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Friday 16 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 16:27 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2012

Good shepherd or turbulent priest? As Dr Rowan Williams announces that he is to step down as Archbishop of Canterbury in December, Newsnight looks back at his time in the role and forward to who his successor might be.

Lyse Doucet is in Kabul reporting on the relationship between Afghanistan and the West and the breakdown of trust after the shooting of 16 civilians last weekend and the failed attack on US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

Also, the Quad - aka David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander - have a conference call today and meeting on Monday to finalise the details of next week's Budget. Will the rumours that they will cut the 50p top rate of income tax prove true? David Grossman will have the latest on the negotiations and what's at stake tonight.


  • Comment number 1.

    'the breakdown of trust after the shooting of 16 civilians last weekend and the failed attack on US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

    Have to say, while these won't help to be sure, I don't think trust was in great supply beforehand much, either.

    It is a word rather over-used and abused, all around, frankly.

  • Comment number 2.


    I always found Archie as irritatingly woolly as Prince Charles and Kofi (Mr Bean) Annan.
    When I choose to caricature our Rowan, I just intone "DIFFICULT" with vast aplomb.

  • Comment number 3.

    Will they, won't they cut the 50p top rate of income rate?

    One can understand why this might be of great interest to certain BBC employees (I use the term loosely) but for the vast majority of the working population, surely there are more pressing matters?

    As even accountants complain about the complexity of the tax system and as it is usually desirable for Governmnet to be seen to be behaving honestly, then surely the time has come to migrate to a flat rate income tax system.

    This would simply the tax system drastically such that a child could understand it, be easier to administer and would remove the sheer dishonesty of the so called National Insurance 'contribution'.

    Furthermore, as a by-product of a simple flat rate system, income tax avoidance would virtually eliminated.

    One can only conclude that there must be some Machiavellian political reason for continuing with the current income tax system.

  • Comment number 4.

    “During winters 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, the northern hemisphere recorded its second and third highest snowfall on record.”

    the taxes and carbon trading must be working?

  • Comment number 5.


    I have sent Mr Hain PROOF that our regime is ALSO CORRUPT AND ILLEGITIMATE. He, and a range of his colleagues, did not engage.

    Maybe I would get more useful response from Karzai?

  • Comment number 6.


    One thing is sure: such factors as winning next time - wrong footing the opposition - edging the LibDems toward the precipice - keeping vested interest funding chums happy - and hiding as much reality as possible, will be considered first, above the anxieties and aspirations of UK proles.


  • Comment number 7.

    We are told that the Universal Essence is everywhere and in everything and also unknowable. As the whole world and everything in it belongs to this Universal Essence but the paltry creatures who inhabit it think that belief should be fenced in into often conflicting religions. Each of these is imbued with certainties which lead to all sorts of horrors we learn from history. If lots of PCs working together can produce something greater than the sum of their parts what might happen if humans saw themselves in the same way. Nobody knows enough alone. Pooling of resources is advocated in the feeding of the 5,000 for those led by the Bible. Large companies are merely the result of pooling of resources. A single person cannot run very much without others or we'd have no cities.

  • Comment number 8.


    But just look at the influence one needy, demon-driven man can have. All the usual names + Tony Blair! If Tony had been mature and self sufficient, he would have stood against Bush and Neocon Smoke and Mirrors. How different might this country - and the world - be today? Instead, he roams, like a latter day Oedipus, desperately trying to blind himself to what he has done, and the barrenness of what he is doing.

    Just one man.

  • Comment number 9.

    The great worry is that a diminishing number of people has much confidence in the political situation and hunger for a Great Leader as if one person knew everything and could apply bandages to hurts or even had much control of national and international affairs.

  • Comment number 10.


    New awareness is emerging in neuroscience, philosophy (for the young) human psychology (child nurture and learning) and even a revealing insight into our traumatic pre-history. This is all clever stuff. Unless it comes under the control of wisdom - culturally diffused wisdom -your fear of yet another Great Leader (demon driven boy) is all to prescient.

    One thing is sure: media, as currently configured, have not a clue in this area, hence no incentive to explore or disseminate.

  • Comment number 11.

    It's very difficult to imagine a coherent narrative about our current situation because our sources of information come from vested interests and while it may achieve what those interests wish, it may not achieve what is best for society as a whole if such is possible.

  • Comment number 12.

    @4 Another non-scientist makes an irrelevant comment about a subject he doesn't know he doesn't understand. What we see is a collective clutching at mutually incompatible straws by people determined to keep their heads in the sand. One week "It's the sun" (quite possible), but ... next week it's the volcanoes or something else. No doubt there will be a different "deus ex machina" postulated for the observed Antarctic ice melting and also for the global glacial retreats. Occam's Razor suggests a holistic model should be the first preference.

