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Monday 26 March 2012

Verity Murphy | 18:16 UK time, Monday, 26 March 2012

Tonight our Political editor Allegra Stratton has the latest on the "cash for access" row surrounding Number 10 and we will be discussing the issue with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude.

We have our full interview with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and look at the role Lutheranism plays in shaping German policy.

And Joe Lynam has more on the story he broke earlier that the government is in talks with Abu Dhabi over the possible sale of a significant stake in RBS.


  • Comment number 1.

    'our Political editor Allegra Stratton has the latest on the "cash for access" row'

    Given the politics prevailing, might one hazard this may remain as a 'most recent' version of 'the latest', with archive aspects not being viewed as necessary in painting an overall picture?

    The Conservatives deserve all they get as a deep hole has been dug and made worse by the hour.

    However, I did enjoy a smug Labour pol on a presumed home run tirade was rather discomfitted by a few truths being presented at his party's door too.

    Mind you, that was SKY, which may explain why some feel it is a media monopoly that needs addressing, even while others do not.

  • Comment number 2.


    The crass division of governance into two RITUALLY OPPOSED factions (Government and “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition”) sets the seal on the endemic Westminster mockery. Where else is such pernicious division applied in the name of better functioning? An airliner has two pilots; just imagine if one was the OFFICIAL OPPOSITION PILOT! Nuff sed.

    Quoted ad-nauseam, are the purported words of Churchill, asserting our democracy is the best governance yet; true or false is speaks volumes of our inability (or lack of intention) to improve! By my inspection, Westminster governance is a disaster, but worse, a DELIBERATELY MAINTAINED DISASTER that suits the ‘Westminster Mentality’ (beloved of Westminster Creatures).

    Westminster is an artificial playground for Mendacious Puppets, who form groups (with leaders, whips and dogmas) who play ritualised games in the name of ‘governance’. The primary intent of the leaders of these groups is to become supreme Puppet Master – PM. To this end they will use any deceit, trick, or manipulative device, to extract money from the Mammonshphere, to fund election victory – victory at ‘any price’.

    It is against this backdrop that Dave’s man got caught in a sting, and disguising which, Dave will now be quintessential Dave – a Machiavellian marvel. But do we want/need to go through all this again? WE GOT OURSELVES ANOTHER ONE – THIS MUST STOP.


  • Comment number 3.

    :p Big deal, so if someone donates £ to a party, then they get to meet the that has never happened before. Ever. YAWN.
    RBS have to cut their losses, so it should be a welcome relief that a hefty chunk is being sold to Abu last it will operate in the black.

  • Comment number 4.

    I can't really see the point in the government selling part of RBS at a potential loss to the taxpayers only for it to be nationalised by a foreign government anyway, ( therefore effectively reducing our UK sovereignty ). Perhaps its only a matter of time before the UK government will have no realistic option but to nationalise all the banks whatever the theoretical politics of it. Its not at all certain that the Irish will vote yes to the latest EU treaty in their forthcoming referendum and the Euro Zone could be plunged back into deep crisis ?

  • Comment number 5.

    Federal Reserve System

    However, the leading bankers sought to use the crisis as an opportunity to grab power for Wall Street, away from the Treasury. In this sense, the Fed was founded in large part to take monetary control away from Washington’s elected officials and appointees, and privatize the supply of money and credit. So its place in the U.S. financial and economic structure is to allocate credit, primarily to serve Wall Street financial interests. That explains the insistence on the financial class here and abroad in insisting on an “independent” central bank. It means that instead of serving the public interest, it serves the interests of the banking class. The hoped-for transformation of commercial banking into long-term industrial banking was not achieved.

  • Comment number 6.


    What a pathetic display by Francis Maude - I could almost write his briefing-notes by decoding the "well they were worse" bluster. Did it not occur to the Cons that "WORSE" needs-must refer back to "BAD"?

