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Thursday 9 February 2012

Verity Murphy | 17:58 UK time, Thursday, 9 February 2012

Tonight we will have the latest on attempts to negotiate a European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout for Greece.

Eurozone ministers who have opened talks on the 130bn euro (£110bn) bailout fund in Brussels this evening have cast doubt on the Greek austerity plan which lenders are demanding is in place before the funds are unlocked.

We will have analysis from our Economics editor Paul Mason and be talking to Greek Minister for International Economic Relations Constantine Papadopoulos, Greek Communist MP Liana Kanelli and Peter Altmaier, chief whip of the CDU in the German parliament.

Mark Urban reports on the battle for Homs, the kind of armaments on either side and whether in response to the ongoing violence other nations are intending to step up arms supplies to the Free Syrian Army.

As debate rages about the state of English football following the loss of both captain and manager of the national team Peter Marshall asks whether the biggest problem with the game is actually the prevalence of big money.

And we have a report on what supermarkets pay their shop floor workers and how despite being in employment many of them are still reliant on benefits.


  • Comment number 1.

    This could be a good time for Newsnight to do research on the pre-war dole and what it involved. Even then it was asserted that some people deliberately stayed on benefits rather than work.
    Also, in view of concerns about the welfare of children it would be interesting to compare the past lives of working class people and their regular payments with the burden of modern life. At one time there was little apart from rent incorporating rates , life insurance, collected at the door), rediffusion radio if relevant also collected at the door, electricity and gas ( coin meters). House contents often weren't insured because they contained little of high value. Nowadays mortgage, car, phone, pc, holidays, mobiles to name but a few are necessary in many cases before food is considered. If the mother is working too no wonder some children receive too little attention.

  • Comment number 2.


    The above applies whether our subject is money, foreign military adventures, decadence in sport, exploitation in retail commerce, or just Dave. In a word:

    CORRUPTION! Discuss, if you can find the gravitas, and public spirit, NewsyNighty.

  • Comment number 3.

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

  • Comment number 6.

  • Comment number 7.

    Targeting Syria and Iran
    Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama goes to War...

  • Comment number 8.


    It is so blatantly not THE ANSWER to anything except ''fulcrum failure'. But what is intended to be levered off that fulcrum? The only viable answer looks like PUBLIC DISORDER AND SUBJUGATION.

    Might the Archangel Jeremy ask Dave, or one of his lesser demons, what the Hell he is up to?

  • Comment number 9.


    Does Obi-Wan have a strange resonance with our Mr Speaker (except for height)? Come to think of it, Mr Speaker has been letting out anguish-like howls lately.

    By their wives shall ye 'know' them?

  • Comment number 10.

    I would rather see someone who can be bothered to get of there backside to work, even tho they are better off on benefits, get tax payers money!
    You should never be better off on benefits. Reward the people who work and try to look after the kids! You should never be better off on benefits

  • Comment number 11.

    Interesting section on the pay conditions of some of the UK's biggest employer. It failed to address two basic issues however:

    1) Many workers in these companies actually purposefully limit their working hours to ensure they still receive benefits (i.e. ensuring they do not trigger an earnings threshold). This sort of practice needs as much attention as those who actively choose not to work due to out of work benefits paying more than being in work.

    2) The sole focus on hourly rate (by the programme and by the fair pay network) disregards the numerous bonus schemes, discount schemes and training opportunities that these companies offer - most of which have a calculable financial value. The actual basic wage is not the only form of remuneration, and the Fair Pay Network's report has not explored the impact of more indirect forms of remuneration in enough detail.

  • Comment number 12.


    Although I doubt you unrealised.

    The parallel between the Tibetans being unable to talk to the news hounds, and the Tescoans prevented from talking to the investigators, both groups being oppressed underdogs, was striking in the extreme. The poignancy is overwhelming - oh, perhaps not . . .


  • Comment number 13.


    Welfare, across its manifestation, needs a level of Wisdom beyond Solomon.
    Not something you see in Westminster. For the wise, Westminster is the ultimate vale of tears.

    Oh - it's all going awfully well. If all else fails, we can always bomb Johnnie Foreigner. Our mercenaries are 'the best of the best' (Cameron) so all is not lost.

  • Comment number 14.

    Be aware of Greeks benefiting from gifts.

    The plan agreed by the Greek government earlier this week includes 15,000 public-sector job cuts, liberalisation of labour laws, lowering the minimum wage by 22% and negotiating a debt write-off with banks.’ BBC News

    No problema, they all have the right to come here, work a few hours stacking shelves(at full minimum wage rates) and top up with a range of benefits .

  • Comment number 15.

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

  • Comment number 16.

    "And we have a report on what supermarkets pay their shop floor workers and how despite being in employment many of them are still reliant on benefits."

    Of course, everything is relative in retail...

    '12 suicides by production line workers at the Foxconn iPad plant as troubling but "well below the China average".'

    Two wrongsesque, granted, I wonder how many there are who obsess about and even protest or boycott the likes of a Tesco here, often do so coordinating their activities via various bits of kit with equally interesting provenance.

    'When I went on holiday this year I took an iPad (for reading books on my Kindle App); my iPhone (for recording an impromptu story for Broadcasting House and getting my e-mail on); and my MacBook Pro, which has all the work I have done since the day Lehman Brothers fell stored on it. Ah yes, and a 160gb iPod.'

    Evidently concerns on abuses in name of consumerism can be variable, depending on brand loyalty.

  • Comment number 17.

  • Comment number 18.


    If you can't beat 'em you have to join ‘em - or they beat you. Zimbardo has shown that some join 'em for the opportunity TO beat YOU, without censure.

