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Monday 19 January 2012

Verity Murphy | 18:04 UK time, Monday, 19 March 2012

Tonight Allegra Stratton examines David Cameron's call for a nation of Telfords and Brunels as he urges the country to "build for the future with as much confidence and ambition as the Victorians once did".

We get the latest from Toulouse where police are linking the shootings of four people at a Jewish school to the killings of three soldiers of North African descent and assess the impact of the attacks, particularly how it is likely to affect the presidential election campaign.

Jeremy Paxman interviews Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, a former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, considered the most prominent openly gay politician in the US.

Plus, BBC Director General Mark Thompson has said he will leave the corporation this autumn after nearly eight years in the job. How will the longest-serving DG since the 1970s be remembered?


  • Comment number 1.

    "Tonight Allegra Stratton examines David Cameron's call for a nation of Telfords and Brunels as he urges the country to "build for the future with as much confidence and ambition as the Victorians once did"."

    Sniff, sniff...I think I can smell something!

  • Comment number 2.

    The Victorians ran a whole empire, which spanned the globe, so efficiently that the Cabinet actually met infrequently, as they had so little to do; and that was the nation of Telfords and Brunels.

    Today, we English literally drown in bureaucracy which chokes the entrepreneurs and engineers.

    'Dave' and George Osborne would have to have a political mind transplants to match their rhetoric with actions that would bring about the building for the future that Cameron says he wants.

    These politicians are 'minimum' political risk people and what is really required for the English to be set free is something very radical, for starters, getting their own country back.

  • Comment number 3.

    Wow, couldn't believe they got The Duchess of Cambridge on University Challenge! Congrats Manchester :)

  • Comment number 4.

    Mr Cameron might have been more credible if he's chosen to study something useful at university, or indeed to spend any of his life thus far doing a real job. PPE is an initiation into the priesthood of the ruling class which seems to give no useful skills whatever!

    Those who did build Britain and the industrial revolution were mostly nonconformists, other dissenters and continental refugees from oppression. Oxford University and in particular PPE courses played very little part. The competent post-war PPE graduates learned most of their skills from being in the military, and sharing the conditions and traumas of their fellow men.

    If we want to improve the future economy and governance of the UK/its component parts, a useful first step would be to either abolish PPE completely, or replace it with a sandwich course where each year in academia had to be matched/sandwiched with a year doing a dirty job. Sandwich year one: cleaning public toilets, and hospital portering in casualty units. Sandwich year two should be spent working in a factory (if there are any left), or a construction site. Sandwich year three should be spent doing menial tasks in state schools and military barracks. Without completing these similar periods of real work and public service, they should not be allowed to graduate.

  • Comment number 5.

    @2 "literally drown" JC? - metaphorically perhaps, but most people still breathe, if somewhat grumpily! ;-D

  • Comment number 6.

    :o) Hillarious hat on Cameron tonight - the graphics rock!

  • Comment number 7.

    "Don't you think motorists pay enough?"
    "Where are all these toll roads going to go?"
    "Do you think the government is competent to strike a deal that is effective?" - Jeremy
    "government has not historically done well"
    Anne Pettifor is the only one who makes sense.

  • Comment number 8.

    "Stop glaring daggers at her!" :p

  • Comment number 9.

    #45 Friday, muse, and so, just because the name is Cohen, I and others like me should not get upset about the treatment of these poor women?!

  • Comment number 10.

    Excellent interview by Jeremy with Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt et al.
    "Extremists are inspired by political movements which are more mainstream and make statements."
    "the French national who killed the soldier was that the soldier was a Muslim" today "it is Jewish children."
    The Rabbi is more than making sense - note how the debate on Kosher & Halal slaughter has been simmering?
    I hope they catch the perpetrator(s).

  • Comment number 11.

    Barney Frank is THE BEST!

  • Comment number 12.

    Is anyone able to make sense of the current scene? The Victorians had plundered and dominated other races and also had very little competition. Some of the countries we took over are now part of the competitive environment. Naturally as in any 'league table' individual improvement alters the order. Those employed in manufacture in low wage economies instead of here as they were do not pay taxes to this country and do not spend here while the profits are placed abroad. There seems to be an inchoate mess of 'information' and a reducing sense of who we are as a people so we don't even have the myths the Victorians had. Meanwhile so many people have to listen to lectures about getting non-existent work. How can the private sector build on lack of demand?
    Bewildered from Outer Space.

  • Comment number 13.

    Crumbs! Letts from The Daily Mail on being a future DG.

  • Comment number 14.

    It should be Jeremy for DG!

  • Comment number 15.

    opportunistic rabbis, Johnson-family clones -- all so very depressing; the best part of today's show (emphasis on show) was Paxman's advice to the minister to get back to Herefordshire.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Are you here to defend 'Snog,Marry & Avoid?' " PRICELESS!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 17.

    The entrepreneur Doug Richards on tonights NN talked about infra-structure for the 21st century, particularly broadband.

