to judge what they read.

    Clearly? Care to amplify further in that excavation?

    What we are seeing now is a well-financed Goebbels-like conspiriacy to shout-down one side of the argument and vilify its proponents.

    Of course, that 'we' could also include a whole raft of those from other quarters who could claim, with some justification, the exact same thing about the output from a less than coherent government strategy, £4Bpa compelled-funding propaganda machine, and others. Good to get Godwin going though. Usually that is a one-way preserve, so I am happy it can be applied multi-directionally.

    Opposed to the oil/dirty energy lobby, I can there are others trying to cash in on "green" credentials which are perhaps bogus.

    Might other missing concessions include the funding of some very 'interesting' activities by the same surprising sources, if for less noble reasons than simply the generation of equal amounts of clean energy?

    However, science isn't democratic, and it isn't about consensus. Far too many people, including on this blog, express strident opinions which they clearly aren't qualified to hold.

    The advocacy being... what? Only 'special people' get entitled to have opinions, based on un-named others bestowing this great power, and responsibility, upon them. Starting with whom? The BBC? You? I am not sure the likes of Messrs, Shuckman, Black, Harrabin, etc are exactly covered in impartial, qualified glory thus far on matters of science and especially environmental reporting, no matter how cleared by rather oddly configured internal and cosy 'external' inquiries of a kind only Britain's establishment can daub, like barrack-garden rocks.

    That pushes me in the opposite direction from what I see as a lynch mob

    An interesting location. Robert Burns might be a worthy source to at least ponder how it may be viewed from another.

    I don't know the answers, and I strongly suspect that laymen who claim that they do know are, to paraphrase you, mentally curve fitting the facts to the belief.

    For such admitted gaps, there appears much forceful advocacy in complement.

    I rather admire when folk concede they don't know. But when there also appears to be an attempt to claim not knowing better than others, thus securing the only acceptable version of rectitude, that becomes an argument hard to credit.

  • Comment number 37.

    Blair: “Come and get me, don’t get people on a bus”

    https://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/02/06/come-and-get-me-dont-get-people-on-a-bus/

  • Comment number 38.

  • Comment number 39.

    THE CORPORATE STATES OF AMERICA

    Koch brothers: secretive billionaires to launch vast database with 2012 in mind
    https://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/07/koch-brothers-database-2012-election
    David and Charles Koch, oil tycoons with strong right-wing views and connections, look set to tighten their grip on US politics

    “Their potential to sway the electorate through the sheer scale of their spending has been greatly enhanced by Citizens United, last year's controversial ruling by the US supreme court that opened the floodgates to corporate donations in political campaigns. The ruling allows companies to throw unlimited sums to back their chosen candidates, without having to disclose their spending.”

    Note the libertarian ideology.

    “Even men who were engaged in organizing debt-serf cultivation and debt-serf industrialism in the American cotton districts, in the old rubber plantations, and in the factories of India, China, and South Italy, appeared as generous supporters of and subscribers to the sacred cause of individual liberty.”
    —H. G. Wells, The Shape of Things to Come

  • Comment number 40.

    Petrodollar pumping US policy on Iran, backfire looms
    https://rt.com/news/iran-attack-us-allegations-243/

    "As tensions between the US and Iran heat up, author Michael T. Winter believes the main reason behind America’s harsh stance is Tehran’s move to seek an alternative to the dollar as an oil currency."

    Remember Sadam attempted something similar just before Iraq II and Gaddafi talking of the unified African gold dinar just months before the Libyan "uprising"?

  • Comment number 41.

  • Comment number 42.

    Syria -

    Resolution is well within the Arab League's moral and diplomatic capabilities.

    Abu Qatada -

    It is my understanding that his case refers to him not being forcibly returned to Jordan.
    So why not give him a sail boat, with basic navigation aids , a radio , food and water , then tow the sail boat somewhere and let him choose where to land.
    Better than changing our long-term legal protections because of some bizarre ECHR ruling.
    I suspect those that advocated opening up of the ECHR to personal referrals are wondering why their brilliant idea did not work in the age of "No Win , No Fee" legal teams.
    I was heartened to hear that the COE is making some limited changes to the ECHR , though I did not like the price paid for such a change myself, but hay.
    Requiring member states to send qualified and experienced judges will certainly help in my opinion.
    Also the ECHR having the pre assumption that member states immigration and asylum procedures are fit and proper, not the other way around, will also help.
    Of course we could just remove ourselves from the courts jurisdiction , but now the EU belongs to it we will still be held to the ECHR rulings by the ECJ.

    Just one more reason for some (including me) who want to leave the EU.

    PS.
    I doubt I would trust any of the three main party's to overwrite our current Bill of Rights, even though the old one is a bit dated now. But time will see if their ideas are good or more EUphile trickery.

  • Comment number 43.

 

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