    Firstly, you need to understand the difference between climate and weather. Why is it that we get hailstorms in June and July? It's because pumping energy into a turbulent system can cause temporary LOCAL cooling, rather like operating a fridge. But because of the second law of thermodynamics, the energy emitted from the fridge is greater than the energy extracted from the inside.

    Secondly, you need to look at global moving averages rather than short term variations.

    Thirdly, you need to understand what happens when phase changes occur, and this means grappling with some basic thermodynamics.

    SCIENCE ISN'T DEMOCRATIC! You have to be prepared to learn the basics in order to have an opinion worth listening to. Scientific debate is not helped by the ignorant voting for their favourite act as if it were the X-factor. Ill informed sarcasm might convince the ignorant ... but probably that the Earth is flat!

  • Comment number 13.

    '12. At 01:23 17th Mar 2012, Sasha Clarkson wrote:
    @4 Another non-scientist makes an irrelevant comment...

    I wonder, is that based on the 'research' so popular in some quarters, when it suits... that says such things 'could' be something for the Eloi to worry about, or just another opinion from one who presumes they are more sophisticated and wise, and hence worthier of an ear? I'm sure that can also benefit from being popped into Latin to impress the supporters' club in the cheaper seats too.

    But I do agree, most information, and indeed education is not very well formed any more. Across the board.

    Making such as Wikipedia, and other most trusted sources, especially those who claim themselves to be such, also more a starting point to weigh all options, after which relevance is best decided by the individual observing rather than those who tell one what is, or not. Especially if applying the 'not' up to and including the edit suite, or trading in URL-ban warfare bereft of any irony (though always a pleasure to see the estimable Ms. Abbess front and centre in the 'approved' corner. Now, what is her claim to fame? Oh yes, demanding that the BBC's pages reflect an orthodoxy she approves of prevail... oddly... complied with. That worked well all round).

    I'll listen to all, but those who decry the right to have other views as the main thrust of their own, and patronising when clearly not or much better qualified to do so make such arguments that bit less appealing.

    There's a lot of it about, along with other non-scientists pedalling snow news like snow news...

    I found the comments of value as much for the variation as what was shared, and what got 'liked' or not, or even erased, by a system that is hard to credit when so much that could be factored in gets... removed.

  • Comment number 14.

    Here's another link, hopefully mod-approved, that complements any discussion on those who know better, or think they do, and seek to impose that:

    How balanced the author is in portrayal, and those commenting in reply, especially in caution at what is not mentioned, is best left to the audience. If given the chance.

  • Comment number 15.


    Was William of Ockham as sharp as he self-purported? Barrie of Newbury says his "QUANTUM NANO-GLIDE ULTRASOUND" cuts closer to the truth.

    Terms and conditions apply.

  • Comment number 16.


    Now we can expect much analysis from the standpoint of MEDIA POWER. But what of the OBSCENE, UNDEMOCRATIC POWER OF OUR PRIME MINISTERS? In Maggie, as I have repeatedly asserted: WE GOT OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE. Then Major dumped on us with MAASTRICHT - Blair: IRAQ/AFGHANISTAN - Brown: BANKING/DEBT MADNESS - Dave: WE AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET!

    Westminster is a COVERT TYRANNY topped by a sequence of FEUDAL DESPOTS, WIELDING POWER WITH ARROGANCE. If we were Johnnie Foreigner, WE WOULD BOMB OURSELVES. Obama has just wrapped Little Boy Dave round his great big American Finger; Dave will return even more puffed-up and pompous than he went. (Grief - is that possible?)


    This country is in imminent danger from a combination of Westminster Tyranny, Despot Dave, and the handy illusion of TERROR UNDER THE BED. Tony never quite found the courage; Dave doesn't need courage - he has ARROGANCE in JCB shovel-loads.


  • Comment number 17.

    In today relative disappointment session, otherwise sold as 'news', I find myself wondering who would these days find value in breaking into a certain person's office.

    Certainly, if caught, a diminished responsibility plea seems credible.

  • Comment number 18.


    Australia is a good example to understand the dynamic behind the scientific impass.

    As a nation it blasts out an enormous quantity of coal from its backside to the welcoming and cash paying 'developing' (overheating in more ways than one) world while its public face is being washed in the cleansing waters of local carbon taxes and tax breaks on electric cars, all supported by 10% of everyones salary which by law gets put into pension funds of which 'ethical ones' are heavily promoted and supported by the majority of descent well meaning citizens ( the ones the bankers love to do unspeakable metaphorical things to repeatedly and without mercy).

