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Prospects for Thursday, 19 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Jun 08, 10:48 AM

Today's output editor is Shaminder Nahal - here's her morning e-mail to the production team:

Hello everyone.

We have the second of our brilliant Burma films tonight. Investigative journalist Simon Ostrovsky reports on the aftermath of cyclone Nargis - we see the harrowing journey he makes into the disaster zone, and how people there are coping with the aid that's trickling through. Shall we have a discussion?

What on earth are Europe's leaders going to do about the Irish NO on Lisbon. David Grossman and Neil Breakwell are in Brussels.

Do we need to open the debate on GM because of the global food crisis? That's what the Environment Minister, Phil Woolas, seems to be saying. Susan Watts is on the case.

Are there any lighter stories you think we should get on air? Please look around.

Other big stories around:
Hamas/Israel ceasefire watch.
Zimbabwe. Mugabe and Mbeki have held talks. Bodies of MDC supporters have been found. Rice discussing crisis at Security Council.

Anything else? See you in a minute.

Yours, Shaminder

Wednesday, 18 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Jun 08, 05:52 PM

From tonight's presenter, Kirsty Wark:

Crunch time

darling_nn_203.jpgIt's Alistair Darling's BIG NIGHT OUT at the Mansion House - and boy, is there a lot for him to talk about.

With the prospect of energy prices rising by 40 per cent by Christmas according to an industry insider today, and so soon after his letter from the Governor of the Bank of England warning inflation might hit four per cent by Christmas, AND with public sector unions threatening strikes if the government does not renegotiate pay settlements - what exactly is he going to say?

Will he talk down growth, warn about pay restraint and shake a big stick at the City and its big fat bonuses? We'll be there.

We'll also hear from the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and debate whether pay settlements really should or could be held down. Do let us know how life is for you during the Crunch by commenting below.

French economy

We'll also have the economic view from across the channel. We have an interview with the French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde on France's problems with the economy and the future of the EU now that the Irish have said "no" to the Lisbon Treaty.


Our diplomatic Editor Mark Urban is following up on the deadliest attack on UK forces in Afghanistan since hostilities began seven years ago. Four soldiers - three men and a woman - were killed in an explosion east of Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province. Weren't we meant to be winning the war against the Taleban?

After Nargis

And we have an extraordinary, exclusive film of unseen Burma - of two doctors working for the NGO Merlin in an area devastated by the cyclone, where they were operating with the permission of the Burmese authorities.

Click here to read more.

Prospects for Wednesday, 18 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Jun 08, 10:23 AM

From today's output editor Simon Enright - here's his morning e-mail to the production team:

Good Morning,

Lots of stories which should we take on to uncover something a little deeper.

- The biggest loss of British life in Afghanistan for 2 years. Weren't we winning the war against the Taleban?
- First Mansion House Speech for Mr Darling... Will he keep the economy on track and can he restrain pay?
- Abu Qatada released but under severe bail conditions. Will we learn more about where he is today?
- Plans for tackling our attitudes to crime. Will the government accept any of them?
So you know.... We have two things planned. Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister will be talking to us - what should we ask about?

We also have a film produced by Mark Lobel of unseen Burma. The footage is from two doctors working for Merlin, but they were operating with the permission of the Burma regime.

Do come with thoughts at 10.30.

All the best,

Tuesday, 17 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Jun 08, 06:04 PM

The rate of inflation has hit its highest level for 11 years and the governor of the Bank of England says it could keep on rising. The Consumer Prices Index hit 3.3% last month, up from 3% in April. The bank governor Mervyn King has written to the government saying that rising food and oil prices could push inflation over 4% this year. We'll be asking how bad could this get and what are the solutions? Treasury Minister, Yvette Cooper will join us in studio. The Newsnight Shadow Monetary Policy Committee will reconvene to tell us what could happen next. Are we heading for further increases in inflation, interest rate rises and recession?

The Conservative Party Chairman Caroline Spelman is to face a Commons inquiry into the use of her MPs' expenses to pay for a nanny. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner has ordered an investigation after Newsnight's Michael Crick reported that she'd used her secretarial allowance to pay a nanny more than a decade ago. Caroline Spelman insists she's done nothing wrong.

Watch the reports here.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Minister, Hazel Blears, may have broken the rules on the handling of restricted government information. A personal computer that holds restricted government documents relating to defence and extremism was stolen from her constituency office in Salford on Saturday.

Political Editor, Michael Crick will join us live.

A United Nations envoy met Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe today to discuss the violent political crisis ahead of this month's presidential election run-off. The visit is the first by a senior UN official for three years and comes at a time of growing international pressure on Mugabe over the June 27 vote. Opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, President Mugabe's Western critics and human right groups accuse the veteran leader of orchestrating a violent campaign to intimidate MDC supporters and leaders ahead of the election. Because the BBC isn't allowed into Zimbabwe Ian Pannell has gone in undercover. His report includes new allegations of intimidation by the President's party against the opposition.

We'll be speaking to America's most successful political blogger, Arianna Huffington about the power of the web in the election campaign.

Prospects for Tuesday, 17 June

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Jun 08, 11:13 AM

Today's output editor is Robert Morgan - here's his morning e-mail to the production team:

Hello everyone,

The big squeeze continues. The soaring cost of fuel and food has pushed inflation above 3% for the first time since March last year. The cost of living is now running at 3.3%. It means that the governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, will now have to write a letter to the Chancellor to explain why the figure has risen more than 1% above the government's target, of 2%. Let's discuss how we should do this story in the meeting.

Bids are in for the Chancellor and Yvette Cooper.

A top UN official is due in Zimbabwe for a five-day visit ahead of the presidential run-off, which continues to be marred by political violence. Haile Menkerios is expected to meet politicians to discuss the situation in the run-up to the 27 June vote. Violence is reported to have spread to urban areas near Harare, with opposition activists complaining of being attacked near the city. The UK Prime Minister called Zimbabwe's government a "criminal regime". Despite a ban on the BBC operating in Zimbabwe, Ian Pannell reports on the election campaign from inside the country. The film will need astons, archive, graphics to be dropped in later. Will send later today.
We have an interview with America's top political blogger Arianna Huffington about the US elections and her impact on them.

Other stories around today include the EU Treaty in the Lords, the Shell Strike and the latest extraordinary brain research.


Monday, 16 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Jun 08, 03:22 PM

Are we paying too high a price for our commitments in Afghanistan? The Defence Secretary Des Browne announced today that troop numbers in Afghanistan will increase to a new high of more than 8,000 by next spring, but is British policy working in the south of the country? Coalition deaths in Afghanistan last month exceeded those in Iraq for the first time. We have the Defence Secretary, Des Browne, and Lord Paddy Ashdown on the programme.

Michael Crick has been investigating new allegations about the Conservative Chair Caroline Spelman. Last weekend she defended using parliamentary allowances ten years ago to pay her nanny by saying that the nanny had also been working as her constituency secretary.

We interview former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on a new call for aid for Africa - but should leaders on the continent do more to solve their own problems?

And a special report from Orla Guerin about the wave of xenophobic violence that has swept South Africa, leading to horrific attacks on refugees which were broadcast around the world. But what turned defenceless foreigners into targets, and where does the blame lie?

See Jeremy Paxman tonight at 22.30 on BBC 2

Monday, 16 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Jun 08, 01:03 PM

Good morning.

Looks busy today.

Bush and Brown meet today and will have a press conference this morning (10.30). As well as apparent differences on Iraq, there is an Afghanistan statement later today. Who should we have on?

We have an interview with Kofi Annan as a new Africa report is published. The Africa panel are asking for the pledges made at Gleneagles Summit in 2005 to be met. Western governments are to be asked for billions more in funding. But why though should the West continue to give so much aid to African Governments when they seem so disinclined to resolve Zimbabwe, Darfur and other conflicts. Is the teacher/pupil model implied by the African panel healthy or effective?

Crick has more on the Caroline Spellman story, I'll explain in the meeting.

What else would you like to do? Which guests would you like on?


Monday, 16 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Jun 08, 01:03 PM

Good morning.

Looks busy today.

Bush and Brown meet today and will have a press conference this morning (10.30). As well as apparent differences on Iraq, there is an Afghanistan statement later today. Who should we have on?

We have an interview with Kofi Annan as a new Africa report is published. The Africa panel are asking for the pledges made at Gleneagles Summit in 2005 to be met. Western governments are to be asked for billions more in funding. But why though should the West continue to give so much aid to African Governments when they seem so disinclined to resolve Zimbabwe, Darfur and other conflicts. Is the teacher/pupil model implied by the African panel healthy or effective?

Crick has more on the Caroline Spellman story, I'll explain in the meeting.

What else would you like to do? Which guests would you like on?


Friday, 13 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Jun 08, 04:37 PM

voting203.jpgEurope's Friday 13th
If Ireland's reaction to the new proposed European Union constitutional treaty were to be a hand signal it would probably involve the extension of the middle finger of the right hand in the air. Ireland says NO. This throws the carefully oiled process by which all the other governments across the continent skilfully have NOT asked their voters' opinions into disarray. We'll be debating what the European Union does next - and perhaps more importantly, why democracy and the EU do not really seem to go together.

David Davis
As if David Davis has not suffered enough - we've sent Michael Crick to his constituency. I have no idea what he's found out, but as always it will be worth watching.

Prospects for Friday, 13 June

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Jun 08, 11:07 AM

Today's output editor is Richard Pattinson - here's his e-mail to the production team...

Morning everyone and happy Friday 13th.

We'll have the results of the Irish referendum at around teatime, although may well get a strong indicator earlier. A leading bookie is already paying out for Yes bets but with initial reports of a low turnout that could be very premature. If it's a No, what would that mean for the EU? Who do you want to hear from?

Michael and Stuart are heading up to Haltemprice and Howden following yesterday's extraordinary announcement. Will David Davis be out pressing the flesh today? And will Kelvin MacKenzie really stand against him?

Other stories
Oil. The partial strike is under way - will there be significant panic buying? Plus a meeting in Brussels today over high UK fuel duty rates and fresh oil data out from OPEC.

Oh and it's the 100th anniversary of the tea bag apparently. Why today exactly I can't work out.

Anything else take your fancy?


Thursday, 12 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Jun 08, 04:34 PM

davis203.jpgIs the resignation by the Shadow Home Secretary a sign of principle in politics or a temper tantrum at the top of the Conservative party?

We'll have the latest on the Davis bombshell after an extraordinary day at Westminster.

Plus we'll also be reporting from Ireland on the knife-edge European referendum and from Australia on the man who was seen as the Gordon Brown of Down Under.

So why has Prime Minister Kevin Rudd done so well?

Prospects for Thursday, 12 June

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Jun 08, 11:10 AM

Good morning. Today's output editor is Dan Kelly - here's his e-mail to the production team...

Good morning all.

Some good stories today - what are your thoughts?

Today sees the culmination of the BMA's campaign against the government's plans for so-called "super-surgeries" in England. They claim that plans for polyclinics and GP-led health centres - which will group more GPs together and offer extra services - will lead to the end of the traditional local GP surgery and many closures. They've managed to spook their patients too - 1.2 m have signed a petition opposing the plans. Are doctors just protecting their own interests? Ministers say the BMA campaign is "mendacious" and "misleading".

What more can we do on the secret documents story?

The Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty takes place today. How has the No campaign - a rainbow coalition of nationalists, free marketers and left wingers - managed to bring Europe to the brink? David Grossman is on the story in Dublin.

We have a piece from Australia on PM Rudd - why has he succeeded where Brown has not?

Annie Lennox is being awarded with a Red Cross honour today for her charity work on Aids, but can Celebs ever do any lasting good in this field or is vanity the real winner? We have an interview.

Other ideas? Guest suggestions?


Wednesday, 11 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Jun 08, 04:29 PM

commons203.jpgIn tonight's programme - two knife-edge votes - one in Westminster on 42-day detention and one in Ireland on the new European constitutional treaty.

We'll be assessing how far tonight's vote may help Gordon Brown to bounce back - and how far tomorrow's vote in Ireland could sink the "European project".

Plus a report from Afghanistan on whether the billions of dollars of aid that have poured into the country have been spent effectively.

Prospects for Wednesday, 11 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Jun 08, 10:04 AM

Today's output editor is Shaminder Nahal - here's her morning e-mail to the production team:

Hello everyone.

Today, MPs vote on 42-day detention for terrorist suspects.

Tomorrow, the Irish people vote in a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. David Grossman and Sarah Teasdale are in Dublin.

We have a film from Alastair Leithead and Richard Colebourn on how effectively billions of dollars of aid have been spent in Afghanistan.

What else?

See you in a minute,

Tuesday, 10 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Jun 08, 06:03 PM

42 days
From 28 days to 42. What are the chances of success for Gordon Brown with the serried ranks of Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and some Labour backbenchers implacably opposed to this key part of the Government's Counter-Terrorism Bill?

brown_42.jpgTomorrow's debate could be a defining moment for Gordon Brown's premiership, but far from bringing more MPs onside, opposition may be hardening with key players bolstering the case against - the DPP Sir Ken MacDonald, the Lord Advocate in Scotland Eilish Angiolini, the former Justice Secretary Lord Falconer, and the former Prime Minister John Major.

On the other side - the Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, the independent reviewer of terror laws Lord Carlile, the Chair of the British Muslim Forum, Khurshid Ahmed and the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Tonight we will be doing the parliamentary arithmetic and asking whether Gordon Brown has made an effective case for 42 day detention, and if he fails is it a matter of confidence?

Why is it that the NHS in England and Wales insists that if you pay for any part of your treatment privately then you are barred from NHS care for that condition from that point on? The papers have revealed countless cases recently of people who've topped up the care and landed themselves with a bill. We know that Lord Darzi is producing a report for the government on future care but will he deal with this issue? Paul Mason is investigating and we'll debate the issue with leading proponents from both sides.
Join our NHS debate here.

Kirsty is also just interviewing President Museveni of Uganda - one of Africa's most senior leaders. He recently visited Zimbabwe and with opposition leaders there worried that elections will be neither free nor fair. She'll be questioning this friend of Mugabe about what next for the country.

The Pump
Finally here at Newsnight we've adopted a petrol station. With growing concern about the price of goods we wanted to hear views from the pump. If you too are feeling the credit crunch - and with news today that many home-owners are facing negative equity there must many of you - then please put your comments at the pump below.

Prospects for Tuesday, 10 June

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Jun 08, 11:18 AM

Today's output editor is Simon Enright - here's his morning e-mail to the production team:

Hello All,

So what should we lead on today? Tomorrow sees the crucial 42 day parliamentary vote and David Miliband has cut short his trip to fly back today to help lead the debate.

We have an interview with President Museveni of Uganda. We can ask about so many different issues... Ethiopia's famine, Zimbabwe, continental leadership, South Africa? What should we ask him about?

The Conservative MP for Billericay, John Baron, has called a debate on NHS co-payment in the Commons today. If you top up your NHS care with private help then you get clobbered with the whole bill for your NHS treatment. Does any party have a policy which addresses this - we are all waiting for Lord Darzi's report which is due out soon.

What about poverty - is there more on that we should do today after the Archbishop yesterday? The official figures out this morning. If the Gordon Brown government isn't tackling this then what are they for?

Finally we have the second of our films about how the credit crunch is biting - at the Petrol pump. Jackie Long with Hugh Milbourn producing. Should we do more on the economy?

Or should we just ask Susan Watts to explain to us why the dolphins are dying Cornwall.

There is space for more ideas so do come armed to the 10.30 meeting.

All the best


Monday, 9 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Jun 08, 06:44 PM

From tonight's presenter, Emily Maitlis:

Is anyone listening?
rowan203.jpgI have just interviewed the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams about the state of British children and how we treat them. He told me - in the context of a report by Children's Commissioners, out today - that we as a society often act in a punitive frame of mind, and behave as if we don't really like children. He said he had yet to see evidence that custodial sentences for young people actually worked.

But he also revealed something rather interesting. When I asked him if he would offer stronger leadership on the difference between right and wrong and the way we lead our lives he replied: '"Do you think that people in this country faced with 'muscular Christianity' as you call it are going to change their ways because I say so or anyone else says so?" So tonight we ask what it means when the very head of the Anglican Church concedes that little he says really makes a difference.

Since our investigation into the expenses of the Tory party chair on Friday, Ms Spelman has been resolutely defending her position. Today she met the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner following complaints that she used taxpayers' money to pay for a nanny. The man who broke the story - one Michael Crick - joins us live.

Venezuela's President Chavez has told Columbia's foremost terrorist group to lay down their arms and free all their hostages. Why now? Frank Gardner, fresh back from Columbia where he's been looking at the hostage taking situation there, will be in the studio.

The international community has poured millions of dollars into prevention of HIV/AIDS in the former Soviet Union. But despite this money, the virus is on a dramatic rise and especially in Central Asia. Drugs and prostitution are the most common reasons behind the spread of the virus, although the most recent mass outbreaks happened inside hospitals and the victims are children. Natalia Antalava looks at what role hospitals play in the spread of the infection and why the healthcare system is emerging as one of the reasons as to why Central Asia is losing its battle against HIV/AIDS.

Bobby Kennedy
And we revisit the circumstances surrounding RFK's death. As promised, indeed, on Friday.

Prospects for Monday, 9 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Jun 08, 10:31 AM

Today's output editor is Robert Morgan - here's his morning e-mail to the production team:

Good morning everyone,

We've got an interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Children's Commissioners report on childhood. Are too many of our children being locked up and left in poverty?

Caroline Spelman, oil prices and Columbia look interesting too. Do come to the meeting with ideas on how to do these stories and others.

We've got a film from Natalia Antalava and Sara:

The international community has poured millions of dollars into prevention of HIV/AIDS in the former Soviet Union. But despite this money, the virus is on a dramatic rise and especially in Central Asia. Drugs and prostitution are the most common reasons behind the spread of the virus, although the most recent mass outbreaks happened inside hospitals and the victims are children. Natalia Antalava looks at what role hospitals play in the spread of the infection and why the healthcare system is emerging as one of the reasons as to why Central Asia is losing its battle against HIV/AIDS.

See you in a minute,


Friday, 6 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Jun 08, 05:19 PM

Eco Towns:
flint203.jpgTomorrow night the village of Ford, in Sussex will hold a protest meeting to fight the imposition of an eco town on its doorstep. The government is planning ten such developments around the country, which they believe offer a sustainable strategy to solve a lack of housing. It's not just the celebrity dads who are up in arms - although the presence of Tim Henman's father has pushed the cause into new leagues of visibility. The award winning architect Richard Rogers says they would be 'one of the biggest mistakes the government could make'. And even the Green Brigade say that, of course, the truly eco solution is not to build them at all. We'll be talking to the Housing Minister Caroline Flint. Is this all Nimbyism? And is anything actually wrong with Nimbyism if it is?

Race and Gender:
The New Hampshire heckler who confronted Hillary Clinton with the banner saying 'iron my shirt' raised early questions about how much misogyny she would encounter on the campaign trail. It is hard to imagine how a hypothetical Obama heckler with a sign saying 'polish my shoes' would have been let off so lightly by either the media or indeed the law. Was the Democratic nomination lost to Hillary because of sexism? Probably not. Is race now less of an issue in America than gender? Again, probably not. But tonight, we hammer out the issue that has been ever present on this extraordinary and unprecedented campaign with feminist novelist and Clinton supporter - Erica Jong, and Jamal Simmons, Democrat strategist, Obama campaigner and yes, black man.

Assassination Plots:
bobby203.jpgIt may seem a rather inopportune moment to re-examine the circumstances surrounding the death of a man who'd just won the Democratic presidential primary. But bear with us. Bobby Kennedy was shot dead in 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles. That moment has been revisited and reinterpreted ad nauseam. Two years ago, the documentary film-maker Shane O'Sullivan made the case on Newsnight that CIA agents were present at the shooting. It turns out the story is rather different......

Join us for that, and more, at 10.30 on BBC 2


Prospects for Friday, 6 June

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Jun 08, 10:17 AM

Today's programme producer is Shaminder Nahal. Here's her morning e-mail to the production team:

Hello everyone,

Is there anything that particularly interests you today? Zimbabwe? Free swimming. (Can you really call that an Olympic legacy?)

Paul Mason is looking at eco-towns. The government wants 10 of them by 2020. But is it all just eco spin? Tomorrow a protest is being held at one of the proposed sites. Is it the start of a summer of discontent in Middle England?

Or is it a summer of strikes over public sector pay? Let's see what Unison says at lunch-time about the government's pay deal.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have held a private meeting ahead of her concession speech tomorrow. The bitter fight for the Democratic nomination opened up deep fault lines on race and gender. Discussion?

And an item already underway from yesterday - on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the assassination of RFK we look again at the theory that CIA agents were present in the hotel the night he died.


Thursday, 5 June, 2008

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 5 Jun 08, 06:33 PM

Expenses scandal

chichester203.jpg His response on West country TV to the revelations:"Here I am leading that process for the last couple of months and whoops-a-daisy I am shown up to have made a mistake." How could Giles Chichester get it so badly wrong?
Is the government heading for another policy climb-down? A major shake up of the planning process designed to speed up consent for big infrastructure projects is under fire from all sides of the Commons. MPs fear that the creation of a new Infrastructure Planning Commission will allow ministers to force through big projects such as motorways and power stations despite local opposition. Now miraculously the debate on the bill's report stage timetabled for Monday has disappeared into thin air, wiped from the agenda. Is the government running scared of its backbenches again? We'll be speaking to the Planning Minister John Healey.

US politics
More politics from across the Atlantic. Scott McClellan was George W Bush's White House Press Secretary for three crucial years during which he says in his new memoirs that President Bush "veered terribly off course" and was not open and forthright on Iraq. Given that he admits that some of his own assertions from the White House briefing room turned out to be "badly misguided". I'll be asking him live about what share of the blame he takes for his bosses actions. 
We'll also be hearing from our reporter alongside the Obama camp in Virginia - the latest on possible running mates, tactics and the Hillary issue.

Cheapest car
And exclusively revealed on Newsnight tonight, the world's cheapest car - the Tata Nano. We have the first look inside the factory which is making the £1,000 car which could revolutionise car culture in India and bring a new set of questions on climate change.

And we want Newsnight viewers to participate in the launch of our UK map to create a picture of the health of the NHS at 60.

Prospects for Thursday, 5 June

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Jun 08, 10:29 AM

Hello all,

There's news around and a few things already set up. I'm keen to look today at the new planning laws that will be debated in parliament on Monday. Politicians giving up powers to a new commission - is that the right way? David Grossman has planned this and John Healey the minister will do an interview.

But there is also lots of other news. Richard Dannatt wants more pay for privates in the army. Gordon Brown wants more kids with knives in court.

We have the first look inside the factory that is making the world's cheapest car - the Tata Nano. It could revolutionise sales of cars in India - and that has climate change implications.

We've also two other short films planned: The launch of our UK map to find a picture of health with the NHS at 60. And on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the assassination of RFK we look again at the theory that CIA agents were present in the hotel the night he died.

What else should we, can we do? How else should we deal with the planning story? Should we have guests?


Wednesday, 4 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Jun 08, 05:03 PM

obama_mccain203.jpgAmerican Elections
We are going to devote a significant proportion of tonight's programme to the most important major political event in the world this year - the contest between Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. What difference will it make to America and the world if it is McCain rather than Obama?

Plus, a Conservative MP with a Polish background has accused the BBC of fuelling racist attacks on Polish immigrants. He says that it's also using Polish immigration as a soft and politically correct way of talking about the overall question of immigration from countries which - unlike Poland - are not predominantly white or Christian.

Does he have a point? We'll be debating this live.

We also hope to be hearing from celebrated artist, David Hockney on art and indecency.

Prospects for Wednesday, 4 June

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Jun 08, 11:08 AM

From today's output editor, Robert Morgan:

Good morning everyone,

The US election gun has been fired. It's to be Obama versus McCain. Peter and Ben are in Washington. Let's discuss how we do the story today.

There are a few other stories around today. There's the Polish attacks story, PMQs, Darling's evidence on 10p tax to the Treasury Select Committee, another 42 day meeting of Labour backbenchers tonight, the future of the NHS, and David Hockney's latest outburst.

Playout? Mel Ferrer?


Tuesday, 3 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jun 08, 05:30 PM

From tonight's presenter, Gavin Esler:

clintons_nn_203enlarge.jpgClinton and Obama
Is it finally the end of the road for Hillary? And have the Democrats chosen the right person? We'll have the latest from the final US primaries.

Eat your Greens
Is going vegetarian the answer to the world's food problems? Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN climate agency, thinks so. We'll discuss.
Click here to join the debate

The Winners
Some people are doing well out of the credit crunch. Who are they? And would they lend me a tenner?
Watch last night's report on The Losers

The RSPCA says we have an increasing problem with dangerous dogs. Why?

Prospects for Tuesday, 3 June, 08

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jun 08, 10:24 AM

Today's programme producer is Shaminder Nahal. Here's her morning e-mail to the production team:

clintons_nn_203100.jpgAt 10:30 tonight, we could be hours away from closure in the fight for the Democratic nomination in the US. Or we could not. But anyway, the last Democratic primaries are being held today in Montana and South Dakota. When will Hillary leave the stage? What are the super delegates going to do? Shall we discuss Bill Clinton's extraordinary comments on "the bias of the media for Obama" and his view that "this has been the most rigged coverage in modern history"?

Forty world leaders (including Robert Mugabe) are descending on Rome to try and work out how to solve the global food crisis. What should we do on this?

The Burma Campaign has published its dirty list of companies that trade/invest with Burma. Should we name and shame them?

Ryanair has announced a 20 per cent rise in its net profits for the last financial year. But its chief executive, Michael O'Leary, says if oil prices don't fall, he only expects the airline to break even this year. Is cheap air travel dead?

The RSPCA is worried about dangerous dogs. Are you? What does the apparent increase in ownership of dangerous dogs tell us about ourselves?

And: Olmert is Washington - his farewell tour? Maths standards are down. We'll know the details of the 42 days concessions.

And the upside of the downturn. Part two of our mini-series on the winners and losers in the credit-crunched world. Gillian Lacey-Solymar explains why the economic slump is good news if you sell lipsticks or cushions, and if your work-place is in need of some Dunkirk spirit.

See you in a minute,

Monday, 2 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Jun 08, 04:33 PM

From tonight's presenter, Gavin Esler:

Today's Quote for the Day comes from Gordon Brown: "I am determined that we stick to our principles."

gord2_203100.jpgThe prime minister was speaking about government plans to allow the police to detain terror suspects for up to 42 days without charge. In taking such a stand, just what kind of risk is the prime minister running? Is there an electoral strategy behind it? Michael Crick investigates and we'll be talking to the government.

Banks in bother?

More bad news for the banking industry. Bradford and Bingley shares fell sharply today after news that it made a loss and it's blaming problems with the buy-to-let market. Could other banks be in similar trouble? And is the announcement that it has sold more than 20 per cent of the bank to an American private equity group a sign that banks are at the bottom of the market - and now is the time to buy on the cheap?

US election

Hillary Clinton keeps clocking up wins in the primaries but the mathematics still mean it is Barack Obama who will secure the Democratic nomination for president. We've a report from Peter Marshall in Washington, and I've been talking to Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton's former National Security Adviser and long-term friend of the Clinton family. Mr Berger tells me that these are the most dangerous times for a new US president since Franklin Roosevelt first took power in 1933 - faced with Mussolini, Stalin, the Rise of Hitler, and the Great Depression. What's his plan for the next president to follow?

Yves and Bo

And finally we were torn on whether to mark the death of Yves Saint Laurent or of guitar legend Bo Diddley. In the end we decided to do both. We have an interview with Yves Saint Laurent's friend and top shoe designer, Manolo Blahnik. And we'll end the show with Bo.

Gordon, the Government and Everything

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Jun 08, 12:55 PM

gord2_203100.jpgNot since the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has the number 42 caused so much discussion and confusion. But rather than being the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, Gordon Brown is hoping it will be one of the answers to two issues: combating terrorism, and getting his leadership back on track.

Writing in the Times today, he argues that extending the number of days that terror suspects can be detained without charge from 28 to 42 days is the "right way to protect national security". The proposal is backed by the police.

The vote, which is part of the Counter-Terrorism bill, takes place next week, and the prime minister hopes he will have persuaded enough potential rebels - and made sufficient compromises - to avoid defeat.

But as the whole issue of terror detention has generally been debated via the prism of Westminster, have ministers lost touch with the views of the country? Are the majority of voters actually quite comfortable with 42 days as a measure to help tackle terrorism in the UK? Or should opponents of the figure, concerned about potential infringements of our civil liberties, remain defiant in the face of Gordon Brown's resolve to stick to his principles and "do the right thing"?

Our political editor Michael Crick is at Westminster with his ear to the ground - he'll be blogging for us later this afternoon and reporting for tonight's programme.

Stay up to date with his blog, and let us know your thoughts on 42 days and whether this could be the last throw of the dice for Gordon Brown.

Prospects for Monday, 2 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Jun 08, 10:06 AM

Today's output editor is Simon Enright - here's his morning e-mail to the production team:

Hello All,

Which story will be the most important at 10.30 tonight and which one can we move forward?

MPs are back from their half-term holiday and the PLP meets this evening to discuss 42 days. Gordon Brown is offering concessions but is clearly determined to face defeat if necessary on this issue. Just how damaging could this be for him?

Bradford and Bingley have made a loss in the first few months of the year. Their share price has tumbled. But they've found an American buyer for 20% of their stock. So does that mean it is bad but this is the bottom?

We've also got an interview with Sandy Berger - former Bill Clinton advisor - ahead of the final two primaries. He's some interesting advice to give to the next US President on foreign policy.

And Madeleine Holt will do Yves Saint Laurent.

But what interviews should we do? Is there a playout? Is there a story we're missing? Mugabe? Olmert?

All the best and see you at 10.30.


Friday, 30 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 30 May 08, 06:26 PM

Terror, consent and ticking timebombs

binyam_203100.jpgThe last Briton in Guantanamo Bay has just been charged with terrorism under its Military Tribunal. Binyam Mohammed - who says he was tortured in Morocco under extraordinary rendition - could now face the death penalty. We don't know, to be frank, if he's a terrorist. But we do know that when the very practices used by the West face eyebrow raising scrutiny, and questions of legality, the so-called War on Terror itself is in danger of being undermined.

Tonight we talk to the author of Terror and Consent - a philosophical roadmap for fighting the often intangible issue of terrorism. We ask Philip Bobbitt what methods should and could be used to protect ourselves whilst retaining the values that allow civil societies to hold their heads high.


Earlier this week the prime minister called this week the "third great oil shock" of our times. It's been an extraordinary few days. New price highs, the first haulier protests against petrol tax since 2000, pan-European demonstrations and promises by the government to help those in fuel poverty. We look back on whether we've just witnessed what might - in years to come - be seen as the week oil tipped us into recession. We'll also be speaking to a man who believes this will be the last oil shock.


It's the perfect script for a John Grisham novel - the underdog abandoned by a corrupt government - and the elaborate conspiracy to cover it all up. Tonight we look at the revelations that Harold Macmillan - in the year before he became prime minister - opposed a public health campaign on the dangers of smoking. He argued, as chancellor, that he needed the tax revenue from cigarettes and didn't believe the scientific evidence of the time was strong enough anyway. But it's enough to make you wonder what dangers we're ignoring today on the basis of useful taxation revenue.

Prospects for Friday, 30 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 30 May 08, 10:45 AM

From today's output editor, Robert Morgan:

Hello everyone,

We've got a few good stories around today. There's the continuing fuel prices story, Brown's travails, 42 days, and the AQ Khan interview. The Macmillan story is quite extraordinary. Peter Marshall also has a really strong story for tonight which I'll tell you more about in the meeting.

Do come to the meeting with ideas on how to do these or any other stories.

See you in a minute,


Thursday, 29 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 29 May 08, 06:01 PM

From tonight's presenter, Emily Maitlis:


earth_203100.jpgHave you noticed that farmers are unusually quiet these days? After years of understandable frustration over Foot and Mouth, Mad Cow disease and supermarket-squeezed margins, the National Farmers' Union has admitted that "productive agriculture" is back on the agenda. In other words, food prices are high and they're not coming down any time soon.

A top level report has said the cost of food could remain at record levels for the next decade. So tonight, we ask the big question: too little food? Too little fuel? Or just too many of us? We'll be debating the taboo subject of overpopulation.


When ministers start talking about "consensus" over controversial issues, the rest of us start wondering about U-turns. Today, a Home Office minister announced there might be concessions on the 42-day detention issue. We'll be looking at what these might be and what they say about Gordon Brown's relationship with his backbenchers.

North Korea

An estimated 200,000 North Koreans are living illegally on the Chinese border. Food shortages in their country means an ever greater chance of starvation, and when your life is at risk, you risk your life. Tonight, an extraordinarily powerful film from the North Korea border where we document the flow of human traffic and what it tells us about the society that remains possibly the most closed in the world.

A Genuine Hitler?

Ever wondered what a genocidal maniac would choose to paint in his spare time? If you're looking for a portrayal of an evil mind, you won't find it here. The works of one Adolf Hitler are pure and insipid banality. Yet they've inspired the Chapman Brothers - best known for their work "Hell" - to rework his paintings and ask "If Hitler was a Hippy How Happy Would We Be". It's not as crass as it sounds.

Prospects for Thursday, 29 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 29 May 08, 10:14 AM

Today's output editor is Jasmin Buttar - here's her morning e-mail to the production team:

Lots of opportunity for you to get your ideas on the show tonight.

What to lead on?
- OECD report says world food prices will continue to rise and one of the underlying reasons is the size of the world's population. Are there simply too many people for the world's resources to sustain?

- IVF story - see cover of Sun - amazing story but is there something in it for us?

- knife crime - ad campaign starts today and Blair speaks on it - can we find a fresh enough angle?

Elsewhere we have a gripping film from Olenka Frenkiel and Ian O'Reilly on the North Koreans fleeing to China and South Korea to escape poverty and famine.

Please come fizzing with thoughts.

Until 10.30,

Wednesday, 28 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 28 May 08, 05:25 PM

From tonight's presenter, Gavin Esler:

Nuclear Power

pylons_203152.jpgGordon Brown suggests it might be part of the answer to our energy problems. That was all after a big push to stop the "third oil shock" this morning from the PM. But will this solve the energy gap or is it an example of bad policy being made on-the-hoof?

Mary not so Contrary

Mary Whitehouse campaigned at what she saw as the smut and violence on television from the 1960s on. Newsnight tonight follows a play about her life, and we'll debate whether the doughty campaigner was in fact right. How far are the roots of today's violence and social problems to be found in the kind of television Mrs Whitehouse loathed?

Did Mary Whitehouse have a point?

The 1968 Protests

Protests around the world in 1968 seemed to be demanding a change in the global order. The student clashes in Britain seemed nothing in comparison to those in Paris and the US. But 40 years on Paul Mason has got hold of the secret police files which show just how worried the establishment were.

Read Paul Mason's blog

Beryl Cook

She was described by Victoria Wood as "Ruben's with Jokes". One of Britain's most popular painters Beryl Cook has died aged 81. We'll mark her work.

Prospects for Wednesday, 28 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 28 May 08, 10:15 AM

Today's output editor is Simon Enright - here's his morning e-mail to the production team:

Hello All,

Lots of stories around but what should be our take?

Why were there power cuts yesterday? Is there a problem with energy that we are missing? And what do Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling hope to achieve by meeting some oil representatives... Anything?