    Within the past decade or so, there was a wonderful opportunity for this country to lead the world in broadband technology but we were effectively robbed of it by one of David Camerons political cohort - Gordon Brown.

    Brown did this by suckering the phone companies BT, Vodafone, Orange, 3 into paying ridiculous amounts of money, some £22Bn, for '3G' licenses, which meant that these companies then had very little money left to develop 4G i.e. high speed broadband services, as they needed to see a return on 3G first, which has not materialised.

    The upshot of this, right now, is that whilst it is technically feasible to cover the whole country at relatively low cost with 4G WiMax high-speed broadband, only a few tiny companies such as vfast are actually rolling it out.

    Richards was correct to point out that genuine high-speed broadband alleviates the need for updating conventional infrastructure such as road, rail and airports but the over-weening vanity of most politicians means that they prefer to be seen opening shiny new roads, train and air terminus rather that low profile IT infrastructure.

    Politicians - what a menace they often are, if only we could obsolete them.

    PS. Yes, Sasha Clarkson, I literally fell into the kitty-literal trap there by using the word 'literal' in all its post-modern celeb awfulness.

  • Comment number 18.


    Oh dear - Ben Bradshaw (was he advertising a hair preparation?)

    Bradshaw kept backtracking to add "she" to "he", but doing so, when anyone versed in the English language (pre PC) would use "they". Coming so soon on the back of the 'gay marriage' furore, I was moved to ponder just what IS man (in the today space, going forward) and what IS a woman. Are they defined by how they feel? By bits? By what they DO with bits? This feeds into gay marriage, and church rejection of it. For the sake of Ben's sanity, I think we should not only dump mummy and daddy - husband and wife, but also MAN and WOMAN, before the simple business of discussing the choice of BBC executives, becomes farce, and the survival of the human race SEVERELY THREATENED.

  • Comment number 19.


    Discussion above (various) regarding the views of the Prat in the Hat, made plain the value of DISMANTLING WESTMINSTER. We need wisdom-based stewardship, widely informed in the area of human thriving, and far removed from WARFARE, RELIGION AND MONARCHY. Politics: the art of self deception, wrapped in the craft of deceiving others, for "their own good", SHOULD BE OUTLAWED. It attracts a very unhealthy mentality, born of childhood damage and un-exorcised demons.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 20.

    Barney Frank:

    You didn't do much of a back story on "Bailout Barney Frank" did you newsnight. Lets just say he made a lot of money whilst in congress and leave it at that as I don't think I can be bothered with another early morning raid. My back door has been kicked-in enough already.

    I did feel somewhat sorry for Quentin Letts - sketch writer for the Daily Mail and job applicant for the top job at the Beeb - he had to sit next to a sneering prog maker/producer. I hope he gets the BBC job and changes it from the leftist marxist soap box and labours mouthpiece and swing it in the direction of hard-core Tory...that'd be nice. I'd happily pay my TV licence fee if that were to happen. Big respect to the Quentin. A true Tory if ever there was one.

    Oh and by the way. Yes, you will get comedy talent coming through BBC 3
    ..although I've seen better on youtube.

  • Comment number 21.


    Stay where you are - it looks even worse down here. The one invariable thing about Destiny Dave is that it is no good looking 'behind the arras' for his true agenda. Dave works to a minimum of THREE arasses.

    So: Dave says he is going to instigate a great building spree. So what will it be? We have rail, air and roads. Broad-band already announced and a water grid mooted; so what will it be? What can he tinker with that needs lots of Victorian enterprise? Oh help - not a space program, surely? Is he going to Mars before the decade is out? Or maybe a high-rise vegerama in the middle of every town, funded by Tesco. (You know: vertical greenhouses with hydroponics - Henry Ford veg.) No - those won't do; we need something madder and doomed to fail (yes the Mars trip fits). Window boxes! That's it - window boxes. Sorted.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hmmm, I wonder who actually put Gordon Brown up to the 3G auction wheeze that has ultimately been one of the factors that has caused our economy to stagnate by impeding the rollout of highspeed 4G broadband.

    I suspect it was a certain Ed Balls, who at around that time was Brown 'technical' advisor and has recently turned on his erstwhile master.

    Balls, along with wife Yvette Cooper, was also responsible for the Home Information Packs (HIPs) fiasco, which suckered some 9000 ordinary people into paying hundreds of pounds for the training in producing the HIPs, which ultimately failed (only the Energy Certificate part remains of HIPs).

    Just a tiny blot on the Balls/Cooper CV but onward and upwards they both sail in the political ship and not a rock in sight.

  • Comment number 23.


    Brown has demons, the like of which we comprehend not. The motivation of such people is closed to run-of-the-mill folk. (I have been close to similar.) WE GOT OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE.

    I recently heard on radio that Thatcher regarded mothers who nurtured their children as poor women. WE GOT OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE.


  • Comment number 24.

    Re: BBC 1 Programme - "Empire' written & presented by you know who!

    Saw the latest episode of this last night - what a load of rubbish - historically inaccurate and all - i.e. and e.g.