    What chance does genuine science have in the midst of such geopolitical hedgemoney and influence of attitudes and research funding on a global scale?

    Its all just hand wringing really, we are part of nature as climate change is part of nature. whether the climate changes due to our own natural influence or the suns or volcanoes changes.....always has, always will, lets build afew cloud generating ships..why not..cant do any harm and manufacturers of them will be popular with ethical pension funds ... its a win win situation for everyone.

    Climate engineering, keeps people busy...may not do any good, but as long as it does no harm and keeps people busy and with a feeling of worth and well being ...why not?...

    Hope you are all ok by the way... recession and social decline seem a long way from here, at the moment anyway we cant sell enough coal and copper and diamonds and gold to those ravenous developing nations such that it keeps enough people busy and generates enough wealth to allow expansion into a largely empty country.

    The global economic model is working perfectly here.... trouble is it can only still work here ...everywhere else it no longer can.

  • Comment number 19.


    I see you got the Westminster Book of Logic for Xmas Jerico. Nice!

  • Comment number 20.

    I commend this to fellow viewers:

    Some people have suggested the BBC is as guilty of grief ghouling as other ratings addicts. A couple get read out, and... does anyone seriously think anything is going to change. What.. is the point of this programme?

    However, on the ongoing hoot that is 'We think we get it about right' I have to appreciate the man at the top of the tree saying 'just because people believe they are right does not mean they are'.

    Has he ever had back a reply to a complaint from those he purports to oversee, because that really was not the smartest precedent he could set.

  • Comment number 21.

    so Beardie has jumped ship....cannot blame him, all that behind the scenes backstabbing and that's just the women, it's a wonder he stayed that long he annoyed just about everybody which must mean he was the ideal man for the job, I wish him good luck, ten years from now we will see how good he really was......

  • Comment number 22.


    Is it me?

  • Comment number 23.

    Hhhhmmm perhaps the next archbishop should be worried....

    A new mosque in Derby for 600 just given planning permission.....

  • Comment number 24.

  • Comment number 25.


    9/11 gifted America's cunning Masters the Patriot Act that now shackles the Land of the (previously) Free.

    Might the plan HERE be to pile immigrants so high, that instability ensues and we, too, willingly deliver ourselves into PROTECTIVE BONDAGE?


  • Comment number 26.

    '24. At 23:41 17th Mar 2012, ecolizzy wrote:
    Are we now providing half the world with benefits once they move here?

    On the bright side, they may get a good hourly whack if they seek niche employment in the 'government forces private business to fund folk in public compulsion industries to get 'em off the wrong kind of list'.

    Speaking of telling folk what they are doing wrong, might the BBC be 'reporting' or 'analysing' such as this... anytime... soon?:

    Or do public sector treasure professional courtesies still apply?

    We could always gain from a Harman or Prescott being wheeled out, again, to 'explain'.

  • Comment number 27.

    A black youth gets murdered in an inter-gang dispute.

    A black footballer collapses.

    Q: Where’s the difference?

    A: The allocated airtime!

    Q: Which is the ‘bigger’ issue?

    A: ……………..

    Answers on a postcard to the usual address please.


  • Comment number 28.

    #25 barrie wrote:

    "Might the plan HERE be to pile immigrants so high, that instability ensues and we, too, willingly deliver ourselves into PROTECTIVE BONDAGE?"

    "Plan" - That would surely imply that there is/was a deliberate policy. Is this all just a part of the shell game by those who seek to undermine our way of life?

    Note: This has nothing to do with "party games". Those are just for schmucks!

  • Comment number 29.

    America's "Lone Gunman" in Afghanistan: "I Did It"...
    "It appeared you had a lone gunman who acted on his own." -Barack Obama
    “The alleged "lone nut" Bales did not act alone, according to multiple eyewitnesses, family members of the slain, as well as an official Afghan parliamentary investigation. No, there were up to 20 participants at multiple locations. The assault looks a lot like a night raid, which is standard practice in the Afghanistan war theater, only this time with added "payback" inflicted on local families. Perhaps this payback was related to another soldier in their company who lost a leg the day before.

    So when Obama uses imprecise language like "it appeared," we have to wonder if there is more to this qualified assessment than meets the eye, and if Obama knows full well that he may need to backpedal some day into what "appears" in a week, or a month from now.”

    This sort of atrocity is to be expected when a military occupation draws to an end. It represents the occupying force’s last chance to get-one-back for past enemy ‘successes’ against them. This is what happened when British Forces last withdraw from Afghanistan. It is actually documented so said an ex senior military commander on R4’s PM show last week.