    This is all "Ape stuff". We have been educated out of the last remnants of 'mindfulness' and deaducated (by TV) into mindlessness - Apefulness.

    To 'use the brains we were born with' and achieve maturity and wisdom, is to become OTHER to the mindless Ape-mass. They are then moved to destroy. . .

    "Accursed is the mutant." (John Wyndham)

  • Comment number 19.


    Belief in "expansionary austerity" is as irrational as belief in the confidence fairy. The medicine has not worked on Greece and will not work. Even some Germans realise this.¹ Yes, succcessive Greek governments, with help from international banks, have committed fraud. But yet again, the people who are being punished most are not those who caused the crisis. Greece now need the kind of help to rebuild that Germany received after WWII. Quite simply, Frau Merkel and the German establishment can't admit that they were wrong, in case they lose face.

    In Britain, the government's ill-considered NHS reforms are berated on all sides, from Tory blogs² and the FT, to the BMA and RCN. The allegedly "listening" government, most of whom know little about anything in the real world, insists it knows best and is pressing on, again because they can't be seen to lose face.

    The Government's economic/social policies are a complete failure, but they are clinging into them. This is partly the Tory desire to put the lower orders back in their place³, but mostly wilful cognitive dissonance in the face of the evidence⁴ to avoid losing face.





    What other lessons to draw? Well none of this irrational behaviour is new - it certainly supports the idea that all politicians should be psychologically profiled. But perhaps ALL professionals need training on how to cope with making a mistake. In real life, it is not a sign of weakness to say "I was wrong". Those who learn from their mistakes are more likely to survive and thrive, and perhaps those who admit and learn from small mistakes are less likely make the big ones?

  • Comment number 20.

    @13 What WOULD nature do Barrie? Left to nature, life would, as Hobbes suggested, be "nasty, brutish and mercifully short".

    Humans often successfully amend the laws of nature: the problems come when we try to repeal them, or legislate the opposite.

  • Comment number 21.


    Multiple caveats implicit Sasha.

    When man's 'world' was of a size and (limited) complexity that he could manage, cleverness seemed to be moderated by wisdom; vis the stasis of S American tribes. They develop just enough weaponry to counteract lack of tooth and claw - THEN 'CALL' HALT.

    The rest of my stance on this follows logically?

    Man is just not configured to do techno-global i.e. industrial multicultural. Differencism is in the Ape and the most aberrant (most demon driven) achieve power.

    I don't agree with Hobbes, but to confound him, I would not start from here! (:O)

  • Comment number 22.

    Ecolizzy regarding your link at 17.

    "The great Irish writer C.S. Lewis once said that ‘of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive"

    "That is a perfect description of the bullying authoritarianism bred by the dogma of political correctness."

    Those are the opening lines from that Daily Mail link that you posted, an artical which laments the death of Ray Honeyford, the Bradford head teacher who was hounded by the self hating and hatefilled Political Correct mob, the religious zealots of his City (no prizes in guessing what religious group they were) and I do remember how the BBC sided with this baying mob at the time. Today there's not a day that passes without the problems of immigration and/or of one particular religion reported on our British TV and in print, even with the double speak language from the BBC trying to limit the damage already done of what it promotes, most of us know there is something going badly wrong, very dangerously wrong in the direction this country is going with its embracement of large scale immigration and allowing cultural fracture. The BBC is losing its relevance regarding news reporting, it may have our collected tax money to fling their reporters around the world, thankfully me and others have the internets Drudge report as a news hub and other outlets that don't have an agenda to push, I watch the BBC only out of some habit response and to laugh some.

    The words of warning that Honeyford gave the rest of us were prescient, his warnings of the dangers of immigration and the folly of cultural suicide were only every given in a measured and mild manner way but it did not stop the mob doing a full-on vilification job on the man. His passing has given us the opportunity to look back and review his warnings of the wrong path this country was and is still going down, and those warnings were given at high cost to the man; personal and an early end of his Teaching career. We also recognise that when we look around us, and remember his words of warning..he is totally vindicated. Sadly the BBC Hacks will never be able to accept.

  • Comment number 23.

    #22 That's a very serious and sombre post from you Kev. And one I agree with a hundred percent.

    Why do the BBC and Governments hate the english so much?

  • Comment number 24.


    They have signed up to its crass mockery, wherein even the Clegg signature is valid.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 25.

    I worked in a supermarket most recently during the final years of my PhD studies and then for a year afterwards as I struggled to find a research post (I am still struggling, 7 years later). My basic hours were 18 per week, but most weeks I did extra (so often over 40 hours total), including occasional 15 hour shifts, which are quite tough when you are in a customer facing role and have already been at another job in the morning. I also worked regularly teaching practical classes at my university and working with disabled students. If I hadn't been living at home with my parents at this time (paying a nominal rent) then I would not have been able to afford to pay a fair rent and bills. My full time salary from the supermarket was just £12,000 per annum, and my income from my other jobs was around £1000 per year. I am aware that supermarket pay has not increased much since then.

    I struggle to understand how supermarkets can justify paying staff so poorly. The large supermarkets make huge profits, and those high up in the company can earn hundreds of thousands or more, so why not pay their shop staff a living wage? Many of my then colleagues were living in rented rooms or as lodgers, and several of them had been living like that for over a decade, earning just enough to get by, and not managing to save. What sort of life is that for anybody?

  • Comment number 26.

    '23. At 15:40 10th Feb 2012, ecolizzy -

    Why do the BBC and Governments hate the english so much?

    Well, by way of variety, if not balance, it can shift when they hate each other more.

    And when on the wrong end of either, I still have to pay.

    At least one lot I get to vote on every so often.


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