    1) '1668' - Privateers - had already been operating a for 150 years by this date?

    2) 'British and their sugar' - Has it occurred to the seriously over-paid at the BBC that the 'British' were not the only ones who were partial to consuming sugar as became a major international, global trade and market place.

    Too many inaccuracies to list!

    I am concerned regarding the cost - v benefit of this programme particularly as the programme serves no useful purpose, IMO - other than drawing to the attention of the long suffering BBC 'enslaved' licence payer of the lavishness and extravagant waste of the cost & excess of BBC global jollies for their staff & hangers on.

    Paxman does not understand 'Empire' at all.

    The point that Paxman has missed in every series and is historically and intellectually devoid is that what Paxman is trying to describe and cannot find the words for is not 'Empire' - it is 'globalisation'.

    Not only has Paxman put together another BBC nasty British bashing programme
    (we had another one earlier in the week from 'another one') that is entirely out of context and is historically and intellectually inept and inaccurate - but he has missed a golden opportunity to put a useful slant on the programme regarding 'globalisation' - the same issue that is in the process of now reducing the UK to a '3rd world country'.

    Paxman has missed a golden opportunity to describe the psychology of those with privilege, capital, force of arms, state backing to pillage, rape, rob, reduce, impoverish& exploit - just as our banksters are doing 300-400 years later. Many not be as bloody now as it was then - but the 'mindset' is the same - that is what Paxman does not seem to get as possibly incapable of understanding what it is he is very close to being able to say - if he was up to the job of presenting a programme like this in 2012 and giving the programme some serious purpose and meaning.

    Paxman's programme is an insult to British people everywhere - Britain did not have sugar plantataions in Britain - its worst events of Empire took place overseas by those who were renegade and overprivileged, unregulated and lawless and used British capital for their own ends and self hubris.

    Of course, none of this is mentioned in any of the programmes as I doubt that Paxman has the intelligence or intellect to accommodate any of these notions as so directed to provide apologist appeasement for his so called 'libertarian', globalist paymasters.

    What the BBC needs to recognise that the globalisation practised by these arrogant, globalists is still very much evident in the BBC today - the BBC only exists in its current form because of Britain having had a global empire.

    Paxman admists that some of his ancestors were or may have been slavemasters - He can say that again as BBC licence payers are enslaved to this BBC apologist propaganda and with no come back?

    How much did this programme cost? What is the purpose of the programme? How is the cost of the programme justified? Who if anyone is holding the BBC to account for their waste and nonsense?

    In my lifetime I've witnessed/lived through a period millions of 'nazis' from WW2 having escaped justice - Many of these now run sucessful business operations and live in luxury as when Hitler went on parade in Berlin there were millions of arms raised in salute to him - we even have a Pope who was member of Hilter youth.

    Chairman Mao, in my lifetime, killed twice if not three times as many Chinese people as Paxo says British bankster privateers took from Africa as slaves.

    Brasil kept slavery as official govt policy until the 1930's

    Get a grip BBC - You're the last of part of Empire that still needs smashing up into little pieces so that licence payers get representation and fair value for money without waste and lavish British bashing global jollies

    An insider told me a few years ago that the biggest part of BBC expenditure is on costs of jollies and expenses for BBC staff - Isn't it time the BBC hauled in its belt several more notches and stops wasting money?

    The BBC is now disgusting & inappropriate & needs shaking up - let's hope that govt Minister - Mr Hunt can give this some urgent attention?

    NOT IN MY NAME PAXMAN - your vicious slur on British people applies mostly to yourself.

  • Comment number 25.

    'How will the longest-serving DG since the 1970s be remembered?'

    I will think back on his tenure as when all, from Mr. T downwards, operated on the basis of telling each other, and those who have to pay for them, that they* 'get it about right'. No matter what. Every time. Even, or maybe especially, those running, or commenting upon empires, geopolitical to media monopolistic, from edit suites at their beck and call.

    But I am sure I can be better told what I actually think. As always.

  • Comment number 26.

    BBC is end of empire - the last bastion of tax payer funded arrogance and hubris - laughing at the licence payer - talking down to us and lecturing us with apologies as lack of substance for really good programmes

    Foreignising, apologising and running up massive hotel bills on 'foreign jollies' ( + bills for a spare schooner to film Paxo's hair blowing in the Caribbean breeze + helicopter shots of ruined buildings in India etc etc etc).

    Time for change - time for a fully financially and fully otherwise accountable BBC?

    BBC = old empire gone sour

  • Comment number 27.


    The purpose came to me as I read your powerful statement Nautonier!

    Each and every despotic OTHER ONE we install atop the tyranny of Westminster, has two driving needs: 1) self aggrandisement, and 2) kudos at the GLOBOPOLY TABLE.
    Hence: hyped monarchy (the linchpin of privilege) attachment of EVERYTHING to the MAMMON OLYMPICS, and Paxman (et al) hyping Empire from Hobart to Hackney.

    In passing: are shopping hours to be increased during the Mammon Olympics, to maximise the take from those driven mad by, and escaping from, hype blight?