    The Media's Coverup of the Afghan Massacre

  • Comment number 30.


    "It appeared" that ObiWan and a room full of God-fearing American administrators, watched the whole thing.

    Watch this lady laugh:

    #28 You have to start somewhere Muse. It looks as if a bunch of Doctors might be going to SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

  • Comment number 31.

    '27. At 12:02 18th Mar 2012, JAperson
    Answers on a postcard to the usual address please.'

    Was asked, rhetorically. Maybe parameters needed first? News vs. ratings?

    I watched Suralan Sugar interviewed on SKY earlier. He was at some biz show and it was about biz. At the end, the teleprompter reader said 'Oh, and before I let you go, as a Spurs supporter, what are your thoughts on...'

    Never had much time for the bloke, but the sigh he gave before passing on the necessary platitudes was well worth it, plus the look of pure scorn for the twerp saying what the earpiece tells him to.

    In news terms I have a vague interest, once THE FACTS are established, in how a fit youth gets a heart attack, and offer sympathy and best wishes to all concerned... as one would anyone.

    But the latest grief ghouling as the Swiss and Belgians are not playing ball is frankly risible.

    There was even a bunch of obligatory vox-poppers waiting to lay 'get well soon' shirts once the cameras kicked in.

    Check out the Newswatch link above. Some might comment. It may get relayed.

    Questions won't be answered. Much less addressed.

  • Comment number 32.

    '29. At 13:39 18th Mar 2012, museV'

    About all I do know is I am not sure on who I can rely upon to tell me anything reliably.

    Questions don't get answered if asked in the wrong direction.

    There seems to be a journalistic version of 'fire and forget', namely 'broadcast (or post) and move on'.

    Can't say that this atrocity seems the most logical 'get one back ' method that one could opt for, but as my faith in what actually might have happened from most trusted news resources is about nil, I'll leave it on the table as one option.

    Neat legacy, BBC. Neat.

  • Comment number 33.

    If the BBC survey is correct, it looks very worrying

  • Comment number 34.

    As the MSM (and BBC) sorts out its 'news' priorities for the day (my 'thoughts and prayers' are perhaps directed in a less agenda and/or ratings favoured direction to most who ask questions one moment, but go quiet the next. This being a taste of industry spats to come: ), here's a more upbeat URL to play with for some I know are fans:

  • Comment number 35.

    Apropos nothi... well a few things, as I listen to the 'news' and surf the odd tweet, there's stuff I don't think there are enough facts, or even current eyewitness testimony to guess about yet. This does not seem to trouble our glorious MSM, currently pinning things on donkey's tails based, it appears, purely on tribal prejudices and/or obsessive PC concerns.

  • Comment number 36.


    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 37.


    Ponder the intagibles: virtue, integrity, altruism, humility, dignity.

    They always sum to 42.

  • Comment number 38.

    HONOUR (#33)

    Those who declare themselves honourable seem ever ready to kill, in its name. Dave is in no doubt that our killing of Johnnie Foreigner (any size, shape or colour) is honourable. (Is HE not the Honourable Dave?) Thus Dave lauds our dead mercenary killers as "The Best of the Best". This is the essence of our Culture; are we in ANY POSITION to deplore very similar expression of honour by others?

    To use a Davism: "IT MAKES ME SICK". So - honour is absent; what of virtue, humility and integrity? Or even Christianity? WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY?


  • Comment number 39.

    Robert Fisk: Madness is not the reason for this massacre

    “This was the same nonsense used to describe the murderous US soldiers who ran amok in the Iraqi town of Haditha. It was the same word used about Israeli soldier Baruch Goldstein who massacred 25 Palestinians in Hebron – something I pointed out in this paper only hours before the staff sergeant became suddenly "deranged" in Kandahar province.”

    Let’s see how the multiple killer in France gets labelled… “deranged” or a “terrorist”?

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.


    I expanded somewhat on the PATTERN of OVERT/COVERT operations, which seem intended to be 'discovered'. This is psychological TERRORISM of a high order.

    I must have touched a nerve - odd that.

  • Comment number 42.

    #30 barrie wrote:

    "Watch this lady laugh:"

    I watched it barrie....and she is definitely "deranged".

  • Comment number 43.

    Addendum to my #42

    ...that's not say that she isn't telling the truth!

  • Comment number 44.


    I would quote our Lord re eyes and seeing, but I think that was how I got bite marks @40.

    I am still trying to decide between hate crime, prejudice and Protestantophobia. It's a mine field - and it's all mine.

  • Comment number 45.