    No wonder the Mendacious Puppets of Westminster make such a mess for governing this country, they are bad at cheating and WORSE at weaselling out of it; ABILITIES MOST CHILDREN MASTER WHILE STILL AGED IN SINGLE FIGURES.


  • Comment number 7.

    Just awesome Jeremy with Maude tonight :)
    "you should have your money back" - on donors getting a refund
    "you've kept the money"
    "you've accepted plenty of others"
    "£50000 a year is not big money?"

    and in return from Maude,
    "if you want your politics to be free of state money....we aren't based on the trade unions like the labour party"
    "UNITE gives 30% of Labour's money"

    So there you have it. ALL parties accept donations - be it from people or unions. Why is this even a story? :p

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry, it was Fallon and not Maude!

  • Comment number 9.

    Merkel says she lives in a federal Country in which Bavarians (a natiion) have a go at Northern (or North) Germans and vice versa. It's simillar to Southern English having a go at Northern Britons, be it those in Northern England or Scotland, except we have no proper balanced federal Country, but an asymetric union, with states (the old kingdoms and principalities) now being called countries (which is perverse, but not nations, as Cornwall or the West Country are internal/external nations too) in this Nation State Country, and making a disagreement like that in Germany, more devisive in Britain. Off topic I know, but an issue in Britain, and a connection to be made to Germany.

    It's no business for a Government to run a bank. But then is was not for Government to run an industry such as Shipbuilding either.

  • Comment number 10.

    @6 Barrie "... "WORSE" needs-must refer back to "BAD"? "

    I am going to plagiarise that ad-nauseam Barrie! :-D

    All major party organisations are or have been for sale. Whoever gets in these days, "Spivco", "Crapita" and others pick the public purse, and sponsor "receptions" at party conferences.

    You'd have to be a fool not to read between the lines of this page though? Pay £50K to get the leader's ear!

    So different from ‎"Disappointment. Despair. Even disgust." ..."Money buying influence. Too often just an elite few choosing the people who become MPs for many years. We can’t go on like this."....
    David Cameron

    Of course, it was the Liberals under Lloyd George who made a modern business out of corruption:

    It worries me that the only way we're going to stop this culture is via a Reign of Terror with some political heads on spikes - or, (as the reality of that is too horrible to contemplate), at least, confiscation of all property and a sentence of 5 years in a Foxconn factory!

    Seriously: "Attempting to corrupt a minister or MP" should be treated as High Treason if committed by a UK citizen, and as an Act Of War if committed by a foreigner.

  • Comment number 11.

    "thank you Jeremy you are very helpful this evening" - Hancock
    "you can take your act somewhere else now" - Jeremy :p

  • Comment number 12.

    Jeremy + Hugh Grant = a great double act
    "you do want statutory regulation?"
    "What sanctions could be applied under your statutory regulations?"
    "you'd regulate newspapers, magazines?"
    (yes Hugh Grant would)
    "same applies to Twitter?"
    Hugh Grant on abandoning the Freedom of Speech. Sigh.

  • Comment number 13.


    Cheers Sasha - just another unheard tree in the forest (except for your goodself).

    I am becoming demented that no one can see the simple truth that PARTIES are at the root of every Westminster deceit - including the currently inspected one. I know I play a lot with languge, and ideas, but "SPOIL PARTY GAMES" is a deadly serious tenet. It came out of my candidacy in 2005, and the thinking that I put into it.

    Why am I all alone in this? Why would the English have formulated, in their exquisitely expressive language: "Divide and rule" as applying to a WEAKENING OF THE DIVIDED (such that they be more easily ruled) if ritual division in governance WERE A GOOD IDEA? I have instanced the airliner "Pilot and Opposition" above; another illustration is Laurel and Hardy (perhaps closer to Westminster). the 'lost motion' and subsequent disasters, of Stan and Olly, arose from their constant antagonism. The parallel is almost painful. We have Laurel and Hardy governance - all those in favour . . .