Peter Marshall is pursuing story about Binyam Mohammed - the British resident in Guantanamo who is about to go on trial for his life before a military commission. But the British Government has allegations that the only evidence against him was both false and based on torture.

Nepal is about to end nearly 250 years of Royal rule and become a republic. Should we cover OR should we do Lebanon where a new administration is about to come to power hopefully ending the Hezbollah inspired instability in the country.

And Paul Mason takes a look at what the protests of May 68 were really about. And who did Mary Whitehouse think was the international threat to the British system?

Or is there something else we should do?

Let me know what you think and come with ideas to the 1030 meeting.

All the best


Tuesday, 27 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 27 May 08, 05:11 PM

From tonight's presenter, Kirsty Wark:

Are green taxes dead?

lorries_nn_203100.jpgAre green taxes a luxury we can no longer afford? In the face of an economic downturn, should society be ditching the green agenda or sticking with it?

Lines of lorries are clogging the country's main arteries today in protest over the rising cost of fuel, their drivers demanding the government scrap the planned 2p rise in fuel tax.

At the same time the Chancellor Alistair Darling is facing the fury of Labour MPs over his plans to increase road taxes on older, more polluting vehicles. He'll be addressing their concerns in a meeting next week.

With the cost of fuel, travel and food rising - and house prices falling - people are feeling a big squeeze. So, should the government ease the pain in the short-term by scrapping the green agenda, or is it more important to protect the planet for our grandchildren?

Comment on this issue here.


We have an exclusive and deeply disturbing report from Afghanistan about the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among troops and the US military's efforts to deal with this rapidly growing problem.

Since the war on terror began 60,000 US troops have received an initial diagnosis of PTSD, and the US is waking up to the fact that the level of the illness amongst returning veterans is becoming a social ill. Two hundred murders have been committed by veterans - and most victims are their own family members. Newsnight has been given exclusive access to the taskforces now on the frontline trying to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder.

MPs' expenses

Did Tony Blair display some fancy footwork over his expenses? Following a High Court ruling that MPs' Additional Costs Allowance - in other words, expenses for second homes - would not be exempted from FOI requirements, some receipts and invoices are causing a stir.

Have we a right to know exactly what MPs are spending - or should they get a £23,000 lump sum for the second home and spend it any way they want, as is expected to be recommended by a Commons committee?

Pollack playback

And we'll be revisiting some of Sydney Pollack's finest moments. The director, actor, and producer has died at the age of 73, leaving behind a string of great films - among them, They Shoot Horses Don't They?, Tootsie, The Electric Horseman, Three Days of the Condor and Out of Africa - which took seven Oscars in all.

His most recent big screen appearance was in Michael Clayton opposite George Clooney, but on occasion he made appearances in popular TV shows, from Will and Grace to The Sopranos.

Prospects for Tuesday, 27 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 27 May 08, 10:29 AM

From today's output editor, Robert Morgan:

Good morning everyone,

Quite a bit around today. There are the fuel tax demos, MPs' expenses and Burma for starters. Sydney Pollack has also just died.

We've also got a very powerful film on PTSD:

The US military says 45 percent of its soldiers who have served in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will eventually suffer some form of stress syndrome. Since the War on Terror began, 60,000 troops have received an initial diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans are returning home to a country that cannot cope with the scale of PTSD, which is no longer a medical problem but now a new social ill in America. Some 200 murders have been committed by soldiers who have recently returned. Most victims are their own family members. Now the Americas are trying several experimental therapies - both on the battlefield and off - to tackle the rapid rise of combat-related stress. Newsnight has been given exclusive access to the taskforces sent out to the frontline to try and prevent PTSD. Dominic Di-Natale reports from Afghanistan.

Playout thoughts welcome. See you in a minute,


Friday, 23 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 23 May 08, 06:30 PM

"There is a new 'nasty party' in British politics and it is the Labour Party"
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, following Labour's defeat in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election.

tories203.jpgWe'll devote most of tonight's programme to the aftermath of the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. Is this mid-term blues for Labour? Or is it something much more significant, the beginning of the end of the Brown administration? The end of New Labour as David Cameron describes it. We'll hear from the government, and Labour backbenchers as well as the opposition.


Prospects for Friday, 23 May

  • Newsnight
  • 23 May 08, 11:15 AM

Good morning. Here's today's e-mail to the production team from output editor Simon Enright:

Crewe was not just a huge kick in the teeth for Gordon Brown but also a positive endorsement for Cameron. We should explore where this leaves the political landscape today. With such a strong by-election turnout and such a huge swing to the Conservatives what can Labour do to recover ahead of a general election? And just what kind of do is Gordon Brown in and can Labour put an electoral coalition back together? We should assess all this today.

But what other stories should we do? Ban ki-Moon says all aid workers are now allowed into Burma... Really? Who is the Exeter bomber and did someone put him up to this.

The review team are in Cannes for their annual assessment of the latest films


Thursday, 22 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 22 May 08, 06:33 PM

A turning point?
Is the result of today's Crewe and Nantwich by-election likely to be a major political turning point? Labour seem to be reducing expectations. If they lose the seat what does it mean for Gordon Brown? Another relaunch or worse?
We'll also be going in search of the most significant by-election victory since the war - you can make your suggestion here.

A wise Middle Eastern sage Sheikh Yamani once noted that the Stone Age did not come to an end as a result of a shortage of stones and the oil age would not come to an end because of a shortage of oil. The shocking price of petrol and aviation fuel hits all of us. How bad could it get?

And our very own Steve Smith reports from Cannes where one of his Newsnight films has been given a screening.

Now that's what I call a by-election

  • Newsnight
  • 22 May 08, 01:52 PM

Simon Enright, Assistant Editor, Newsnight

byelection203x170.jpgThere's something about by-elections that make them irresistible - especially for journalists. It's that rare chance for the electorate to give the government a kicking, to make them listen, but not change the administration.

My first memory is of the local TV presenter, Austin Mitchell, putting down his microphone and knocking on doors in Grimsby. It was a marginal seat and a worried Labour government threw all their resources at holding it. Austin Mitchell did win, just - and is still an MP. But unnoticed, the voters of Ashfield in Derbyshire took against the government and handed that much safer Labour seat to the Conservatives. Needless to say that loss didn't feature so much on Yorkshire Telly.

For every party there must be a favourite win. If you're a Scottish Nationalist you won't forget the dramatic wins in Glasgow Govan - they took it twice in by-elections from Labour. Or for sheer television drama, Labour supporters surely can't forget the result in Dudley West that broke Peter Snow's Swingometer.

bermondsey203.jpgBut surely the by-election masters are the Liberal Democrats. Simon Hughes began the recent trend by turning yellow the safe Labour seat of Bermondsey, with what many remember as a brutally efficient campaign. The 80s, 90s and also in recent years have seen Liberal Democrats "Winning Here" in Greenwich, Eastbourne, Newbury, and most recently Sarah Teather in Brent East.

Could Crewe and Nantwich be the Conservative totem that marks a sea change in British politics? Maybe, but what really has been the most significant by-election result since 1945 and why? That's the challenge we're setting this lunchtime. On tonight's programme Liz MacKean will announce your favourite.

Prospects for Thursday, 22 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 22 May 08, 10:28 AM

Today's output editor is Robert Morgan - here's his morning e-mail to the production team:

Good morning everyone,

There's quite a bit around today. The Crewe by-election is today. David and Vara are there. Oil prices have reached a record high. Ban Ki Moon is in Burma. Do come to the morning meeting with ideas on how to do these or other stories.

Steve Smith has been to Cannes to witness the screening of his Newsnight film on "the Picasso of South America" Fernando Botero. Should be good!

Playout thoughts welcome. See you in minute,


Wednesday, 21 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 21 May 08, 02:55 PM

Jeremy's presenting tonight, hotfooting from Crewe and a name check in PMQs.

lama203.jpgThe Dalai Lama's tour of Britain has caused all sorts of controversy - not least for Gordon Brown - but are attitudes to China changing following the earthquake disaster? His Holiness himself has called on Tibetans not to protest against the Olympic torch when it visits Lhasa. We'll be debating the new mood.

David Grossman's in Crewe on the eve of the crucial by-election, on another torrid day for the Government. Jacqui Smith got a rough ride from the cops, and pressure is building on the Chancellor over his 10p tax fix.

As the Democrat primaries rumble on inconclusively, the Republican candidate John McCain has been setting out some detail of what his foreign policy might amount to. We'll be talking to his foreign affairs adviser Robert Kagan (and you can watch an earlier interview with Obama's former adviser Samantha Power here).

And where's our political editor Michael Crick? Not in Crewe and Nantwich, but in Moscow on a private visit to watch the Champions League final (it's his birthday). We hope to catch up with him live, whatever the result.

Prospects for Wednesday, 21 May

  • Newsnight
  • 21 May 08, 10:58 AM

Peter Barron is today's programme producer - here's his early email to the team.

Good morning

We're looking for 1.5m plus today, but what they'll actually watch is wide open.

There's no obvious lead, but plenty of stories - we could go big on one issue or hit any number of them.

Dalai Lama meets Brown, but not at Downing St. There could be a big fuss

Ban ki Moon due to arrive in Burma - we hope Laura Trevelyan may get an interview

Crewe and Nantwich - last day of campaigning + PMQs

The primaries rumble on - we have an interview with McCain foreign policy adviser Robert Kagan

Champions League final - probably just a watch

Or it might be a good day to go off agenda?


Tuesday, 20 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 20 May 08, 02:57 PM

Crewe and Nantwich By-election Special with Jeremy Paxman

cameron203.jpgIt promises to be the most important by-election of this Parliament, a contest which could have huge implications for the fate of Gordon Brown and David Cameron. So who will win the Labour seat of Crewe and Nantwich in Cheshire?
Jeremy will hold a special debate in the constituency with politicians from each of the main parties who will face Jeremy and an audience of local voters. David Grossman will report on the controversial tactics adopted during the campaign, and Tim Whewell will report on the impact of immigration in the area and on local politics.

Tonight's abortion votes on whether to reduce the legal limit from 24 weeks are set to be very close and could take place while we are on air. If the limit is changed, Jackie Long will report on the implications for women, society and medicine, and we'll have live reaction from Westminster. Liz MacKean will anchor the coverage from here.

It could all be very lively.

Tonight at 22.30


Prospects for Tuesday, 20 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 20 May 08, 10:09 AM

Good morning. Today's output editor is Dan Kelly - here's his e-mail to the production team...

Crewe and Nantwich by-election

It promises to be the most important by-election of this Parliament, a contest which could have huge implications for the fate of Gordon Brown and David Cameron. So who will win the Labour seat of Crewe and Nantwich in Cheshire? Jeremy will hold a special debate in the constituency with politicians and voters. David Grossman will report on the controversial tactics adopted during the campaign, and Tim Whewell will report on the impact of immigration in the area and on local politics.


Tonight's abortion vote to reduce the legal limit from 24 weeks looks set to be very close. If the limit is changed, Jackie Long will report on the implications for women, society and medicine, and we'll have reaction from Westminster. Which guests would you like to see on the show and in the piece? Liz MacKean will anchor the coverage from here.

See you at 10.30.


Monday, 19 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 19 May 08, 05:34 PM

The Meaning of Life

embryos2_203.jpgThe next 24 hours will see some of the most important debates on issues of conscience for almost a generation. MPs are today debating the new Embryology Bill which would allow the creation of so-called saviour siblings. This would permit embryos to be selected because they are a tissue match for a sick older brother or sister. The bill would also permit scientists to create human-animal hybrid embryos. The role of fathers in fertility and the upper limit for abortion will also be voted on.

Science Editor Susan Watts and Political Editor Michael Crick will have the latest on the votes from the Commons. And we'll be debating the ethical and scientific implications of these highly charged votes which could lead to some of the biggest changes in Britain's fertility and embryology laws for decades.


The Conservative leader, David Cameron, has promised "good housekeeping" as part of his party's economic policy. He said the Tories believed in long-term tax reduction. But does it all add up? Michael Crick is on the case. We hope to be joined by a senior member of the Shadow Treasury team.

US Elections

Matt Frei returns to Culpeper in Virginia to see what sort of impact the downturn in the US economy is having on people there.

Prospects for Monday, 19 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 19 May 08, 10:22 AM

Today's output editor is Robert Morgan. Here's his morning e-mail to the production team:

Good morning everyone,

There's quite a bit around today. There's the embryos bill, Conservative tax and spending, and Burma for starters. Any ideas welcome.

We also have the latest instalment from Matt Frei and the good people of Culpeper.

Playout thoughts?

See you in a minute,


Friday, 16 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 16 May 08, 05:46 PM

Beatings, Torture and Horrific Violence in Zimbabwe:
zim_torture203.jpgTonight, an exclusive interview with the US ambassador to Zimbabwe. James McGee was held for investigating what he knew to be obscene and violent attacks on members of the opposition by Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party. He graphically describes what he saw first hand - the vicious attacks on old women and young men alike - and his own response to the authorities that tried to detain him. Yet more proof of these attacks comes from the British journalist Peter Oborne who recently emerged from Zimbabwe with first hand accounts and the pictures to prove it. As the authorities set a date for the presidential run-off, finally, we bring you these distressing but crucial testimonies to the ongoing Mugabe reign of fear.

China and Burma:
One natural disaster with a death toll reaching into the tens of thousands is hard enough to contemplate. Two becomes unthinkable. Tonight our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban assesses how changed each country will be by its own natural disaster and ask what the international communities' response should be. And what does an 'official death toll' really mean - how on earth do we start to grasp the hard facts when they're so hard to come by in each case?

And is our obsession with inflation well, a little over-inflated? Tonight we speak to the Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz who thinks we're in danger of missing the point. He says that inflation targets - such as that used by the Bank Of England - could push us into recession, sacrificing growth in a vain attempt to keep down prices. So does the Bank of England - which has warned of the end of the "nice decade" - need a radical change of plan?

Join me tonight at 10:30pm


Prospects for Friday, 16 May

  • Newsnight
  • 16 May 08, 10:27 AM

Today's programme producer is Dan Kelly - here's his morning e-mail to the production team...

Burma and China
The loss of life and injuries caused by the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China have been extraordinary. What are the facts on the ground (how does the foreign office come to a figure of 217,000 dead in Burma for example)? How have the authorities responded? Will both countries ever be the same again? Let's look at both crises separately and in detail and discuss how the international community should react. Which guests would you like on?

We have an interview with the US ambassador in Zimbabwe, who was recently held by the authorities for daring to investigate the beatings handed out to MDC members by Zanu PF. We have a first hand account and pictures of these attacks from a journalist who recently went in to the country. Tsvangirai is in Belfast, we are trying to get an interview.

Other thoughts and guest suggestions are all welcome.

Thursday, 15 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 15 May 08, 06:39 PM

Hello readers and viewers,

brown203.jpgDay 3 of the Gordon Brown relaunch. We've had the mini-budget. Then the new policy plans. Today the PM was selling the message to the media. But has this flurry of activity achieved anything in turning round how the Labour government is viewed? Michael Crick has spent the day in Crewe and Nantwich finding out what voters there thought. David Grossman has been seeking the counsel of the wise sages at Westminster. And Jeremy Paxman will be asking Labour spin guru Alastair Campbell what if anything can be done. Their chats are always interesting and informative.

The China news agencies are reporting that as many as 50,000 people have been killed as a result of the earthquake in the South West. The infrastructure in the area has been decimated. But are there further threats from damage to the dams and power plants in the area? Our science Editor Susan Watts is assessing. Jeremy will be speaking to Naomi Klein about who will profit from the disasters in both China and Burma.

Finally we have a disturbing report from the Congo. It appears the latest development strategy of the Department for International Development is to fund public private partnerships. But what exactly should we make of the mining company that our government is teaming up with and should they really receive UK taxpayers cash?

Read the government's statement in full here.

Do join us at 10.30. With Jeremy and Alastair in the studio together it promises to be lively at the very least.

Simon Enright

Prospects for Thursday, 15 May

  • Newsnight
  • 15 May 08, 11:12 AM

Good morning. Here's today's e-mail to the production team from output editor Simon Enright:

Dear All,

Day Three of Gordon's fight back. After the budget, then the draft Queen's speech, now it is face the media time. Will Gordon Brown do an interview with Jeremy Paxman today?

What else should we do? Should we do China - and if so what. Bush is in Israel. Can he realistically achieve anything? Burma has voted to back the proposed new constitution. Did they care about turn out in the south west? Or are there other stories we should do?

We also have a story about how Gordon Brown is extending public private partnerships. Not just at home now but abroad too. Tim Whewell reports on the mining companies in the Congo who are more than happy to work with the British Government - and ask whether this is the right way to deliver aid?

Wednesday, 14 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 14 May 08, 05:55 PM

gordon_brown203.jpgBROWN'S POLITICAL FIGHT BACK?
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced the laws he wants to introduce in the next Parliamentary session. The programme includes 18 Bills which include plans to give communities more say about policing priorities - and policies to extend the range of affordable homes available to first time buyers. The Conservatives said Mr Brown had "run out of steam". The Lib Dems said he had "scraped the barrel to save himself". Our Political Editor, Michael Crick will analyse what sort of message the government is sending and will gauge whether the public are prepared to listen after the 10p tax row.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has warned today that the economy faces a bumpy road ahead. In a gloomy report, he forecast rising inflation and slowing growth, and said the "nice decade" was over. Our Economics Editor, Paul Mason will set out how inflation and unemployment could limit Gordon Brown's wriggle room in future.

We'll be bringing together senior politicians from all three parties to discuss whether the Draft Queen's speech will really punch through to the electorate.

whitecity2.jpgWHITE CITY
It's exactly 100 years ago today since an extraordinary exhibition took place at White City, which is now the home of the BBC Television Centre in London. The Great White City was a collection of shimmering palaces and pavilions that made up the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908. Our Culture Correspondent, Madeleine Holt, reports on a one-off celebration of harmony between Britain and France.

Two big disasters in Burma and China have hit in recent days causing massive causalities. But are they having the same impact on us compared to the Asian Tsunami in 2004? If not why is that? Is it down to a muted media response at first? And what happened to liberal interventionism?

Prospects for Wednesday, 14 May

  • Newsnight
  • 14 May 08, 11:45 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here is his morning email to the production team. You can contribute your ideas and views below.

Hello everyone,

We had the government's mini-budget yesterday in an attempt to deal with the 10p tax row. Now we have the draft Queen's Speech months in advance. Ideas welcome. Michael and Neil are on the case.

Should we be doing more on China and Burma today? Other stories? Is there anything Cherie Blair won't reveal in her memoirs?

We have a White City film from Madeleine and Henrietta:

It's exactly a hundred years ago today since an extraordinary exhibition took place at White City, which is now the home of BBC Television Centre in London. The Great White City was an extraordinary collection of shimmering palaces and pavilions that made up the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908. Our culture correspondent, Madeleine Holt, reports on a one-off celebration of harmony between Britain and France.

Playout thoughts? See you in a minute,


Prospects Tuesday, 13 May

  • Newsnight
  • 13 May 08, 10:50 AM

Today's programme producer is Dan Kelly - here's his morning e-mail to the production team...

Good Morning everybody.

Some strong stories today. Tomorrow the government unveils a draft Queen's speech, what will this amount to, and is this the beginning of Brown's fight back?
There could also be a compensation package on 10p announced this afternoon - what will the PLP and voters make of it? If the economy is the single biggest reason for the government's current problems - more bad news on that front today.
CPI Inflation has jumped to 3% from 2.5% in March - Paul Mason is on the case. Which interviews would you like to see on politics and the economy?

Talking of prices, we have a film and discussion planned on cheap clothes and tough labour conditions in the developing world, off the back of BBC 3's "Blood, Sweat and Tears" programme, in which six young British shoppers were sent to work in some Indian textile factories. We have two of the volunteers in the studio but what other guests could we have - especially British retail figures?

The death toll in China continues to rise - how can we move the story on in a distinctive way?

We also have an exclusive peek into the MOD's UFO files, and speak to some crop circle hoaxers.


Monday, 12 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 12 May 08, 05:41 PM

mizenflowers203.jpgFrom tonight's presenter, Kirsty Wark.

Teenage violence

"I don't feel anger, just sorrow for the parents of our son's killer."

These were the dignified and moving words of Margaret Mizen, whose son Jimmy was murdered on his 16th birthday. He was killed on Saturday morning in London when broken glass from an apparently unprovoked attack at a baker's shop lodged in his neck.

His death is the 13th teenage murder in London this year. The first pledge made by Boris Johnson, when he became Mayor of London, was to tackle the culture of teenage violence in the capital, and yesterday - at a global Day of Prayer - he reiterated his commitment.

But the problem is certainly not confined to London - last summer Rhys Jones, just 11 years old, was shot dead in Liverpool by two youths.

Tonight, we'll be discussing the ease with which teenagers turn to violence and how best to change the culture that breeds it.

China's earthquake

South West China has suffered its worst earthquake for 30 years, and several thousand people have been killed in the south-western province of Sichuan alone, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Many were buried as schools, factories and dormitories collapsed in the force of the quake with a magnitude of 7.8. Several hundred are buried in two collapsed chemical plants. China's President Hu Jintao has called for all out rescue efforts after the quake, the reverberations of which were felt 900 miles away in Beijing.

We'll have the latest from China on the devastation and the rescue effort, and what the government's response tells us about China in 2008.

Gordon's future

"Psychologically flawed."

Do you remember when that description of Gordon Brown was attributed to Alistair Campbell? Wrongly, Campbell says.

It was back in 1998 but the idea that Gordon sat "gathering his brows like a gathering storm nursing his wrath to keep it warm" (apologies to Burns) for the whole of the Blair years has not been dispelled by his demeanour as PM, and certainly not by the trio of autobiographies from Lord Levy, John Prescott and Cherie Blair.

And we know that his most recent travails over a Scottish referendum on Independence have put him in a very black mood. This weekend the Labour backbencher Frank Field said that he had been at the receiving end of a Brown rage in the past, and that he should not lead Labour to the next election - those closest to him should tell him when is the best time to go. We'll be gazing into Gordon Brown's future.

The cost of living

...and inflation. Tomorrow the National office of Statistics publishes the official figures but what is the true cost of living these days? How does it affect us all? We'll have the answers.

(Click here to take part in iPMs study of credit crunch concerns around the country.)

Prospects for Monday, 12 May 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 12 May 08, 10:17 AM

Good morning. Here's today's e-mail to the production team from output editor Simon Enright:

Hello All,

"I don't feel anger just sorrow for the parent's of our son's killer." The dignity with which the parents of Jimmy Mizen have spoken about him and the horrible way in which he died is striking. Sadly they are not the only parents to be dealing with the death of their teenage children AND it appears to be other teenagers who are carrying out the killing. Stopping these awful crimes was one of the main promises of Boris Johnson but how would you do it? Who are the people best placed to know and can we get them to debate on the programme?

But there are other things around... Burma, Gordon Brown's state of mind - does it matter if he's enjoying himself or not? Embryology debate?

We also have a piece trying to measure the real cost of inflation. All the papers are doing it but how accurate are their assessments? Hugh Milbourn and Gillian Lacey Solimar on the case.

As always looking for good ideas and thoughts. See you at 10.30.


Friday, 9 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 9 May 08, 06:24 PM

What would make a government impound food aid from its own dying people? The World Food Programme sent supplies into Rangoon today - but Burmese officials confiscated it. Tonight, we try to get inside the minds of one of the most unmalleable military regimes in the world, and ask what they're really thinking. Is this a problem that can only be eased with the Junta on board - or should the West carry on despite the political resistance there? We'll be speaking to the head of UN Relief as well.

House repossessions are up by 17% on last year - is Britain is facing a debt crisis? Paul Mason investigates.

Much of Western Beirut has been taken over by Hezbollah. What does this mean for Lebanon - and indeed the Middle East. Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban gives his assessment.

Billionaire Mayor:
And I talk to the billionaire mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. He's been a Democrat a Republican and an Independent - who better to assess the US presidential race. And he's got plenty of advice for Boris, and even Boris's hair.

Join me at 10:30pm on BBC 2


Prospects for Friday, 9 May

  • Newsnight
  • 9 May 08, 11:13 AM

Today's programme producer is Dan Kelly - here's his morning e-mail to the production team...

Good morning all.

Lots of strong options today.

Is Lebanon in danger of descending into civil war? Much of the western half of Beirut has been taken over by Hezbollah this morning as battles between the group and government supporters continue. How should we cover this story?

Housing repossession orders are up 17% year on year - is Britain facing a debt crisis? Paul Mason is on the case. Let's discuss how to do this and which guests could work.

Who could we get on the Burma Cyclone to move the story on?


Thursday, 8 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 8 May 08, 07:15 PM

Hello to viewers here and abroad..


"We'll starve to death if nothing is sent to us."

burma203.jpgThat was the desperate cry of one of the survivors of the worst cyclone to hit Asia in more than 15 years. But is there any chance of a huge relief effort in Burma when the government there appears to be blocking rapid access? The International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander told MPs the government was receiving "mixed signals" on the question of access for international staff following a disaster which may have killed 100,000. There may by up to a million more who have no water, food or shelter. So far there has only been a trickle of aid allowed in, and the US Ambassador said a US military cargo plane still does not have permission to fly in supplies. We'll be speaking to our correspondents in the region and to the International Development Secretary about the world's apparent impotence in the face of an intransigent junta. Should we just send helicopters filled with aid over the border?

Also tonight in the second of his three special reports from Afghanistan Mark Urban speaks to two men in Kabul - one a teenager - preparing to be suicide bombers. Intelligence officers say that the number of suicide attackers in the country has increased in recent months and many blame the lax border controls between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mark investigates the problems with border security and the growing threat posed by the bombers.

Abu Qatada
And as I write we have just heard that Abu Qatada the extremist Muslim cleric - reputedly Al Qaeda's man in Europe has been granted bail. We'll be exploring the reasoning behind this extraordinary decision.

Prospects for Thursday, 8 May

  • Newsnight
  • 8 May 08, 10:37 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here is his morning email to the production team. You can contribute your ideas and views below.

Good morning everyone,

Quite a few stories around today. Let's see if we can get new lines on the airport security story. Burma, interest rates, Wendy Alexander and Alex Salmond lock horns at the Scottish parliament today over the referendum and Denham's speech to the Fabians tonight are worth doing. Let's discuss our options in the meeting.

Mark Urban interviews two suicide bombers in a special report from Kabul. Intelligence officers say that the number of suicide attackers in Afghanistan has increased in recent months, and many blame the lax border controls between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This forms part of a special investigation into border security and the growing threat posed by the bombers.

We also have an exclusive interview with the Chief Prosecutor for the ICC on Sudan.

Playout thoughts welcome.


Wednesday, 7 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 7 May 08, 05:27 PM

Hello All,

airport_security203.jpgOur lead report tonight is about airport security. You'll be reassured to know that those working airside have criminal record checks. That is apart from one group - foreign nationals. Believe or believe it not the government say they don't check their criminal records because, they tell us, it would be too complicated and cause delays. Are we sure this is good enough? The Conservatives don't think so. Jeremy will be asking the minister tonight.

We're also live in the US tonight after Barack Obama soundly beat Hillary Clinton in the North Carolina primary. He also ran her incredibly close in Indiana. Is this game over for Hillary now and when should she throw in the towel? Peter Marshall reports.

Is Labour backing the idea of holding a referendum on independence for Scotland? That's what we thought Wendy Alexander - leader of Labour in Scotland - was saying on Sunday and Monday. But that doesn't seem to be what Gordon Brown thinks she was saying. What should we believe? Michael Crick will explain all.

Finally as trailed earlier, the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband is on the programme after outlining his vision for a low carbon future in the "Ralph Miliband" lecture. He's agreed to answer your questions - and Jeremy's. We've had lots - check them out here - and we'll make sure that he has enough time to answer a fair few. He's also agreed to continue answering your questions online tomorrow so please do give us your thoughts.

Do join Jeremy at 10.30 pm.

Simon Enright

David Miliband on Newsnight

  • Newsnight
  • 7 May 08, 11:59 AM

miliband_nn_203203.jpgTonight Jeremy will be talking to the Foreign Secretary David Miliband live in the studio after he delivers what promises to be a radical speech on transforming Britain into a low-Carbon economy.

He argues that this is the only solution to the problems of spiralling energy and food prices as well as water shortages.

But will the shift to low carbon economy mean difficult decisions for all of us - especially the government - about how we live our lives?

If you have a question you'd like to put to David Miliband on this, or any other issue relevant to the Foreign Secretary then please let us know.

Read David Miliband's answers here.

Prospects for Wednesday, 7 May

  • Newsnight
  • 7 May 08, 10:27 AM

Today's programme producer is Simon Enright - here's his morning e-mail to the production team...

Hello All,

There really is lots around today....

Jackie Long and Meirion have a strong piece of original journalism about airport security. We hope the government will speak to us off the back.

Could we have finally seen the Democratic nomination decided? Has Obama done enough? Are there any circumstances conceivable where Hillary can still win? Peter Marshall is in Washington.

We've also got David Miliband on the programme - off the back of his climate change speech.

What else should we do to push the agenda?

PMQs will be interesting...
Will the government be damaged by ignoring the advice of the ctte it set up to look into the issue of cannabis?
What is it that we should do on Burma that other parts of BBC News are not?
How do we mark the transfer of power in Russia?

All the best


Tuesday, 6 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 6 May 08, 06:03 PM

burma1_203100.jpgTonight's programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman.


The devastation and loss of life in Burma is extraordinary. The official death toll is now 22,000 with 41,000 missing, three days after Cyclone Nargis hit the country. Speaking from inside Burma, though, Save The Children have told us that between 50,000 to 100,000 may have died. We will assess the scale of the disaster and question how the secretive military Junta in Burma has responded to the crisis.


Brown's fight-back - what is it and can it work? David Grossman has been speaking to leading leftwing critics of the government and we'll question a cabinet minister on Labour's resurrection strategy.

US primary

What role has race played in the US primary fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama? We'll have the latest from Indiana and North Carolina where Democrats vote today, and we'll speak to a senior African-American congressman and super-delegate, who fears that Democrat divisions on race may never heal.


How reliable is Climate Change modelling? Roger Harrabin has a film on the imperfections of the science behind the models and temperature predictions.

Prospects for Tuesday, 6 May

  • Newsnight
  • 6 May 08, 11:51 AM

Today's programme producer is Dan Kelly - here's his morning e-mail to the production team...

Good morning all.

Strong stories today. The death toll in Burma is at least 15,000 and is expected to rise further. How will the secretive and repressive military Junta respond to the crisis, and could it change the country forever?

Brown's fightback - what is it and can it work? A cabinet minister off the back would be worthwhile. The gamble by Wendy Alexander to argue for a referendum on independence in Scotland is also fascinating - how should we cover this story?

The Primaries in North Carolina and Indiana go ahead today. We have a senior African-American congressman and super-delegate live - James Clyburn.

How reliable is Climate Change modelling? Roger Harrabin has a film on the imperfections of the science behind the models and temperature predictions.

Although we have a lot, how would you like us to do each story? What guest suggestions have you got? Any suggestions for a playout?


Friday, 2 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 2 May 08, 05:38 PM

"Gordon shouldn't smile - it looks unnatural"

gordon_brown203.jpgThat was the advice from one former minister last week. Today, he bravely attempted one, as he admitted to a 'night of disappointment'.
If ever there was a day our Mystery Cat would have preferred to be elsewhere, it was probably now. And indeed, if there was ever a day Labour colleagues would have preferred him to be elsewhere, it was probably now.

The local elections results in England and Wales show meltdown for Labour - with the party pushed into 3rd place. And as we await the results of the London Mayoral Race - the hottest ticket in town - might Ken kick that Mystery Cat where it hurts?
So what of the Boris and Ken race? Well as I write, rumours abound and fact is scarce - the counting is only half done.

Some commentators predict a landslide for Boris. Some predict we may not even know the results until after we go on air this evening. Significantly, no one has predicted a landslide victory for Ken but all that could change. We'll bring you the key players and the analysis right here.

And what of the Tories? A momentous night - with a projected share of the vote of an impressive 44%.

Tonight we'll ask whether this is the beginning of the serious climb back for the Conservatives. Could a win for Boris prefigure a win for David Cameron? Are voters in London 'trying out' Tory leadership to see what it feels like after all this time?

Michael Crick, David Grossman and Paul Mason will take us around the country, to Old Labour heartlands, new Tory and Lib Dem gains, and of course inside City Hall in London to gauge the political climate exactly 11 years to the day since Labour came to power.

Join us at 10.30pm on what has been a truly extraordinary day for British politics.

Prospects for Friday, 2 May

  • Newsnight
  • 2 May 08, 11:06 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer - here's her early email to the team.


So we have 40 minutes to fill, which shouldn't be too hard.

Michael Crick and Hugh are heading back from Bury to package in London - they will look at the extent of the Labour "meltdown" and differing views on how Brown can regain the initiative. If he can regain it at all that is.

David and Thea are at City Hall - they can package the events of the day, such as they are, editing at Milbank. But we won't get the mayoral result till late. Perhaps even later than 9pm. It looks like Boris will win.

Paul and Vara have gone to Nuneaton - a council which Labour held for 33 years until last night when they lost it to the Tories. Two BNP councillors also elected there last night. Cameron is due there mid-morning. Good place to gauge how grassroots Labour voters/middle England are feeling.

Do we need a Ken obit?

In terms of lives, the panel are on standby and we should be in a good position to get some top news-making interviews. Who with?

See you soon.


Thursday, 1 May, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 1 May 08, 06:32 PM

polling.jpgDear viewers - Voting is continuing in the local elections in England and Wales. Polling stations will have closed by the time Newsnight is on air tonight and results will be starting to come in. Political Editor, Michael Crick will be in Bury, Lancashire and David Grossman will be following the mayoral contest in London with the latest news and analysis. We'll also have fascinating results of a BBC / ICM Election poll. Leading politicians from all three main parties will join us in the studio to discuss how they've performed at the elections.

Kyle Fisher
A babysitter serving life for murdering a neighbour's child has been released on bail, after having her conviction quashed. Suzanne Holdsworth, who's 37, had been found guilty of killing two-year-old Kyle Fisher by smashing his head against a banister. But the Appeal Court ordered a retrial after hearing that the boy had been prone to epilepsy, and could have died from a seizure. John Sweeney has followed the case closely for Newsnight. He has the latest developments for us tonight.

Are Elizabeth Fritzl and her children - abused and hidden for almost a quarter of a century - also victims of Austria's culture of secrecy, and even the country's state of mind? A former tenant of Josef Fritzl, who has confessed to confining his daughter and fathering her seven children, claims he heard noises and asked Fritzl what they were, only to be told it was the basement gas heater. Newsnight's Robin Denselow is in the small Austrian town of Amstetten to try to find out how such horror was never detected, and the impact it has had on the country. The Austrian Chancellor has announced a campaign to repair Austria's image abroad, but is it a period of analysis within the country that is needed?


Prospects for Thursday, 1 May

  • Newsnight
  • 1 May 08, 10:31 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here is his morning email to the production team. You can contribute your ideas and views below.

Good morning everyone,

Voting is under way in local council elections in England and Wales - and in the contest to decide who'll be the next mayor of London. About 4,000 seats will be decided. It's the first big electoral test for Gordon Brown as Prime Minister.

Jeremy Vine from the BBC Election programme is going to give us a run down of the key electoral battlegrounds and we'll have an ICM poll for tonight. Michael and Hugh are in the North of England. David and Myranda are in London. We'll need to chase up guests from the three main political parties.