    In #33 ecolizzy provided a link to the following programme…

    Britain's Crimes of Honour
    Duration: 30 minutes

    Thousands of crimes in Britain are going unreported: beatings, imprisonment - even murder - committed by those closest to the victims, their families. These are crimes of so-called 'honour'.
    With access to police investigations, Panorama reveals the shocking details of 'honour' killings, of women driven to suicide and also hears from those on the run, in fear of their lives.
    The UK's lead prosecutor on 'honour' crimes says he will not tolerate multicultural sensitivities when it comes to this issue and a leading campaigner accuses her own community leaders of a failure of leadership in not speaking out against this abuse.

    Mon 19 Mar 2012
    BBC One

    Lizzy…do you know who the new Controller is for BBC One?

  • Comment number 46.


    Clarity begins at home. Westminster even abuses the word ITSELF before ever beginning to ENACT dishonour under its aegis. What joy if media were to confront these over-promoted ciphers - rosette-stands almost to a ninny - with this calumny! But media, as many slumberers have now been shown, is in bed with politics and even lawnorder, so honour is just an outmoded concept, with a very poor bottom (line that the finest Silicone cannot help). There is no one but ourselves to turn to.


  • Comment number 47.

    45. At 14:33 19th Mar 2012, museV wrote:.
    The UK's lead prosecutor on 'honour' crimes says he will not tolerate multicultural sensitivities

    Hope he has a good PR agency. And lawyer.

    Guest slots on certain 'speaking to the people' shows looking iffy, too, unless on a 'When did you last see your fath... career' 5 (inc. host) vs. 1 basis.

  • Comment number 48.

    Not many comments before an early closing. Familiar:)

    @WhichConvo - So far most poll voters wouldn't pay for shows from the BBC archives Should they be free for TV licence fee payers?

    If an as yet low sample base, though that can easily be addressed with a few clicks, one is sure:)

    Ladies, Gents, fire up that intranet... Aunty needs you!

  • Comment number 49.


    Not heard anyone admit it yet Junkk.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 50.

    '48. At 17:52 19th Mar 2012
    Not many comments before an early closing. Familiar:)'

    And getting more so.

    I wonder, may we get to a time when we are, again, only told things and expected to take them as gospel without thought or view of our own?

    Mind you..

    'Are you in Toulouse? Did you witness the shooting? Send us your comments using the form below'

    I am sure the 'selection process' of what is offered in will be very, very rigourous on what is served out. As always.

  • Comment number 51.


    When I was at school, in the dark ages (when we used to attack our own people - especially if young) nothing enraged the 'host community' of grown-ups, than what school teachers (consummate bullies) called "DUMB INSOLENCE".

    I make no assertion here, but it occurs to me that if any culture lives in the heart of another, QUIETLY implying superiority on a daily basis, might there be resonance with my schooldays - and even 'consequences'? A times of greater (imported) tension, might the barrier to violence be already low?

    Just pondering.

  • Comment number 52.

    "The obsession with temperatures by all sides in this non-debate is insane, what changes weather and climate is jet stream shifts and other circulation pattern changes, and these control temperature rather than the other way around."

    " activity (magnetic and particle) and lunar modulation thereof is the main controller of weather and climate change. This approach is now able to reliably forecast certain key major changes on the sun - eg Earth-facing coronal holes, and key extreme features of USA weather weeks and months ahead. For example see our WeatherAction USA, confirmed predictions of the present very warm center and E/SE USA alongside cold West and the preceding severe thunder, tornadoes and giant hail in lower mid-west around mid month - from (in this case) 3 weeks ahead to timing of a day or so:"

    the warmers just say he is 'lucky'. Trouble for them his luck is predictable and consistent. Which means its a model that works. which means its science.

    why is the uk govt and media anti science? who benefits?

  • Comment number 53.

    Truth under Pressure

    "As the push for Rio +20 Earth Summit, UN Conference on Sustainable Development, June 20 - 22, 2012, continues, it is becoming obvious that the goal of many international politicians, including many scientists, is global governance by a body of unelected persons. Note the misleading phrase, Earth System Governance. The effort will be governance of human behavior, not physical earth systems.
    A preliminary conference will be held in London from March 26 - 29, 2012 under the title "Planet under Pressure.

    Planet Under Pressure conference will provide a comprehensive update of our knowledge of the Earth system"

    i doubt that. they wil ignore the sun lunar models and the recorded predictable evidence that results from that model.

    the madness continues
    Scientist wants to whiten clouds to reduce climate change

  • Comment number 54.

    climate propaganda at work

  • Comment number 55.

    54 oops forgot to add

    Planet under Pressure

    The conference has drawn attention to itself by hiring the BBC Environment Correspondent, Richard Black, as a panel discussion moderator.



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