  • Comment number 28.


    Powerful stuff Nautonier - indeed, powerful stuff by others, above, also.

    You have touched on the 'MOCK' of "D MOCK CRASS Y". (CRASS you already defined.)

    In passing: if the rebel doctors stand for Parliament as INDEPENDENTS, might a trend develop? Could this be the way to SPOIL PARTY GAMES? The first step on the road to DISMANTLE WESTMINSTER?

    Make it so.

  • Comment number 29.


    Recent kerfuffle re the covered face of a juror, raises the 'degree of cultural (if not linguistic) separation' between juror and accused) a very challenging situation.

    And now I think of it: this is redolent of my post 18! For Justice to be done, it is assumed we are to be judged by 12 (good and true) representatives of our CULTURAL LOCALITY. Above, I have done away with the distinction of MAN-WOMAN, for the greater good, and in the Age of Perversity we might get away with that. But a jury, spanning (closet) belief in witches or possession, and amputation - or stoning??? We are going to need Solomon in the high-chair!

    OH BOY - ARE WE IN THE MULTICULTURAL DOO DOO! "Let him who is without caution, object to the first juror!"

    Time has overtaken courts, as well as Olympics, monarchy and BBC Nautonier!

    Run awaaaaaay.

  • Comment number 30.

    '28. At 08:40 20th Mar 2012, barriesingleton wrote:

    All the way to the beak...

    "Two out of three of the defendants are women – thought to be because they are more often at home when enforcement officers call."

    One often hears of rationalisation in high places that decriminalising certain things that are not 'that bad really' would go a long way to easing the pressures on the court systems, and also serve to avoid placing those who are accused of very minor offences in the same bracket as those committing much worse.

    "In contrast, shoplifters, thugs and vandals are routinely given spot fines of £80 and are not saddled with a criminal record."

    Justice, eh?

    Now, as a question to be asked... why the unique distinction?

    Mr. NaughtieMarr? Mr. Cameron? All our 'speaking for the people' onscreen market rates?

    And are all the single muvvas on the Producer iPhones for a quick 'struggling to cope... cuts, Cuts, CUTSSS!' more of a 'selective' nature?

  • Comment number 31.

    #24 Very, very, well said nautonier, you have encapsulated the programme perfectly, and not in my name either.

    Many times it's stated on this blog that we were taken into several wars in recent years by our "dear leaders", and the MAJORITY of the british public didn't want that. So in the same vein, the ordinary pleb here knew nothing of the empire, it did not reflect on their lives one little bit. Go to any NT home nowadays and you can see who took from these countries, it had nothing to do with the majority of british people.

    Paxman not once has mentioned the state the peasants lived in back home, not once, they were just as exploited as any of the countries that were invaded by fortune seekers.

    And the cost of this very biased (as in Biased Broadcasting Company) programme must be astromonmic.

    Why was it made, to promote Paxmans book of the series, is my only conclusion.

  • Comment number 32.

    #21 Barrie you only missed out one of Cams objectives, to concrete over england, don't forget all those new towns with houses two feet apart from each other! ; )

  • Comment number 33.

    27 and 28

    Yes indeed - BBC part of the same lack of democracy - BBC represents no one but its own 'jollie-crat' self-public sector interest.

    One of the reasons companies like C4 match and often exceed BBC standards of quality, in programme making, as doing this on a fraction of the budget wrenched off us all under threat of criminalisation - as the best way to make a programme is to state its purpose and effect and value for money and critically and objectively appraise the results (that's what those earning a 'Diker' should be doing while they're out at lunch?).

    BBC budget would be best split between ITV, C4 and C5 and a new entrant(s)? to give licence payers proper value for money and accountability as to OUR money being spent.

    Programmes having no clear purpose or a negative agenda would then be an 'endangered species' - the lesson the BBC fails to learn because of its continued old privilege, as the last part, of the old Empire.


  • Comment number 34.

    '32. At 09:44 20th Mar 2012, ecolizzy wrote:
    #21 Barrie you only missed out one of Cams objectives, to concrete over england, don't forget all those new towns with houses two feet apart from each other! ; )

    Worth bearing in mind as those who 'analyse' floods or droughts do so with what can only be called a 'unique' perspective... that I have to pay for. I do, as my wife says she is not getting banged up for my having some principles and seeing a stand needs taking in memory of what my parent's generation fought for.

  • Comment number 35.


    Perceptive as ever Lizzy. Once Dave has smothered the 'Sills of Engerland' with subsidised window boxes, he will slap - one size fits all - land tax on them, with a clause that says REMOVAL of the box is TAX EVASION. But a stealth-omission in the law, will leave open the option of concreting over; thus many landing points for mini-surveillance devices will be provided.

    Whadaya mean "conspiracy theorist?"

  • Comment number 36.