Robin Denselow is in Austria examining what the Fritzl case tells us about the country and its past.

Other stories include the Bank of England report, and the Holdsworth appeal. Any other ideas welcome including playout thoughts.


Wednesday, 30 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Apr 08, 06:17 PM

A Newnight Exclusive:

Kampusch Interview

natacha.jpgOn Newsnight tonight - as Austrian police delve in to the past of Josef Fritzl, the Austrian man who's admitted to imprisoning his daughter in his cellar for 24 years - we have the first ever British television interview with Natascha Kampusch. She herself was abducted at the age of 10 and locked in a cellar for eight years. In her interview with Robin Denslow, she talks about her terrifying ordeal, offers advice to the victims of Josef Fritzl and questions whether Austria's role in the Second World War has had a lasting impact on attitudes to women and violence in the country.

Mayoral Elections
We are also on the election trail with Ken, Boris and Brian as they battle to win control of London. Who has the edge and does it mean anything for the fates of Brown and Cameron?

Nick Clegg
We will question Nick Clegg live in the studio about his performance as Liberal Democrat leader...

Enemies of Putin
..and we have a fascinating film about enemies of the Russian state who have fled to the Ukraine.

Tonight at 10.30pm BBC 2

Prospects for Wednesday, 30 April

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Apr 08, 11:00 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here's his early email to the team.

Good morning all.

We've got some good options tonight.

How bad will the US "recession" be and how much will it hurt us here? The Fed will decide tonight whether to cut interest rates again, and new GDP data will help us to assess the state of the American economy. David Blanchflower of the MPC thinks that Britain is following every stage of the US downturn with a year long time lag - US house prices have fallen by 25%, he thinks they could fall by a third here. What guests could we have on both sides of the Atlantic? Filming ideas?

David Grossman has a piece on the Mayoral race, and we have a live interview with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg which will need a set up.

Austria remains fascinating, and Gillian has been working on a piece about which businesses flourish during an economic downturn. We should also watch reaction to Brown's admission that he made "mistakes" on the 10p tax - could well come up in PMQs.

What ideas and thoughts have you got?


Tuesday, 29 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Apr 08, 05:15 PM


musa203.jpgTonight a Newsnight exclusive - the inside story of the British mission in Musa Qala. The battle for control of the Afghan town has come to epitomise the trial between the British Army and its Taliban enemy in Helmand province. Our diplomatic editor Mark Urban spent nine days with British troops trying to win over suspicious locals in a town where there is still a lot of support for the Taliban. Don't miss his epic report tonight.

Pole numbers:
The numbers game is traditionally a mug's game when it comes to immigration. We've seen that from government figures in the past. We've had a sneak peak at a new report on Polish migrants which is due out tomorrow - assessing the extent of Polish immigration to the UK. A lot has happened since our reporter Tim Whewell went to Crewe almost three years ago to find how a wave of Polish migrants had changed the town. We'll reconvene our panel of immigration story 'interpreters' to ask how this latest twist is likely to be portrayed in the wider media.

More Punch less Judy
David Cameron has proudly presented a neat U-turn of his own. He admitted on the Today programme this morning that he's failed to kick the Punch and Judy habit and keep that kind of haranguing politics from parliament. Calling the PM a 'loser' at PMQ's last week possibly made the point for him. Tonight, however, with just 24 hours left till the end of electioneering we will be assessing the Conservatives' chances in the local elections and in the race to be London mayor. We'll be talking to the senior Tory running their campaign who isn't - amazingly - a former member of the Bullingdon Club.

And we'll bring you the latest in the most macabre story any of us here can ever remember covering - the breathtaking inhumanity of one father. Austrian police have been describing what state the recovered children are in and who else might have known about the actions of Josef Fritzl.

Do join me at 10:30pm


Prospects for Tuesday, 29 April

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Apr 08, 11:10 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer - here's her early email to the team.


Sorry - quick email. Lots already set to run today - including Mark Urban's epic from Afghanistan. Plus we have an interview with a leading Conservative (identity to be confirmed) on the local elections.

Which leaves us room for one or one and a half other items - at the news-y end of the spectrum

What are you interested in?

Keen to talk about how we could take all the strands in the oil story into a coherent piece.

Friday, 25 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Apr 08, 05:58 PM

Guantanamo Torture Techniques:

gunatamono_bay203.jpgGuantanamo Torture Techniques:

Tonight we bring you the first ever television interview with Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver. She was the lawyer who approved interrogation techniques for use on Guantanamo Bay prisoners that were new to the military and - many would say - both morally reprehensible and illegal under international law. Diane Beaver was acting with the higher authority of the Bush administration. She was a junior advocate and was under orders. So just how far up the ladder of the Bush administration did the buck stop? We take a look at the decisions which allowed sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation and waterboarding and hear how administration officials are now wide open to an international war crimes investigation........

But first tonight,


An oil refinery is not an easy place to be spontaneous. A strike by workers may or may not be called off - in many ways, it's irrelevant: the plant itself is already in the process of shutting down. For the first time the facility will be completely closed. As a result, BP has started making preparations to close down the Forties pipeline that delivers 30% of the UK's daily oil output. The company has warned that it could take up to three weeks for the plant to get back up and running at 100% capacity.
The shutdown embodies all the concerns so often raised now about Britain's energy supplies: How secure is our energy supply? Are we too dependent on too few sources? And what effect will this have on a government - already looking shaky in the polls - if drivers decide to take matters into their own hands and fill up their cars in panic? We hope to be speaking to the energy minister Malcolm Wicks.


After Rwanda, leaders of the civilized world insisted the like would never be tolerated again. Insisted, indeed, that the international community would never stand by allowing that kind of atrocity to continue. So why have we seen five years of fighting - and 300,000 deaths - in Darfur? This evening, Robin Denselow takes stock of the African conflict the world forgot.

Do join me tonight at 10:30pm on BBC2


Prospects for Friday, 25 April

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Apr 08, 10:26 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer - here's her early email to the team.

Hi all

We have a film from Peter and Ben looking at some of the revelations about Guantanamo Bay outlined in Philippe Sands' new book: the piece includes the first ever TV interview with the lawyer who drew up plans for the use of certain interrogation techniques.

So we're looking for a lead and a third item.

What do you think? Should we take more of a look at Brown - in advance of what's likely to be a weekend of extensive newspaper analysis about the state of his leadership? Or should we use the OFT cigarettes announcement as an opportunity to look at "Rip Off Britain"?

We have the offer of an interview with the Serbian PM, who's in town. What would you want to ask him?

And I am keen to do something to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Darfur conflict. What do you think it should be?


Thursday, 24 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Apr 08, 06:43 PM

pay203x100.jpgWith the GCSEs on the horizon teachers from the NUT have gone on strike. It comes as other public service unions, and the police, are very uneasy about pay settlements. Is Gordon Brown facing a spring of discontent?

American intelligence officials are to give a secret briefing to members of Congress about an Israeli air-strike in Syria last September. It's being reported that evidence has emerged which shows Syria was building a nuclear reactor with North Korean help. We'll have the latest on this story and we'll be joined in studio by the Syrian Ambassador to the UK.

"Too many fat ladies!", "Sky high tickets!" Every few years the opera world goes through a period of self-flagellation, deciding that to reach those longed-for new young audiences it has to DO SOMETHING RADICAL. This time, the English National Opera is leading the charge. Opera, it says, is just not as intense or relevant or political as the movies or the theatre. And it's got to change fast. Madeleine Holt investigates.

Prospects for Thursday, 24 April

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Apr 08, 11:08 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here is his morning email to the production team. You can contribute your ideas and views below.
Good morning everyone,

Email is now back up and running. There's lots around today. There's more on the mess over 10p tax, and it's a big day for public sector strikes.

We've got an interview with ANC President Jacob Zuma and a film on new opera from Madeleine and Henrietta.

Playout anyone?

See you in a minute,


Wednesday, 23 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Apr 08, 04:37 PM

Anatomy of a U-turn
brown203x152.jpgJeremy's presenting tonight in what is fast becoming a U-turn special. Michael Crick will be reporting on a day of drama at Westminster, which started with a flurry of activity this morning, a letter to the Commons Treasury Select Committee, and a humdinger of a PMQs.

Winners and losers
Paul Mason will be in Stevenage - a key battleground in next week's local elections - to analyse who wins and loses from the new concession, and how much it's going to cost, and Jeremy and guests will assessing where today's U-turn sits in the pantheon of great government humiliations down the years.

After Hillary Clinton's victory in the Pennsylvania primary Peter Marshall in Washington will be asking where the Democratic race goes from here and if the inevitable outcome is a further descent into self-destructive abuse.

And the election unlike any other. The first results in the Zimbabwean recount are dribbling through. So far it's one seat all between Zanu-PF and the MDC. Adam Mynott in Johannesburg will have the latest score.

Join Jeremy at 10.30

Prospects for Wednesday, 23 April

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Apr 08, 10:28 AM

Peter Barron is today's programme producer - here's his early email to the team.

Good Morning.

Do not be alarmed - but I'm editing today.

It's genuinely very open; we could do a whole range of things

Peter Marshall will have the aftermath of the Pennsylvania primary and we've done some work on potential guests, but it would be good not to have to lead on this.

We have a film from Gillian Lacey Solymar on the Brazilian economy

Other things of interest to debate:

Eat breakfast cereal if you want a boy - do these endless food/science reports help anyone?
It's St George's Day - Downing Street is flying the flag, but does anyone else care?
Ofgem - Energy poverty summit and petrol price rises
Paul Mason has been blogging to a China's 1.3bn people - with some success
PMQs should be lively
Beyonce and JayZ got married

See you at 10.30

Tuesday, 22 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Apr 08, 06:22 PM

Jeremy's presenting tonight - he's currently out of the office interviewing cabinet minister Tessa Jowell about a damning select committee report about the cost of the Olympics.

obama.jpgPennsylvania State is deciding today who it wants to be the Democratic nominee for the presidency. Hillary Clinton is tipped to win - but not by much. Meanwhile Barack Obama is facing a more hostile press than he has at any other stage of the race. Details of his relationship with a Chicago property dealer who is facing corruption charges have come to the fore, as has his continued backing of his controversial pastor. Peter Marshall's been to Chicago to assess whether any of this mud is beginning to stick.

And we'll have the latest from Philadelphia on the state of the vote.

The government is still desperately trying to appease potential rebels over the 10p tax row. Have their latest attempts borne fruit? David Grossman is looking in to it.

You may remember a film we ran some months ago featuring a former member of the Islamist group Hizbut Tahrir. Majid Nawaz had decided to leave the organisation, after becoming deeply concerned about what it stood for. He's now launched the "Quilliam Foundation" with some other former radicals, which aims to counter extremism. We'll be hearing from them live, along with a high profile Muslim who is very critical of the foundation's aims.

And - has lap dancing become socially acceptable? There's certainly a profusion of lap dancing clubs on our high streets, and even pubs are now offering lap dancing nights. Recent licensing laws make it far easier for them to open these days. A campaign has been launched today to try and make it harder for such establishments to start up. We'll hear from a member of that campaign, and from the owner of a lap dancing chain.

Join Jeremy at 10.30

Prospects for Tuesday, 22 April

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Apr 08, 11:09 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer - here's her early email to the team.

What do you fancy doing today?

There is masses around - but which would produce the best journalism and the best interviews?

Is there more to be done on 10p tax? Report on cost of Olympics? BAA report? RBS? Lap-dancing?

Two things in train already - Robin and Warwick are off to the launch of the Quilliam Foundation (formed of ex members of Hizbut Tahrir) and Peter Marshall and Ben have been to Chicago to investigate some of the murkier allegations about Obama, dating back to his days as a city politician. We can get the latest from Pennsylvania off the back.


Monday, 21 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Apr 08, 06:02 PM

Ministers today moved to head off a potential backbench rebellion over the abolition of the 10p income tax rate by promising to consult on new measures to tackle poverty among Britain's lowest income households. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper told MPs that a previously-announced inquiry into the next steps for tackling child poverty would be extended to include the needs of households on low incomes without children. Gordon Brown is expected to give details of the review when he addresses the Parliamentary Labour Party for the second time in less than a month this evening. But has the Government done enough to head off a rebellion next week? We'll be speaking to one of the leading Labour rebels.

The Chancellor Alistair Darling has been giving details of the Bank of England's £50bn rescue package for banks affected by the global credit crunch. The intervention will see bonds from the Treasury offered to banks in exchange for their potentially risky mortgage debts. It's hoped that the scheme will loosen up lending between banks - and consequently bolster the mortgage market. We'll be asking if taxpayers' money will be at risk. And will interest rate cuts be passed on to customers as a result?

President Carter
The former US President, Jimmy Carter - who met last week with the top Hamas leaders in Syria - says Hamas is prepared to accept Israel's right to live as a neighbour in peace. He said even if Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert negotiated for the full recognition of Israel, Hamas would accept it, as long as it was approved in a Palestinian referendum. He tells us that Hamas is prepared to stick to a mutual ceasefire. See his exclusive interview on this and on the US Presidential race on the programme tonight. Watch a preview here.

Suzanne Holdsworth case
In December Newsnight told the disturbing story of baby-sitter Suzanne Holdsworth, jailed for life for murdering toddler Kyle Fisher. Holdsworth denies it - and tomorrow the courts will hear her appeal against the conviction. Now two surgeons and a former police officer on the murder inquiry are raising fresh doubts about a troubling case. John Sweeney reports. Read John's article on the case here.

Prospects: Monday, 21 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Apr 08, 11:40 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here is his morning email to the production team. You can contribute your ideas and views below.

Good morning everyone,

There's quite a choice of stories today. There's the 10p tax revolt, £50bn for the banks, and I really like the Google cookie story. Jeremy has just done a really strong interview with Jimmy Carter on his talks with Hamas and the US presidential election.

And there's a film from John Sweeney.

Clare Fisher dropped off her two-year-old son, Kyle, with baby-sitter Suzanne Holdsworth in July 2004. Seventy five minutes later he was brain-dead. Holdsworth was convicted of murdering Kyle and is serving life in prison.
The court heard that she must have smashed his head against a banister with a force like being thrown from a car crash at 60 mph. But leading neuro-pathologist Dr Waney Squier tells Newsnight she has major concerns about the impact theory. Dr Squier points to a congenital brain abnormality and a year-old injury to the eye socket which had nothing to do with Holdsworth. Both conditions can cause fits - and fits can kill.
So Holdsworth may be innocent because no murder ever took place. John Sweeney reports on the fresh evidence that points to a possible miscarriage of justice, and on questions raised about the police investigation into Kyle's death.

Read John's article on the case here.


Friday, 18 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Apr 08, 06:14 PM

Brown in the US

'Who's That Man?' cries the Drudge report website - pasting a picture of Gordon Brown against a stars and stripes background.
Tonight, the prime minister means to answer it. Emboldened by successful meetings yesterday with each of the presidential candidates, he has given a speech about Global Challenges in Boston. The world stage may be a scary place. But it's infinitely preferable, in many ways, to what he faces at home. The 10p tax revolt seems to be gathering steam. He may have stopped one if his MPs, Angela Smith, from resigning yesterday. But there are more emerging from the woodwork as we speak. We'll ask just how comfortable Gordon Brown is looking within his own party.


Royal Bank of Scotland is about to stage the biggest rights issue in UK corporate history, asking shareholders for some £10bn to shore up its financial position. It will be part of an effort to write down its exposure to US sub prime - and any other skeletons still lurking in the cupboard. And in doing so, it marks a recognition - that all has not been well but can now get better. The move has been compared by some to a confessional, others to a ruthless spring clean.
How many other banks will follow suit once the taboo is broken? And does this signal that the worst is now over?

Gwyneth Dunwoody

Also tonight we pay tribute to Gwyneth Dunwoody who has died aged 77. In the words of one parliamentarian and friend, she was the essential 'debunker of humbug'. She will be remembered for her stubbornly principled stance, her commitment to the Labour Party, and for her formidable chairmanship of the transport select committee. A woman, who shone through an age of spin to tirelessly speak her mind.

Blogging - a new era

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Apr 08, 05:49 PM

blog203.jpgAs many of you who've used the BBC's blogs will know, it has for some months been a deeply frustrating experience, not just for you but for us too.

The point of blogging about our programmes is to have a swift and informal conversation with our viewers. That's impossible if it takes hours to get your comment or our response through.

I'm relieved to say that as of yesterday we have a new system which should be much more robust and which I hope will usher in a new era of blogging for Newsnight.

One change is that in order to comment you'll need to register by filling in a simple form.
Once signed up, you'll be able to comment on any BBC blog using the same login.

Many of you have already commented on how it's working and one or two have suggested it's designed to introduce more censorship.

That's certainly not our intention. The aim is to encourage much more open discussion about the programme and much more interaction with the programme-makers. I'm sure it isn't perfect and that you'll let us know how it could be improved.

Thanks very much to all those contributors - the Bob Goodalls, Barrie Singletons, Mistress76UKs and many others - who have persevered through all the blog problems. Apologies for all the Error 502s, and welcome to the new era.

Prospects for Friday, 18 April

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Apr 08, 10:32 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer - here's his early email to the team.

Good morning everyone,

Lots of stories around today. Brown's foreign affairs speech in Boston, RBS, the arms shipment heading for Zimbabwe, Indian cricket. Let's debate what the best stories and treatments are for today.


Thursday, 17 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Apr 08, 05:33 PM

Terror trial verdict

A few moments ago, the Muslim activist Abu Izzadeen and five others were found guilty on terror-related charges. Izzadeen and one of the other convicted men, Simon Keeler, have been convicted of fundraising for terrorists and inciting terrorism overseas. Both men have been the subject of a series of revelatory Newsnight reports in recent years. Our reporter Richard Watson will bring you the definitive story of the two men and of Al Muhajiroun - the organisation they were at the heart of.

Brown in the USA

The roads are repaved, the traffic's stopped, the flags are flying and the crowds have turned out in their tens of thousands to welcome the foreign visitor.
The problem is, they've come to see the Pope, not Gordon Brown.
The first mention of Gordon Brown's visit comes on page 14 of the New York Times. The second - a brief headline - states 'Brit leader visits US in Pope's shadow'.
Unfortunate clash perhaps, but then again Gordon Brown never claimed he could fill a baseball stadium and anyway, he has people to meet.
Today, he's been given audiences with Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and their Republican rival John McCain.
So which of the candidates does our PM see eye to eye with? We'll be speaking to McCain's special advisor live on the programme and asking what the special relationship would look like under their stewardship.


The opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called for the South African President to step down as an intermediary in the election negotiations. His frustration with the process is palpable. But it is odd that his words come just as Thabo Mbeki has finally abandoned soft diplomacy to himself call for the prompt release of Zimbabwe's election result, twenty four hours after Gordon Brown demanded the same thing in the starkest terms at the UN. Is the international community's approach towards Zimbabwe changing? Will it give Mr Tsvangirai the endorsement he needs to claim victory?

Immigration: A tale of two papers

IMMIGRANTS BRING MORE CRIME - the Mail screams today. It claims to be interpreting a report by Chiefs of Police.

MIGRANT CRIME WAVE A MYTH - sang the Guardian yesterday (and some BBC bulletins too) and yes, they'd been reading exactly the same report.

Who's right? Well, having been through the report it doesn't really endorse either view - indeed it tells us very little that's new.

So why does the debate on immigration always get hijacked so quickly? And is there ever a real chance of getting to the facts, when the very word is so emotive?
We'll debate that tonight with media commentators on left and right.

Join me, at 10.30pm


Prospects for Thursday, 17 April

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Apr 08, 11:34 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer - here's her early email to the team.


So - what do you want to do? Michael Crick and Hugh are in Washington and already working on a piece about Brown's relationship with Bush and his potential successors. He's meeting all of them today - which one really shares his world view?

Piece will take in the Bush/Brown presser and his handshakes with the candidates. Who should we speak to off the back?

Beyond that the programme is wide open.

What could we bring to the OFT construction story, Zimbabwe, ACPO on immigration and crime?

We could do with a good end of programme talking point. What about the pope on the state of US society? Have you seen anything better?



From this morning our new blog system will be in place - this will mean you will need to complete a simple registration form in order to post a comment on the blog. Once signed up, you will be able to comment on all BBC blogs using the same login. If you have any problems with the new system please let us know.

Blog fix imminent

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Apr 08, 04:32 PM

Blog closed temporarilyFrom 1800 this evening (UK time), we'll be doing some essential maintenance to the blog. As a result of this, you won't be able to leave any comments on our blog posts from that time until Thursday morning and the comments function on all old posts will close. We apologise for any inconvenience.

The work will fix the very frustrating problems we've encountered for some time now with the whole comments system.

From Thursday a new system will be in place - this will mean you will need to complete a simple registration form in order to post a comment on the blog. Once signed up, you will be able to comment on all BBC blogs using the same login. There will be more details in the morning. In the meantime - if you wish to comment on the programme you can email us via

Prospects for Wednesday, 16 April

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Apr 08, 12:06 PM

Jasmin Buttar is today's programme producer - here's her early email to the team.

Morning all - yes it really is me today.

justin_king203x100.jpgCan we finish our Unsustainable World series on a high? We have an authored film from the CEO of Sainsbury's Justin King who accuses the government of a tendency to leap on the green bandwagon. We have him and the government live in the studio tonight. This could be a lead but it would need a bit of teeing up to put the film in context. How could we do this? What areas should we cover?

Brown in the US
Two possible today stories - the economy and Zim. Brown meets Mbeki and raises issue of Zim at the UN and then goes on to meet bankers. There may also be a BBC iv with Tsvangirai available to us. Another possibility is to throw forward to tomorrow's meeting with Bush and the presidential hopefuls. We have Crick in NY but only for 2-way really.

US Elections
The lovely planning people have set up a disco with Mara Rudman (former NSA under Clinton (Bill)) who backs Clinton (Hillary) and an Obama-supporting super delegate. It's a good chance to look at the state of the Democrat race ahead just hours ahead of a key debate between the two but also to look at their foreign policy positions ahead of the meeting with Brown.

Zambia's Chinese Burn
Tim Whewell and Caroline Pare have the second of their series of films on China in Africa - they look at how Zambians have turned against the Chinese businessmen who have established themselves in the country.

To Watch: news coming out of Israel about a major incident

Play out - what about the French entry to the Eurovision - sung in English?

Nothing's set in stone though so come armed with brilliant thoughts


How do we feed the world in the future?

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Apr 08, 02:08 PM

rice_harvest203x100.jpgRising food prices, rising population, growing poverty and climate change are becoming a major problem for the world.

Newsnight is devoting tonight’s programme to examine this global crisis.

We've lined up correspondents in some of the countries feeling the strain most acutely to tell us what the situation is like on the ground.

We have films by Susan Watts – on whether we need a second green revolution – and Liz MacKean - on the £8bn of food we bin every year.

We’ll also have a panel of international experts on hand to discuss the problem.

We’d like to know what you think..

What are the solutions to these problems?

Prospects for Tuesday, 15 April

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Apr 08, 11:14 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer - here's his early email to the team.

Good morning everyone,

How do we feed the World in the future?

Rising food prices, rising population, growing poverty and climate change are becoming a major problem for the world. I hope to devote the programme today to the problems and solutions on the day an international report sets out its answers.

We've lined up some correspondents in the main hotspots and Susan and Liz have done films. Do come to the meeting with ideas on the best people to get and how to do the top VT.

Playout ideas welcome.


Monday, 14 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Apr 08, 04:57 PM

Jeremy is presenting tonight's programme, and we'll start the programme with the first in a series of reports this week focusing on the rising price of food across the planet, and the unsustainability of our natural resources.

Rape seedTonight, we look at biofuels. From tomorrow, 2.5% of all the petrol and diesel we buy at the pump must come from biofuels. That's a government target. But even before it's been enforced, the government has signalled that it's cooling on the whole idea of biofuels - amidst concerns that biofuel production is contributing to the rising price of food, and isn't proving all that environmentally friendly. The Chancellor Alistair Darling called for a review of the use of biofuels at the weekend saying, "It would be a profound mistake if we get into a situation where we are growing corn that is essential for feeding people and converting it into fuel." So why is the government insisting on the use of biofuels in petrol?

Also tonight: Gordon Brown insisted today that he is focusing "every effort" on steering the economy away from recession. Meanwhile, the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, has claimed the government's reputation for economic competence is in tatters. Who's right? And what, in policy terms, can the government actually do to prevent a recession? Paul Mason is investigating, and Michael Crick will have the latest on the rumblings from Labour backbenchers about dissatisfaction with the direction of the Brown government.

China in Africa
And we have the first of a series of fascinating films from Tim Whewell in Africa - looking at the ever-growing influence of China on the continent. There are now 700 Chinese firms operating in 49 African countries. And, even though it's still classed as a developing nation, China has sunk more than £12bn into developing Africa's infrastructure since the year 2000. The biggest China-in-Africa deal so far is about to be signed - between China and the Democratic Republic of Congo. If it goes ahead, it will have a huge influence on the Congolese people - even though it's barely known about in the country. Tim has been there to find out how it will work - you can read his article here.

Join Jeremy at 10.30

Prospects: Monday, 14 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Apr 08, 11:02 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer. Here is her early email to the team.

Good morning,

Unsustainable world?

Rape seedIn the first of a series this week on issues surrounding sustainability, we ask if the production of biofuels really is a "crime against humanity" as one UN official has claimed.

What else can we do?
What can the government do in policy terms to illustrate that it can steer the country through an economic crisis?
Is Gordon Brown's authority as PM all but destroyed, as some papers seem to claim?
What's gone wrong with the government's new domestic violence legislation?
Will we get any results from Zimbabwe today?

And we have a fascinating film from Congo - the Chinese are on the verge of signing a multi-million dollar deal with the Congolese government to mine for cobalt - in return the Chinese will build massive amounts of infrastructure - roads, hospitals etc. Will it work? Read Tim Whewell's article here.


Friday, 11 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Apr 08, 06:03 PM

A former Jersey honorary policeman who admitted sexual assaults on girls has been jailed for two years. This comes at a time when Jersey has been rocked by other allegations of child abuse and incompetence by the authorities. Robin Denselow is in Jersey for us tonight with the latest.

Poole Borough Council in Dorset has admitted using anti-terror laws to carry out surveillance of a family they suspected of lying about living in a school catchment area. The civil rights group Liberty calls the spying disproportionate and intrusive. We hope to be bringing together the director of Liberty in debate with the head of the Local Government Association.

A panel of experts has given its backing to scientific techniques in which evidence is extracted from tiny amounts of DNA. The panel was asked by the government to review the controversial technique, after it was criticised by the judge at the Omagh bombing trial. Our Science Editor, Susan Watts, who investigated the original doubts about the procedure assesses the implications of today's decision.

Prospects for Friday, 11 April

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Apr 08, 10:34 AM

Good morning everyone,

There are some good options on stories today. We have a strong potential story from Jersey. I'll tell you more in the meeting.

Other stories include BAE, Zimbabwe, the school spying row and the DNA report - You can watch Susan Watts' report into low copy number DNA here.

Do come to the meeting with ideas on how to do these and other stories.

See you in a minute,


Thursday, 10 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Apr 08, 05:09 PM

Arms and the Man
bae203x100.jpgAn extraordinary and damning judgement from the High Court today into the Serious Fraud Office's decision to abandon its investigation into BAE arms deals with Saudi Arabia. The judgement said, in part: "No one whether in this country or outside is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice." So why didn't the SFO - and the Blair government - just tell the Saudis to get lost?

You can watch Peter Marshall's reports into BAE here.

Nine months into Gordon Brown's premiership - what more do we know about his vision for reforming the public services? And does it actually differ all that much from that of his predecessor? David Grossman has been investigating - and we'll be reconvening our political panel to reflect on the week in politics.

For those of us who love the country, Italy is an enigma. Simultaneously the most cultured, civilised and wonderful country in Western Europe - and a kind of hopeless Third World style mess of corruption and political incompetence. Are Italians once again searching for a Strong Man to run their country? Is Silvio Berlusconi on his way back to power?

You can watch the Newsnight report on corruption in Italian politics here.

Blog problems - a solution is nigh

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Apr 08, 11:40 AM

blog502error.jpgAnyone who regularly reads the Newsnight blog will know that we have suffered from a series of technical problems for some time now. Comments disappear, the dreaded 502 'not available' message appears, and multiple copies of comments get submitted in error. (More on the problems here.)

Well, to much relief (not least here at Newsnight), a solution is about to be unveiled.

In the very near future the comments system that causes all the problems is being replaced by a BBC-wide system.

Under the new system, anyone wishing to leave a comment will need to sign in - a relatively swift and painless affair that comes with the added bonus of enabling you to leave your thoughts on blogs and message boards across all BBC websites.

Finally, we hope to revamp and relaunch the whole Newsnight blog shortly, with more bloggers, more variety, and the odd bit of video thrown in. But one step at a time...

We'll update you on the changes next week.

Prospects: Thursday, 10 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Apr 08, 10:16 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer. Here's her early email to the team ahead of the morning editorial meeting.

Hello all.

Tibet protestorChina and the torch feels like the biggest story in town - how do we do it though?

The BAE ruling has just come in - bids on this?

We should watch interest rates and Birmingham City obviously.

What else do you fancy?

David Grossman is working up a piece about Gordon Brown's vision for public services and why we're not at all clear what it is yet. We could discuss off the back?

And we have a film about the Italian elections from Christian Fraser - the country is in such an economic mess that Berlusconi might get back in.

See you at 10.30 for some Apprentice-style team bonding.


Wednesday, 9 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Apr 08, 05:49 PM


mpc203x100.jpgThe men and women of the Monetary Policy Committee are back in the spotlight today as they begin their deliberations on whether to further cut interest rates. Their decision will be announced tomorrow but will it make any difference ? Are UK interest rates an effective instrument in a globalised economy and what can the government actually do to soften the impact of an economic downturn ? Newsnight reconvenes its own MPC tonight.


What is Hillary's plan now? It's certainly not looking good as, with the loss of three key members of her campaign team, those 'misspeaks' and a Pennsylvania poll win looking increasingly uncertain, she holds out for a little help from her super delegate friends. But can they really save her?


jodrell203x100.jpgThe biggest funding crisis for decades has hit the world of astronomy. Although the latest Science budget overall was up, you don't have to have a microscope to it to see there is less money for fundamental physics and astronomy - the exact subjects credited with pulling young people into science. Some fear that the future of one of Britain's greatest assets, Jodrell Bank's Lovell telescope, is now at risk. Susan Watts reports on why the government has upset the astonomy community so much and asks if this signals the end of blue skies thinking. Read Susan's feature here.

Prospects: Wednesday, 9 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Apr 08, 10:30 AM

Carol Rubra is today's programme producer - here's her early email to the team.

Good morning,

MarketsThe economy seems to be the biggest story of the day so far - let's talk about what we should focus on. IMF has put the cost of the banking crisis at $1000 billion and downgraded growth predictions for the UK economy, plus continuing pressure on mortgages and housing, and rising inflation. Is it time to hear from our Shadow MPC?

We have a film from Susan Watts on how changes to science funding has led to hears that the future of Jodrell Bank is under threat and that the move away from funding pure science will mean young people are less inspired to pursue scientific careers.

And space for your own ideas - what are you interested in, what would make news? Hillary's campaign, government waste, RyanAir's adverts, Olympic torch?


Newsnight's London mayoral debate

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Apr 08, 12:14 PM

mayor_debate203x100.jpgNewsnight is holding the first live televised debate between the leading London mayoral contenders.
The race is incredibly tight, with each candidate accusing the others of negative campaigning and even dirty tricks.

With the characters involved we expect a colourful - even stormy - encounter.

So what would you like us to ask Ken Livingstone, Brian Paddick and Boris Johnson?

Click here to send us your questions...



The debate's over - watch it here - and let us know what you made of the candidates' performances.

Monday, 7 April, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Apr 08, 05:35 PM

Jeremy's presenting tonight's programme.

Diana inquest
Princess Diana The jury in the Diana inquest has ruled that Dodi Fayed and Princess Diana were unlawfully killed as a result of the actions of their driver, Henri Paul, and the pursuing paparazzi.

The CPS cannot, however, pursue prosecutions for foreign nationals for deaths abroad, even if the victim is British.
So has the inquest been worth the money? We'll have reaction to the verdict tonight and the results of a Newsnight poll on people's attitudes to the inquest. Download the pdf of the full results here.

Ten pence tax
Some thought that Gordon Brown's decision to scrap the 10 pence tax band in his last budget as Chancellor in favour of a cut in the basic rate was a political masterstroke at the time. Not any more.

The Treasury Select Committee and many of his own backbenchers have criticised the decision - which has come in to force this month - on the basis that it will leave the poorest people worst off. The Prime Minister used to talk with missionary zeal about tackling poverty - do Labour's heartland voters still believe him? And does it play into wider anxieties amongst Labour MPs about the PM's vision?

Olympic torch
The progress of the Olympic torch through Paris was stopped altogether today after the flame was doused twice by protestors. Can we expect such protests everywhere the torch goes, from now on?

Meanwhile, questions have been asked about the role of the Chinese security officials who surrounded the torch on its passage through London and Paris. Some London protestors - and even one torch bearer - allege they were heavy-handed. Who exactly are they - and what rights do they have on British soil?

Climate change
Nasa's top climate scientist said today that the world has already reached dangerous levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The former Chancellor - Lord Lawson, doesn't think so. In his new book, he claims that we've all been duped into taking climate change too seriously. He'll debate the point with the head of the Science Museum.

Prospects: Monday, 7 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Apr 08, 10:18 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer - here's her early email to the team.


What would you like to cover today - and how would you like to cover it?

Food waste
Treasury select committee report on 10p tax rate?
Chinese torch protests - how can we move this on?
Zimbabwe - is there a key interview we can push for?
Any other big bids/off agenda stories you've spotted?

We have a film from Liz Mackean about food waste.
And we have an interview with Nigel Lawson about his new book which questions whether climate change is all that much of a problem.

And the Diana inquest might end.


Friday, 4 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Apr 08, 05:16 PM

zim203x100.jpgAt the time of writing Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has just endorsed President Robert Mugabe for a runoff vote against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai if neither wins an absolute majority in a presidential election. We'll have the latest from Zimbabwe.

Money and power
Does Britain have the best politics money can buy? We've been finding out what MPs have been spending our money on.

Masters of the Universe
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has spent some of today on Wall Street talking to some of the world's top money makers. Does he emerge with any better grasp of what is going wrong on the markets and what can be done about it? David Grossman reports from New York.

Prospects for Friday, 4 April

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Apr 08, 11:17 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer - here's his early email.

Good morning everyone,

There's quite a bit around today including Zimbabwe, MPs expenses, the backbench tax revolt and watch out for the Diana inquest verdict. Do come to the meeting with treatment ideas and thoughts for guests on these and other stories.

David Grossman is filming George Osborne meeting the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street today. It'll be a short VT. I'll tell you more in the morning meeting.

See you in a minute,


Thursday, 3 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Apr 08, 05:44 PM

plotters203x152.jpgIt would have been the biggest terror atrocity since 9/11 - more than 1000 people would have been killed as seven transatlantic jets exploded in mid air after they had taken off from Heathrow - this is what the prosecution alleged today at the opening of the trial of eight men at Woolwich Crown Court.