    In passing: Frau Merkel said: Britain is part of the "Common Climate Policy" - ach so!
    Wie fiel, denn, costet uns dass?

    Wie ein Scheiss!


    Cheers Sasha - just another unheard tree in the forest (except for your goodself).

    I am becoming demented that no one can see the simple truth that PARTIES are at the root of every Westminster deceit - including the currently inspected one. I know I play a lot with language, and ideas, but "SPOIL PARTY GAMES" is a deadly serious tenet. It came out of my candidacy in 2005, and the thinking that I put into it.

    Why am I all alone in this? Why would the English have formulated, in their exquisitely expressive language: "Divide and rule" as applying to a WEAKENING OF THE DIVIDED (such that they be more easily ruled) if ritual division in governance WERE A GOOD IDEA? I have instanced the airliner "Pilot and Opposition" above; another illustration is Laurel and Hardy (perhaps closer to Westminster). the 'lost motion' and subsequent disasters, of Stan and Olly, arose from their constant antagonism. The parallel is almost painful. We have Laurel and Hardy governance - all those in favour . . .

    In passing: Frau Merkel said: Britain is part of the "Common Climate Policy" - ach so!
    Wie fiel, denn, costet uns dass?

    Wie ein Scheiss!

  • Comment number 14.

  • Comment number 15.

    Cash for acce$$: Is this really a story? Don't all political parties do it? Is the BBC making this more than what it is?

    Never mind, it will be chip wrapper in a couple of days...except in the minds of the BBC journos.

    The rest of us have moved on already:

  • Comment number 16.

    If you can make it, this has to be the event of the year (so far) Steve Keen and Paul Mason

    for those that can’t make it in person, the podcast/twitter feed/all the multimedia cacophony will be available during/after the event.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am interested in the legal dimension to "Payola Politics" in the UK.

    At what point does "fundraising" cross the line to become criminal corruption?

    Under what circumstances can a politician who accepts money and then changes government policy to benefit the donor be prosecuted?

    And is there a point at which the day-to-day organisation of a political party ceases to be legitimate and becomes a criminal conspiracy?

    If there is a dividing line between the legitimate fundraising world and out and out corruption, if so, who polices it?

    Recent events would suggest that there may be those very close to the top of governments of all political hues who do not appear to see that there is a clear dividing line - and unless society robustly defends it, the sort of political corruption we abhor in other countries could become endemic in the UK.

    In my view an independent criminal investigation of recent events is the very least we need - and if there is evidence that the line has been crossed, people need to be prosecuted and if found guilty, they should receive long deterent sentences. An internal party enquiry does not address the issue of criminality - that is the job of the police.

    In my view the whole question of legitimacy and legality of donations for pecuniary gain should not be left to the political parties to decide. Where the line may have been crossed, it must be investigated by an independent organisation. The possible list of types of people potentially committing offences might well include those offering money, those soliciting donations for political parties, those receiving them and the politicians delivering the policy changes being sought.

    A robust approach to policing donations would deter "questionable" donors and greater transparency on donations would make political parties of all political hues to think twice about whether they are at risk of prosecution for corruption.

  • Comment number 18.

    #15 Thanks for that link Kev, very interesting, especially the comments by Jo Public.

  • Comment number 19.

    #9 SMA I don't altogether agree with your comment about the great divide. I'm a southerner and I fully support those in the north, and west, or east come to that, I believe you'll find it's politicians who are doing their best to divide and rule.

    A comment heard on Radio 4 a while ago about Cornwall. From a Cornish man, he said thirty years ago Cornwall was 70 percent Cornish, and 30percent outsiders, nowadays that figure had totally reversed, so that small minority of Cornish folk will never get a separate state, hhhmmm or is it the incomers causing all the trouble.

  • Comment number 20.