    At 09:42 20th Mar 2012, ecolizzy wrote:

    Many times it's stated on this blog that we were taken into several wars in recent years by our "dear leaders", and the MAJORITY of the british public didn't want that. So in the same vein, the ordinary pleb here knew nothing of the empire, it did not reflect on their lives one little bit. Go to any NT home nowadays and you can see who took from these countries, it had nothing to do with the majority of british people.

    Exactly, ecolizzy - Exactly
    Most low and working class people in Britain at the time of 'BE slavery' lived under appalling conditions - not much better than being slaves - and some probably were in all but name.

    Paxman's rubbish is an appalling slur on the vast majority of British people in Britain who would have objected to slavery in Britain & would have prevented it.

    A proper and decent Englishman would resign after such an appalling mistake and Paxman should at the very least apologise for his rubbish Empire programme - in many countries he'd be sacked anyway - no one in e.g. France would write anything like that about French history and keep their fat journalist's salary and perq's.

  • Comment number 37.

    FLOODBOTCH (#34)

    Hi Junkk. I have THREE red cards warning me of my amphibious leanings, and a recent phone call gave me the chance to enrol for telephonic alerts. We had floods all round here a few years back and my attendant river came to the top of the bank; back-flowing through the drains. At the peak of the fiasco I had an Environmental twit call to apologise (aka stop me reddening too many faces). I had to give him a masterclass.

    The Environment Agency is a joke, like all the others. "AGENCY" seems to be the key - not unlike "REGULATOR". What a circus.

    PS One card says: "This is a waterproof card". Nuff sed

  • Comment number 38.

    #24 nautonier

    Good post! (don't agree with all you wrote, but overall a very good critique of the series)

    I gave up watching the last programme half way through - it was garbage. Or dare I say it - just more BBC (British Brainwashing Corporation) propaganda.

    You said: "Paxman has missed a golden opportunity to describe the psychology of those with privilege, capital, force of arms, state backing to pillage, rape, rob, reduce, impoverish& exploit - just as our banksters are doing 300-400 years later. MAY NOT BE AS BLOODY AS IT WAS THEN - but the 'mindset' is the same -"
    - my emphasis.

    What about what's been going on in North Africa and the ME, not just over the last decade or so, but since WW2 in that region! (Not to mention SE Asia)

    There are "men" in Texas that think they are playing with PS2's when they're actually blowing up real people with real rockets fired from real killer drones, kids included!

    Estimates of the dead from IRAQ 2 alone are anything from 500,000 to a million. This does not include the dead from Afghanistan, Yemen, Lybia and now Syria. All for the sake of oil, US petro-dollar hegemony and Israeli regional hegemony.

    Also bear in mind that 3 out of 4 of the GOP candidates still in running for the Republican nominee spot and eventual "race" to the WH have openly stated that they want war with Iran.

  • Comment number 39.

    37. At 10:48 20th Mar 2012, barriesingleton wrote:
    FLOODBOTCH (#34)

    I overlook the Wye, some 500m away.

    In times past it has lapped at our doors.

    So I signed up to be a Lert amongst many.

    First time I got emails and text telling me to head for the hills with family and fauna. Cue mad scramble and B&B bookings.

    The footy fields (maybe so-designated on account of the... flooding risk) on that 500m stretch got a puddle at the edges.

    Sheepish, and less flush, I returned.

    Fool me once.

    3rd time I wrote to suggest that if accuracy was not possible, some sensible risk assessment might be, as crying wolf seldom serves.

    I was told that if I didn't like it, sign out.

    No boxes were harmed in the making of this exchange.

    Should I one day be one of those interviewed by a blonde moppet in waders, when asked how I feel I may just tell her. Doubt a fellow public servant will let that go to air. Jokes can sometimes not be funny, or even more dangerous. EA Games.

    Don't get old. Live the high life.

    Questions won't be asked.

  • Comment number 40.

    At 10:58 20th Mar 2012, museV wrote:

    #24 nautonier

    Good post! (don't agree with all you wrote, but overall a very good critique of the series)


    Thank you!
    However, you must please say what it is you don't agree with as if historical facts and not opinion - we need to be clear what the issues are?

    My concern is that Paxo's rubbish (particularly regarding 'slavery') is now being played at schools up & down the country as representative of 'asserted facts'?

    This is a serious issue as is much bigger than any individuals and IMWO, affects the psychological well being of the UK and our ideas of country and identity - Paxo's programme is so bad it and is a slur against all British and Britain, both past and present and our history and memory of our ancestors and badly needs purging from the nation's conscience and the issues be properly identified with and confined to those within the evil minority of people who actively took part in the slave trade by their own choice & for their own profit and evil purposes.

    Paxo needs to look at e.g. Russian Empire, Chinese Empires where many were still actually still real slaves in Russia/China itself until 19th century.

    This is one for govt ministers to be involved and take the BBC to task and explain the making of the programme?

    BTW where is Mr Patten/BBC trust - Still out at lunch?

    BBC needs to get some serious and well qualified, able and less biased historians 'involved' to sort out Paxo's mess and give some objectivity to what Paxo has deliberately re-ignited as a toxic issue.

  • Comment number 41.