They are accused of plotting to explode home made liquid bombs on seven flights to the US and Canada in 2006. The prosecution alleges that any passengers on the airlines concerned would have been "entirely at the mercy of the suicide bombers who happened to be on board with their explosive devices”. The judge has said it will be a long, high profile trial with dozens of witnesses and it's expected it will last eight months. All of the men deny conspiracy to murder. Richard Watson will have the story.

Robert Mugabe is still clinging on to power in Zimbabwe so is there going to be a Presidential run off? President Mugabe has finally re-appeared after the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, shown on state TV meeting African Union leaders. One of his spokesmen, Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga, said that if the result from last Saturday's Presidential vote showed a second round was necessary Mr Mugabe would stand. Official results from the Presidential poll are due out tomorrow but the Opposition insists it has won the vote. But what is life like for ordinary people inside the country just now? We have a film secretly shot inside Zimbabwe which gives a fascinating insight into what people there think is going on.

More conflict - this time in Israel. We have had unique access to one day's events in one of the illegal settlements in the northern West Bank. Here Tim Franks, for Newsnight, has witnessed Israel's ineffectual attempts to remove settlers. The Israeli Army forcibly evicts the inhabitants of the small outpost at the start of the day, but this triggers further conflict, between the army, left wing Israeli groups trying to reclaim the land for the Palestinian owner and the settlers who are trying to get back into their homes.

What does Tony Blair think about God, religion and globalisation? The new convert to Roman Catholicism is giving a speech tonight as part of the Cardinal's lecture series in which he will be speaking about faith and globalisation. We'll be discussing the speech with Richard Levin the President of Yale and the man who has appointed him to the Ivy League University. I hope you join us, Kirsty

Prospects for Thursday, 3 April

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Apr 08, 10:14 AM

Carol Rubra is tonight's programme producer. Here's her early email to the team.

Good morning,

We have a few things under way but I'm interested in your ideas too and I can find space for them on the programme.

Here are the stories I'm interesting in covering at the moment - Zimbabwe, Airline trial, and we have an offer of a piece from Tim Franks about the eviction of a group of Israeli settlers.

Tony Blair is giving a speech this evening on Faith and Globalisation. I'd like to set up a discussion on this - who would you like to hear from?

Wednesday, 2 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Apr 08, 05:42 PM

Jeremy is presenting tonight's programme.

morgan203x100.jpgThe Opposition Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe now claims to have won the presidential election. It says it took 50.3% of the vote. Meanwhile the official Electoral Commission have announced that the MDC did win the Parliamentary election - but have yet to rule on the Presidential results. Meanwhile, Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party have remained quiet. We'll have the latest tonight.

Bertie bows out
He was known as the "Teflon Taoiseach" - because of his ability to dodge mud-slinging and allegations of sleaze, but the Irish Premier Bertie Ahern announced today that he's stepping down after 11 years. His predecessor in the role once called him: "The most skilful, the most devious, the most cunning of them all." He's been dogged by allegations of financial irregularities over the years - but will also be remembered for playing a key role in the Northern Ireland peace process. We'll look back at his career highs and lows.

"Brain Gym"
You might not have heard of it, but your children could well be experts. Brain Gym is a programme used in hundreds of schools across Britain - backed by the government. It’s a series of daily physical exercises that are supposed to aid learning - by stimulating the vital organs. Many teachers - and many pupils - are convinced it works. But scientists are worried - believing that it amounts to "pseudo-science" and is misleading young children about the workings of the human body. The American founder of Brain Gym will be on the programme.

Ben Elton
Yesterday it was Kevin Spacey... today it's Ben Elton's turn to attack the BBC. He's told a Christian paper that comedy commissioners are too scared to allow jokes about Islam. Even an inauspicious gag about "Mohammed coming to the mountain" was vetoed, he claims. We'll debate whether he's right.

Prospects for Wednesday, 2 April

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Apr 08, 11:15 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer. Here is her early email to the team.

Hi all,

It could all happen in Zimbabwe today - in which case we can go Zim-tastic. So let's talk about the best possible running order in those circumstances.

If not much has moved on - is there an alternative lead?

What else do you fancy doing? Zero-carbon phone line? Nato on Afghanistan? Global food prices? New coins?

We should watch Harman/Hague at PMQs obv.

We also have a film about a govt-endorsed technique called Brain Gym (basically a series of physical exercises) which is used in schools to aid the learning of pupils. Some scientists are far from convinced that it does what it says on the tin. We can speak to the brains behind Brain Gym who's based near LA.


Tuesday, 1 April, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Apr 08, 06:31 PM

Reports from Zimbabwe suggest the opposition has reached an outline deal with President Mugabe which would see him leave office after 28 years. Unnamed sources say talks have been taking place with representatives from the opposition MDC and President Mugabe's party, chaired by the South African president, Thabo Mbeki. The agreement hasn't been signed yet; it's thought President Mugabe may be preparing to address the nation. We'll have the latest on the ground from our World Affairs Editor, John Simpson in Zimbabwe. We'll also be speaking to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The Speaker of the Commons, Michael Martin, is to be investigated over expenses claims totalling £4,000 in relation to taxi journeys by his wife. A preliminary inquiry will be conducted by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, John Lyon. David Grossman will be gauging where this leaves the Speaker.

China's economy is, by any measure, a success story. Eleven per cent economic growth, rising wealth even among the poor and it's all set to be showcased spectacularly at the Olympics. Amid the celebrations, it's hardly been acknowledged that this is the 50th anniversary of the Great Leap Forward - Chairman Mao's failed attempt to modernise China the first time round. In the second part of Paul Mason's powerful series on China he asks what few in that country's media are prepared to: What are the parallels between then and now? We'll also be getting Lord Patten's analysis of how China is faring economically.

Prospects for Tuesday, 1 April

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Apr 08, 10:32 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer - here's his early email.

Good morning everyone,

There are some strong stories around today. When are the full results going to be announced in the Zimbabwe elections? Will President Mugabe steal it? And what would the repercussions be? Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC gives a press conference in an hour. Do come up with ideas for new ways to do this story.

There's also immigration. An influential Lords committee has rejected Government claims that immigration is bringing benefits to the country and says there should be a cap on numbers. The Lords economic affairs committee says the competition for jobs and public services could be damaging the prospects of the young and low paid.

42 days detention comes up in the Commons again as part of the Government's anti-terrorism measures. The Des Browne Iraq troop statement, Lord Sainsbury's tax and the Harriet Harman story are good too. Gordon Brown has his monthly presser today. Any extra suggestions for questions for David Grossman would be welcome.

We have a superb China film from Paul and Warwick on the Great Leap Forward 50 years on. There's a Lord Patten interview off the back which needs editing.



Monday, 31st March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 31 Mar 08, 06:21 PM

Dear Viewer,

Jeremy Paxman presents tonight's programme and we'll be focussing on the events in Zimbabwe.

MDC supportersAll the early reports said that the opposition MDC had won a clear victory. But two days after the polls closed we've only had a trickle of results - and they are split 50/50. Is President Mugabe trying to find a way to steal the election or are his colleagues just trying to pluck up the courage to tell him he's lost? We'll have the latest from Zimbabwe and will also be asking what the international community should do now.

So now we know - if we didn't before - that there was no conspiracy to murder of Princess Diana. That's from Coroner Lord Justice Scott Baker in his summing up at the Inquest in the Princess's death. So what of Mohammed Al Fayed's claims? They are without foundation say the judge. So why did he make them?

We'll also have one more story - lawyers permitting - so you'll just have to tune in to see what it is.

Do join us at 10.30. Much may change by then.

Prospects: Monday, 31 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 31 Mar 08, 11:40 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer - here's his early email to the team.

Good Morning,

It seems from briefings out of Zimbabwe that Mugabe has not just lost but been thrashed in the election - but will he steal it? Can he? Where is power being brokered. We should try and answer all these questions tonight. Who do we need to speak too - and where should we focus our discussion in the studio.

Richard Watson and Meirion Jones have a strong tale of how one former Jihadi has repented. He is now trying to "convert" back many of those who he previously radicalised.

But what else should we do today?


Friday 28 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Mar 08, 05:15 PM

Housing in Meltdown?

housing203x100.jpgHouse prices grew by just 1.1% in the last year, according to a report from Nationwide today. That's the slowest rate of growth in 12 years. While interest rates are falling, more and more banks and building societies are actually raising their tracker rates - competing to be uncompetitive - in an attempt to put people off buying their products. So is the housing market heading for a slump - and could it tip the economy into a recession? Or would a small downturn in an over-heated market actually be a good thing? We'll be hearing from top economists and the director of Winkworth estate agency.


A few moments ago President Bush described the violence in the south of Iraq as a "defining moment in the history of Iraq". We'll have the latest from our correspondent in Basra.

Terminal Five

Why is it that the country which invented the railways and the jet engine cannot get Heathrow terminal five to work properly? Is this an aberration? Or are complex systems, by their very nature, likely to fail at the outset? We'll ask Professor Heinz Wolf and the engineer behind the Channel Tunnel.

Prospects for Friday, 28 March

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Mar 08, 10:11 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer. Here is her early email to the team.


What would you like to do?

Here's some story ideas we can discuss takes treatments and guests for; house prices (and mortgage rates); Terminal Five fiasco; Time magazine on feral kids; the phenomenon of Carla Bruni? Anything else?

We can also continue to pursue Simba Makoni


Thursday, 27 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Mar 08, 06:36 PM

zimbabwe203x100.jpgZimbabweans go to the polls on Saturday for presidential elections. Incumbent Robert Mugabe, who's been in power for 28 years, is seeking another term as president. The Local, Senate, Assembly and Presidential polls come against the backdrop of a disintegrating economy - the annual rate of inflation exceeded 100,000% in February. Opposition activists have complained of intimidation, unequal media coverage and other anomalies. The opposition itself is divided and has failed to unite behind a single figure. Former Finance Minister Simba Makoni is challenging Mr Mugabe as an independent and could split the vote of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
With only a day to go there are still major questions and arguments of voter registration and the number of ballot papers printed - one report suggest that an extra three million ballot papers have been printed. The BBC as you may know is banned from Zimbabwe. Only a handful of international journalists were granted accreditation, one of those was RTE's Richard Downes - but he was only given official access to the country for three days around polling day. Undeterred by such bureaucratic irritations he slipped into Zimbabwe as a tourist to try to assess the state of the country in the run up to the election. See his exclusive report on the programme tonight.
We'll be speaking to Simba Makoni who is challenging Robert Mugabe for the presidency.

Scores of people have been killed in fighting between the Mahdi Army, Iraqi, and in many instances, US troops during a crackdown on the militia of firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Why is this happening now and is Iraq on the verge of a civil war? We'll be speaking to a senior adviser to the Iraqi army.

More than 30 flights have been cancelled at Heathrow's new Terminal Five because of problems with its high-tech baggage handling system. Thousands of passengers have been stuck at the airport awaiting flights and trying to trace their bags.

George Orwell's world of Big Brother seems to be alive and well in supermarket chain Lidl. Detectives hired by Lidl, which has thousands of stores worldwide, including 450 in Britain - have been monitoring employees in Germany. Several hundred pages of surveillance records have been passed on to Stern magazine, causing outrage among the unions and data protection officials. Peter Marshall is on the case.

Prospects for Thursday, 27 March

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Mar 08, 10:26 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer - here's his early email.

Good morning everyone,

We have a strong undercover film from Zimbabwe on the eve of the presidential elections from Richard Downes and Ian O'Reilly. We also have an interview with presidential candidate Simba Makoni. I'll tell you more in the meeting.

It's been reported this morning that at least 44 people have been killed in clashes between Iraqi and US forces, and Shiite militiamen from the Mehdi Army. What exactly is happening on the ground in Basra and across the country?

Should we be looking at the MPs expenses story again today? Are there any other stories we should be doing like asylum story or the pregnant man. Do come to the meeting with your ideas.

See you in a minute,


Wednesday, 26 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Mar 08, 05:32 PM


sarkozy203x100.jpgIn his first state visit to Britain, President Sarkozy has certainly turned on all his charm, praising British dynamism and wooing Eurosceptics with flattery over how Europe needs Britain. He says he hopes his state visit to Britain will mark a new era in Franco-British relations. Gordon Brown has also hailed a new era of closer relations between France and the UK, but behind all the hyperbole, what does it all really mean? Michael Crick assesses what both men have to gain from this love-in.

And we'll be discussing what a Sarkozy - Brown alliance will mean with a former French minister, a writer and an academic.


mason203x100.jpgChinese workers have traditionally had few rights to speak out, but a country where strikes are illegal is now becoming the strike centre of the world. In the first of two special films from China, Paul Mason reports on the new Chinese workforce - the 300 million people whose cheap labour provides the life force of the economy - and how some are beginning to fight for their employment rights and are being physically attacked in the process.


On the eve of elections in Zimbabwe, why has the British government suddenly decided it’s safe to end its moratorium and send failed asylum seekers back to the country? Robin Denselow has been investigating.

Prospects for Wednesday, 26 March

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Mar 08, 10:21 AM

Carol Rubra is tonight's programme producer. Here's her early email to the team.

Good morning,

Tonight we have the first of Paul Mason's films from his recent trip to China and apart from that the programme is wide open so let's discuss what else we should put in it and how we should do the stories.


Tuesday, 25 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Mar 08, 05:09 PM

Tonight, MPs are debating the case for a full inquiry into the Iraq war. Newsnight is running an exclusive film which, some will say, provides compelling evidence that such an inquiry is absolutely necessary.


In the late 1990s an Iraqi engineer turned up in Germany seeking asylum. Codenamed Curveball, he was questioned by German intelligence, and what he told them was shocking. He claimed he had witnessed a biological weapons programme in Iraq.

His information was passed on to the CIA, and it became a cornerstone of the intelligence case that Colin Powell made to the United Nations on the case for war. The only problem was, none of Curveball's claims were true. And, moreover, many of the holes in his story had been identified months before Colin Powell's presentation.

Curveball's been in hiding ever since the war, but a report for Spiegel magazine has tracked him down. Tonight Newsnight will show the first images of Curveball that have been seen since the war. Does he stand by his claims? And what does the whole saga tell us about the world of intelligence? We'll be talking to Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff.

We'll also be hearing from two MPs about whether a full inquiry is now necessary - and, if so, why it's taken so long.


Nicholas Sarkozy is the latest politician to suggest that he hasn't ruled out boycotting the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in the light of the crackdown by Chinese authorities in Tibet. Why has the British government not been more outspoken about China's record? Are ministers hampered by the fact that Britain is hosting the 2012 Olympics? We'll debate this.

Tuesday, 25 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Mar 08, 11:03 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer. Here is her early email to the team.

Hope you all had a Happy Easter.

So - today we have a film almost ready to run about an Iraqi defector known as Curveball. The evidence he gave his German handlers in the years before the Iraq war formed a key part of the intelligence case made by Colin Powell. He was the key source for the allegation that Iraq had several mobile chemical weapons labs.

Since the war his evidence has been discredited. And he's been called a fabricator. We've worked alongside Spiegel magazine and tracked him down in Germany – he now claims he never said that Iraq had WMD. This leaves us with a whole host of questions about intelligence work and the Iraq war.

Otherwise - the programme is pretty wide open - and there are a lot of good stories around. So let's have a heated debate about what's around and what we can bring to the stories.

Thursday, 20 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Mar 08, 06:09 PM

City limits?
The Bank of England is extending the support it gives to commercial banks. Heads of high street lenders have been meeting with the bank's governor to ask for guarantees of funds to help them through the credit crisis. They've also raised the issue of rogue traders spreading malicious rumours to cash-in on falling share prices.
Paul Mason is looking at whether the Bank of England has done enough. And he'll be examining how close we might be to collapse in the UK banking system.
Emily is currently out and about in the City of London asking people there if it's time for greater regulation in the markets to avoid rogue trader activity. We'll also be bringing together a big hedge fund manager, a City lawyer and a regulator to discuss all these issues live.

Thousands of soldiers were seen in Lhasa on Thursday amid reports of a huge military build-up as China admitted for the first time it had shot Tibetan protesters.
State-controlled Xinhua news agency reported four people were shot and wounded last weekend by police in a Tibetan area of southwestern China, as the Dalai Lama expressed fears that the crackdown on unrest had caused many casualties. Long military convoys were on the move in Tibet while troops poured into nearby provinces after a week of violence directed against China's rule of the Himalayan region, witnesses, activist groups and media reports said. A week of protests against China's 57-year rule of Tibet erupted into rioting in Lhasa last Friday. Demonstrations have since spilled over into nearby Chinese provinces with sizeable ethnic Tibetan populations. Peter Marshall will have the latest on this story and will be examining what the Dalai Lama wants from China.

Sarkozy's France
Next week French President Nicolas Sarkozy makes a state visit to Britain with his new wife Carla Bruni. Sarko's had a difficult few months following negative publicity around his private life and bad election results for his centre-right party in the final round of nationwide local elections. Allan Little travels through the South of France for Newsnight to find out what the people of France think of Sarkozy's presidency and his policies.

Prospects for Thursday, 20 March

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Mar 08, 10:45 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer - here's his early email.

Good morning everyone,

There are a few strong stories around today. The City stories are well worth pursuing. Mervyn King meets the CEOs of the big banks to discuss financial guarantees and there's the extraordinary rogue traders story.

The Tibet demos have spread to two more provinces in China.

Oscar-winning British actor Sir Paul Scofield has just died.

Sarkozy's France
We have a film from Allan Little and Sara. Next week French President Nicolas Sarkozy makes a state visit to Britain with his new wife Carla Bruni. Sarko's had a difficult few months following negative publicity around his private life and bad election results for his centre-right party in the final round of nationwide local elections. Allan travels through the South of France for Newsnight to find out what the people of France think of Sarkozy's presidency and his policies.

Do come to the morning meeting with great ideas on how to do these or any other stories. Any playout ideas welcome.


Wednesday, 19 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Mar 08, 06:47 PM

Iraq Special

branagh203x152.jpgFive years ago tonight, US bombers were preparing to attack targets in Baghdad. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the war, a special Newsnight asks what went wrong, what have been the successes and what does the future hold for the country?

Jeremy Paxman will interview Tony Blair's former Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell and we will have guests from Britain, Iraq and Washington, including Richard Perle, the high profile conservative who enthusiastically backed the war, and Charles Kennedy who opposed the war here in the UK.

Newsnight will follow the final 10 Days to War drama which tonight stars Kenneth Branagh as Colonel Tim Collins preparing his troops for battle.

Prospects for Wednesday, 19 March

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Mar 08, 10:36 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here's his early email.

Good morning all.

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, we plan to discuss the legacy of the conflict and the future prospects for Iraq.

Mark Urban has been working on an audit of the last five years and an assessment of the current situation in the country. During the live discussions we will look at the consequences of the conflict for Britain, trust in public life and US foreign policy.

We have a live interview with Tony Blair's former Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell. We plan a wider discussion as well. Which guests would you like on and what questions would you like asked?

We also have the final 10 Days To War drama, starring Kenneth Branagh as Colonel Tim Collins.

Iraq will dominate the programme, but what other suggestions have you got? We should clearly keep an eye on the National Security plan to be announced in the Commons, and the McCann story.

See you in the meeting


Tuesday, 18 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Mar 08, 06:15 PM

stock_market203x100.jpgThe US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has admitted the American economy is facing a "sharp decline" and economists are forecasting the fifth US interest rate cut today since the credit crunch began. US house prices have fallen for the first time since the 1930s; can we now avoid another Great Depression? Hugh Pym has been investigating how central bankers are trying to learn the lessons of history.

Is the British electoral system fit for purpose? A Conservative politician has been thrown out of office and had his election overturned for using scores of bogus postal votes in last year's local elections in Slough. The judge said the combination of postal voting on demand and the ease of registering voters had made fraud of this type "childishly easy" to commit, despite recent legislation designed to enhance its security.
So are the government's attempts to make it easier to vote part of the problem? Michael Crick has the details.

On the fifth anniversary of the parliamentary vote over going to war in Iraq we'll be talking to two back bench Labour MPs, one who supported the government position and one who opposed it. They'll be telling us about the difficulties they experienced in making their decisions.

And we'll be looking back at the life and work of British film director, Anthony Minghella, who died suddenly this morning.

Prospects for Tuesday,18 March

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Mar 08, 10:57 AM

Carol Rubra is tonight's programme producer. Here's her early email to the team.

Good morning,

Let's talk about what we should do on the economy and how we can make it look and feel fresh and different. I've been talking to Hugh Pym about looking at historical comparisons with the Great Depression. Let's have a think about treatments and guests.

National Security Strategy - the government is announcing this tomorrow - should we preview it?

Barak Obama is making a speech about race.

Teachers are discussing whether homework should be abolished for primary school children at their conference today.

And the Supreme Court is looking at US gun laws.

Slough - a tribunal is expected to find electoral fraud in last year's local elections - Michael Crick is looking in to it.

10 Days to War - the parliamentary vote. This is the story of two backbench MPs facing the decision over whether to back their party or vote for what they believe is right.

Let’s talk about these and any other ideas at the meeting.

Monday, 17 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Mar 08, 05:15 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman

Markets slump

markets1_203100.jpgMarkets from New York to Tokyo have recorded heavy losses in reaction to the emergency bailout of US investment bank Bear Stearns over the weekend. In New York the Dow Jones Industrials tumbled 194 points, more than 1.5%, in early trading before recovering. London's FTSE 100 index was down 2.7%. The Bank of England today made an extra £5bn available for UK banks to borrow to ease credit fears. The money was five times over-subscribed.

Meanwhile, on the markets, US, UK and European banks were hammered; Lehman Brothers fell 30%, UBS lost 13%, HBOS 10% and Commerzbank fell 7.9%. Investors are worried that the collapse of Bear Stearns, one of Wall Street's biggest names, is a sign that the credit crunch is getting worse and lending might seize up.

The BBC's Economic Correspondent Hugh Pym will assess how big the problem is and what the potential market solutions are. We'll also be looking at the impact on the UK economy. And Stephanie Flanders will join us live from New York to give us the latest on the fallout in the US.

We'll also be reconvening Newsnight's Shadow Monetary Policy Committee to cast their expert eyes over events.

Markets slump on banking worries


The deadline for Tibetan protesters to surrender to the police has passed, after a quiet day in the city of Lhasa. China had given demonstrators in the city until midnight to give themselves up or face punishment. Exiled Tibetans said security forces had been rounding up political dissidents and witnesses said there was a heavy police presence on the streets. Dozens are feared dead after days of rioting in Lhasa, with each side accusing the other of excessive force. Other parts of China also saw rallies on the weekend, while Tibetans in Nepal and India are continuing to protest. Mark Urban will analyse what's been happening and examines whether the Chinese Government will crack down hard on protestors just months before the Olympics.

Tibet protester deadline passes

Iraq: 10 Days to War

Five years on from the war in Iraq we speak to former Cabinet Secretary, Lord Butler about the use of intelligence on WMD.

And from the web team

The countdown continues with 3 Days to War. In You Are Welcome Here, with UN diplomacy dead, the weapons inspectors continue their fruitless search in Iraq. Watch a preview of tonight’s episode here.

Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban has written up his recollections of reporting on the preparations for war back in 2003, and shares his thoughts on how – with hindsight – he might have reported things differently.

And Michael Crick has added to the Big Fat Politics Blog with a few words about how Shadow Education Secretary Michael Gove has been “cracking the whip” with the leader of the Tory party; plus some thoughts about the many novelists Parliament and British politics have produced over the years…

Prospects: Monday, 17 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Mar 08, 10:29 AM

From today's programme producer, Robert Morgan:

Good morning everyone,

There's a lot around today. The fallout from Bear Stearns is set to be big. How will the international markets respond? What will the Fed do with interest rates tomorrow? What effect will this have on us in the UK? Tracker mortgages were withdrawn over the weekend and a report today says up to 10,000 jobs could go in the banking industry.

We have an interview with Lord Butler off the back of the 10 Days to War series. We need to watch out for China's midnight deadline for demonstrators in Tibet to give themselves up. Kosovo is worth looking at too. Do come to the meeting with ideas on how to do these stories.

Playout thoughts weclome. See you in a minute.


Friday, 14 March, 2008

  • Gavin Esler
  • 14 Mar 08, 05:25 PM

Quote for the day: "Hell is separation from God. Please assure your readers that failure to recycle a plastic bag will not result in that unhappy situation" - Peter Newell, of Crawley, West Sussex, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph.

Tonight Newsnight is on at a later time of 11pm on BBC Two following Sports Relief and 10 Day's to War (which starts at 10.45pm). In tonight's programme:

America's Northern Rock?
bearstearns203.jpgUS bank Bear Stearns has had to seek emergency funding backed by the US Federal Reserve. So is one of Wall Street's biggest names on the verge of collapse and what are the risks of contagion? George Bush admits things look bad for the American economy but says he is confident it will weather the storm. Really?

The Tories
We'll hear from the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne - we'll ask him to explain why the Tories aren't doing better given the poor state of the economy. Is it really wise to back the Government's spending plans and what ever happened to the promise of tax cuts?

Shannon Matthews
We'll have the latest on the extraordinary discovery of missing nine-year-old Shannon Matthews.

The worst rioting in Tibet for twenty years - is this the shape of things to come as the countdown to the Beijing Olympics begins?

Newsnight is at 11pm tonight on BBC 2.

Prospects: Friday, 14 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Mar 08, 01:22 PM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here's his early email.

Good Morning.

We have some strong stories today.

Tibet pilgrims in Labrang MonasteryThis morning there are reports of gunfire and rioting in Tibet, what is going on?

Michael Crick is at the Tory conference - in the light of recent Government problems why are they not doing better? Given the concerns of Middle England about rises in the cost of living and higher taxes on cars, drink and income, many in the party believe they should concentrate more on policies which could ease the financial burden on the suburbs.

An interesting EU climate change report which says that global warming could lead to mass immigration into Europe - could this make voters care more about the environment?

Let's watch the dollar too. What suggestions have you got for guests, treatments and other stories?


Thursday, 13 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Mar 08, 05:54 PM

10 Days to War
Tonight's 10 Days to War focuses on the vote at the United Nations Security Council on a second resolution. On Newsnight we speak to Britain's man at the UN who was applying the thumbscrews on behalf of Tony Blair - Sir Jeremy Greenstock - and one of those he tried to persuade Ambassador Valdes from Chile. Just how nasty did things get?

But we begin tonight with the global economy. Today we saw new highs for gold and oil and a new low for the dollar. As Stephanie Flanders explains it could be a real pivotal moment. We'll debate whether the world's central banks can or should do anything to address the continuing turbulence in the markets.

Finally tomorrow sees parliamentary elections in Iran. Will the result give more power to the Military or the Mullahs? Jon Leyne gives us his assessment.

Don't forget to tune in for a dramatic performance from Tom Conti in 10 Days to War and then join us at Newsnight straight afterwards.


Prospects: Thursday. 13 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Mar 08, 12:13 PM

Hello All,

Tom ContiAmazing acting from Tom Conti as the Mexican Ambassador in tonight's drama from 10 Days to War. It reveals the tough tactics used at the UN in order to get backing or block the war in Iraq. And it also highlights the bugging of the Ambassadors that went on. All points we'll put to Jeremy Greenstock - our Ambassador at the time - and Juan Gabriel Valdes who was the Chilean Ambassador. It'll be interesting to see whether they can agree now - having not agreed at the time.

What else should we do today?

Is there any more fall out from the budget that we should do?

What about the Carlyle group's mortgage fund? It is going bust. And it might be the first of a few. Stephanie has agreed to explain.

We've also got a film from Iran ahead of their elections tomorrow AND a film from the School Swap in Bradford - Bradford Utd.
There are other interesting tales around -
- The Inquest opens into the death of Michael Todd. What led to death of one of Britain's top policemen?
- Why have the Conservative council in Ealing withdrawn funding for the famous campaign group Southall Black Sisters? Isn't David Cameron a supporter of such things?
- Are the Jackson Five really moving to Devon?


Wednesday, 12 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Mar 08, 05:20 PM

Credibility Crunch
Alistair DarlingMuch has been made of the warning that Alistair Darling was not going to incite a quickening of the pulse with today's budget. The chancellor was probably delighted. The more we called him “grey”, “dull” and “flat”, the easier his job became - like a football manager downplaying his team's chances before a cup final.

In the end, he didn’t need to blind us with brilliance. He just sought to reassure us that things weren't about to go really badly wrong. Although he downgraded economic growth forecasts, they still seem pretty optimistic. Although he upped borrowing to £43bn - sailing perilously close to his own rules on debt - he still seemed to tell us all would shortly be well in the economy.

How so? Can he confidently predict the country won't see a recession? Or is he just shutting his eyes and hoping the problem will go away? David Cameron has accused the government of a 'credibility crunch'.

Tonight, after we've “toothcombed” the red book to see what all the detail really amounts to, we'll be talking to the three main parties to ask if the chancellor has emerged today with his credibility in tact, or if this budget is merely storing up trouble for a later date.

More on the budget from BBC News.

Ten Days to War
Stephen ReaOur film tonight revisits the argument over post-war planning in Iraq. Clare Short, the International Development Secretary of the time, is one of the characters in the film. She will then appear in the studio alongside Major General Tim Cross - played by Stephen Rea in the drama - whose task was to re-build Iraq after the war. We'll be asking where the planning went wrong.

Watch the first two episodes and read more about the series on the website.

Prospects: Wednesday, 12 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Mar 08, 10:54 AM

Robert Morgan is tonight's programme producer. Here's his early email to the team.

Good morning everyone,

Alistair Darling cartoonIt's Alistair Darling's first Budget day. Can he rescue his reputation after the bad reception he received for his pre-budget report and Northern Rock? The BBC's learned that an increase in tax on fuel won't be imposed next month. The Chancellor had been planning to confirm the two pence rise when he delivers his first budget at lunchtime, but has now shelved the idea for six months because of the rising price of crude oil. Will he go for green taxes and higher duties on alcohol? How will he help reduce child poverty, as Gordon Brown has promised? What will be the effect of the credit crunch and the recent nationalisation of Northern Rock on government spending?

The Budget is at 12.30pm (full details here). Ideas on how to do the story are welcome.

10 Days to War
We have a disco set up between Clare Short and Major General Tim Cross following tonight's really strong film on problems with post-war planning in Iraq.


Tuesday, 11 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Mar 08, 06:19 PM

School Admissions

A "shocking" number of state schools are breaking new admissions rules designed to make the system fairer. According to a government investigation some asked for financial contributions from parents as a condition of entry, others tried to find out the occupation of parents. So was this due to an ignorance of the rules or a deliberate attempt to circumvent them? And where does this leave the Labour government's promise to improve social mobility?

Labour and the Rich

On the eve of the budget David Grossman investigates Labour's attitude to the very rich. Last month they were targeting the wealth of the so-called 'non-doms' but tonight Business Secretary John Hutton will say that instead of worrying about huge salaries we should celebrate success. What's going on and what does it signal about tomorrow's budget?

Credit Crunch

Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders will look at today's decision by central bankers to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the overall financial system to try to ease the credit crunch.


Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban has a powerful film from both sides of the Gaza border. How have the lives of Israelis and Palestinians been affected by the conflict in the region and what are the chances of an agreement that will bring a lasting peace?

And don't forget to tune in at 10.30 to catch the second episode of the 10 Days to War series.

It's now 9 days to the invasion of Iraq and a group of senior Iraqi exiles are meeting to discuss their plans to form a post-Saddam government. But will the Americans back them?

Then later in the programme we'll talk to one of the central characters of the film, Francis Brooke who advised one of the key Iraqi exiles.

That's 9 Days to War plus Newsnight from 10.30 tonight.

Prospects 11 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Mar 08, 11:05 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team.

Good morning all,

We have some good options today. Ahead of the budget, David Grossman has been examining party policy towards the very rich, and examines whether the public’s attitude towards tax and the very wealthy may have changed. Who should we do off the back?

Later today the Home Affairs Select Committee will reveal new figures about the number of young people missing from school rolls across the country - could this be evidence of a higher than expected number of forced marriages in Britain? There is also a separate and perhaps more rigorous study in Luton on this subject.

Mark Urban has a film from inside Gaza and we have an interview on the back of the 10 days to war drama with Francis Brooke.

What else? Citizenship classes will probably feel too old by tonight, but what do you think?


Monday, 10 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Mar 08, 05:52 PM

Juliet StephensonTonight Jeremy Paxman and Newsnight will appear a little later - after the first in the series 10 Days to War. The opening episode is a dramatic representation of senior Foreign Office Lawyer, Elizabeth Wilmhurst's decision to resign over the legality of military action.

On Newsnight we'll debate whether the war in Iraq was legal - and if it was not legal, whether that matters. We'll be joined by General Sir Mike Jackson one of those charged with running the war five years ago, William Taft, who was at the time the legal advisor to the US State Department and leading QC Philippe Sands who doubts the legality of the war.

With just two days to go before the Budget we're already being told to expect many "green" measures. But does it really achieve anything other than increasing government revenue to put up taxes on so called environmentally bad things? Our science editor Susan Watts asks whether a few green taxes will really change anyone's behaviour. We'll then debate whether such taxes can be justified. And our economics editor Stephanie Flanders has a profile of the man with the job of making these decisions, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling.

Finally, have you read the blog of Whitehall insider Civil Serf? It's believed to be the online outpourings of a disillusioned civil servant. At the weekend it disappeared from the web. So what happened? We've asked Michael Crick to find out.

Do tune in to BBC 2 at 10.30pm for Ten Days to War and then join us immediately afterwards.

Prospects: Monday, 10 March, 2003

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Mar 08, 10:29 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer. Here is his early email to the team.

Hello everyone,

10 Days to War
Juliet StephensonTonight is the first of the drama reconstructions of the events that led to the conflict in Iraq - it's called 10 Days to War. Starring Juliet Stevenson and Kate Ashfield in this episode we're behind the scenes at the foreign office as one of the government's most senior lawyers plans to resign over the legality of the war. We'll debate with General Sir Mike Jackson, QC Phillipe Sands and senior US legal advisor William Taft whether the war was legal and why it matters if it was or wasn't.

But what else should we do on tonight's programme? Stephanie Flanders is working on a profile of Alistair Darling ahead of Wednesday's budget. Should we do more on the budget than that?

Is there something Newsnight should be doing on the weather?


Friday, 7 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Mar 08, 05:00 PM

A Newsnight investigation has revealed claims that the drugs company, Reckitt Benckiser, blocked attempts to make a cheaper copy of one of its best-selling medicines - Gaviscon - which could have saved the NHS millions of pounds. Read Newsnight's exclusive report.

shooting203x100.jpgEarlier today thousands of mourners attended the funerals of eight Israeli students shot dead in Jerusalem. They were killed in a religious college by a gunman, who had smuggled an assault rifle into the library. Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban joins us from Jerusalem.

Big questions about Nick Clegg's leadership after this week's rebellion over Europe. Michael Crick reports from the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference.

And look out for next week's series of dramas - 10 Days to War - which examines the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Prospects for Friday, 7 March

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Mar 08, 10:34 AM

Today's programme producer is Robert Morgan - here is his early email to the production team.

Good morning everyone,

We've got a strong investigation from Meirion and Martin Shankleman about Gaviscon. Who would have thought the makers of Gaviscon would have been scheming to cheat the National Health Service out of millions of pounds? The company is Reckitt Benckiser which makes everything from Dettol to Neurofen and Cillit Bang to LemSip. It made a billion pounds profit last year. A whistleblower from Reckitt came to see Newsnight and showed us internal emails and secret business plans which should have been shredded. They explained how they planned to block cheap generic copies of their medicine. We showed the papers to a top competition lawyer to see if what they were doing was illegal. He described them as "smoking guns".