    "Rogue Afgan officer"

    Is that a misnomer? After the western armies leave, will they find that most of the Afgan forces are in fact Taliban in disguise, and will just carry on as before.

    We've never understood that country and tried many times to "tame" them, why don't we just keep our ruddy nose out?!

  • Comment number 21.

    more nails in the coffin for the co2 cult!

    bbc won't report any of it of course and won't be mentioned at the recent global warmers rally 'Planet under pressure'

  • Comment number 22.


    He confirmed what I have written, many times: PARTIES are desperate for funds to fill enormous war chests to fight (dirty) wars at election time. ELECTIONS ARE BOUGHT BY PARTIES.
    Nick Robinson went on to look at where money has been raised, and can be raised, but made no mention that PARTIES THEMSELVES are the ROOT PROBLEM. Nick must have worked this out - he is not a cipher politician; is he scared that the Westminster Monster will come for him, THE WAY IT DID GILLIGAN?


  • Comment number 23.

    Politician Fallon told Paxman last night that the alternative to party donations was taxpayer funding.

    Which reveals the Westminster political mindset with(out) respect to the people, i.e. taxpayers appear to be seen as a bottomless moneypit to be tapped when required.

    No, Mr. Fallon, the correct answer is for political parties to live within their means, the funding that they themselves raise - not come running to the taxpayer when they are short.

    And short reminds me that last year the Labour Party got £5M from the taxpayer in 'short' money - another rip off for the biggest mug of all time, the English PAYE taxpayer.

    The brutal truth is that the English public do not 'believe' in these political parties enough to put their hands in their pockets and provide sufficient voluntary donations and that does mean that these parties should manage their finances within the meagre means that the public provide and not fund themselves slyly via public funds or from vested interests.

    Another related point, if political parties cannot manage their own finances properly, then by what logic, once in power, should they be let loose on public funds?

    It is analogous to giving an alcoholic the keys to the pub.

  • Comment number 24.


    Modern wars are won with money - mercenary killers equipped with eye-wateringly expensive technology.

    Modern elections are won with money - mercenary parties equipped with bowel-wrenchingly abhorrent advertising.

    "Who would be an MP in a country like this?"

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 25.

    Normally, I find political interviews with the shower at Westminster to be rather grim affairs but last nights Esler/Merkel piece was really first class.

    Beautifully balanced, with a fascinating insight into the German mindset via Martin Luther.

    For this viewer, Mutti pushed all the correct buttons with such a nuanced view of the EU that it made the detractors, of which unfortunately we have many in England, seem very backward indeed.

    Esler did very well apart from the Nazi reference, which we English really do have to finally put behind us - we are friends now and that was a long time ago.

    You cannot perpetually live in the past.

  • Comment number 26.

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

  • Comment number 27.

    THE DE FACTO DUPLICITY OF PARTY POLITICIANS (#26 - paste from gov web removed)

    Ask your MP if they are the ROSETTE or THE PERSON. I asked Richard Benyon, and he would not reply. Here is what their rules say (note that AT ANY MOMENT the cipher under the rosette, THAT YOU ELECTED, may change their PRIMARY LOYALTY) :

    You can view the Code on the Parliament website!


  • Comment number 28.

    If this man had any power, what would he do? A saviour or "got ourselves another one"?

  • Comment number 29.

    '13. At 23:42 26th Mar 2012, barriesingleton'

    Kudos. And you tease me on sailing close to der wind.

    Just... don't mention the war. I don't think you'd get away with that.

  • Comment number 30.

    I see that Jeremy has been "forced to admit" (copyright BBC) that he has a service company to manage his tax affairs and he offers an excuse for doing so. Doesn't he realise that these days we only deal in innuendo, speculation, claims, allegations and insinuation? 'Facts', as he sees them, are irrelevant and cannot be allowed to cloud the issue.

  • Comment number 31.

    Is anyone surprised by this....

    I'm not, I fully expected it, and so did the majority of brits. Why not dismantle the UKBF and replace it with troops brought home from around the world, especially from the middle east.