    I've read Jeremy's Empire and watch each programme on BBC1 on Monday nights. At no point in the book or the show does Jeremy state that ALL British people were responsible, and the reason he does not mention the Portuguese/Spanish etc who were also involved in the sugar plantations etc is because his work is only focused on the British Empire.

    He hasn't at any point stated that the entire British population of the time supported slavery either! In fact, if you did bother watching last night's episode, it featured two ladies who were the children of mill workers in Lancashire, who met Gandhi and supported him, and in fact a lot of the ordinary people of Britain supported him.

  • Comment number 42.


    Are you not the epitome of bias where Outstanding Jeremy is concerned 76?

    Yes: Gandhi was almost a god to many Britons - and many now believe the current Queen has led us all to this land of milk and honey. Beware of culturally built icons - they are an artefact of THE APE CONFUSED BY LANGUAGE.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 43.

    @ Barrie #41 - :p and are you not the epitome of bias against Jeremy?

  • Comment number 44.

    At 11:51 20th Mar 2012, Mistress76uk wrote:

    I've read Jeremy's Empire and watch each programme on BBC1 on Monday nights. At no point in the book or the show does Jeremy state that ALL British people were responsible,

    Excuse me!
    So who exactly does Paxo mean then when he keeps repeatedly referring to the 'British' - 'us British' etc

    It is also not only the language that he uses but the deliberate slur that he is putting on all of Britain and all of the British by the impression that he is giving all the way through the programmes.

    I have not read the book and do not wish to do so as I think it is gutter level rubbish - but I have seen most of the programmes and nothing which you are saying, IMO applies to any degree of differentiation by Paxman.

    The deliberate impression of Paxman's series is to portray Britain as a 'collective' (country) that is not only involved with slavery - but was pre-eminent in world history as the main global slave trader as putting the responsibility for that on all things and eveyone that is labelled as British - if that is not what was intended - it is very poor programme production indeed.

    Why does Paxman waste so much licence payer money about the slave trade and not get his facts right - many of the slave traders were those who had emigrated from Britain nd were from other countries - most of slave descent now have Irish and Scottish/Welsh rather than English names - and Paxman never mentions e.g. 'Irish slave traders' as is now a separate country to the UK - and that the slave trade was never entirely British at any stage as the slave triangle had ships from many countries and independent privateers belonging to no country, as involved with the cargo haulage of slaves.

    Paxman's rubbish is indefensible!

    Paxman repeatedly refers to British British British - which is historically incorrect - there never was an entirely British slave trade as involved African countries also in the initial supply of slaves.

    No real or detailed examination by Paxman of how Britain came to be the first country in the world to formally abolish slavery and outlaw it - a major achievement by some British people in the UK - a pivotal & monumental global event in the history of the Empire.

    Suggestion! - Try doing some accurate research before you post?

  • Comment number 45.

    Planes Trains and Automobiles

    wasn't Brunel french?

    going long the taxpayer is the only game in town. privatise the profit socialise the loss. current Tory motto.


    Thompson has overseen the complete collapse of the religious affairs section. Given we are in multiple wars based on religion it should have been more useful at this time. According to private eye all is not well is it?

    i still have the ordeal of that empire show to go

  • Comment number 46.


    I have not commented on the programme content (unwatched) nor Jeremy's competence in that regard.

    I was building a picture from the reports of others, but had to exclude yours for the reason given. Play fair 76: you dote on the chap; you are 'viscerally' biased - one worse than cerebrally! (:o)

  • Comment number 47.

    There's bias (tricky often to nail down) and factual accuracy (much less so).

    I have noted that the two often get conflated.. when it suits. Or not... ditto.

    All I do subscribe to is that most who post can say what they heck they like (within reason...yadayada..), so long as they are up for challenge.

    Those paid, and well, to educate and inform are to a higher standard (especially when falling below the lowest), and need to be held to account. They are powerful, and as a famous (maybe soon to be even more, if 'in') lady once said, they need to be held to account.

    Preferably without 'but he dun it too, sir' attempts, that are as poor in cutting ice now as ever.

    I do of course speak only for me, unlike others who, too often, go further, often nationally. Which is a presumption too far if wrong, and unrepresentative.

    As to wastes of licence fee, well, it is theirs to. Impure but simple.

  • Comment number 48.

    Empire getting reviewed on here again is it.

    someone above wrote:

    "Not only has Paxman put together another BBC nasty British bashing programme ..."

    That about sums it up really. There is some interesting snippets mind. I thinks its like a skewed beginners guide to empire.

    The horror in france:

    I've become very worried about this. Two reasons: the very swift ballistics reports and the media feeding a particular line.

  • Comment number 49.

    Empire continued: not a shot fired...until the split of India and the killing began due to religious divisions...that never gets a mention from Auntie beeb.

    George warned us about you lot, rewriting history and all that.

  • Comment number 50.

    "45 Wrote:

    "wasn't Brunel french?"

    No, but his father was (depending on which one you were referring to).

    Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

  • Comment number 51.