I've put in a bid for the Public Health Minister, Dawn Primarolo and the head of the NHS. Let's discuss other possible bids too.

Other stories worth looking at include the aftermath of the Jerusalem killings. Will there be retaliation from the Israeli government? What about the diplomatic reaction from Libya at the UN? Michael and Hugh are at the Lib Dem Spring Conference. There's more on the Jersey story today.

Any other ideas welcome.


Thursday, 6 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Mar 08, 05:51 PM

British, White and Working Class
Tonight a Newsnight Special ahead of tomorrow's launch of BBC Two's White Season, a series of programmes exploring the white working class experiences of 21st Century Britain.
We have a specially commissioned poll from the polling organisation Populus to gauge white working class attitudes across a range of issues including the vexed subject of immigration. We'll debate the polls findings in the studio with among others the Culture Minister Margaret Hodge, the Talk Sport presenter Jon Gaunt, the RMT union leader Bob Crow and Shaun Bailey a youth worker and prospective Tory parliamentary candidate. We'll also be speaking to the BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Read Jackie Long's article here.

Seroxat - GlaxoSmithKline Accused
Also in the programme tonight a Government review has strongly criticised the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline for not passing on crucial information to regulators about a link between the anti depressant Seroxat and suicidal tendencies in young people. The BBC reporter Shelley Joffre who first broke the story of the problems with Seroxat for Panorama, revisits the controversy and asks what if anything the Government can do.

Gaza Crisis
Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban has just been inside Gaza and we'll ask him about the humanitarian impact of the sanctions there and the attempts by Egypt to broker a truce between the Palestinian militants and Israel.
See you later Kirsty

Prospects for Thursday, 6 March

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Mar 08, 10:45 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team.

Good Morning,

Much of the programme tonight will discuss the British White Working Class - are they the forgotten group in British Society? Have they been marginalised by policy makers and the media? Newsnight has commissioned a poll of the British white working and middle classes with some fascinating results.

We have interviews with Culture Minister and MP for Barking Margaret Hodge, and Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP. We'll also have a wider discussion about the issue with some strong guests.

The Government are set to announce a major tightening of the law governing drug trials when the Medicines and Healthcare Regulator reports on allegations that GlaxoSmithKline delayed informing the authorities that Seroxat increased the likelihood of suicide among teenagers.

A very strong report by human rights groups into the impact of the sanctions.

Other stories include ID cards - how the scheme will be rolled out. What other suggestions do you have?


Wednesday, 5 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Mar 08, 05:03 PM

EU referendum
cleggcommons203.jpgA rowdy time was had by all in the House of Commons today – and that was just at PMQs. The three party leaders took each other to task over their respective stances on an EU referendum. This was followed by a lengthy debate about a referendum on the EU Treaty. Is this democracy in action or a Westminster conspiracy to stifle real debate? Our political editor Michael Crick will have the best bits for us – and the results of the vote itself, of course, which takes place at 7pm. What will be the fallout of the rebellions likely to dog each of the party leaders?

Michael Crick’s been blogging this afternoon – read what he has to say here.

The BBC has learnt of allegations of state-sanctioned violence in Kenya during the turmoil that followed last December's disputed presidential poll. Sources allege that meetings were hosted at the official residence of the president between the banned Mungiki militia and senior government figures. The Kenyan Government says the allegations are preposterous. Karen Allen has been investigating and Jeremy has been putting the allegations to the Kenyan Government spokesman.

Read more on this story here.

US elections
"For everyone here in Ohio and across America who has ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out, for everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up, and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you."

Hillary Clinton is back in the race after taking Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island in yesterday’s Democratic primaries. But Barack Obama took Vermont and still has more delegates overall than his rival.

So it’s no clearer who will go up against that other comeback kid John McCain – now confirmed as the Republican nominee – in the fight for the White House.

Peter Marshall is in Washington to ask “what next?” It could all come down to the super-delegates – but who are these mysterious voters with the power to turn this race on its head yet again?

HIV scandal
Also tonight, Madeleine Holt investigates the so-called "bareback" gay porn industry. The unique selling point of this genre of films is that they show unprotected sex - something which has been taboo in gay erotica since the emergence of HIV in the 1980s.

Our investigation highlights fears that some of the performers in bareback are becoming infected on camera. And that footage, which effectively documents people unwittingly becoming HIV positive, is now on sale. Some surprising names are now profiting from bareback - including one of Britain's most respected gay businesses, which has hitherto had a long track record of campaigning for HIV awareness.

There is concern that the popularity of bareback marks a worrying shift in attitudes. Health officials fear it echoes a wider complacency about HIV among a generation which wasn’t even born when the government first employed icebergs to try to frighten people into wearing condoms.

Read more about Madeleine’s report here

Do join Jeremy at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Prospects: Wednesday, 5 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Mar 08, 10:33 AM

Carol Rubra is today's programme producer. Here is her early email to the production team.

Good morning,

We have lots of goodies in the programme tonight.

Hillary ClintonHillary makes a comeback, but how much of a comeback is it? Peter Marshall and Ben are in Washington. Let's discuss treatment ideas and angles for them to explore and discussion guests.

We have a very strong film from Karen Allen containing new allegations of state sanctioned violence in the recent riots in Kenya. We are bidding for a Kenyan govt response.

We also have Madeleine Holt and Ed Main's film which didn't run yesterday. It's an investigation into the health risks of so-called bareback gay porn - that is films showing men having unprotected sex. Following the investigation, three films have been withdrawn from sale. There have been concerns from within the gay community that performers are being infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Read the article here.

Today is also the day when MPs finally vote on the whether there should be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Any thoughts on a playout?

Tuesday, 4 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Mar 08, 05:29 PM

clinton203.jpgThe races for both the Democratic and Republican US presidential nominations could be settled as four states vote in a major round of primary elections. The main focus is on Ohio and Texas but votes are also taking place in Rhode Island and Vermont. Democratic front-runner Barack Obama has said rival Hillary Clinton may have to quit if he wins in Texas and Ohio, but she has vowed to stay the course. Arizona Senator John McCain could be confirmed as the Republican candidate. Peter Marshall will have the latest from the US and we'll be on the ground in Ohio and Texas - watch his interview with Forest Whitaker.

We also hope to be joined live by a big Hillary Clinton supporter.

MPs will decide tomorrow whether to have a referendum on the new European Union Treaty. The Government says it's not necessary, but is facing a Commons rebellion from up to 30 Labour MPs. The Liberal Democrat leadership are urging their MPs to abstain with a three line whip, but a number of front benchers are threatening to support the call for a public vote and could face the sack. This could prove to be the first big test for the new Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg. He joins us live.

The American secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, has said she's concerned about the recent violence between Israel and the Palestinians, but still believes a peace deal can be achieved this year. Speaking in Ramallah, Dr Rice again urged Palestinian leaders to resume talks with Israel. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, suspended negotiations at the weekend in protest at Israel's recent offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 120 people. Mr Abbas said that while he wanted peace, he warned that the security needs of Israelis could not take precedence over the rights of Palestinians. Diplomatic Editor, Mark Urban joins us from Jerusalem.

gay2203x152.jpgThree films have been withdrawn from sale following a Newsnight investigation into the health risks of so-called bareback gay porn - which shows men have unprotected sex. It follows concerns within the gay community that performers are being infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Two of the DVDs featured footage from a week-long shoot during which eight British models had sex with each other in multiple combinations without condoms. Four of those who took part were diagnosed as HIV positive soon after. One of the men told the BBC he was distressed that footage which he believed showed him becoming infected had been put on sale. Read Madeleine Holt's article here.

Prospects for Tuesday, 4 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Mar 08, 10:56 AM

Today's programme producer is Robert Morgan - here is his early email to the production team.

Good morning everyone,

There are some good stories around today. It's Hillary Clinton's make or break day today against Barack Obama as voting in four US primaries take place. Peter Marshall and Ben Bevington are in the US for the programme. Do come to the meeting with ideas on how we should be doing the story today. Have you got any ideas for big name interviews in debate? Lots of bids have been put in already.

Condoleeza Rice is in the Middle East today. Mark Urban should still be in Jerusalem. David Grossman has a good Lib Dem story. I'll tell you more in the morning meeting. I rather like the Margaret Hodge Proms story if we have time.

We have a strong film from Madeleine Holt and Ed Main. Three films have been withdrawn from sale following a Newsnight investigation into the health risks of so-called bareback gay porn – which shows men having unprotected sex. It follows concerns within the gay community that performers are being infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Any other ideas for stories welcome. Playout thoughts?


Monday, 3 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Mar 08, 06:17 PM

24-Hour Drinking
WineWe were told it could lead to a café culture, sensible drinking and a decline in drink-related violence, but has it? Newsnight has conducted its own review of the 24-hour licensing laws, ahead of the Government's official publication, expected tomorrow. What has been the real impact of liberalising the law? (Remember Boozenight?)

Hamas declared "victory" this morning after Israeli troops pulled out of the Gaza Strip after days of fighting in which more than 100 people have died - but the Israeli Prime Minister said military action would continue. So what are the prospects for peace? Mark Urban reports from Israel and we speak to senior Israeli and Hamas politicians.

Obama's Foreign Policy
So how would Barack Obama have handled this weeks events in Gaza, Russia or Iraq and would we have even noticed the difference? We'll be speaking to his senior foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power.

Prospects: Monday, 3 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Mar 08, 10:17 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team. Leave your thoughts below on what we should cover.

Good morning all.

Palestinian gunman in GazaHamas declared "victory" this morning after Israeli troops pulled out of the Gaza Strip after days of fighting that have killed more than 100 people - but senior Israeli officials said the conflict had merely entered an "interval” for a visit by the US Secretary of State. Rockets from Hamas hit the Israeli city of Ashkelon today, and Israeli air strikes have continued. Mark Urban is in Israel. Which guests would you like to see on this? What other thoughts do you have on the story?

The government is due to publish its review of 24-hour drinking tomorrow - local government chiefs have already been highly critical. Has the change made a difference for good or ill?

On the first day after the election, Gazprom, the company president-elect Dmitry Medvedev is still formally chairman of, has cut gas supplies to the Ukraine by 25%. Is this an ominous start? Should we do this and how?

On a foreign heavy day, we have an interview with Obama's senior foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power. How would a President Obama deal with the Middle East and Russia?

All other ideas welcome.


Friday, 29 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Feb 08, 04:28 PM

immigration.jpgWhat do the new rules mean? Are they irrelevant to the main concern of many British people - the arrival of immigrants from Eastern Europe? In fact just how many people are the new rules expected to exclude who were not previously? We have the figures.

Which way Russia?
They are now speaking of "Putinism" in Russia - and it is always a bit of a warning sign when a politician becomes an "-ism”. But what will this weekend's presidential elections mean for Russia's future? A former Kremlin adviser will discuss it with a leading Putin sceptic.

Labour's Spring in the Step?
We've sent Michael Crick off to the Labour spring Conference to see if the party regulars feel any optimism about their chances of winning the next election, after some dismal showings in the opinion polls. Don't forget to read Michael's blog.

Newsnight Review
Banksy's Rat with DrillAnd then on Review, Sarfraz Manzoor, Kerry Shale and Rachel Campbell-Johnston join Kirsty to discuss: Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack Black in Noah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding; Hanif Kureishi's new novel Something To Tell You; drama White Girl and documentary Last Orders, both from BBC Two's White Season; and an exhibition of Works by Banksy at the Andipa Gallery, London. More information on all those on the Newsnight Review website.

Prospects: Friday, 29 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Feb 08, 10:08 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer - here's his early email to the team.

Hello All,

So do we get an extra day's pay for working an extra day this year? Welcome to February 29th.

Lots of stories that are interesting - on which can we make our mark?

harry203fri29.jpgShould we do Harry? What are the circumstances where we agree NOT to report something? Or now everyone else is talking about Harry should we impose our own ban on reporting him?

Russian election this weekend? What would you like to know - what is the interview that you want to hear?

Immigration points system has come in - can we throw ahead to White Season and do a bit of this tonight? But will today's new point system be the change that is necessary to reassure those that are upset at the "pace of change".

Michael Crick is at Labour Party spring conference - to hear Ken Livingstone speak and to gauge just how the party is now performing.

Any other ideas gratefully received. See you at 10.30

Simon Enright

Thursday, 28 February, 2008

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 28 Feb 08, 05:58 PM

plastic203bags.jpgWhere do you stand on the Plastic Bag Debate? M&S has announced that in their food department customers are going to be charged 5p per plastic bag in an effort to reduce consumer demand. A good move or a publicity stunt when there are many other ways M&S could be moving ahead towards their promise of being carbon neutral by 2012? There are other ways - The Irish Government introduced a plastic bag tax in 2002 and claims use has fallen by 90%. Even China has banned ultra thin bags and free bags will be banned from June of this year - as a result the country's leading plastic bag producers closed down. So is this just ‘greenwash’ or a good thing? We will also debate whether the environmental lobby is ruling our lives.

It has just been announced that Prince Harry has been fighting the Taleban in Afghanistan - and as luck would have it tonight we have a film from Alastair Leithead about the strategy in that country. Six years after the fall of the Taleban, President Karzai has control of just 30% of the country, US National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell told a Senate committee. The Taleban hold 10%. So what are the US the British and Afghan governments getting right and wrong in Afghanistan? The British in Helmand province may think experience in Northern Ireland, and 1950s Malaya puts them at the forefront of counter insurgency, but the Americans running the south east now seem well ahead, as Alastair Leithead reports.

See you later, Kirsty

Prospects for Thursday, 28 February

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Feb 08, 10:25 AM

Today's programme producer is Robert Morgan - here is his early email to the production team.

Good morning everyone,

The programme is wide open today. Do come to the meeting prepared to debate what should be the lead and why. Stories around include GPs, plus the Shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley seems to have made a fresh spending commitment. There's also bags and Jersey.

We have an Alistair Leithead film produced by Rebecca on US and UK counter-insurgency work in Afghanistan. Is it making any progress?

I've got an option on interviewing former head of the Bin Laden unit at the CIA, Michael Scheuer. He's got a new book out on foreign policy and terror. I'll explain more in the meeting. It could work off the back of the film.


Wednesday, 27 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Feb 08, 06:11 PM


beveridge203x100.jpgThe Welfare State was established in 1948 to tackle William Beveridge's "Giant Evils" of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. A key part of that reform was the abolition of the Poor Law and its replacement with a version of the Social Security and Benefits system we have today. But 60 years on, is the benefits system still fit for purpose? On the eve of the government's announcement of its own proposals on Welfare Reform we'll be talking to the Work and Pensions Secretary and asking key thinkers if it is time for a root-and-branch change?


As Russia prepares to elect a new president this weekend, there are signs it's reinstating its military might. In the last few months strategic nuclear bombers have been brought out of 15 years of hibernation and intercepted off the coast of Scotland. While they say these are simply exercises, few doubt that its growing presence in the skies has a political dimension. We have exclusive access inside one of Russia's strategic bomber bases.


We'll have the latest from Jersey on the police investigation into allegations of child abuse at Haut de la Garenne, and have some astonishing revelations about the Jersey authorities' attitude to previous cases of child sexual abuse.


The biggest earthquake in Britain for nearly 25 years was felt across large parts of Britain this morning. The epicentre measured 5.2 on the Richter scale near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire but people across Newcastle, Yorkshire, London, Cumbria, the Midlands, Norfolk and also parts of Wales all felt it. We'll take a look through the images from throughout the day.

Prospects for Wednesday, 27 February

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Feb 08, 11:08 AM

Today's programme producer is Carol Rubra - here is her early email to the team.

Good morning,

There's no obvious lead today but I'm interested in looking at Welfare reform ahead of James Purnell's announcement tomorrow. Do we need a new Welfare State for the 21st Century? Have social attitudes to the benefits system changed as society has become less homogenous? Please come to the meeting with ideas for guests for a big discussion, treatments and angles.

Which other stories interest you?
Heathrow protesters on the roof of parliament, more chip and pin, EU expenses, DNA case, the Obama/ Clinton debate, pro referendum lobby of parliament.

We have a film from Rupert Wingfield Hayes from the Volga on Russia reviving its strategic nuclear bomber force.

Tuesday, 26 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Feb 08, 06:20 PM

Chip and Pin

chip203x152.jpgWhatever you buy in the shops, you probably pay with a chip and pin card, tonight Newsnight has exclusive evidence that they are vulnerable to fraudsters. The implications could be huge for millions of shoppers. We'll be asking what are the banks going to do about it?

Let us know if you think you have been a victim of chip and pin fraud.

Terror Trial

The missed opportunities in picking up the July 21 bombers can be disclosed today following the conviction of one of the most senior terrorist recruiters in Britain - a man who called himself "Osama bin London". Peter Marshall has the full story.

Jersey Claims

After the horrific findings in a Jersey children’s home last week, more accusations have been made on the island today of a "cover-up" in relation to separate child abuse allegations at a school in the 1990s. Are the authorities responsible for a conspiracy of silence over many years or are the claims without foundation? We have a report tonight from Jersey.

Nader Interview

From the US we have an interview with the independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader - why does he keep running for President and is he proud of his role in helping George W Bush to win the election of 2000?

Tuesday, 26 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Feb 08, 10:55 AM

Today's programme producer is Dan Kelly - here is his early email to the production team.

Good morning, some strong stories today,

Susan Watts has a very strong story on the vulnerability of Chip and Pin machines. The research has been carried out by Professor Ross Anderson's team, and illustrates how relatively easy it is to tap into a machine and create a cloned card. Could this explain the increasing number of "phantom withdrawals" form customers’ cards reported across the UK?

The anti-depression report plastered across today's papers is interesting - but will it feel very old by tonight? Do you have guest suggestions that could move the story on?

Jackie is in Jersey. Senator Syvret claims to have evidence that previous child abuse allegations on the island were covered up. We'll look at the evidence and see if it's worth pursuing.

The Turkish Government is to publish a new version of the Hadith - the collected sayings of the Prophet Muhammad - taking out what are sometimes regarded as harsh and misogynistic messages. What will be the reaction across the Islamic world? Could this be the beginning of a "Reformation" in Islam (as some claim)? Who could we have on to discuss this?

There are also some interesting developments on the MPs’ expenses story at Westminster.

How should we cover these stories? What other suggestions do you have?


I forgot to mention, we have an interview with Ralph Nader too

Monday, 25 February, 2005

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Feb 08, 05:34 PM

Jeremy has spent the afternoon speaking to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz about his new book - The Three Trillion Dollar War. It is an attempt to put a price on how much was spent invading Iraq. He tries to put numerical values not only on the damage to the world's economy but also the personal cost to those who fought and the many who died in the war. The book is the latest in the Newsnight Book Club - read an extract and leave your thoughts here.

The former Jersey children's home Haute de la GarenneheBut we'll start the programme with the police investigation in Jersey which looks to be uncovering remains at the site which once was a children's home. Is there something about the way Jersey runs its government which allowed this to go unchecked? We'll debate.

There were cheers for the Speaker when he called "Order, Order" in the house today; that after a rough weekend of headlines calling for his resignation. But it does seem that his parliamentary colleagues are giving him their support. For now. Does that damage the reputation of the House? We'll speak to an interesting figure who in his time was also responsible for damaging parliament's reputation.

Finally we have a report from Chad - not somewhere we often take our cameras. Many refugees from Darfur are sheltering in the country but they are far from safe. The complicated local political situation leaves Chad's borders vulnerable and the French peace-keeping troops have split loyalties. It is a difficult but important film to watch.

Prospects - Monday, 25 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Feb 08, 10:27 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer.

Good Morning,

The former Jersey children's home Haute de la GarenneheWhat has gone on in Jersey? And is there culpability from the political system there? We're trying to scramble a team out there. Any other lines we should pursue?

Speaker Michael Martin's broken no Commons rules. His spokesman just resigned because he'd told the press an untruth. And it was not Michael Martin's fault. So what is going on and has Martin lost the confidence of MPs or not? (Watch David Grossman’s original report on this story.)

We have a film from Chad about the role of French troops in the developing crisis there as refugees flood across the border from Sudan and Darfur.

And we also have an interview with Professor Joseph Stiglitz about his latest book looking at the economics of the war in Iraq.

We possibly do need one more thing but what?

OFGEM's largest ever fine on a company?
The Fair-trade debate - sales are up but the Adam Smith Institute is characterising Fair Trade as unfair
Or should we debate who had the best dress at the Oscars?

Bring your answers to the morning meeting. OR post them below.


Friday, 22 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Feb 08, 05:33 PM

iraq_soldiers203x100.jpgDid British soldiers really execute up to 20 Iraqi civilians in southern Iraq, as was claimed in a press conference today? Lawyers published a dossier concerning the aftermath of a gun battle in 2004 known as "The Battle of Danny Boy" named after the checkpoint where it took place. But how reliable is the evidence, based on the accounts of Iraqi civilians who were blindfolded at the time?

Who is Barack Obama? He is now definitively the front runner for the Democratic nomination, although Hillary Clinton may make an Alamo-like last stand in Texas and Ohio in ten days. But if it really is Obama versus McCain in November, what kind of contest is that shaping up to be? And will the Republicans simply paint Obama as the most left wing Democratic candidate for 40 years? We'll hear live from a top Obama adviser, Senator Tom Daschle.

"All In The Mind"
Alastair Campbell has written a work of fiction - no not another Government dossier - but a novel about a psychiatrist "his patients and family, and the pressures they bring to bear upon each other”. So can Alastair become a successful man of letters? We interview him live on the programme.

Prospects for Friday, 22 February

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Feb 08, 10:28 AM

Today's programme producer is Dan Kelly - here is his early email to the production team.

Morning all.

Open to lots of suggestions today on stories, guests and treatments. Plenty of stories around but what should we make our own?

Should agency workers have the same pay and conditions as other workers? A Private Members Bill is expected to receive strong support from Labour MPs today despite the opposition of the Government and claims from the CBI that 250,000 jobs could go. Can we shine a light on to the world of agency workers? What are their conditions and what are the consequences?

Peter Marshall is working on a profile of Barack Obama, which guests would you like off the back?

Other stories we could do include allegations of torture by British troops in Iraq. Serbia and reports that the Turkish army has entered northern Iraq.

Please come with lots of ideas.


Thursday, 21 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Feb 08, 05:21 PM


miliban203x100.jpgThe Foreign Secretary has made an extraordinary apology to MPs over extraordinary rendition. Until now the government's always been adamant that British soil has never been used in the process of moving terrorist suspects around the globe, to or from countries where they could be subject to torture.
But today David Miliband admitted that, in actual fact, two such planes DID touch down on British territory a full six years ago - on the island of Diego Garcia. Why hadn't this come to light before now? Because the US government has only just informed the government about the flights, apparently, even though they are supposed to ask permission of the government before using British territory in such a way. Two parliamentary inquiries since 2002, then, have been misled by the government.
Kirsty is speaking to the legal adviser to the US State Department John Bellinger about this right now - and will be asking why details of these flights have taken six years to come to light. And we'll be asking where it leaves the “special relationship”.

Suffolk Murders

Steve Wright has been convicted of murdering five women in Ipswich at the end of 2006. What would motivate a man to commit such unspeakable crimes? Were they a tragic, isolated series of killings or do they speak to deeper issues in society?

MP WAS bugged

An investigation ordered by the Home Office has found that the Labour MP, Sadiq Khan, was bugged on two occasions when he met a terrorist suspect in prison. The Home Secretary said that senior police officers did not realise he was an MP and that correct procedures were followed. But how seriously can we take the results of the inquiry given that it took no evidence from the whistleblower who made the original allegations?

Euro millions

We've heard stories of MPs employing relatives to do next-to-nothing. But it seems we’ve got nothing on the European Parliament. The European Union's internal anti-fraud squad has confirmed it's investigating alleged abuses of MEPs' expenses totalling about £100m. David Grossman is working up a handy guide to Euro-expense wheezes.

And - in case you weren't watching last night - we're celebrating Jeremy's News Presenter of the Year Award from the Royal Television Society. Some of his best interviews from the past year are on the website.

Prospects - Thursday, 21 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Feb 08, 10:17 AM

Liz Gibbons is the programme producer today - here is her early email to the team.


Lots of room for your ideas on the prog tonight…

Some early thoughts….

EU flagsMEPs expenses - we've done well on this story in the past. Can we move it on still further tonight?

British Gas profits - what's the best angle for us ? Competition or fuel poverty ?

Northern Rock - likely to have a rocky road through parliament today because of hiving off of we should watch.

There's a demo in Serbia later this afternoon.

And we might have a film from Chad. Or we might not.

Wednesday, 20 February, 2008

  • Emily Maitlis
  • 20 Feb 08, 05:14 PM

Arrivals at Luton airportA funny thing is happening, these days. The immigration debate is as hot as ever - but now no-one is talking about race. They're talking about speed of change - squeezed public resources and overcrowding. But the 'colour card' as such, is gone. Tonight, as the Home Secretary asks new immigrants to 'prove their worth', we ask whether it's just the language that's changed, whether the debate has become more 'grown up' or whether the two HAVE become decoupled. The immigration issue has often got political parties in trouble in the past - but right now, politicians know they cant afford to ignore it.

Spy Satellites? Calling Bruce Willis
Life, as Woody Allen once put it, often imitates art. And today the Pentagon's concerns appear to come straight out of the action movie Armageddon.
The US is standing by to shoot down a satellite which they say could cause great damage if it crashed to earth. They got rather upset when China tried something similar last year. Indeed those actions prompted fears of a space arms race. Except this time, they tell us, it's very different. All well and good. But the Russian's simply don't believe them and have branded it a cover for weapon testing.
Anyway, the testosterone is flying, as it were. We'll be gathering Russia and US watchers to tell us where this is heading.

When Germany recognised Croatian independence in 1991 it was explosive and led to the Balkan conflict. Today, it has formally recognized Kosovo's independence, but only after France, the US and Britain did so earlier in the week. The circumstances are different but there are historical resonances. So can war be avoided this time around?

Sovereign Wealth Funds
These massive state owned investment funds have nearly three trillion dollars to invest - slightly more than Britain's entire GDP. They can come to the rescue of troubled enterprises - and banks that need a bail out. But what do we actually know about these naturally secretive organizations - rising, as so many do, from the deserts of the Middle East? Stephanie Flanders is on the case – and you can read her analysis of the cash and controversy surrounding sovereign wealth funds here.

Prospects - Wednesday, 20 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Feb 08, 10:21 AM

Today's programme producer is Carol Rubra - here is her early email to the team.

Good morning,

There are a few interesting stories around today but there's lots of space for other things, or a different lead? Please come with your own ideas.

Certificate of naturalisationImmigration and citizenship. We'll find out more about what the green paper is proposing this morning. The DNA disc which sat in a drawer for a year, reforms of incapacity benefit, reforms to rules for long term unemployed.

I'd like us to look at the spy satellite story - the US have said they will shoot down a spy satellite which will otherwise crash into earth sometime in the next 24 hours. China and Russia have complained. Is this the next step in the space arms race or a necessary act to protect the earth?

Our film today: Stephanie has a film about the secretive world of Sovereign Wealth Funds, massive state owned investment funds that have risen out of the oil economies and now have trillions of dollars to invest around the world.

And there is space for another story so please come with ideas on what we should do and how. Perhaps something light for the end of the programme?

Tuesday 19 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Feb 08, 06:10 PM

castro.jpgFidel Castro has finally stepped down as President of Cuba 49 years after the Cuban Revolution. Tonight we consider his legacy for Cuba, the Cold War and revolutionaries (and would-be revolutionaries) across the world. George Galloway and a leading Cuban American opponent of Castro will be discussing the president's legacy.

The Pakistan elections have delivered a significant blow to President Musharraf. The PPP, the party of the late Benazir Bhutto say they hope to form a coalition Government with another opposition party. So what happens next? Should Musharraf fear impeachment? Mark Urban reports from Pakistan.

There has been a powerful press conference this afternoon concerning the young people in and around Bridgend who have taken their lives in recent months. The police and parents of one of the teenagers strongly criticised media coverage of suicides and said that some of the reporting may even have encouraged some young people to kill themselves.
The police say they have found no evidence of suicide pacts or any other link between the deaths. Tonight, we ask, have the media helped to create a phenomenon they claim to simply have reported?

And, finally, we'll have Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero live in the studio. She's brilliant at improvisation and she'll play out on a piece based on a viewer's suggestion to our website.

Prospects for Tuesday, 19 February

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Feb 08, 10:17 AM

Today's programme producer is Dan Kelly - here is his early email to the production team.

Morning all,

Fidel Castro has finally stepped down as President of Cuba, 49 years after the Cuban Revolution. It's a great opportunity to discuss his legacy on Cuba, the Cold War, Latin America and revolutionaries (and would-be revolutionaries) across the world. Who should we have on to discuss this? Lots of suggestions please.

The Pakistan elections have delivered a significant blow to President Musharraf. The PPP of late PM Benazir Bhutto and the PML-N led by Nawaz Sharif, now share more than half the seats, though all the results are not yet in. So what happens next? Should Musharraf fear impeachment? Mark Urban is on the story, do you have any suggestions for guests?

Northern Rock. I've got a few thoughts on how we could push this on today, but what do you think, or should we even do it at all?

And, finally, we'll have Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero live in the studio. She's brilliant at improvisation and she'll play out on a piece based on a viewer's suggestion. We need to choreograph this very carefully.


Monday, 18 February, 2005

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Feb 08, 04:59 PM

Jeremy's presenting the programme tonight.
Northern Rock
Gordon Brown and Alistair DarlingWe'll have the latest on the fallout from the decision to nationalise Northern Rock. A few minutes ago David Cameron called for Alistair Darling to be removed from his post. Where does all this leave the government's reputation for economic competence? And would the Tories’ plan for the Rock be any sounder? We expect to hear from a Treasury minister and a senior Conservative.

"Draft" weapons dossier published
The government vigorously opposed its publication, but lost the battle. A first draft of the notorious dossier on Iraq's weapons capability has been released under Freedom of Information legislation. The draft was never released to the Hutton inquiry nor to Lord Butler's inquiry into the evidence that led to war. It sheds more light on the key role that political advisers had in the presentation of sensitive intelligence. More details on the programme...

Pakistan elections
The polls have already closed in Pakistan's parliamentary elections. The election is supposed to ease the transition to civilian democracy after eight years of military rule - but after weeks of bloody violence, and the assassination of key opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, it's likely that the outcome will lead to yet more instability and chaos. Mark Urban has spent the past week travelling across the country, speaking to top politicians and ordinary Pakistanis about the chance of peace.

Diana inquest
It was never likely to be a quiet day in court. But Mohammed Al Fayed's first day of evidence at the inquest into the death of Diana has proven more explosive than anyone could have imagined. He's referred to Prince Phillip as a "Nazi", and suggested that Prince Charles was part of the alleged murder plot, hoping to clear the decks so he could marry Camilla Parker Bowles. Has any of this led us any closer to the truth about her death? Possibly not. But we've sent our reporter Steve Smith along for the spectacle.

Prospects - Monday, 18 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Feb 08, 10:19 AM

Today's programme producer is Liz Gibbons - here is her early email to the production team.

Hello all

Masses around - what should we concentrate on?

Northern Rock bankNorthern Rock
How did we get here? Why did it take as long as it did to get here? And what might the political/economic consequences be? David Grossman is working on a piece. There's a Gordon Brown press conference at 11, a press conference with new Northern Rock boss Ron Sadler expected this afternoon and a Commons statement due. What are the key issues we want to address and who we want to hear from live?

Pakistan - Mark Urban is there for us working on a film assessing the impact of the elections. We should have a good sense of early results by the time we're on air.

Kosovo - officially recognised by EU and US today. Key interviews? (Watch Allan Little’s Kosovo essay from last week)

Al Fayed giving evidence at Diana inquest - Steve Smith is in court. Is there a discussion to be done?


Friday, 15 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Feb 08, 05:33 PM

Tonight on Newsnight, yob culture and then on Newsnight Review, culture..

avery203x152.jpgThere have been a series of high profile stories this week involving inhuman behaviour by children. Gareth Avery was brutally attacked because he confronted a group of young drunks relieving themselves in his garden.

A 15-year-old girl admitted filming a fatal attack on Gavin Waterhouse in West Yorkshire by a 19 year old and a 17 year old. She then showed the footage to others even after it was known that Mr Waterhouse had died.

This was the response from a local criminal lawyer: “More than ever before young people are turning to extreme violence, in some cases for no reason other than entertainment. This case illustrates the gross callousness some teenagers are capable of."

Also this week Helen Newlove, the widow of Garry Newlove who was beaten to death by drunk youths has called for harsh measures for those selling alcohol to minors, and the ending of the glamorising of drinking on TV.

Tonight we devote the programme to trying to make some sense of what is going on. Why does no other country in Europe seem to have the same binge drinking nihilistic culture among it teenagers?

Why are some parents not able to exert any influence or control over anti-social behaviour? Are violent attacks by teenagers really up or is it that their ferocity distorts the true story? Is it adults who have let children down?

We hope to bring together in the studio tonight a teenager, a magistrate, a teacher, the police, a parent and the Children's Commissioner who said this week that the so-called "Mosquito" measure, a high-pitched sound used to disperse children from street corners, infringes their human rights.

Thursday, 14 February, 2008

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 14 Feb 08, 04:48 PM

Dear viewers,

George W Bush
We kick off tonight with the first interview for the BBC with George W Bush in many a long year. He heads to Africa tomorrow and has given BBC America's Matt Frei an eve-of-visit interview. Sudan - and Steven Spielberg's resignation from the Beijing Olympic ceremony - will be at the top the agenda, but he was also asked about Iraq and his legacy at home and abroad. Watch the interview here.

French KFOR forces in MitrovicaFrom Kosovo we'll have a film from the BBC’s Allan Little, who was there during the conflict and in Bosnia before that. It is now almost certain that the Kosovan Albanian leadership will declare independence this weekend - a position supported by the US. After that Northern Kosovo, almost entirely populated by Serbs, may declare independence, followed by the Serbs in Bosnia - it is believed land swaps are already being arranged. Will this be tantamount to permanent partition and what are the implications for the region?

Lotfi Raissi, wrongly accused of training pilots involved in 9/11, should be allowed to claim compensation the court of appeal ruled this morning. The judgement was very critical of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office for granting an extradition request from the Americans. He will be live on Newsnight tonight.

Brits in Space?
...and what has Space exploration done for us? A revolution in communications for one thing, but today as the Government launches its new Space Strategy is there a danger we are going to hitch our wagon to Nasa and manned flights, rather than take a more imaginative route to new frontiers?

I hope you'll be on board tonight Kirsty

Prospects 14 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Feb 08, 10:25 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the production team. But what do you want to see covered?

Good morning. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Matt Frei has an interview with George W Bush - the first BBC interview for many years. The pitch for the interview was to speak about Africa on the eve of Bush's trip there - fortunately for us Darfur, and the role of China in Sudan has become a very big issue this week. We could do a discussion off the back - who would you like on?

Lotfi Raissi, wrongly accused of training pilots involved in 9/11, should be allowed to claim compensation the Court of Appeal ruled this morning. The judgement was very critical of the CPS and the Home Office for granting an extradition request from the Americans.

A review into Britain's space programme is launched today - and the prospect of a British manned mission is now very real. Is this the right direction, or a huge waste of money? Which guests could we get on?