    In my youth Universities were places of excellence, which turned out very well educated and resourceful and enterprising students, now they're having a laugh. Just cash cows for our awful economy, why do we now need money from foreigners to support uni's when once upon a time we could finance our own education system.

  • Comment number 32.


    Well posted Lizzy. Within "The Enlightenment World" I think he would be hard to improve on, as an indigene. (Maybe Switzerland is full of wise folk?)

    Personally, I hold the view that if we stay in a world of MALE (Yang) CLEVERNESS, where success and rewards are all measured in male terms, decadence will continue to run rampant, oppression rule and madness envelop the globe. (This, of course, looks very attractive to our demon-driven, juvenile elite.)

    We now have a rich fund of understanding of how The Ape Confused by Language functions - and malfunctions. But a total overthrow of the current paradigm is required to apply that knowledge, and despots, be they Gadaffi, Sadam, Mugabe or ours, DO NOT GO GENTLY.
    If revolution came to our streets, would Westminster "kill it's own people"?

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 33.


    Are they Eickian shape-shifter lizards? Are they mind-controlled from Krypton? Are they told what to do by "Skull and Bones"? Or just weak, demon-driven juveniles, caught up in a current of specious nihilism? I really don't know Lizzy. In recorded history the "know world" never got this big and complex, with those wielding power made THE SMALLER THEREBY! To wield GLOBAL POWER with competence requires GREAT MATURITY, INTEGRITY AND WISDOM.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 34.


    Those whom the Blogdogs wish to destroy they first make mad.

    By extension: no one ever seems to spot the "free vote" charade in the Commons. By far the greater proportion of votes, at election, are "rosette votes" - the blooming cipher is immaterial. Yet on 'matters of conscience' the cipher gets to vote THEIR WAY, without any recourse to the constituents, on that specific matter (and the rosette ain't sayin').

    Is it me?

  • Comment number 35.

    Oh dear, the pool of small circulation commenters in the green room may have just shrunk further:

    Now, given the loyalties out and about, I do wonder how the nation's most trusted broadcaster and its fresh political editors will cover this, being from one of their pool of like-minded MSM sources?

    Noting these bits:

    'The Leveson Inquiry into press standards is “deeply flawed”, according to the editor of The Independent.

    Chris Blackhurst has also claimed that “if the Guardian had actually realised how to work a mobile phone” the inquiry would never have been set up.'

  • Comment number 36.

    '30. At 09:43 27th Mar 2012, MaggieL - only deal in innuendo, speculation, claims, allegations and insinuation?'

    Is that a BBC 'sources who say', 'critics are claiming', 'row developing' or 'questions being asked'.... if so, any chance of a URL link?

    Just the facts, ma'am. I knows they are so last journalism.

    But hypocrisy is the new black.

  • Comment number 37.

    Why do they give big donations to their friends. To get political influence.

    So how do we stop millionaire sharks loopholing what we term democracy?

    Make no mistake they do it the either stop something happening or start something happening or to make sure some things don't change.

    And when you delve into it and see what they want for their cash to their friends its probably little less than a banana republic.

    I think there is a good case for state funding of political parties who reach a certain threshold of support. But they (the polititians) continually tell us that the tax payer wouldn't wear it.

    So who is asking the people?


    Would you support government funding for political parties if;

    All donations over say 5,000 pounds was illegal and all lobbyists and campaigners had to use the same unbiased, independent mechanism to gain access to political leaders?

  • Comment number 38.

    On second thoughts we'd probably still end up with rich people running the country for rich people's intrests.

  • Comment number 39.

    You do realise that this site is now defunct?

  • Comment number 40.

    'BBC News director Helen Boaden, head of newsgathering Fran Unsworth and multimedia newsroom boss Mary Hockaday laid out the plans in emails to staff on Tuesday.'