    They announced who dun it even before Rummy had finished tidying the lawn of plane debris. (or do I mean sprinkling)

    Do you think there is a link Kev?

  • Comment number 52.

    #48 kevseywevsey wrote:

    "The horror in france:

    I've become very worried about this. Two reasons: the very swift ballistics reports and the media feeding a particular line."

    In my opinion, the time period involved between the shootings at the school (approx 8.30am) and the release of the information that the same .45 weapon/gun had been used to shoot the off duty soldiers (announced roughly late yesterday pm) was not unreasonable. The bullet(s), one presumes removed relatively quickly from the victims' bodies in hospital, could have been rushed to the local ballistics lab for examination of the rifling marks on the bullets by an expert with a high powered microscope to conclude the match with the bullets used to kill the soldiers.

    I agree it was quick, but not impossible. Only one bullet from the school shooting would have been enough to make the match. The MO of the shootings using a scooter, was also a bit of a useful give-a-way as well.

    What I find odd is that the shootings/killing of the off duty paratroopers, two of whom were reportedly of North African origin and Muslim and had recently served in Afghanistan, was not reported anywhere else in the MSM last week. Were they only reported in French language media? Anywhere else, that would have been headline news, surely?

  • Comment number 53.

    High speed broadband will definitely revolutionize the way people communicate with each other going forward, although I am not sure if it will have a major influence on job creation by replacing the traditional means of conducting business via road, air and sea. If the private sector is willing to invest in more infrastructures and in the process help the economy grow, I don’t see any harm in it. After all, many of them including the banks are now sitting on a huge pile of cash after a prolonged recession, which can be put to good use. Let's hope the current government can learn something from the Labour years and go easy on those PFI contracts and IT projects that consumed so much but achieved so little.

    P.S. I read somewhere that RBS reported a £2 billion loss for 2011. Why on earth didn’t they trigger any of their credit default swaps on Greek debt and get paid in full?

  • Comment number 54.

    The Victorian entrepreneurs David Cameron alludes to were VERY different from today's stateless globalisation privateers who owe no allegance to any country or community, spending their time finding ways to extract profit whenever and wherever they can - and taking it in offshore tax havens to spend on jetset lifestyles.

    Many successful Victorians used their wealth and power to engage in benefactor activities ranging from building social housing & libraries to schools, hospitals and poor relief.

    They also favoured their own communities and saw it as their mission not only to run successful businesses, but to also to improve the lot of humanity as part their Chrisitian/Jewish/Quaker duty.

    We may not fully approve of their attitudes and how many less principled ones treated their workers, but we can see from the work of Rowntree and the reaction it prompted that public and upper class opinion was that the ruling and commerical classes had a social duty to actively engage in imprving the lot of ordinary people and protect the vulnerable.

    Today's feral rich are simply vampires sucking as much blood as they can out of consumers and their workforce - they have no moral compass, faith is irrelevant, their sense of duty is only to their own incomes and wealth: greed is good.

    Bill Gates has shown that it is still possible to dedicate the force that wealth and power brings to the public good, with his foundation's fundamental work in public health issues in third world countries, but you don't see hardly any Brit entrepreneurs using their wealth in this way.

    We need entrepreneurs to develop and manufacture their products here, not in China and we need them to plough back their profits into the local communities. not build mountains of offshore cash accompanied by mountains of public debt incurred to pick up the consequences of poverty and exploitation..


    Private affluence+ public squalor = national decline.

  • Comment number 55.

    #53 mademoiselle_h wrote:

    "After all, many of them including the banks are now sitting on a huge pile of cash after a prolonged recession, which can be put to good use."

    I don't agree with respect to the banks. Disney Land accounting practices are still being applied to the reporting of their balance sheets i.e. mark-to-fantasy as opposed to mark-to-reality in terms of stated asset's etc. (this is good for bonus reporting too btw!). This is evidenced by their woeful share price performance of late, especially on the part of the nationalised banks. Don't be fooled by the profits recently reported by the non-nationalised banks - it's all funny/made-up profit/loss. This along with the legislated increases to their Tier 1 capital ratios means that they are desperate for cash, equity capital and general reserve increases. This is why they are not giving out any easy (i.e. low interest rate) loans to especially the SME's and the wider economy in general.

    As jc said above the profits were privatised and the losses socialised. If the Central Bank had been responsible for regulating the money supply (as opposed to private banks) we would not have had the huge bubble recently experienced. Essentially the banks were all legally robbed from the inside and now all the real money has gone.

  • Comment number 56.

    Being there is nothing else of greater heft that could possibly be 'analysed', I think I have tonight's likely main story sussed....

    Guardian Tech ‏ @guardiantech Boris Johnson under fire for 'hijacking' mayor of London Twitter account

    No guesses as to where the 'fire' that inspires this headline is actually from.

  • Comment number 57.

    I have watched him for decades but now, for the first time, I have to say it. Paxman is dreadful. He is arrogant, rude and generally most unhelpful to any rational discourse. Every single question is rhetorical, every question is asked in a sneering, dismissive manner. Everything is NEGATIVE. It is Cannot, instead of Can do.