We have a film from Kosovo by Allan Little, ahead of the expected declaration of independence this weekend.

We should keep an eye on Beirut. What else have you seen? What guests would you like to see on?


Wednesday, 13 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Feb 08, 05:05 PM

Mysterious death of Georgian billionaire

georgian203x100.jpgA billionaire and opposition leader from the former Soviet state of Georgia was found dead in his home in Surrey last night. He'd been accused of trying to foment a coup in his native country, and just weeks ago, he claimed that the authorities in Georgia wanted him dead. Surrey police are treating his death as suspicious. It’s possible they will conclude that Badri Patarkatsishvili died of a simple heart attack. But why did he believe his life was in danger? We're investigating.

Is China fit to host the Olympics?

Steven Spielberg has decided to quit as artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics because of China's relationship with Sudan. Human rights groups have wasted no time in reminding the world of a host of other reasons why China's fitness to hold the Olympics is questionable. Should multi-million dollar sponsors of the games follow Spielberg's lead? Or is engagement with China the right way forward?


A judicial review of the Serious Fraud Office's decision to halt the inquiry in to BAe's relationship with Saudi Arabia is due to start tomorrow. Newsnight will be analysing some of the documents that are likely to form a key part of the court case. They suggest that there was considerable political pressure for the inquiry to be halted a long time before it was.

Culture in schools

School children in England will be offered five hours of cultural activities a week, we learnt today. Is the government right to set store by such forms of learning? And why has it not been a priority until now? A top scientist and the musician Nitin Sawnhey will join Jeremy.

Prospects for Wednesday, 13 February

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Feb 08, 10:18 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer - here is her early email to the team.

Hi - what do you want to cover tonight?

I'm interested in the IPPR commission on national security - is the terror threat in danger of concealing more fundamental and pressing issues? We could have a grand discussion.

China and Spielberg is good too - how could we move it on and who could we hear from?

Culture in schools - clearly a good talking point. Who with?

We should keep an eye on the death of the Georgian dissident in Surrey. And there are a couple of terror trials that might end today -more details at the meeting…

And we have a film from Peter Marshall in advance of the BAE court case tomorrow - he's got hold of some interesting documents.


Tuesday, 12 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Feb 08, 06:06 PM


shoppers203x100.jpgInflation is up - should we be worried and is there anything we can do? The Office of National Statistics say rising fuel and food costs are to blame. Do we in Britain have the answers to rising inflation or is it an international problem which we can't solve alone?


About 80 miles south-west of Washington DC, where the Shenandoah mountains crawl along the horizon and where the rich soil of Virginia is soaked with the blood and tears of America's turbulent history, is a town called Culpeper. Matt Frei returns to the town as the residents decide how to cast their votes in today's primary.


Edward Lucas' new book The New Cold War says that the West must wake up to the threat posed by President Putin and the Kremlin. He will debate with a Putin supporter live.


As he performs the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas in London, musical maestro Daniel Barenboim talks to Jeremy about his passion for music, life and politics.

Prospects for Tuesday, 12 February

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Feb 08, 10:28 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the production team. But what do you want to see covered?

Good morning everyone,

A few decent stories around today including inflation, David Miliband's democracy speech, and internet file sharing. Do come to the meeting with ideas on how to do these stories or any others.

On the day of the Virginia primary we have the latest instalment from Culpeper by Matt Frei. It will be done on the day.

Jeremy is doing an interview this afternoon with Daniel Barenboim.

I've sorted out a Newsnight Bookclub option. It's Edward Lucas' new book The New Cold War. He says that the West must wake up to the threat posed by Putin and the Kremlin. Bids in for the Russian government. Could make a good disco.


Monday, 11 February, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Feb 08, 06:00 PM

Khalid Sheikh MohammedIs the decision of the Pentagon to charge six Guantanamo Bay prisoners over their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks a seminal moment in the so called "War against Terror"? The US authorities promise a fair and open trial, but will evidence gained through "waterboarding" be acceptable to the military court, what rights will the defendants have and can justice be done and be seen to be done?

There has been an extraordinary lobbying campaign in the City over the issue of non-domicile residents - foreign nationals living in the UK who don't pay income tax on their earnings abroad. They are trying to persuade the Treasury to drop its proposals to charge so called "non-doms" a flat rate of £30,000 a year and to disclose details of their tax arrangements. There have been claims that City high fliers will leave the country and we could all suffer - so what’s the truth?

Kenya - John Githongo speaks out
On the eve of a possible peace deal in Nairobi, we have a rare interview with a former insider of President Kibaki's government who was forced out of the country for revealing evidence of widespread corruption. He has some frightening predictions for the future of Kenya.

Art Bluffing
How to bluff your way through the world of art - an idiot's guide by Steve Smith.

Prospects - Monday, 11 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Feb 08, 10:19 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the production team. But what do you want to see covered?

The extraordinary allegations over the weekend of widespread bugging at Woodhill prison between lawyers and their clients has potentially huge consequences - if proved it could even lead to a number of high profile cases being overturned. Richard Watson - who revealed allegations of the bugging of one "legally privileged" meeting at Woodhill last week - is on the case.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is due to refer to the row over his comments on Sharia law at the General Synod today. The story has been extensively covered but let's see what Dr Williams says and how we could cover.

On the eve of a possible deal in Kenya, we have a rare live broadcast interview with John Githongo, former anti-corruption officer for Kibaki's Government.

Steve Smith also has an amusing film about bluffing in the art world.

Other stories...

We should keep an eye on East Timor and look at Chris Grayling's "Jeremy Kyle" generation speech. What else could we cover?

Friday, 8 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Feb 08, 04:43 PM

williams203x100.jpgThe Archbishop of Canterbury has attracted widespread criticism after appearing to back the adoption of some aspects of Sharia law in the UK. Dr Rowan Williams said the UK had to "face up to the fact" some citizens did not relate to the UK legal system.
Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said such moves would create "social chaos”. But Bishop of Hulme, the Rt Rev Stephen Lowe, criticised the "disgraceful" way in which the archbishop had been "ridiculed" and "lampooned" by some.

We'll be devoting the whole of the programme tonight to the main issues surrounding this story. Both traditionalists and liberals in the Church of England have criticised Dr Williams' comments. With just days to go to the meeting of the General Synod is his leadership now an issue?

We'll also be examining the reaction to this story. Is it Islamophobia or is there a genuine threat to British culture? Join the debate

The Bishop of Hulme will be debating these subjects with a critic of Dr Williams, a leading Muslim academic and a writer on social cohesion in Britain.

Newsnight Review
Joining Martha on Review are Sarah Churchwell, Mark Kermode and Ekow Eshun.

Detail from Reflection by Peter DoigThey'll be discussing British artist Peter Doig's retrospective at Tate Britain (Watch an extended version of Martha's interview here and read her thoughts on the show here); the film Juno with rising star Ellen Page; BBC One's new near-future surveillance drama The Last Enemy; and a new production of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming at the Almeida Theatre, London. Read more on the Review website and leave your reviews below.

Has reaction to the Archbishop's Sharia law comments been Islamophobic?

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Feb 08, 10:32 AM

Dr Rowan WilliamsPoliticians from all the main parties have criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury for suggesting that elements of Islamic law might be recognised in Britain. Some senior Anglican priests have defended his remarks - saying Dr Rowan Williams was talking about decisions relating to marriage and property, not crimes or questions of belief.

Has the response to the Archbishop's comments been Islamophobic or does this pose a genuine threat to British culture?

We'll discuss the issues on the programme tonight - leave your thoughts below.

Thursday, 7 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Feb 08, 05:17 PM

Sharia law in the UK?
williams203.jpgIs this what we really want? The Archbishop of Canterbury - leader of the Church of England - thinks it is unavoidable, and desirable. He told the The World at One on Radio 4, "There's a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law." He specified marital disputes and financial disputes and not the "inhumanity" that has sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states.

But is this really the way to achieve "social cohesion" and has he consulted, in particular, British Muslim women for their views on this? Tonight Newsnight discusses how Sharia would work given equal status to English and Scottish Law, and if Sharia is a legal system you can "pick and choose".

Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone appeared before the London Assembly today and Michael Crick was watching. The mayor’s stewardship of London is under question tonight. There have been calls for the resignation of his close friend and race advisor Lee Jasper.

Emails released by the London Development Agency allegedly show that 13 projects in the city run by Mr Jasper or his friends received as much as £3.3m without proper process. Ken Livingstone told the BBC and others that all the paperwork was in place. We've asked Michael to find out the truth.

Ethical fashion
And for all you dedicated followers of fashion - and clothes junkies - is your compulsive purchasing of ever cheaper clothes destroying the planet? Is ethical fashion a contradiction in terms? Ahead of London Fashion Week Madeleine Holt has been deep inside the fashion industry in the company of woman who put Top Shop on the map - and then left. This is the first time Jane Shepherdson has spoken since she waved Sir Philip Greeen goodbye. Read about Madeleine's adventures in the world of ethical fashion here.

UPDATE: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has withdrawn from the race for the Republican party nomination for the US presidency, leaving the way clear for John McCain. We'll examine the impact of Romney's withdrawal tonight.

Prospects - Thursday, 7 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Feb 08, 10:28 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team. What do you want us to cover?

Hello People,

Met police officersLots going on - how best do we deploy our resources to tell the most important and distinctive stories?

Sir Ronnie Flanagan on how policing must change. How shall we do that?

The NATO/Afghanistan row - is there a way we can take this on from our excellent coverage last night.

Ken Livingstone appears before London Assembly. Is it time for Michael Crick's profile of the mayor?

Stuart Bower tries to take Gordon Brown to court today. He's accusing the PM of a breach of trust with the Labour voter - for not holding a referendum. Liz Mackean is in court.

Oh and an amazing access film from Madeleine Holt on ethical fashion. We have debate setup off the back.

Other stories? Playout ideas.

Wednesday, 6 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Feb 08, 07:03 PM

British soldier in Musa QalaIs Afghanistan going to be the remaking or breaking of NATO? The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met the prime minister in London today to discuss strategy in Afghanistan. British Generals are calling for troop reinforcements, meanwhile the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates was scathing about the ability and willingness of NATO members, other than the US and Britain, to put up forces for Afghanistan. So who is prepared to send more troops to Afghanistan? Mark Urban has been investigating.

US elections
Gavin has moved from New York to Washington, and will be picking over the results of yesterday's "Super Tuesday" primaries. Results are still coming in, but it looks as if John McCain now has an unassailable lead in the Republican race. Gavin has been looking at Senator McCain's Presidential credentials - what is it about the 71 year old who is at odds with his party on many of the key issues that has allowed him to do so well? And what of this talk of a deal with his rival for the nomination - Mike Huckabee?

On the Democrat side - it's looking much tighter. Barack Obama won more states than Hillary Clinton in last night's contest, but they are almost neck-and-neck in the race for delegates. It's possible that no clear winner will emerge until the party convention in August. David Grossman is in California and will be asking when the race for the White House will become clear cut.

Intercept evidence
Meanwhile there seems to be political consensus that the law should be changed so that intercept evidence can be used, in certain circumstances, in courts. But what do the security services make of the government's announcement today? Richard Watson has been investigating.

Shy Keenan
And the story of Shy Keenan's campaign for justice. She was raped and sexually abused by a series of men led by her stepfather from the age of three until she was 14. As a young woman she repeatedly tried to get the authorities to listen to her horrific story, but it was not until she worked with Newsnight on a special investigation into her abuse that she was able to confront her stepfather and secretly film him admitting it. He and two other men were then jailed for a total of 32 years. Since the conviction she has campaigned for the child victims of sexual abuse, and tomorrow her account of her destroyed childhood and the long road to a recovered life will be published - read an extract. She will be live tonight on the programme.

Prospects: Wednesday, 6 Februrary, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Feb 08, 10:34 AM

Today's programme producer is Carol Rubra - here is her early email to the production team.

Super Tuesday
We'll spend a chunk of the programme looking at what happened on Super Tuesday. Gavin will co-present from Washington, Kirsty is here, while David and Ben are in LA (watch David's latest videoblog on the Newsnight US election website).
We have a pre-recorded interview with Stan Greenberg and a live discussion.

But there are other stories around too. Let's talk in the meeting about which we should do and how:
Afghanistan - a "critical week" with more troops being announced today and new figures on the opium trade;
Intercept evidence to be used in trials;
Proposals to change law on under-age drinking in public places;
and we have an interview with Shy Keenan.

What would you like to see on the programme?

Tuesday, 5 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Feb 08, 05:38 PM

gavin203x100.jpgHello to viewers. We open tonight with Gavin in New York and David Grossman watching the political drama unfold - in what one US journalist called Super complicated Tuesday. It's a key date in the American Presidential contest. Republicans and Democrats in 24 states - almost half the country, are choosing their candidates in the race for the White House. Eventually, it could mean the United States getting either its first woman President, its first black President, or its oldest incoming President. The story will be unfolding while we're on air and we will be there live.

Then on this side of the Atlantic, is surveillance growing unchecked, and without us really having any idea who is authorising bugging and intercepts, and therefore operating with little or no accountability? Is it a frightening or reassuring prospect that someone may be watching us, and is the threat of terror a legitimate reason for surveillance or an excuse for breaching our human rights? The bugging of the civil rights lawyer, MP and now government minister Sadiq Khan on visits to his constituent and client Babar Ahmad in Woodhill Prison has become a major political and security row. Tonight we'll be exploring the limits of freedom, and the role of the State.

Also tonight, is kite flying a sound political tool, a legitimate vehicle of gauging public opinion or a cheap way of scoring political points? Today in her first speech as Housing Minister Caroline Flint suggested that in order to qualify for council housing people would have to show a willingness to work. She was immediately condemned by some charities for suggesting “a return to the workhouse". This follows David Cameron's uncosted idea that all new mothers should have a home nurse for a baby’s first week. We explore the modern history of political kite flying - some of the soaring successes and plummeting failures.

Prospects for Tuesday, 5 February

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Feb 08, 10:29 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here's his early email to the production team.
Good morning everyone,

It's Super Duper Tuesday. Gavin, Liz and Lucy are in New York. David and Ben are in LA. We'll be doing a co-pres with Kirsty here. A lot of the production work will need to be done here. I'll explain more in the meeting. Other stories include new lines in the extraordinary bugging story, Northern Rock, housing, and Prince Andrew. Do come to the meeting with ideas on how to do these stories and any others you like.


Monday, 4 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Feb 08, 05:30 PM

Dear reader and viewer,

CommonsTonight Jeremy Paxman is down at the House of Commons asking honourable members whether they still deserve the privileges that being an MP brings. We'll have his report and debate the issue.

That on the day the Commons Speaker Michael Martin admits there is deep concern about MPs’ expenses and convenes his committee to draw up new rules. Michael Crick is asking the questions about MPs and their financial rewards.

We'll also be asking just how widespread bugging of Parliamentarians is these days - this weekend we heard from Sadiq Khan MP who was bugged while visiting a constituent in prison. Another politician who claims he's been bugged speaks to us.

Just south of Baghdad today the Americans have killed up to 20 civilians - including children. A dreadful mistake at a time when, mostly, events on the ground were improving. Our correspondent Jonny Dymond reports on how despite awful mistakes like today's, the troops are changing hearts and minds. But will it be a permanent shift? More from Jonny on his time with US troops here.

And Gavin Esler is in the States ahead of tomorrow's crucial vote dubbed Super Tuesday. Obama, Hillary, McCain, Romney or even Huckabee? Who will emerge as victors and will it finally mean we know who will be running for President for the Republicans and the Democrats? Watch David Grossman's videoblog and lots more Newsnight US election coverage here.

Simon Enright, programme producer

Prospects: Monday, 4 February, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Feb 08, 10:20 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer. Here's his early email to the production team.

Lots we could do today. If we are going to do it properly what should we choose?

barack203flag.jpgOf course we'll preview Super Tuesday - or Super Dooper Tuesday as they keep calling it. Gavin is in Washington and David Grossman is in Arizona. David's latest video blog will appear on the US elections page very shortly.

But that is not our lead story. Should that be:

Bugging - It appears that the so-called "Wilson Doctrine" has been broken. An MP bugged whilst visiting a constituent - admittedly a constituent being held in prison as he awaits extradition ruling on terrorist charges in the States. Is the Wilson Doctrine out of date or should we be outraged by this casual bugging of our MPs?

Northern Rock - We get final confirmation of bidders today. But is there something deeply unfair to the rest of the banking industry in all this?

GPs - What is the battle between the BMA and government all about and what do GPs and patients really want?

MPs Expenses - Now the Inland Revenue is going to get involved. Is there more that we should be doing?

There are other news stories around. Do let me know which ones you think could work as well.

Friday, 1 February, 2008

  • Gavin Esler
  • 1 Feb 08, 06:17 PM

Today's Quote for the Day
"That image of myself soused in champagne being devoured by lusting women in a luxury hotel suite was the pinnacle of my rock and roll excesses. I thought as a rock star, I owed it to people to enjoy myself to the absolute limit" – Blur bassist turned farmer Alex James writing in his book A Bit Of A Blur.

In tonight's programme:

Parkinson's Disease
We've an exclusive report on the drugs used to help control Parkinson's disease which, sufferers say, can lead to aberrant behaviour including problem gambling. Read more about our exclusive story here.

yahoo203100.jpgMicrosoft's takeover bid for Yahoo! affects all of us. We'll be asking who controls cyberspace - and who is likely to control it in the future?

And at the end of another week when political sleaze of one sort or another constantly made headlines, it looks as though all the main parties are desperate to show that political cleanliness is next to Godliness. What does this rush to transparency tell us? Michael Crick is on the case.

Newsnight Review
Daniel Day LewisJoining Kirsty on the Review couch are John Harris, Tony Parsons and Julie Myerson. They'll be discussing: Oscar nomination-covered There Will Be Blood, with Daniel Day Lewis; DCI Gene Hunt's return in Ashes to Ashes - the follow up to much-lauded BBC One time-slip drama Life on Mars; the new novel by dystopian master JG Ballard - Miracles of Life; and the film which pushed viral marketing to new heights, NY disaster flick Cloverfield. More details of all those on the Review website.

Prospects for Friday, 1 February

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Feb 08, 10:19 AM

Today's programme producer is Robert Morgan - here is his early email to the production team. What would you like to see on the programme?

Good morning,

We have what promises to be a really strong lead story once it's been finally signed off legally. I'll tell you more in the morning meeting.

There are a number of strong stories we could do today including the NATO row over troops in Afghanistan. Is its mission in jeopardy? There's Kenya, Northern Rock and Scottish care for the elderly too. Any ideas are more than welcome on how to do these stories and any others.

A big discussion on a major story would be good.


Thursday, 31 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 31 Jan 08, 05:20 PM


coal_station203x100.jpgIs Gordon as green as he paints himself?
If he is, why is the government apparently letting an application for a new coal-fired power station go through without any commitment to carbon capture and storage?
The new plant which is to be built by E.ON UK at Kingsnorth in Kent will make it harder for the UK to meet its carbon reduction targets. The Conservatives are calling for carbon capture and storage technology to be applied from the outset - but according to e-mails given to Newsnight the government isn't even going to insist that the power plant is ready to fit such technology when it is available.


What is happening to President Hamid Karzai's leadership of Afghanistan? The amount of land under opium in Afghanistan is more than under coca cultivation in Columbia, Bolivia and Peru combined. Afghan MP Malalai Joya writes in today's Independent that the government is as bad as the Taliban, with more women killing themselves in the country in 2007 than ever before. So why did President Karzai "veto" Paddy Ashdown as a "super envoy" to Afghanistan, and earlier in Davos say that the British presence in Helmand had made things worse? Is he angry that the international community has not delivered the reconstruction aid it promised, and, worried about his own re-election, trying to court votes with a more belligerent attitude to the West?
Mark Urban assesses the man once seen as the saving grace of Afghanistan.


Should cannabis be reclassified from C to B? It was only four years ago that the rules on the drug were relaxed. This morning the Rowntree Foundation published its report which insists that making possession a more serious offence will have no impact whatsoever. The police take the opposite view. Who's right?

And Michael Crick is still on the case of the Conway family affair at Westminster.

Prospects for Thursday, 31 January

  • Newsnight
  • 31 Jan 08, 10:31 AM

Today's prgramme producer is Simon Enright - here is his early email to the production team. What would you like to see on the programme?

Hello Newsnight colleague or viewer

I'm interested in several stories today:

Who is really in charge in Afghanistan? Several reports out today indicate that the country is in a mess and the military operation is facing a huge challenge. But as any general will tell you, military force can only ever be part of the solution. So who is co-ordinating everything else? Not Paddy Ashdown now. Who should we talk to?

We get crime figures out today - both recorded and British Crime Survey. They are likely to show a fall in crime again. In fact they've shown a fall in crime over the last ten years. But that is NOT the public perception. Why? Are the figures wrong or our perceptions or can, curiously, both be right?

The re-classification of Cannabis will be debated next week. The Joseph Rowntree Trust has got their paper on the issue out early - we have a possible film from Steve Smith on the issue.

Also today the House of Commons will vote on whether to suspend Derek Conway. Is there more on this that we should do?

And other stories?

Shell's record profits? The transcript of the bail hearing which saw Gary Weddell released to murder. Social workers and their ability to take children away from mum and dad.

Let's talk at 10.30 or message below with your thoughts for what we should do.


Wednesday, 30 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Jan 08, 04:48 PM

Police officer conducts stop and searchIs the reform of stop and search powers crucial to protect the public from gun and knife crime? Both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition have promised action to make it easier for the police to stop and search suspects in the street amid rising concerns about gang-related violence. Jackie Smith will announce details of the government's plans to MPs next week. But do the rules need revising, or will an increase in stop and search powers rekindle the kind of racial tension we saw in the 1980s? Richard Watson looks at the evidence.

Derek Conway has announced that he will stand down at the next election. The Commons Standards Committee found that his son, whom he had employed as a researcher, had done little or no work for him. Michael Crick has been looking at how widespread the practice is of MPs using public money to employ their own relatives; and whether the law gives too much protection to MPs.

Democrat John Edwards is about to withdraw from the US presidential race and Rudy Giuliani is expected to do the same after coming third in the Republican contest in Florida. What does that mean for the remaining contenders and who gains and who loses? We'll have the latest from Katty Kay in Washington.

It's a curious fact, but there is no mechanism for getting rid of a sitting speaker in the British Parliament. Some MPs think after seven years it's time for a new face in the chair, but Michael Martin has indicated he wishes to contest the next general election as Speaker of the Commons. David Grossman assesses the case for change.

We're waiting to hear whether the Federal Reserve will make another interest rate cut this evening. Meanwhile Mervyn King has been confirmed for a second term as Governor of the Bank of England. Stephanie Flanders will be contrasting the different approaches here and across the pond.

Italy is again without political leadership following the collapse of the 61st government in 63 years. But does the end of Romano Prodi's administration also signal the collapse of the Second Republic - the much heralded "revolution" of the Italian political landscape that took place in the 1990s? With speculation that Silvio Berlusconi may return for a third incarnation as prime minister, many Italians are asking whether there is a new breed of leaders who can take the country forward. Christian Fraser reports.

Prospects: Wednesday, 30 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Jan 08, 12:36 PM

Today's programme producer is Carol Rubra - here is her early email to the team.

Good morning,

Stop and Search
Police officer conducts stop and searchDavid Cameron has given an interview to The Sun in which he calls for the Stop and Search laws to be loosened saying you can't solve 2008 problems with 1980's eyes. Meanwhile Jackie Smith briefed the cabinet yesterday on Ronnie Flanagan's review of Stop and Search arrangements. Are they right that the rules need revising to prevent gun and knife crime or will it rekindle the kind of racial tension we saw in the 1980s? I'm also interested in looking at what the statistics tell us about who is committing gun and knife crime? Who would you like to hear from in a discussion?

Giuliani - may announce he's withdrawing from the Republican race today.

Winograd Commission on the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It's expected to be critical of strategic mistakes made by the Head of the Army and possibly Olmert. We have an interview with the Ambassador.

Italy - We have a film from Christian Fraser on the political chaos in Italy and the state of rubbish collection in Naples and corruption.

Speaker - David is preparing a film about the Speaker of the House of Commons and whether he has the trust of MPs

Economy - various economy stories today - FBI fraud investigations, Fed meeting on interest rates, Soc Gen board meeting.


Any other stories you feel we should be covering instead of the above?

Tuesday, 29 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Jan 08, 05:48 PM

conway203x100.jpgHow many MPs have their own relatives on the payroll and is it a good use of tax payers' money? That's one of the questions thrown up by the case of the Conservative MP Derek Conway. Today the Conservative leader, David Cameron, withdrew the party whip from the MP who has apologised for misusing his expenses. Mr Conway paid one of his sons more than £45,000 to be his researcher - though there was no evidence that he did any work. The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner is now considering a second complaint, regarding Mr Conway's employment of another son. David Grossman has been investigating.

We'll also be asking how much longer MPs can spend public money without being fully accountable. Is it now time for “root and branch reform of MPs’ pay and allowances" as Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life said?

Gordon Brown is meeting leaders of Europe's four biggest economies in Downing Street tonight for a special summit to discuss the credit crunch and what they can do to stabilise the global financial system. Stephanie Flanders will be telling us what they've decided to do to avoid another Northern Rock and Societe Generale

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These words sum up Michael Pollan’s In Defence of Food. Humans used to know how to eat well, Pollan argues. But the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused, complicated, and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists - all of whom have much to gain from our dietary confusion. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not ‘real’. We've got Michael Pollan in debate with the Chief Scientist at the FSA, and a director from the Food and Drink Federation. It will be a Newsnight Book Club too.

It's a mystery which has baffled historians for centuries. Silbury Hill is a man-made monument looming over the plains of Wiltshire, built out of chalk some 4,500 years ago. According to myth, a long-lost king was buried in it with a golden statue of his horse; either that, or its a homing beacon for UFOs! Many have tunnelled into the hill looking for answers - so much so that it was in danger of falling in on itself. In the past few months, archaeologists have uncovered extraordinary new findings. But this latest dig will also be the last: English Heritage has decided to close the hill up to preserve it. Newsnight recorded the last images inside Silbury Hill before it's sealed up for good. Stephen Smith reports.

Prospects for Tuesday, 29 January

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Jan 08, 12:56 PM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer..

Hello everyone,

There are some good stories around today. Derek Conway, Brown meeting European leaders tonight to discuss financial stability and regulation post-SocGen and Northern Rock, surveillance and the Florida primaries. Do come to the meeting armed with ideas on how to do all these and any other stories.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." These words sum up Michael Pollan’s In Defence of Food. Humans used to know how to eat well, Pollan argues. But the balanced dietary lessons that were once passed down through generations have been confused, complicated, and distorted by food industry marketers, nutritional scientists, and journalists - all of whom have much to gain from our dietary confusion. As a result, we face today a complex culinary landscape dense with bad advice and foods that are not ‘real’. We've got Michael Pollan in debate with the Chief Scientist at the FSA and a director from the Food and Drink Federation. It will be a Newsnight Bookclub too.

It's a mystery which has baffled historians for centuries. Silbury Hill is a man-made monument looming over the plains of Wiltshire, built out of chalk some four-and-a-half thousand years ago. According to myth, a long-lost king was buried in it with a golden statue of his horse; either that, or it’s a homing beacon for UFOs! Many have tunnelled into the hill looking for answers - so much so that it was in danger of falling in on itself. In the past few months, archaeologists have uncovered extraordinary new findings. But this latest dig will also be the last: English Heritage has decided to close the hill up to preserve it. Newsnight recorded the last images inside Silbury Hill before it's sealed up for good. Stephen Smith reports.

Monday, 28 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Jan 08, 05:53 PM

Dear Reader,

kenya203_28jan.jpgTonight we have a report from the BBC's correspondent in Nairobi, Karen Allen. Last week we asked her to report for us on how Kenya, seemingly such a stable country, could face such violence after December's troubled elections. Karen was filming at the weekend just as the violence flared again. It makes a depressing, but we think important film to watch.
( Watch Paul Mason's recent Newsnight reports from Nairobi)

Secret trials
Author Allan Chappelow was murdered just over a year ago - found dead in his own home underneath copies of one his own books about George Bernard Shaw. This week a man will stand trial for his murder. But much of the evidence will be held in secret for issues of national security. It is a very unusual thing to happen - and a very odd case too - we'll debate whether it is ever right for trials to be held in secret in this way.

State of the Union
Odd to think it but tonight George Bush will give his last State of the Union speech to the American people. Matt Frei has his assessment of the president and prediction of what he will say.

Fiscal prudence
We all suspect George Bush will tee-up a spending package to buy the US out of recession. Surprisingly the new boss of the IMF has given him the green light to do so. But Stephanie Flanders will explain why most EU countries also have the fiscal resources to buy their way out of recession but that, despite all Gordon Brown's talk of prudence, Alistair Darling does not.

NHS wards
Finally it has been a major commitment of Labour Party manifesto's since even before Tony Blair was elected - an end to mixed sex wards. Today in the Lords, the surgeon and health minister Lord Darzi admitted that single sex wards in the NHS is "an aspiration that cannot be met". We'll be asking why the government's given up on such a long held commitment.

Simon Enright

Prospects - Monday, 28 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Jan 08, 10:33 AM

Today's prgramme producer is Simon Enright - here is his early email to the production team. What would you like to see on the programme?

Hi all

There are lots of stories around today.

kenya203_28jan.jpgMore violence in Kenya over the weekend. We have a film from Karen Allen about how Kenya has descended into this "hell".

Robert Peston has new book out asking questions about those who run our economies - the unelected bankers. As French police decide whether to charge or release Jerome Kerviel and markets take another tumble should we not debate this?

We have a State of Union speech preview from Matt Frei.

And Peter Marshall is looking into the case of Allan Chappelow - an 86 year old murdered in his home. Parts of the case will be heard in secret - we're told by the judge for "compelling" reasons. National Security is raised as an issue. But what damage to justice is there from such an order? We hope to debate.

There are other stories around. Do let me know what you think…

- Welfare reform - what really are the plans from the government?
- Afghanistan - what happened with Paddy?

Friday, 25 January, 2008

  • Gavin Esler
  • 25 Jan 08, 05:35 PM

Today's Quote for the Day:
"This is just bad luck, it's Murphy's Law. We discovered it at the same time as the markets plummeted. US markets went up last night and we were really unlucky, but we had to settle these positions as fast as we could and we did so during the three-day market crisis" - Societe Generale chairman Daniel Bouton after it was revealed that a rogue trader lost the group 4.9 billion euros (£3.7 billion).

In tonight's programme:
Jerome KervielWho knew what and when about the French rogue trader? Did his stock market gamble really panic the US central bank, the Federal reserve, into cutting interest rates by 0.75%?

We're hopeful of a big interview from Davos... well, we live in hope.

Pakistan's president Musharraf is in London. Can he now preside over some kind of political compromise? Will the upcoming elections be free and fair?

FARC guerrillas in Colombia have a new way of thwarting the US government's war on drugs. We've a special report.
Watch our previous report from Colombia on cocaine production

Newsnight Review
elah203x100.jpgJohn Wilson is joined by Sarfraz Manzoor, Jeanette Winterson and Peter Whittle to discuss:
In the Valley of Elah starring Oscar-nominee Tommy Lee Jones; Martin Amis' 9/11 novel, The Second Plane; a new London production of David Hare's The Vertical hour after its New York debut; and the exhibition that caused almost sparked international incident - French and Russian Master Paintings 1870–1925 from Moscow and St Petersburg at the Royal Academy.
Details on all those on the Newsnight Review website.

Prospects for Friday, 25 January

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Jan 08, 10:35 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer..

Hello everyone,

There are a few good stories around today. New lines on the rogue trader and Hain story. Gordon Brown is at Davos talking about the global economy. President Musharraf is speaking at RUSI about the state of Pakistan.

We have also have a film about FARC's new tactics to combat the US army's war on drugs.


Thursday, 24 Thursday, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Jan 08, 04:21 PM

hain_quit203x100.jpgGordon Brown eventually called his behaviour over campaign donations "incompetence" but if Peter Hain didn't think that was enough to warrant his resignation, the decision of the Electoral Commission to hand his files to the police, has forced him to fall on his sword.

A little matter of a failure to account for £103,000 has ended his unbroken run since 1997 as a minister in Her Majesty's Government. But is the man most damaged by the dither and delay the Prime Minister himself?

Should he have acted as soon as Peter Hain announced he had not met his obligations over declarations of donations because he was too busy being a minister? Gordon Brown vacillated over calling a General Election, was panicked over inheritance tax, hesitated over Northern Rock, and today came the news that the much vaunted new CGT would be modified after all. Is the Great Helmsman having trouble at the wheel?

Tonight we'll be examining the fall of Peter Hain, and asking whether Gordon Brown has a grip on Government.

One rogue trader and France's second biggest bank, Societe Generale is down at least £3.5 billion. And this was purportedly a junior banker. Given this and the ongoing credit crunch which has rocked the world economy do these so-called "Masters of the Universe" have far too much power?

nazi203x100.jpgAlso tonight, time is fast running out for War Crimes investigators who are still hunting Nazi fugitives.
Brian Barron reports on the last ditch efforts all around the globe to bring these old men and women to justice, and the mindset of both the hunters and the hunted.

He speaks to 92-year-old Vladas Zajanckauskas, the alleged Nazi war criminal who could soon be the oldest man to be deported for trial from the US. As a young soldier in Europe he was, according to the US Justice Department, part of the Nazi extermination squads. The Lithuanian grandfather claims he was a POW who was brutalised by the Germans. Should justice be done - no matter how old the defendant?

Prospects for Thursday, 24 January

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Jan 08, 10:15 AM

Hi All,

Simon Enright is today's programme producer..

Time was when Gordon Brown seemed to be so assured with dealing with events. Has that sure touch deserted him? This government does have a majority but it seems to struggle to get its way… We have a U-Turn on Capital Gains Tax today, Jacqui Smith trying where other Home Secs have failed with counter terrorism legislation and even Harriet Harman trying to persuade MPs to forgo their full pay rise. Where has this government's authority gone? I'm sure Michael Crick will investigate.

It is one of the world's biggest ever frauds - £3.5 billion lost by a rogue trader working for Societe Generale. To put it in perspective the French bank also had to write off bad debts due to sub-prime lending and that was only £1.5 billion. After Nick Leeson hadn't the banking industry put a stop to this kind of activity?

We also have a film from Brian Barron about the attempt to bring to justice various people accused of Nazi War Crimes. "The race against the grim reaper" as it is described by one commentator.

Finally there's a story about GPs making money out of the patients that ring in. It's called revenue-sharing. Is it time we challenged them?

But do we have space for all that when there are lots of other good stories around…

- Stuart has been knocked off his bike - he's fine but shaken - nevertheless he phoned in to suggest putting Council Tax on trial. (He is a devoted producer)
- Is there more to pursue on Ken Livingstone?
- China's economy has grown by more than 11%. Should we reflect that?

All ideas welcome..


Wednesday, 23 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Jan 08, 06:54 PM

Burbo bank wind farmThe European Commission has announced plans to make Europe the first "economy for a low carbon age". The measures will add around £10 a month to household and include a new emissions trading scheme and targets for producing energy from renewables. But how damaging will these measures be for European competitiveness against emerging markets in India and China - especially in a period of global economic uncertainty, when already many are expecting growth to slow, or halt altogether? A number of economists and scientists are questioning whether it is possible to tackle climate change while continuing to pursue a go-for-growth economic strategy. So do we need to give up on growth?