    That glass floor in the executive suite can prove embarrassing, I'll bet.

  • Comment number 41.


    Flawed enquiries are a Westminster forte - I need not list them . . .

  • Comment number 42.


    Here we go again: Westminster - over decades - destroyed our culture, then takes no responsibility for homes (a House?) with no work ethic or social competence. Hello? I just described WESTMINSTER!


  • Comment number 43.


    Yeah - that glass ceiling eh Junkk? Scotch Mist is the new glass. Nice!

  • Comment number 44.

    Will the Conservative Party now have to give a refund to the property developers who I understand allegedly paid £3.3M in Payola Politics "donations" expecting to get allegedly unrestricted access to build on the green belt and open countryside into government policy, allegedly being given carte blanche to riding roughshod over local communities objections for an allegedly quick bung?

    Well done the DT, NT & CPRE - without your resolute approach they would have got away with it - I suspect you pretty much wrote a large chunk of the new guidance - at last some sense!

    How did the Coalition get itself into this mess?

    Because it consists of out of touch toffs mindlessly following libertarian dogma who are allegedly willing to take a bung to their Party coffers to allegedly help their mates make more money by allegedly abusing their tenure in public office - and "Taliban" Osborne has been totally rebuffed - his idea of using planning as a lever of economic growth policy is now where it deserves to be - in the dustbin of history.

    Chalk up another major u turn and political failure to Dave's out of touch toffs.

  • Comment number 45.

    richard bunning @ 44

    I believed every word that Peter Cruddas told the Sunday Times journalist.

    IMHO, it was absolutely true that access to the PM could be purchased for an appropriate sum.

    Everything that has happened since has been a smokescreen to try and deflect attention away from this.

    When England is England again, in the political sense, this perversion of democracy will seem like a bad dream.

  • Comment number 46.


    I assert: INTEGRITY GOVERNANCE staffed by wise individuals of virtue and ability, should give England that John Lewis touch. Or should the John Lewis board divide and spend their time, and money, kicking the proverbial out of each other (and attracting the like of Balls, Cameron, Miliband, et al, to their boardroom)? What an appalling thought.

    Go on - make my day.

  • Comment number 47.

    Perversion or subversion?

    Whatever, it is a version of democracy peddled by the three so-called mainstream 'Brit' parties that is completely unhelpful for us English.

    We English won't get anywhere until we have dumped the three 'British' Parties and chosen 'none of the above'.

    Accepting that political parties are currently, despite their faults, the conventional vehicle for instigating change, then for England that would mean significant numbers of Engish people switching their vote to parties such as the English Democrats, Greens and others.

    Presently, there is no sign of that happening and it is more likely that England will find itself 'independent' by default as first the Scots and then the Welsh walk away.

    NB. There is no chance of NI walking away from the Union as it is totally addicted to the huge annual subsidy that the taxpayers of SE England provide.

  • Comment number 48.

    Re: 44

    I am SO GRATEFUL to the moderator for allowing my to post that last message - does this mark a sea change in the BBC's fidelity of moderation?

    Perhaps if it looks like a pig, acts like a pig, smells like a pig and sounds like a pig, just maybe we might be allowed to call it - an alleged pig.

  • Comment number 49.

    richard bunning @ 48

    Don't get too excited by posts being nodded through by the moderaters on this NewsNight Web team blog because it is a very, very obscure blog in a soon to be redundant format with an audience of a tiny handful of people who will have no influence whatsoever on anyone or anything with what we write here.

    Don't mean to cause any offence, just being realistic.

    Not changing the world one blog at a time.

  • Comment number 50.

    twitter the real public service.

  • Comment number 51.

    given the widespread use of twitter by the bbc surely twitter should get payment? How much would it cost to provide such a service? shouldn't the licence fee go to twitter?

  • Comment number 52.

    DQF [Delivering Quiches First] that has butchered NN will at least mean the execs can increase the property portfolio?


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