    In summary he is the antithesis of the polite British gentleman (e g Any Attenborough or Dimbleby). How or why have the bosses at the Beeb allowed him to stay in place on Newsnight?

    I vividly recall his confronting some crestfallen Candidate at the last General Election, who had just come second, with Paxman saying " You've failed havn't you?". Ghastly

    Panel games - fine. He is a good and accurate controller of the show and clearly very intelligent and well informed but PLEASE will the bosses take him off Newsnight?

    I normally switch off when I find he is on, instead of the nice alternatives, but last night, Engineering, my pet subject, was aired first and I watched him, arms folded aggressively throughout, hammering his guests as always before dismissing them back to Herefordshire.

    The Tory did very well, batting back his derisory snorts. The Labour lady admittedly lingered in an outdated ideological backwater and deserved a polite snort and the Dragon did verge on the fierce.

    The key thing last night is that Cameron has focused public attention on a key industry, which does bring revenue and good standing to Britain - Engineering. We should show everyone that it is NOT BORING. I would much rather the air waves filled with this than with endless prattle from celebrities, footballers and 'Personalities'. Muck is Brass. Talk about it positively. Can do, not Cannot.

    I have founded two consulting companies that now employ between them over 300 expensive engineers, including me. It can be done. Whether or not Cameron has said the right thing, let's talk about it properly on the tele.

  • Comment number 58.


    That extreme paintballer mercenaries are drawn to a life of "kill or be killed" WITH VERY HARD POINTY PAINT? Defence of the realm comes a very poor second.

    Clearly apparent that the political spin-doctors didn't write the speech! What a delusional, story-book, cloud-cuckoo land we live in.

  • Comment number 59.

    '57. At 17:20 20th Mar 2012, Consultingengineer - let's talk about it properly on the tele.'

    Couldn't agree more. But pragmatically, and erring a smidge on the can of worms vs. can or can't do, I think that is a boat that sailed, if not with Brunel's masterpieces or Mulberry harbours, but not too long afterwards. Not the creating and making great things, but the talking about them properly. I think it coincided with Tomorrow's World going, and PMs and MPs and DGs coming in, sourced solely from the English & PPE groves of academe at Oxbridge.

    Yours, JM, BSc., Civ Eng (and proud of it). In Herefordshire, funnily enuf.

    ps: Seldom bored when making stuff in the workshop, too, still.

  • Comment number 60.



    A few Civil Engineers contribute to Bryan Burnett's blog.

    (Listeners request show, BBC Radio Scotland). Listen online!

    If man bites dog is news, what about man bites Police dog?


  • Comment number 61.

    Consulting Engineer, To your excellent list of people who should be banned from the airwaves - "celebrities, footballers and 'Personalities'" -, I would add anyone who works for a Think Tank or charidee. Newsnight, and numerous other BBC programmes treat the opinions of anyone who works for these organisations as though they are the word of God. Presenters and producers seem to be completely unaware that charities exaggerate problems in order to attract funds and that Think Tanks exist to further the interests of whoever is funding them and/or their research.

  • Comment number 62.

    '60. At 17:47 20th Mar 2012, Scotch Git wrote:
    A few Civil Engineers contribute to Bryan Burnett's blog"

    I try and mix far and wide, but there is comfort in coming closer 'home' too.

    So thank you, again, for a new source of worthy insights. Eclectic is my first impression.

    '61. At 17:50 20th Mar 2012, MaggieL - Presenters and producers seem to be completely unaware that charities exaggerate problems in order to attract funds and that Think Tanks exist to further the interests of whoever is funding them and/or their research.'

    Oo, I think they are aware. But tinkers that they are, they rather choose to ignore these essential truths. Better yet, they often see merit in making sure it is those on the broadcast receiving end who are as unaware as possible.

    Mum's the word!

  • Comment number 63.


    I found Parkinson was as unwatchable as Paxman - both regarded as television's finest. It seems visceral reaction to body language has been schooled out of the mass of the population. Today, all the Emperors are finely dressed, from Dave to Jedwood.

    All part of the AGE OF PERVERSITY I suppose.

    PS: I seem remember some odd one-to-one, in which Paxo admitted to his demons? Maybe YKW should stroke his brow? All too often, high flyers are internally beset; Tony a prime example of course.

  • Comment number 64.


    I will not tell you again Junkk - "MUM" IS BANNED (see my #18). It implies female mothering (of a child - you know) and this impugns the dedicated nurturing of the dad/mum or DUM! Are you trying to destroy the very fabric of the equal, multicultural society, in and of itself, going forward?

    Mum now stands for MERE UNIT of MAMMON. Get with The Programme.

  • Comment number 65.

    64. At 18:44 20th Mar 2012, barriesingleton
    Get with The Programme.

    OK, any further tips on how one does 'get with'? Especially the righ... correct programmes?

    I am unsure I embrace the necessary criteria or relative connections.

    Penny for any thoughts?


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