For once it is possible to state with certainty that the number of police attending matched the number of people taking part in the march. Around 22,500 police marched through London to protest about a pay rise which they say amounts to 1.9% in spite of a recommendation from the Police Pay Review body of 2.5%. David Grossman will have the latest on whether a compromise can be reached.

Palestinians have been rushing over the border into Egypt to buy essential supplies after part of the border was destroyed. Food and fuel have been scarce since Israel blocked access to Gaza, following rocket attacks on southern Israel. The Egyptians seem to be turning a blind eye to this breach of the border. Mark Urban will explain what's happening.

How far should parents go to get their children into the school of their choice? In an interview for 'The Times', David Cameron refused to criticise "middle class parents with sharp elbows" who pretend they are Christians to get a place at a church school. All parents want to ensure they are getting the best education they can for their children, but is lying about your faith a step too far? And is David Cameron right to condone it?

Newsnight has uncovered a previously unbroadcast recording of the Courtauld Institute's controversial but influential Director, Anthony Blunt. Though better known for his political activities as a Soviet spy, he was also passionate about art history and was adored by many who were taught by him. Our Culture Correspondent Madeleine Holt will be looking at the softer side of Anthony Blunt and the eccentric world of the Courtauld - which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Read more about Anthony Blunt and the Courtauld interview.

Prospects, Wednesday, 23 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Jan 08, 10:24 AM

Carol Rubra is today's programme producer. Here is her early email to the team.

Good morning,

It's a fairly quiet day when we could go our own way. Please have a think about a big issue we could take on.


wind203burbo.jpgToday the European Union is announcing its energy strategy. It will include a 20% target for energy produced from renewables by 2020, and details of how the new Emissions Trading Scheme will work. Countries will be required to auction some of the permits which have previously been free and many are concerned that this will have an impact on how competitive European businesses will be able to be. As we enter a period of global economic instability, and concern about the increased economic power of China and India is this a dangerous moment to be inflicting such tough targets on business, but then again can we afford the damage to the planet if we fail to cut emissions? Which interesting speakers should we try and get in the studio for a discussion on growth v dealing with climate change?

We also have a film about how on the 75th anniversary of the Courtauld Institute, they are reappraising the complicated figure, of Anthony Blunt, who made the Institute what it is. He lectured there from the beginning but his role as inspirational art historian has been fudged until now, upstaged by his other, more controversial activities.

What other stories should we be doing? And how we can put our own stamp on it?

Faith schools - in an interview David Cameron implies that parents who "find faith" to get their children into the right schools are good members of society.
Knife crime and youth crime - ACPO are announcing their strategy to deal with huge increases in these crimes tomorrow.
Peter Hain
Police march on pay
Or something completely different?


Bravery in the face of mental illness

  • Jeremy Paxman
  • 22 Jan 08, 06:29 PM

pax203x100.jpgI know we're supposed not to be partisan, or to pass judgement on those we interview.

But I have to say that of all the many politicians it has been my (occasionally painful) duty to interview over the years, Mr Bondevik comes pretty near the top. ( Watch it here.)

It's so rare to find man talking with such frankness and courage about such a charged and sensitive subject.

For some reason, mental ill-health retains an aura, which seems at times to make it almost impossible to talk about it sensibly. Quite why this should be, when so many of us are going to suffer from depression or other illnesses, I don't know.

Enlightened voters

I suspect it's because we're frightened of it ourselves. How much better it would be if we could all treat it as we treat physical conditions, like 'flu or cancer or a broken arm.

Mr Bondevik's honesty in putting his cards on the table and telling the people of Norway what was going on in his mind and in his life is admirable. But the reaction of Norwegian voters is just as impressive.

They voted him back into office. If I was being glum, I'd say that it would never happen here because the party leader would find himself the victim of lots of headlines about “Voting for a Loony”.

But don't tell me there's any reason we should be less enlightened than the Norwegians.


There are many organisations that provide help to those that suffer from mental illness. The following is a seleciton of some of them.

Stand to Reason
Mental Health

Tuesday, 22 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Jan 08, 05:05 PM

markets203x100.jpgAnother day of turmoil on the markets. The US Federal Reserve tried to pre-empt the opening of the US stock exchange with a whopping 0.75% cut in interest rates. Even so, the Dow Jones dropped sharply within minutes.

Tonight, we'll devote much of the programme to analysing what all this means. Paul Mason will look at the impact on the global economy, and Stephanie Flanders will assess what - if anything - the government and the Bank of England can do to prevent a downturn here. We'll be re-convening Newsnight's own Monetary Policy Committee. Do they think the Bank should follow the Fed with a cut in interest rates next week?

Also - some have said it's the most bad-tempered Presidential debate they've seen. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton may be in the same party, but last night's Democratic debate in South Carolina laid bare the growing ill-feeling between the two candidates. So catty were the exchanges that the third and largely overlooked John Edwards ended up appealing to both candidates to stop squabbling and think about the bigger picture. We'll be speaking to a leading Democrat about whether the tone of the race might damage the party in the long term.

And - the government wants everyone to learn cookery in school. They hope it will mean Britain's kids will eat more healthily. And tomorrow, ministers will unveil their strategy to combat obesity. So we've been back to visit a group of teenagers we first met late last year. They were on a special programme - called MEND - which aims to help them lose weight by bringing the whole family into the process. Lots of them really benefited from the course. Six months on - how are they doing?

Emergency meeting of Newsnight MPC

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Jan 08, 03:07 PM

The US Federal Reserve has cuts interest rates to 3.5% in a desperate bid to stave off a looming recession.

mpc203x152.jpgThe rate cut came after global stocks had tumbled on Monday, posting their worst day since the attacks of 11 September 2001.

So, how bad is it going to get? Are we really facing a recession as some of the apocalyptic headline writers would have us believe or is the UK economy strong enough to see out this latest financial storm?

In an effort to find some definitive answers we decided to call an emergency meeting of the fabled Newsnight Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

So what would you like to ask our expert panel?

Prospects for Tuesday, 22 January

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Jan 08, 10:27 AM

Today's programme producer is Liz Gibbons. Here's her early email to the production team - what do you think we should cover?

Hello all,

Markets - "all eyes will be on the Dow when it opens". Neil Breakwell says this is already a cliché. What are the big questions we can ask and who should we be asking them of? As things stand we can devote a big chunk of the programme to it.

The Czech opposition leader is in town - he's a big opponent of the US missile defence system. Good opportunity to look at the issue?

Barack v Hillary - wouldn't mind having a quick look at the debate - did Obama lose it and is he losing it?

We should keep an eye on Gaza and the Palestinian PM visit.

And we have a film marking the anniversary of the Courtauld Institute.


Monday, 21 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Jan 08, 04:44 PM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer


Jeremy is presenting the programme this evening.

Northern Rock
Alistair Darling announces his Northern Rock plan in the CommonsSo the tax payer gets to take on most of the risk of Northern Rock but not necessarily enjoy much of the profit. That appears to be Alistair Darling's latest plan to solve the problem of the troubled bank. The Tories say the government is gambling with public money. The Lib Dems are accusing the government of being politically frightened of nationalisation. We'll debate what the best thing really is for the tax payer and the bank.

There are dramatic pictures from Gaza where the power station is not working and the UN claim food supplies are running out because of an Israeli blockade. The Israeli government say recent events have been staged by Hamas and that the people of Gaza are not under any real threat. We're trying to find out the truth.

First we were definitely going to get a referendum on an EU constitution. Then it was a debate in parliament about whether we would get a referendum. Now there will not even be a debate. Michael Crick will explain.

We'll also be speaking to the former Norwegian Prime Minister. Why? Because Kjell Magne Bondevik is one of the few front line politicians to take sick leave because of depression. Despite this he was re-elected by the people of Norway. Would we be so understanding?

Do join us at 10.30. Many of you have already contacted us to discuss issues to do with your pants. We'll not be addressing your gusset anxieties directly on the programme but do leave us your comments below.


Prospects, Monday, 21 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Jan 08, 10:26 AM

Today's programme producer is Simon Enright. Here's his early email to the production team - what do you think we should cover?

Hi all,

northernrock203mon.jpgWe should definitely do Northern Rock. What questions will we still need to answer at the end of today?

Feels like we should do the maths on the Lisbon Treaty - is it possible for the Government to lose the referendum amendment and what would happen if they did?

We also have an interview with the former Norwegian Prime Minister. Why? Because he is one of the few Western Leaders to take sick leave while in office due to mental illness. He was then re-elected. Would we have such a bold attitude to mental illness here?

We have a film from Steve Smith about pre-historic man-made mound Silbury Hill. He goes inside for the last time before it is sealed up.

Also possible today:
- There will be lots around on our approach to climate change this week. Should we include something today?
- Police Pay will also be a big theme this week. Should we take a step back and ask, like the IPPR, whether it needs totally restructuring?
- India should get permanent seat on the UN Security Council - so says Gordon Brown - along with a new place in the World Bank, IMF, and a redrawn G8.

Lots around. We can't fit it all in. What can we afford to NOT do.

Friday, 18 January, 2008

  • Gavin Esler
  • 18 Jan 08, 05:31 PM

Today's Quote for the Day
"I think he shatters the myth of white supremacy once and for all" - New York Congressman Charles Rangel when asked for his views about US President George Bush.

China and the World Economy
Brown and WenGordon Brown is in Beijing and says he wants trade with China to double in two years. Meanwhile George Bush has been talking about a stimulus package to help the ailing US economy. I'll be exploring the significance of the Brown visit and the world economic problems with Senator Chuck Hagel, Chairman of the US Congressional China Commission and Lord Digby Jones, the new Trade Minister.

The Captain of the British Airways jet which crash landed at Heathrow airport yesterday has spoken of "the highest standards of skill and professionalism" displayed by all the crew on board Flight BA 038. Susan Watts has been trying to establish what caused the crash.

Bobby Fischer
bobbyfischer203.jpgThe former chess champion, Bobby Fischer, has died in Iceland. He was 64 and had been seriously ill. He made his name as one of the world's greatest - and most temperamental - players. A Grand Master at 25, he won the world championship in the highly-publicised match with Boris Spassky in 1972, breaking the Soviet domination of the game. Steve Smith looks back at a Cold War legend.

Josh Brolin in No Country...After Newsnight, Kirsty is joined on the Review sofa by Pablo Mukherjee, Denise Mina and Tom Paulin to discuss: No Country For Old Men, the Coen brothers' bloody new western based on Cormac McCarthy's novel; His Illegal Self the latest from Australian author Peter Carey; Tim Burton's take on the Sondheim musical version of Sweeney Todd, with Burton stalwart Johnny Depp; and a double bill from the Bush Theatre, London - Land of the Dead/Helter Skelter.

More details on all those on the Review website, and read about and watch Newsnight's encounter with the men behind Sweeney Todd - Tim Burton and Johnny Depp.

Prospects - Friday, 18 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Jan 08, 10:25 AM

Today's programme producer is Robert Morgan. Here's his early email to the production team.

Good morning everyone,

Gordon Brown escorted by Chinese Premier Wen JiabaoThere are a few good stories around today. Gordon Brown has used the start of a visit to Beijing to declare that he wants to see a doubling of trade between Britain and China in two years. The Prime Minister said closer co-operation between the two countries could create tens of thousands of jobs for British workers. China currently has a lot of cash to invest abroad.

Meanwhile in the US, President Bush will speak about his economic stimulus package that includes "short-term, temporary measures" to boost an economy buffeted by housing and credit woes. Yesterday Wall Street dropped a massive 300 points over fears of a recession.

Is this a crucial moment in the growing economic power of China? Could we combine both stories? We also have a pre-recorded interview with Senator Chuck Hagel set for this afternoon. Could we add this to the sequence?

Let's pursue new lines on this story. The preliminary report is out tomorrow. Susan Watts is on the case.

Thursday, 17 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Jan 08, 05:25 PM

plane203x100.jpgTonight on Newsnight, we begin with the crash landing at Heathrow of British Airways flight 038 from Beijing this lunchtime. There are reports that the pilot lost all avionics - all power failed just prior to landing. The pilots managed to bring it down just short of the runway. Some passengers are being treated at a local hospital but no lives were lost. So what happened to this Boeing 777?
We will bring you as much detail and analysis as we can muster and we are bidding for the Chief Executive of BA Willie Walsh.

Also tonight - is the government inadvertently funding the visits to Britain of controversial radical Muslim clerics?
On the day that the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith gave a speech on measures the government is taking to prevent radicalisation, is the government engaging with the right organisations? Richard Watson has uncovered evidence that a government funded organisation is using speakers to address young British Muslims who fundamentally disagree with democracy.

And Tim Burton turns Stephen Sondheim's musical Sweeney Todd into a celluloid gothic horror show, with Johnny Depp as the demon barber. Tonight Newsnight has the first British interview with the star.

Prospects for Thursday, 17 January

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Jan 08, 10:24 AM

Carol Rubra is today's programme producer. Here is her early email to the team.

Good morning,

We have lots of space on the programme today so it's a good opportunity for us to go our own way and make some news.

This is what is planned...

Jacqui Smith is giving a speech about terrorism and how to prevent vulnerable people becoming radicalised by extremist websites. Richard Watson will be covering it as part of our series of films over the last couple of days on this topic. Let's have a think about ideas for guests.

Sweeney Todd - Newsnight has interviewed Johnny Depp, Tim Burton and Timothy Spall about the new film version of Stephen Sondheim's musical.

After that… it's up to us…

Global food inflation - what lies behind it and what is the impact on the British economy?

British Council - there could be more developments today. The Director of the British Council is making a statement and so is David Miliband.

Decision today on whether the use of hybrid embryos will be allowed.

GPs could save the NHS £200m by prescribing more generic drugs. MPs recommend that GPs should be obliged to declare gifts received from pharmaceutical companies.
Meanwhile EU regulators are investigating the delays in the production of generic drugs. But are generic drugs always the best choice for patients?

Peter Hain - the Electoral Commission are meeting to discuss Peter Hain's failure to declare donations to his deputy leadership campaign.

Traffic - there has been a huge growth in traffic, particularly in rural areas according to new figures. So should the government be building more roads? Or do we need road pricing?

See you at 10.30

Wednesday, 16 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Jan 08, 07:09 PM

Tonight on Newsnight we've another disturbing film about how terrorists operate here in Britain. Last night we heard how a website with a known record of support for Al Qaeda had announced the formation of a branch of the organisation in Britain. Tonight we have the story of "Terrorist 007". It is the compelling tale of how a young man ran a cyber terror network from his home in West London.

Mark Urban has been looking into Russian-British relations. Last night Stephen Kinnock - son of Lord Kinnock and the director of the British Council office in St Petersburg - was arrested. The British Council offices in the two cities are now closed. How strained are relations now between Britain and Russia?

Peter Hain has been answering questions today in Parliament - about Wales. Michael Crick is trying to ask different ones about the donations to his failed deputy leadership campaign. Do find out whether Michael succeeds in getting any answers.

And we plan to debate the Diana Inquest - and the media circus that is surrounding the event, lawyers permitting.

All will be revealed at 10.30pm

Simon Enright

Prospects for Wednesday, 16 January

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Jan 08, 10:15 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer. Here is his early email to the team.

Hi All,

Strong story last night about Al Qaeda in Britain. Can we match it?

Michael Crick is back from his sick bed today so we'll be asking him to pursue the latest on Peter Hain. It’s Welsh questions today so maybe Mr Hain will answer some of the questions there that he's refusing to answer on the TV/Media circuit.

MPs vote on their own pay today. Should we debate this and what question should we ask?

Also Security Correspondent Gordon Corera tells the story of the terrorist who called himself 007 - linking networks from his bedroom in London.

But what else shall we do today?

Is it time we debated the Diana inquest? Can it ever do anything other than feed conspiracy theories?

Is there a debate in the Charity Commission’s new guidance which scares some private schools?

OR is there a story you think we should do? Jeremy promised something fun today - so how do we deliver that?


Tuesday, 15 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Jan 08, 06:43 PM

Good evening,

As I write we're working on what could be a big terror-related story for tonight's programme. Watch tonight and see the results.

doctor203x100.jpgIn 2004 GPs voted on a new contract. One of the provisions was the opportunity to opt out of providing "Out of Hours" care. Ninety per cent of doctors voted to take up this new option, which meant that NHS Primary Care Trusts now had the task of filling doctors' surgeries at nights and weekends. Who is doing that work? More and more of the shifts are being filled with doctors from throughout the European Union, especially Poland. Some are even commuting from the continent to work in Britain at weekends - they can earn in one shift what they would take home in a month in Poland. But could all the travelling make these doctors too tired to treat patients? And who is responsible for them? Rachel Wright made the trip with one Polish doctor to find out.

Northern Rock shareholders have largely voted to reject plans that could have limited management powers to find a rescue deal for the business. Northern Rock said shareholders had defeated all but one of the resolutions proposed at its extraordinary meeting. The bank's chairman said the resolution passed would not be a "material restriction" to a rescue deal. The resolutions were put forward by two major shareholders, hedge funds SRM Global and RAB Capital. "Whilst we are pleased that all but one of the resolutions proposed by SRM and RAB Capital were not carried, we recognise that a material number of shareholders did vote in favour of these resolutions," said Bryan Sanderson, Northern Rock's chairman. Economics Editor, Stephanie Flanders will tell us where this now leaves Northern Rock.

Newsnight report leads to a ban on Uzbek cotton
Tesco has banned "all cotton sourced from Uzbekistan for its clothing range, homeware and corporate purchases" after a Newsnight investigation exposed the use of child labour. In October Simon Ostrovsky's report revealed how many of the UK's top High Street stores were selling clothes made with Uzbek cotton. His investigation of cotton production in Uzbekistan found that the use of children to harvest the crop was widespread and systematic. Tesco said the Newsnight report had "exposed the continued use of state-sponsored child labour in Uzbek cotton fields" and has now announced a complete ban on the use of Uzbek cotton. The retail giant is telling suppliers that "the use of organised and forced child labour is completely unacceptable and leads us to conclude that whilst these practices persist in Uzbekistan we cannot support the use of cotton from Uzbekistan in our textiles". Watch Simon's report on tonight's programme.

Read the reactions of the High Street stores..

Newsnight report leads to cotton ban

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Jan 08, 06:15 PM

cotton203x100.jpgTesco has announced it is banning "all cotton sourced from Uzbekistan for its clothing range, homeware and corporate purchases" after a Newsnight investigation exposed the use of child labour.

The original report by Simon Ostrovsky revealed how many of the UK's top High Street stores were selling clothes made with Uzbek cotton - which had been harvested by forced child labour.

Below is today's statement by Tesco - along with how Asda, Arcadia Group (Burtons and Top Man), and Matalan reacted to Tesco's decision:

"As a founder member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, Tesco seeks to put ethical trading at the very heart of its operations.

Following ongoing discussions with campaign groups on the subject of cotton production and the use of child labour in this part of the supply chain, we feel the need to re-iterate Tesco’s deep concern at the use of child labour.

We realise that this is a complex issue with many causes which we acknowledge are hard to address individually.

However, the use of organised and forced child labour is completely unacceptable and leads us to conclude that whilst these practices persist in Uzbekistan, we cannot support the use of cotton from Uzbekistan in our clothing.

To this end, we now require our suppliers to identify the source of raw cotton used in all Tesco clothing – and we will randomly audit records to ensure our requirements are being met."

"We were very interested to hear the commitments being made by Tesco today, but we're even keener to understand how they plan to meet those commitments.

At ASDA we are determined to ensure that fabric used by George suppliers comes from ethical and traceable sources.

However we make no bones about the fact that the international supply chain for cotton is extremely complicated. Full traceability of where raw cotton (used in yarn, cotton fabrics or garments) originates from is very difficult to achieve.

So at this time we do not believe a boycott of cotton from Uzbekistan is achievable, but more importantly we are not convinced it will improve the lives of those who work in the industry.

We will continue to work with the Government and our suppliers to discuss what further pressure we can apply to bring about an improvement in the conditions of people working in the cotton industry in Uzbekistan."

Arcadia Group (Burtons and Top Man)
"Further to the BBC Newsnight programme, we have contacted all of our suppliers and
informed them of your findings.

We have re-iterated to them our code of conduct which can be found on our group web-site

We have requested that our suppliers check on their raw cotton sources, and nothing
untoward has been reported to us by them, nor have we found anything untoward
ourselves at this time."

“Matalan is taking the issue seriously and is in consultation with its suppliers to understand the extent of the issue. Appropriate action will be taken after the inquiry, which will be finalised in the coming weeks.”

Prospects for Tuesday, 15 January

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Jan 08, 10:34 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here is his early email to the team.

Good morning everyone,

There's quite a bit around this morning. Richard Watson could have a big story which I'll speak more about in the morning meeting. There's obviously Northern Rock's EGM, EMI, food prices, and a possible Uzbek cotton follow up. Is it worth us previewing Michigan? Do come to the meeting armed with great ideas.

Rachel Wright and Neil Drake have a great film which needs a Government response off the back. Are foreign doctors working too many hours in the health service?

In 2004 GPs voted on a new contract. One of the new provisions was the opportunity to opt out of providing "Out of Hours" care. Ninety per cent of doctors voted to take up this new option. Which meant that NHS Primary Care Trusts now had the task of filling doctor's surgeries at nights and weekends. More and more of these shifts are being filled with doctors from throughout the new expanded European Union, especially Poland. Some are even staying in their home country and commuting over at weekends. After all they can earn the same amount in one shift as they can in a whole month in Poland. But does commuting make these doctors too tired to treat patients and who is responsible for them? Rachel Wright made the trip with one Polish doctor to find out.

Playout ideas welcome.


Monday, 14 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Jan 08, 05:31 PM

Jeremy presents tonight's programme.

Northern Rock signIs nationalisation now inevitable for Northern Rock? Tomorrow the bank's shareholders have called an extraordinary general meeting - to give them a chance to demand from the board more of a say in the troubled mortgage lender's future. But can they and should they stop the government taking control? Stephanie Flanders reports and we'll debate.

Peter Hain received the backing from the Prime Minister in the Sun this morning - at least for the moment. Mr Hain maintains that there is nothing wrong with any of the money he's taken - no conflict of interest. Paul Mason is investigating whether that's true. The Conservatives want more answers. We've also put some questions to them about David Cameron's declarations. Hopefully they'll provide us with the answers to them and we'll let you know about all of it on the programme.

Would the roads be safer - and smoother - without traffic lights? A personal - and polemical - report from one campaigner on the programme tonight which we'll debate after - read his views here and join the debate here.

Finally you might have been relieved NOT to see luvvies getting emotional at the Golden Globes ceremony - cancelled because of the Hollywood writers strike. But spare a thought for the British film industry. We hear how going without the gongs may be very damaging to one successful bit of British business.

Prospects: Monday, January 14, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Jan 08, 11:32 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer. Here is his early email to the team.

It's January 14th - my wife's birthday. Can I just make it clear that she asked for the garden waste incinerator... so why was she so upset? Ideas of what I buy to get myself out from under her opprobrium gratefully received.

hain203_140108.jpgIdeas also welcome for what we should put in the rest of the programme. I still don't feel Peter Hain has properly explained why he needed a Think Tank to channel money to him. Maybe if he gave an interview he could explain… If he can't/won't give any reasons should we give some for him? And why does Gordon Brown think it is all out of his hands (The Sun pg 2)? Is he not the PM? Can't he sack him if he wants?

The Northern Rock shareholders are meeting tomorrow to decide what to do with their bank. Their bank? What chance it is nationalised, who would benefit and how would it work?

We also have film about traffic lights from Martin Cassini - would the world be a better and safer place without them?

bin150.jpgBut we defo need one more story…..Should we do

- The end of Bio-fuels. The reality we showed in our film nearly a year ago - watch it here - is that they are not a viable option. The EU is now rethinking its policy

- Paul Burrell appears at the Diana Inquest today. Is this a story Newsnight should do and how?

- And no special ceremony for the Golden Globes… Should this be the future of award ceremonies?

All ideas - especially to rescue my tumbling stock on the home front - gratefully received.

All the best


Friday, 11 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Jan 08, 04:52 PM

liver_bird203x100.jpgTonight most of Newsnight comes from Liverpool to debate just what being European Capital of Culture means for the city.

Gavin Esler will be joined by Echo and the Bunnymen lead singer, Ian McCulloch, TV impresario Phil Redmond, and "Bread" actress Jean Boht to debate just how Liverpool will benefit from being Culture Capital and what Liverpool today has to offer.

Glasgow local and author Sanjeev Singh Kohli has a report from Glasgow about what being Capital of Culture in 1990 meant for that city.

But we lead tonight with a report from Michael Crick about the increasingly vulnerable position that Peter Hain finds himself in.

We'll debate whether he can survive the weekend with both his ministerial jobs intact - Peter is not only Work and Pensions secretary but also Secretary of State for Wales.

Newsnight Review

This week Martha Kearney is joined by Miranda Sawyer Johann Hari and Ian McMillan.

They'll be reviewing Charlie Wilson's War, Moving Wallpaper and Echo Beach, The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa and La Cage aux Folles. Find out more on the Newsnight Review website.

Newsnight from Liverpool

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Jan 08, 12:57 PM

liverpool203x100.jpgTonight Gavin Esler and the team are presenting the programme from Liverpool - to mark the start of the city's status as the European Capital of Culture.

We'll be hearing from musicians, artists and performers, and of course some critics.

We have a film from Glasgow, the last British city to be awarded the title.

But what do you think about Liverpool - and about schemes like this?

Does Liverpool deserve the status and will it be good for the city? (Or after today do you expect not to hear about the event again?)

Is the award recognition for a city with an incredible cultural heritage and is the best yet to come or is Liverpool's creative heyday already history?
Do let us know what you think.

Thursday, 10 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Jan 08, 05:24 PM


hutton203x100.jpgAs widely predicted, the government has given the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power plants. John Hutton told MPs the programme was crucial to maintaining a safe and consistent power supply. Our Science Editor Susan Watts will be examining exactly what today's announcement means. Can we be certain there won't be hidden costs for the taxpayer? We'll be hearing from the minister responsible for taking things forward.


The ongoing story of how Peter Hain failed to declare more than £100,000 in donations to his deputy leadership campaign; did he know about the money? And can he survive? Michael Crick has the full story.


David Loyn reports on how the Afghan government is attempting to bring madrassas, the religious schools that inspired a generation of fundamentalists, back into the state system. The government wants to reduce the teaching of Islamic philosophy to less than half of the curriculum, and introduce subjects like history, geography, science and languages. The new policy is a direct challenge to neighbouring Pakistan, where madrassas are the main recruiting ground for the Taliban.


The world's cheapest car has been launched at India's biggest auto show in Delhi; it will cost about £1,200. It's estimated that up to 60 million more people in India could now afford a car, but is this a good idea considering the impact it will have on CO2 emissions?

Prospects for Thursday, 10 January

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Jan 08, 10:22 AM

Carol Rubra is today's programme producer - here is her early email to the team.

Good morning,

nuclear.jpgGoing nuclear - John Hutton will make a statement today giving the go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power plants. Susan will look at the detail of the announcement, whether the proposals provide sufficient financial incentive for the private sector to go ahead and what is going to happen to the waste.

There are a few other interesting discussion topics around today.

The world's cheapest car has been unveiled in India - a step forward for Indian middle classes but a step back in reducing global carbon emissions.

New figures on Iraqi deaths from violence

Labour donors and Peter Hain's failure to declare donations to his deputy leadership campaign.

MPs salaries - their pay rise will be announced today - should they accept?

Liberal Democrats are debating missile defence in the House of Lords.

And interest rates.

Please come to the meeting with your own ideas and thoughts on these.


Wednesday, 9 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Jan 08, 06:01 PM

Polls Apart?

clinton.jpgIf you're a US pollster there's every chance you may be hiding under the blankets today, begging your mother for a sick note. The story predicted almost universally was a convincing win for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the state of New Hampshire. Some commentators even went so far as to discuss Hillary's need for 'damage limitation' if she ever wanted to work in politics again. In the end - and surely this is what News is all about - she won New Hampshire, leaving the Obama team, the pollsters and some media scrabbling for a duvet day. Tonight, we'll discuss how the pollsters and the truth were so wide apart and just what swayed it for Hillary when it had all seemed like a done deal.

Official Secrets:

A Foreign Office civil servant - accused of leaking confidential documents - has been cleared of breaching the Official Secrets Act. Prosecutors at the Old Bailey have decided to drop charges against Derek Pasquill - who was accused of disclosing papers to the media. We'll talk live to Derek Pasquill - a man who's had his life on hold for the past two years - on the programme.


Marks and Spencers sales figures are as much a bellwether of the UK economy as interest rates or house prices. As their chief executive revealed today how disappointing the Christmas period had been, we ask if the High Street boom is finally over. Have consumers stopped consuming? And will there be interest rates cuts tomorrow? We ask our Newsnight Shadow MPC.

Galloway v Frum:

galloway203x100.jpgGeorge Galloway is not a big fan of American policy in the Middle East. David Frum is not a big fan of Iranian policy towards the West - he coined the Axis of Evil phrase for George Bush. As the President begins his last big tour of the Middle East - and threatens US sanctions on Iran - we put the two together to tell us what's what. This is just a guess, but it may not be all sweetness and light.

Belly dancer

It was already one of the most eccentric stories to come out of the Foreign Office in a long while. Britain’s Ambassador to Uzbekistan gets fired after criticising the country’s human rights record and carrying on with a 22-year-old local belly dancer. Now the story of Craig Murray has taken another equally eye-brow raising twist. He and his girlfriend are back in Britain – and they’ve written a play about how they met. The piece, performed solely by his partner Nadira Berkhanov-Murray, is more harrowing than you might expect. Madeleine Holt has the report.

Prospects for Wednesday, 9 January

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Jan 08, 10:34 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team.

Hello everyone,

There's quite a bit around today.

There's been a shock result in New Hampshire with egg on the faces of the pollsters and some of the media. Hillary Clinton and John McCain are the comeback kids. David and Ben are there. How should we do this story today?

Shares in Marks and Spencer have fallen sharply this morning, after the company announced disappointing Christmas sales figures. They were down more than two percent in the final three months of 2007, and the company has warned that it expects to have a tough time this year as well. Is the high street boom finally over? The MPC also decide what to do with interest rates tomorrow.

President Bush is in the Middle East.

Will there be any developments in peace talks in Kenya?

Belly dancer
It was already one of the most eccentric stories to come out of the Foreign Office in a long while. Britain’s ambassador to Uzbekistan gets fired after criticising the country’s human rights record and carrying on with a 22-year-old local belly dancer.
Now the story of Craig Murray has taken another equally eye-brow raising twist. He and his girlfriend are back in Britain - and they’ve written a play about how they met. The piece, performed solely by his partner Nadira Berkhanov-Murray, is more harrowing than you might expect. Madeleine and Henrietta have the story.


Tuesday, 8 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Jan 08, 05:45 PM

Jeremy's just back from a news conference held by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari - the 19-year-old son of Benazir who has inherited the mantle of his mother's party. Amidst the media scrum you'll be unsurprised to hear that Jeremy managed to get a few questions asked. They were answered rather well, so Jeremy tells me. Judge for yourself on tonight's programme.

Our main story tonight though, is the news that the cabinet have approved a new generation of nuclear power plants. Gordon Brown has told us that the full energy statement will be out on Thursday. But tonight we'll debate whether Nuclear is the answer to our energy needs - and also a solution to the problems of climate change. Our Science Editor Susan Watts has her assessment of the real facts behind the nuclear option.

In a few hours we'll know whether Barack Obama has done it again - and won the Democratic Primary this time in New Hampshire. It would be tough for Hillary to comeback from another defeat.
But tonight David Grossman also reports on the race for the Republican nomination. It is much less clear who will win - with Mike Huckerbee the winner in Iowa not expected to do so well in New Hampshire and Vietnam Vet John McCain tipped to win. We'll be talking to Republican pollster Frank Luntz and independent pollster Scot Rasmussen about their take on the candidates.

Finally, the story from Kenya where today saw more clashes after the current president announced his new cabinet. Paul Mason has spoken to some of those involved in the violence to ask them why they are fighting.

Prospects for Tuesday, 8 January

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Jan 08, 10:29 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team.

Hi All,

I've sent Jeremy off this morning to the press conference of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari - Benazir's son. He's decided to speak to the press just down the road and I thought it would be interesting for Jeremy to report back on what this young 19-year-old is like first hand.

We've also recruited a young film maker with some dramatic footage from Columbia about how America are losing the war against drugs - and cocaine in particular. And they are losing it to communist guerrilla soldiers on horseback. Peter Marshall will put the pictures together.

David Grossman will be reporting from New Hampshire - tonight on the Republicans. And also he'll be live with the latest. Who else should we talk to?

But what else should we do?

Paul Mason is offering short film from Kenya.

The Brown initiative today is Pay - should we do this

OR welfare reform the Tories initiative

Or should we even go for the nuclear option. The cabinet are debating Nuclear energy today should we not debate on our programme?


Monday, 7 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Jan 08, 05:15 PM

Prevention - Better than Cure?
Gordon Brown this morning announced plans for a national screening programme for heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and other conditions. It's all part, he says, of a plan to make the NHS focus more on "preventative" rather than simply "curative" treatments. Already though his plans have met with a mixed reaction - the BMA have complained that there is no point screening for conditions that they don't have the money to treat, and even the UK National Screening Committee have questioned whether it is the best use of NHS resources. We'll debate Brown's vision for the health service.

How Kibera Was "Cleared"
Paul Mason has a powerful film on how the huge shanty town of Kibera in Nairobi was torn apart by ethnic violence following the contested Kenyan election. Over the course of a single night a multi-ethnic neighbourhood was brutally cleared of members of the Kikuyu community. He has filmed extensively in the area and meets with one Kikuyu in fear of her life who is in hiding in the shanty town.

Clinton vs Obama
Plus, Hilary Clinton's desperate attempts to halt Barack Obama in New Hampshire. What must she do now, and could it already be too late?

Friday, 4 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Jan 08, 05:23 PM

US Elections

obama.jpgCould the US really elect a black president? With Barack Obama's success in Iowa last night that's the question many are asking. The focus now turns to New Hampshire and the first real test for all the candidates in next week's primary. David Grossman is already on the scene and he'll be giving us his assessment of the long political battle ahead. We'll be asking leading US pollster, John Zogby about the significance of these first results.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu - who's in Kenya to broker a resolution to the country's political crisis has said President Mwai Kibaki appears open to the idea of forming a coalition. Mr Kibaki's spokesman also said today he had also not ruled out opposition demands for a re-run of last week's disputed presidential elections. Paul Mason is in Kenya for us and is examining the political paralysis within the opposition ODM party. Is the mass action strategy against Kibaki's government having any effect?

UK Economy in 2008

We'll be looking at the prospects for the UK economy in the year ahead with Stephanie Flanders and leading economists and politicians. Are we heading for an economic big chill? Will the UK be able to weather the effects of the credit crunch? And what will happen to the housing market and Northern Rock?

Thursday, 3 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jan 08, 05:10 PM


kenya_protests203x100.jpgNewsnight's Paul Mason is in Nairobi and he'll bring us the latest developments and we'll be looking more widely at how the political stalemate can be resolved and at what the implications are for the "war on terror".


David Grossman is in Iowa as the first test of American public opinion in the 2008 elections - the Iowa caucuses - gets underway. With gatherings in homes and small meeting halls across the state, this is as close as a modern democracy gets to Athenian democracy of more than 2,000 years ago. Obama? Clinton? And what of the Republicans?

Politics in 2008

Is it possible to predict what the big political stories are going to be in 2008? Michael Crick will look ahead at the challenges for the three main leaders in the coming year and our political panel will join me in the studio.


George Macdonald Fraser, author of the Flashman books has died. The character he created fought, drank and womanised his way around the British Empire, so what do people see in Brigadier General Sir Harry Paget Flashman?

What now for Kenya?

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jan 08, 10:57 AM

Police in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, have used water cannon and tear gas to stop people joining an opposition rally kenya_mob203x152.jpgprotesting against the outcome of the presidential election.

The march, banned by the Kenyan authorities, was organised by the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, who accuses President Mwai Kibaki of stealing the election.

There has been violence across the country, including the burning of a church in Eldoret in which more than 30 people, including 13 young children, died.

About 300 people have been killed and at least 70,000 driven from their homes across Kenya since Sunday.

kenya_police203x100.jpgDespite international calls for calm, there seems to be no immediate end to the post-election crisis and violence in sight.

Newsnight's Paul Mason is on his way to Nairobi, but we want to hear from those who have been affected by the unrest in Kenya - both from overseas and from within the country.

What have you seen? And what are your hopes and fears for Kenya's future now?

Prospects for Thursday, 3 January

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jan 08, 10:17 AM

Carol Rubra is today's programme producer - here is her early email to the team.

Good morning,

Kenya - Opposition leaders are making their way to Uhuru Park for the million people rally but it's not yet clear how many supporters will try to reach the stadium. There are also various diplomatic efforts to calm the situation. Paul is on his way. Any thoughts on who we should interview?

Iowa - The US begin the process of selecting candidates for the Presidential elections tonight. David Grossman is there.

Politics in 2008 - We have a political preview of the coming year. What are the issues, challenges and flashpoints for each of the parties? Our political panel are booked.

Flashman - George Macdonald Fraser - misogynist, misanthrope and all round cad - yet the novels are loved so what do people see in Flashman?

Or are there other stories we should be doing?


No Raila, No Peace - where next for Kenya

  • Paul Mason
  • 2 Jan 08, 07:25 PM

Corrupt government, rigged election, violence - some of it ethnically motivated: Kenya's crisis has thrown up stereotypical images of an African conflict. But the country's present agony is the product of a fast developing economy, and massive aspirations to democracy, which have been dashed...

President Kibaki came to power in 2002 promising democratic change; investment flowed in, the middle class grew rapidly: but corruption was slow to disappear. Raila Odinga left the government in 2005 and formed the Orange Democratic Movement, harnessing the power of NGOs and grassroots organisations in a voter registration campaign. Until days before the election, Odinga was ahead in the polls; and he was ahead as the votes were counted...

Continue reading "No Raila, No Peace - where next for Kenya"

Wednesday, 2 January, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Jan 08, 03:59 PM

In tonight's programme: Democracy in 2008.

In Pakistan people are being killed in the run-up to February's elections.
riots203x100.jpgIn Kenya they are being killed in the aftermath of December's elections. In the United States, beginning tomorrow in Iowa, the world's most powerful democracy will begin to choose its new leader - a leader who will follow George W Bush, whose attempts to export democracy to Iraq have caused him such trouble.

Tonight we'll hear from Kenya and the United States and will debate what the year ahead might hold for democracy worldwide with an all-star cast list of guests.

Prospects for Wednesday, 2 January

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Jan 08, 11:31 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team.

Happy New Year everyone and welcome back.

We'd planned at looking at the World's challenges in 2008 and have lined up a series of international figures to talk about it. Looks like we have a Democracy Special now.

kenya203x100.jpgPaul Mason will do a lead piece on Kenya. We've already invited the Foreign Secretary on but who are the other key interviews that we should try for…

Mark Urban will then tee-up our in tray for the World's International Ministers. Clearly Pakistan a major early focus. We've lined up…

Laurence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, Sidney Blumenthal senior advisor to Hilary Clinton, Akbar Ahmed, Prof of International relations and Bronwen Maddox, Foreign Commentator for the Times. But we need a strong African voice who can speak wider than just on Kenya to put in that mix.

Finally we've got another Culpeper film from Matt Frei - and we can talk US elections with David Grossman in Iowa.

Is there anything else we should do? Is there a playout of dramatic pictures for the programme? And what about those extra guests and take on the key stories?

Thursday, 20 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Dec 07, 05:50 PM


musa203x100.jpgWe have the first television pictures from the battle for Musa Qala. I've been talking to the British ambassador in Kabul and we 'll also be asking International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander about the other battle in Afghanistan - the one for hearts and minds.


In October Susan Watts reported on the growing doubts about one type of forensic evidence - it was called Low Copy Number DNA. Today the man accused of the Omagh bombing was found not guilty and in part that was because the judge did not find this evidence convincing. Should this type of evidence ever be used? We'll debate.


Should men who pay for sex be targeted for prosecution? Everyone agrees the idea of women being forced into prostitution is despicable, the sex trade from abroad into Britain is a key target for the police and for the government. But today Harriet Harman talked of targeting the men who pay for sex - would doing that be a good idea? And if it is a good idea, would it really have much of an impact on the trade in women forced into prostitution?

Plastic Bags

For me one of the most inspiring stories of the year is that of the BBC photographer who made a documentary about plastic pollution in Hawaii. If you saw Rebecca Hosking's documentary Hawaii: Message in the Waves you will have been appalled by the impact plastic has had on the lives of albatrosses, dolphins and other sea creatures. But when Rebecca returned home she talked to neighbours and friends in her small village in Devon ... and the result was a grassroots movement to do away with plastic bags as much as possible. Rebecca is one of our Newsnight End of the Year interviews.


Prospects for Thursday, 20 December

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Dec 07, 10:19 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team.

Morning All,

Shake off those post-party foggy heads we've got work to do.

We hope to run a film of the battle for Musa Qala. Stephen Grey is flying back from Kandahar and we have the footage. Who should we talk to off the back?

We know today we'll get the verdict on the Omagh case. Remember Susan Watts film which looked at the evidence based on Low Copy Number DNA and asked whether this kind of evidence was good enough? Can we have a Justice minister on to defend it OR someone from the legal profession - against the Omagh defence lawyer.

Today's end of year interview is with Rebecca Hoskings who changed our perspective on plastic bags.

And then what else should we do?

Should we outlaw paying for sex - Harriet Harman calls for change in the law.

Should we not follow up on Zuma and the possible corruption charges he might face? Remember this was all first brought up in Peter Marshall's film.

There is gossip that Japan may give up hunting hump-backed whales - they are allowed to hunt some under their quota. What should we do?

What is the deal with the government and women pensioners? Should we explain?

The Red Cross are offering us their boss to talk about the Tsunami. Last year he came on the programme to admit that they'd only built 16 of the 2000 houses they'd promised. Have they now managed to spend all our money?


Wednesday, 19 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Dec 07, 06:14 PM


guantamemo.jpgThree British residents who were being held by the US at Guantanamo Bay have been released and are due to land in the UK at any moment. British police are accompanying them on the flight. What's not clear is what will happen to them when they get here - the Pentagon insists they still pose a danger to the public, and the Tories say they are yet to receive reassurances from the government about how they intend to protect the public from these "dangers". Newsnight reported key revelations about one of the released men some years ago. Tonight - we assess how much of a danger these men are, and debate how they should be treated on their return.

Russian Art

It seems that a high profile exhibition of art due to open at the Royal Academy in London in January is to be cancelled. The Russian government is on the verge of making the move, claming that the art - which belongs to Russian galleries such as Hermitage in St Petersburg - could be seized to settle private legal claims. But it comes just days after Russia demanded that the British Council close its branch offices in the New Year, in the wake of the row over the murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko. So the cooling of relations now seems to be impacting on Britain and Russia's cultural ties. We'll have the latest.

Mark Ronson

ronson.jpgOnly a year ago - you'd might never heard of him. The chances are that you have now. And even if you haven't, you've probably been humming his tunes without even knowing it. Mark Ronson has burst on to the music scene this year. His collaboration with Amy Winehouse and his album of covers - "Version" - have earned him a coveted Grammy nomination and a legion of fans. Our Culture Correspondent Steve Smith caught up with him for one of our End of Year Interviews. And if you want to know how Amy Winehouse's single "Rehab" came to be written - then it's a must watch.

What Happened Next?

Remember the hundreds of haemophiliacs whom Newsnight revealed had been infected with HIV in the 1980s? Remember the Iraqi translators who worked for British troops but were refused asylum here? Remember the head of a so-called "vulture fund" known as "Goldfinger"? Tonight, we'll be updating you on some of the key investigations Newsnight has worked on this year. And one or two of the lighter items too.

Prospects for Wednesday, 19 December

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Dec 07, 10:26 AM

Liz Gibbons is today's programme producer - here is her early email to the team.

Brown's last press conference of the year at 11am - he's bringing Alistair Darling along. So I think he's anticipated the likely line of questioning. Should we assess the state of Brown's premiership? Who do you want to hear from?

Stephanie is trawling through the minutes of the MPC interest rates decision - published this morning.

We've got an update on some of the investigations we ran this year in the form of a 14-ish minute piece.

And - oh my god I can't believe it - an end of year interview with Mark Ronson.

Anything else we should be pursuing?

Tuesday, 18 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Dec 07, 05:50 PM

Lib Dems pick a new leader (again)

nickclegg203x100.jpgNick Clegg has scraped through to win the Liberal Democrat leadership election. His majority of 511 votes over his rival Chris Huhne was anything but resounding, in fact it was the closest ever leadership election in the history of the Liberal Democrats. The former leader Charles Kennedy on his demise, said of his party that they had "passed on the knife to a new generation”. So will Nick Clegg be able to unite his party and make this the last leadership election for a while? Jeremy will be speaking to Nick Clegg and we will be assessing his prospects with our political panel.


Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King was in front of the Treasury Select Committee this morning answering their questions on the strength of the British economy and on who was the source for the Sunday Times report on how low morale in the Treasury was hampering its response to the Northern Rock crisis. Stephanie Flanders will be explaining what it all means.

South Africa

In an acrimonious contest South Africa's ruling party the African National Congress have now finished casting their votes for a new leader. The front runner is Jacob Zuma who will then be the likely President of South Africa in 2009 when Thabo Mbeki's term ends. We should have the result of the election before we go on air. Peter Marshall has been looking at Jacob Zuma's controversial past and what his election will mean for the ANC and for South Africa.

Ben Parkinson

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson was serving with the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery when he lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan a year ago. The 23-year-old sustained 37 injuries in total, including ones to the brain, spine, skull, spleen and chest, yet he was awarded less than half of the compensation available because of the way the Ministry of Defence scheme is calculated. In our series of End of Year interviews Kirsty has been talking to Ben's mother Diane Dernie about her son's ordeal and her campaign to improve the treatment and compensation given to injured soldiers.

Prospects for Tuesday, 18 December

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Dec 07, 10:48 AM

Carol Rubra is today's programme producer - here is her early email to the team. What do you think we should cover?

Good morning,

There are several interesting stories around today. Let's think about which ones we can put our own stamp on.

clegg203x100.jpgLib Dem leadership - the result will be announced this afternoon and we're hoping to interview the winner. Vince Cable has proved an impressive interim leader so what are the challenges for the new leader?

Mervyn King - he's giving evidence to the Treasury Select Committee. We might get more details about who was warned about flaws in the regulatory framework and when. The Bank of England has also increased the amount of support they are giving to Northern Rock today by underwriting loans provided by other banks. What does this mean for the tax payer?

Immigration - under the legacy exercise 37% of asylum seekers have been given leave to remain. Is this the best way of dealing with the problem?

Honours - Tony Wright's committee has 44 recommendations about what should be done.

Turkey has made the biggest incursion into Northern Iraq since 2003. And Condie is in Kirkuk. How will this affect the stability of the region?

ANC - members have begun voting. Peter Marshall has a profile of Jacob Zuma.

And we have an End of Year interview with Diane Parkinson who has been campaigning for the overhaul of the compensation scheme for injured soldiers after her son Ben became the most seriously injured soldier ever to survive.

Please lots of ideas to the meeting for guests and treatments.

Monday, 17 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Dec 07, 06:17 PM

an lplateDATA DEBACLE 2.0
News tonight of the loss of yet more of our personal data by the government: this time it is 3m who've taken the driving theory test. That on the day that Alistair Darling informed the Commons about an interim report into the last big loss - the details of 25m people from families who claim child benefit. So how can the Government now convince us that they are to be trusted with our personal data for ID cards? We'll debate.

Continue reading "Monday, 17 December, 2007"

Prospects for Monday, 17 December

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Dec 07, 11:42 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team. What do you think we should cover?

Major General Graham Binns(left) shakes hands with Iraqi National Security Advisor Dr. Mowaffak Baqer al-Rubaie(right) as Governor of Basra Muhammad Musibh al-WaWe really are now in the run up to Christmas. But don't get too festive - we still have strong programmes to produce. Already in place we have a comprehensive review of the situation in Iraq from the BBC's Baghdad correspondent Andrew North who ends his stint in the country as the year closes. Timely piece from him as Basra is handed back.

What else are you interested in?

Continue reading "Prospects for Monday, 17 December"

Friday, 14 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Dec 07, 05:26 PM

Climate Change

“The climate in the climate conference is good,” Germany's environment minister told reporters in Bali, with typical Germanic wit.

But we think things may be hotting up there imminently. We're expecting a deal tonight and hoping it might be finalised by the time we go to air.

The sticking point at the summit so far has been the refusal by America and Canada to sign up to firm numerical targets to cut greenhouse gases. They say they merely operate in a different way - exceeding their own expectations instead of setting targets which they fail to meet.

So does that mean that no deal is possible? We'll be live in Bali, and will talk to the US state department to figure out where things go from here.


Any day soon British troops are due to hand over control of Basra to Iraqi forces - what have they achieved there?

We have an exclusive Newsnight poll showing what the people of Basra themselves feel about the British troops and their record over the last four years. An overwhelming majority say their presence has had a negative effect on the province.

We'll be talking to the pollster himself and asking how you gauge opinion in such a challenging environment. And we'll ask whether the British military has been a force for good in Southern Iraq.

Click here to view the full poll results (PDF file)


If the global central banks thought that a one-off cash injection of 50 billion pounds was going to ease the credit crunch, they may be a little disappointed. The markets have failed to perk up. Does that mean they need the same again, or that they're recognizing - from the size of the gesture - just how serious the situation is?

bee_203.jpgAnd in Newsnight Review

Kirsty Wark is joined by John Harris, Natalie Haynes and Sarfraz Manzoor to discuss:

Erotic espionage in the film Lust, Caution; Channel 4’s new series Make Me a Muslim; Stephen Fry’s Cinderella at the Old Vic; and the animated film Bee Movie.

Click here for more details

Prospects for Friday, 14 December

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Dec 07, 10:49 AM

Today’s output editor is Dan Kelly – here’s his morning e-mail to the production team:

Road to Nowhere?
balidemo_203.jpgThe Bali conference was supposed to produce a "Road Map" towards a global deal to cut greenhouse gases. A document is expected to be produced by tonight, but how effective will it be, and why is the American delegation so determined not to sign up to binding targets on cutting emissions for developed countries? Susan Watts and Roger Harrabin are on the case, and we have an interview planned with the State Department.
Climate talks 'heading to deal'

The handover of Basra province is due any day soon, and certainly before Christmas. Newsnight has an exclusive poll of the people of Basra - what do they think the British have achieved there, and what do they think the future holds? We need a strong interview/discussion off the back of this.
Basra handover to Iraq on Sunday

Other stories to look at include the drugs in US sport report, drugs in the army and the latest on Northern Rock.

Thursday, 13 December, 2007: Boozenight

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Dec 07, 05:28 PM

We're devoting almost all our programme tonight to Boozenight.

booze_203_100.jpgThis is not an attempt to put you off your Christmas cheer. Most of us in the Newsnight office like a glass or two. Or three. Or more. And that's where the problem comes.

Many of us have been shocked how our own drinking consumption appears to mount up. Shocked too at the state of our streets on a Friday and Saturday night.

And surprised at the findings of our opinion poll, specially commissioned for the programme, which demonstrates clearly that as a nation we are worried about booze - indeed we think it more harmful to our society than heroin or cocaine, and a majority of us want the drinking age raised to 21.

It's all very interesting, provocative and disturbing, and it kicks off with the award winning film maker Paul Watson going back to the four alcoholics he filmed seeking treatment in hospital. What has happened to them in their difficult journey - they hoped - towards sobriety?

All week we've been debating many of the issues concerning the country over alcohol - click here to join those debates or leave your comments below.

Wednesday, 12 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Dec 07, 05:10 PM

We're leading tonight's programme with a special Newsnight investigation.

In October the influential think tank, the Policy Exchange, produced a report which hit the headlines. They investigated 100 mosques around Britain and claimed that 25 of them were disseminating extremist literature.

Newsnight had been working on a detailed film based on this report but, as we were checking the evidence which underpinned the findings, we began to find some discrepancies which gave us cause for concern.

All will be revealed on the programme.


You may remember management guru Gerry Robinson's mission to "Save the NHS".

A year ago he was called in to Rotherham District General Hospital - and his findings were reported in a BBC TWO documentary.

The hospital faced an uncertain future, was struggling to cope with long-waiting lists, staff morale was low and there was a culture of mistrust between consultants and managers.

A year on, Gerry Robinson returns to Rotherham - and finds that much has changed for the better.

But he's now concerned that much of the good work could be undone by changes in government policy.

Is he right to be worried? He'll go head-to-head with David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of the NHS, on the programme tonight.

You can see the full Gerry Robinson documentary at 9pm tonight on BBC TWO.


And we'll have reaction to the Police Federation's call for the Home Secretary to resign over the police pay deal.

Prospects for Wednesday, 12 December

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Dec 07, 12:01 PM

Today's output editor is Liz Gibbons. Here's her morning e-mail to the production team.

We have an investigation Richard Watson and Nick Menzies have been working on about Muslim extremism. More details later.

Gerry Robinson is still trying to save the NHS - an update of his documentary goes out tonight at 9pm on BBC2. Gerry Robinson is coming on to discuss his latest findings with the Chief Exec of the NHS, David Nicholson.

That leaves us room for one or two other stories - what do you fancy?

Brown's new Afghan policy? Police pay - could we find out who the disgruntled ministers are?

It's Brown's last PMQs of the year too.

Tuesday, 11 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Dec 07, 05:50 PM

Return To Baghdad

Tonight we have a fascinating film from Mark Urban about the dramatic changes brought to one area of South Baghdad by the recent US troop "surge”. Seven months after his first visit, Mark Urban returns to Doura with the 30 men of 2nd Platoon, 12th Infantry of the US Army.

Where once there was chaos and frequent killings, now a degree of normality has been restored. Mark goes on patrol, sees the sectarian peace walls, speaks to Sunnis and Shias, and considers whether the security gains brought by the "surge" can be sustained. We also hear from the troops on the ground as they end their 15 month tour of duty. Was the loss of their comrades in arms worth the relative peace now secured in Doura?

Climate Change

As the climate talks in Bali stutter forwards, the EU is stressing that any future deal on climate change will fail unless it is seen to be fair. The new polluters India and China object to the current system of measuring emissions on a countrywide basis because they say it disguises the fact that their emissions per person are comparatively low. In the case of India, one twentieth the level of the average American.

Many delegates say that per capita emissions should become part of any final deal, so what are the facts? We have a series of films from around the world, and an interview with the environment secretary Hilary Benn, live from Bali.

Algerian Attack

We'll also look at who was behind today's terror attack in Algeria - just how big a threat is Al Queda in North Africa?

Prospects for Tuesday, 11 December

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Dec 07, 10:54 AM

Today’s output editor is Dan Kelly – here’s his morning e-mail to the production team.

Good morning.
Seven months after his first visit, Mark Urban returns to al-Doura with US 2nd Platoon. After "the surge" of troops in Baghdad the change in al-Doura has been dramatic. Mark goes on patrol, sees the sectarian peace walls, speaks to Sunnis and Shias, and considers whether the security gains brought by the surge policy can be sustained.

We have a film from Roger Harrabin about the per capita emissions of developed and developing world countries. We have a live interview with the Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, and we hope to have a wider discussion about the chances of success at the conference.

We need to keep an eye on Afghanistan, too...

Monday, 10 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Dec 07, 05:27 PM


brown_troops.jpgThe symbolically important town of Musa Qala has been recaptured from the Taliban by Afghan troops with a lot of support from the US and British forces. Two British soldiers have been killed in the fighting and hundreds of civilians have fled the area. The Prime Minister, who was in Kabul today, promised to follow up victory with economic assistance for an area that currently provides half the world's heroin. We'll have the latest from Mark Urban on how Musa Qala was taken and whether it can be held.


Meanwhile on a visit to Basra yesterday Gordon Brown confirmed that the province will be handed over to the Iraqis within a fortnight. But what deals had to be struck with local Shiite militias to enable the pullout to take place? Mark has been speaking to General Bill Rollo, the highest ranking British soldier in the Iraq theatre. So is he saying it'll all be over by Christmas? Well, not quite.

Conrad Black

The erstwhile press baron will likely be sentenced to between six and a half and eight years in jail, he was told by a US judge today. But in an interview for Newsnight, recorded last week from his Palm Beach mansion Conrad Black was still protesting his innocence. He also told us that if he was sent to jail that wouldn't be the end of his battle to clear his name. We'll bring you that interview tonight.


Kosovan Albanians and Kosovan Serbs are not quite at daggers drawn yet but relations are at their worst ebb since NATO bombed Slobodan Milošević out of power back in 1999. Today was supposed to be the deadline by which a deal on the final status of Kosovo was agreed with the UN. No deal has been reached so what will happen now? Allan Little has been to Kosovo to find out if the troubled province can ever peacefully become a nation. And we'll interview David Miliband who has been in Brussels trying to hammer out the European Union stance on the way forward.

And in what many here think is the music event of the year for middle-aged headbangers, Led Zeppelin will be playing their first proper concert for 19 years. We're hoping to playout from there.

Prospects for Monday, 10 December

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Dec 07, 10:00 AM

Good morning. Carol Rubra is today’s output editor – here’s her morning e-mail to the production team.

Let's talk about what we should lead on today?

kosovotanks_203100.jpgThe nominal deadline for international mediators to decide future status of Kosovo passed today. So what happens next? Alan Little has done a piece for us on the uncharted waters Kosovo is now entering. I'm bidding for a Foreign Office interview off the back.
Time up for Kosovo status talks

UBS have announced £5 billion of write-downs as a result of the sub prime mortgage crisis in the US. This is one of the largest write-downs of any global bank. Are there more to come?
UBS posts fresh $10bn write-down

Conrad Black
We have an "end of year" interview with Conrad Black, recorded last week. He's due to be sentenced today.
Conrad Black awaiting sentence

General Rollo
Gordon Brown has said that the British will handover control of Basra within two weeks. Mark Urban has been speaking to General Rollo about the deals they struck before pulling out of Basra Palace. What about a discussion on whether the British are right to withdraw from Basra, whatever the cost?

Friday, 7 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Dec 07, 05:40 PM

Iran policy

bush203x100.jpgThis week the White House's Iran policy fell into disarray, and tonight we bring you the inside track on how it happened.

We have an insider's account of the meltdown following the US Intelligence report which said that Tehran had stopped nuclear weapons development in 2003.

Senior "Hawks" and "Doves" in the administration have told Newsnight that the strategy towards Iran is effectively in "ruins" following the report. Peter Marshall reveals the tensions and rows that have marked the administration's policy towards Tehran.

Media mogul

James Murdoch is now officially a 21st Century media mogul. Rupert Murdoch has carried out a huge shake-up of his media empire, and has effectively anointed his son as his successor.

The 34-year-old second son now has responsibility for his European and Asian businesses, so will he wield political influence in the same way as his father, or are we about to witness a change of strategy - Tony Blair famously jetted to Australia to address a News Corp sales conference for Rupert Murdoch ….. Would Gordon Brown do the same for his son?

Two former editors - Peter Preston from the Guardian and David Yelland from the soar away (Murdoch owned) Sun will be in the studio.

The Odd Couple

Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, known to some as The Chuckle Brothers, or the Odd Couple, are on their first joint visit to the US to drum up investment for Northern Ireland.

This afternoon they had tea at The White House with President Bush following meetings with Edward Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. It is a sign of how much Northern Ireland has changed but there is unease among the grassroots in NI at just how close the two men, sworn enemies through 30 years of the Troubles, seem to be.

And the violence in the province is not over yet, with most recently the violent death of Paul Quinn in Co. Monaghan – which many think was carried out by dissident republicans.

And we're bidding for Jonathan “I’m worth 1,000 journalists" Ross. Oh.. I can see pigs in flight outside the window, Kirsty

Prospects for Friday, 7 December

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Dec 07, 10:21 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer. Here's his early email to the team.

Good morning.

Some good stories today.

Peter Marshall is in Washington and has been investigating what will happen to Bush's Iran policy in the light of Monday's US intelligence report. He has interviews with key behind the scenes figures, and can reveal the tensions and rows that have marked the administration's strategy towards Teheran.

Rupert Murdoch has carried out a huge shake-up of his media empire, and has effectively anointed his son as his successor. James Murdoch now has responsibility for his European and Asian businesses. What does this mean for News Corp's global strategy, and how will James Murdoch influence the media and politics in the UK? We need some good guests on this…

Other stories today include the visit of McGuinness and Paisley to the White House, the dairy fixing confession and fines for British supermarkets and Northern Rock.

Ideas for stories, treatments and guests all very welcome.

See you at 10.30

Thursday, 6 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Dec 07, 05:26 PM

Home Secretary Jacqui SmithIt is 28 - it was going to be 90 or 56 or maybe even 58 - now 42 is the magic number. That is of course the number of days terrorist suspects could be held for without being charged. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith says the proposed extension would only be used in exceptional cases.

We'll be speaking to the home secretary about these controversial proposals on the programme tonight. And we'll be debating the civil liberties and political issues involved.
Smith plans 42-day terror limit

Secret Donors Scandal
We hope to bring you new revelations in the Labour donor story. Paul Mason is currently on the case. Watch this space.

Interest rates
Stephanie Flanders will give us the benefit of her wisdom on the interest rate cut - who are the winners and losers?
UK interest rates trimmed to 5.5%

Miscarriage of justice?
Imagine serving a life sentence for child murder - and being innocent. In 2005 Suzanne Holdsworth was convicted of brutally murdering a toddler - whom she was babysitting when he fell fatally ill. But now new scientific evidence given to Newsnight suggests she might have had nothing at all to do with his death. John Sweeney reports on what could be another miscarriage of justice.
Read John Sweeney's article and watch a preview of tonight's film.

Strictly MPC

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Dec 07, 12:11 PM

Ken Clarke MP votes for 'no change'Ahead of today's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision to cut interest rates, last night we assembled our own MPC to discuss the underlying issues amid signs the economy is slowing - falling house prices, fewer mortgages being approved, tumbling consumer confidence and shop windows full of price reductions.

Jeremy was joined by former chancellor Ken Clarke, and expert economists Dr Ruth Lea, Martin Wolf, Dr Irwin Stelzer and our own Stephanie Flanders.

At the end we asked them all to hold up cards to show how they would vote if they were on the MPC. Stephanie, being thoroughly independent, of course declined but she did predict there would be 'no change'. The others were split, two for a 0.25% cut, two for 'no change'.

Following what had been a extraordinarily enlightening and very detailed economic debate, some people thought the vote a bit of a stunt. We rather enjoyed it but what do you think? Did the cards work for you?

Thursday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Dec 07, 10:28 AM

Robert Morgan is today's programme producer. Here's his early email to the team.

Good morning,

smith203x100.jpgThere are quite a few good stories today. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has just announced plans to extend the period that terrorism suspects can be held without charge for up to 42 days. In an attempt to win over critics, it is planned to give MPs a role in any decision to let police hold suspects for more than the current 28-day limit.

There's the MPC interest rates decision at 12 noon, a new Abrahams story and the canoeist yarn continues. Do come to the meeting armed with ideas on these and other stories.

We've got a strong film on a new potential miscarriage of justice from John Sweeney and Richard Pattinson.
Doubt cast on baby death verdict - read John's story in full here

See you in a minute,


Wednesday, 5 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Dec 07, 05:45 PM

Tonight, what would you do if you were in the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)?

rates_graphic.jpgWould you cut interest rates? And what effect would that have on the economy?

As the MPC meets at the Bank of England we've convened a committee of the great and good of our own. Jeremy will chair it, with Stephanie to advise him. But in the meantime, do play our Monetary Policy Committee game and let us know what you think.

Also tonight, Jack Straw outlines how he's going to control the prison population. Does this mean asking judges to make the punishment fit the prison places available rather than the crime? Jeremy is putting that point to Jack Straw right now.

As the former chief police officer responsible for roads it is a little embarrassing for Meredydd Hughes to be banned for driving at 90 mph in a 60 mph zone. But he's not the only police officer to have been caught on camera.
Tonight we show over a dozen photos we've obtained using the Freedom of Information Act showing police officers speeding. The difference is that none of these police officers - all members of Meredydd Hughes’s South Yorkshire force - have been prosecuted after they refused to say who was driving the car.

Finally, what has happened to the punk violinist Nigel Kennedy? Our culture correspondent, Madeleine Holt has caught up with him in his new home, in Poland.
Join Jeremy tonight at 10.30pm

Wednesday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Dec 07, 10:20 AM

Simon Enright is today's programme producer, returning to the Newsnight fold after a stint elsewhere in the BBC. Here's his early email to the team.

Hello All,

Its good to be back - please do be gentle with me on my first day back in the big chair and I will try not to over commission...

There are stories but which can and should we make our own?

- Should sentencing be linked to the number of jail places?
- Expect HMRC to get a grilling over lost disks at the Treasury Select Ctte
- We also expect the new points system for immigration to be announced
- Are we donored-out or should we keep digging? It is PMQs today

Or should we go for an Economy special? I want to hear from Stephanie Flanders ahead of tomorrow's interest rate decision. Could we have a Hawk vs a Dove in debate? Could we have a piece to remind us what the last recession was like?

We could also slip in another 'where are they now' piece. Meirion/Jackie Long have an update on the money raised to help with Tsunami. Remember that? Have the Red Cross finally spent all the money raised three years ago? (Would I be asking that question if they had?)

Finally while Polish plumbers are coming over here you might be surprised to hear who we are exporting to Poland…Madeleine Holt catches up with violinist and new Polish patriot Nigel Kennedy.

For those of you who don't know me I'm the one with the loud laugh.


Tuesday, 4 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Dec 07, 06:16 PM


southall203x100.jpgWe've just learned that the controversial paediatrician Dr David Southall has been struck off the medical register for serious professional misconduct. Last week the GMC decided he had abused his position by accusing a mother of drugging and murdering her son. John Sweeney was the BBC's investigative reporter who revealed flaws in the case against Sally Clarke. Her verdict was subsequently overturned. Tonight John will be reporting for Newsnight on where this leaves the role of expert witnesses.


As I write we are also discussing in the Newsnight office how we will cover the story of the release of a new video by the kidnappers of five Britons who have been held in Iraq since May. In the video the kidnappers demand that Britain withdraws all its forces from Iraq within ten days. The Foreign Office has confirmed that the hostage in the video is one of the British people who were kidnapped. He sat underneath a sign reading “The Islamic Shiite Resistance in Iraq”. The video has been condemned by the government.


“Very thorough and very damning" - that was the reaction of Graham Knight the father of Sergeant Ben Knight, to the report into the Nimrod crash which killed his son and 13 other service personnel when the plane blew up over Afghanistan.
The report concluded a fuel leak was probably to blame and the defence secretary apologised to MPs, victims and their families for “failings for which the Ministry of Defence must take responsibility". These planes are still flying because they are a key component of our military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and allegedly incidents of fuel leaks are continuing in their dozens. I hope to be speaking to a defence minister.


And at this time of year we return to some of the big stories and issues Newsnight has led the way on during the past 12 months. In a series of films we have examined “Broken Britain". Tonight we report from Wythenshawe a few miles south of Manchester which was built as a Garden City in the 1920s, but now this post-industrial, largely white working class community is struggling with gangs, knives, drugs and guns.

We are also keen to hear from you - do you think crime is really falling?

Tuesday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Dec 07, 10:26 AM

wendy203x100.jpgDonations - there will be an opposition debate today on party funding, and pressure is increasing on Wendy Alexander and now Peter too.

Nimrod inquiry into crash over Afghanistan in which 14 servicemen died - it was the biggest single loss of life since the Falklands.

Iran - Bush presser this afternoon. Israel disputes the US intelligence assessment. What are the implications of the report for diplomatic relations between US and Iran?

And we have Zaiba Malik's film from Wythenshawe in Greater Manchester. Once a peaceful, prosperous garden city, now like many other estates the area is facing social breakdown, crime and drug abuse. The piece explores how the white working class community there is trying to deal with its problems.

Monday, 3 December, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Dec 07, 05:36 PM

Sudan's President Omar al-BashirGillian Gibbons has been pardoned today by the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and in a statement released by the Sudanese presidential palace she said she was sorry if she caused any distress. It's not clear when she will leave Sudan but her release from jail brings to an end Ms Gibbons’ ordeal but not the story of her conviction.

It has been alleged that the extremity of the response to her class naming a teddy Mohammed had more to do with the British government's outspoken criticism of the Sudanese government's role in Darfur than the school room incident itself.

Tonight we also report from Darfur where nearly two and a half million souls are dotted in camps throughout the area and gunman roam the settlements involved in the ever increasing number of rebel factions. In October alone seven aid workers were shot. We'll be speaking to Mia Farrow one of the most outspoken critics of the Sudanese government who have failed to agree the terms for the new 26,000 UN/ African Union peacekeeping force, possibly delaying its deployment.

We have the results of an exclusive Newsnight poll into whether the government is covered in sleaze and if it's competent. The results makes for really interesting reading.

The Labour donor maelstrom, imaginatively called "Donorgate", is still dominating the news agenda, and our political editor Michael Crick is on the case, while David Grossman is in Scotland where Wendy Alexander is fighting for her political life. She has said she won't resign as leader of the Labour Party in Scotland - she will await the result of the Electoral Commission report into her acceptance of a donation from an offshore benefactor Paul Green. Is she being kept in position as a "human shield" for Harriet Harman and even the Prime Minister? Gordon Brown's efforts to deflect interest onto his moves to reform in party funding raise more questions again - will the millions handed over by the Trades Unions dry up and if so how will Labour deal with its looming debt mountain?

We hope to be joined by a trade union leader live.

We have a fascinating film from Afghanistan, about the relationship between British officials and tribal chiefs. It's back to the Great Game - British diplomats are following the template working in the same way they did during Victorian times, including being trained to speak Pashtun, apparently with great success.

Canoeist returns
John Darwin has walked into a London police station five and a half years after disappearing in the sea in front of his house at Seaton Carew near Hartlepool. But where has he been? And does he remember the moment he went overboard from his red canoe.

Of course his family are delighted he is home safely but how did he spend the intervening five and a half years. His return is a sad reminder to others whose loved ones are still unaccounted for. Such stories of people disappearing into the sea - John Stonehouse and the fictional Reggie Perrin among them - hold a fascination for people. Tonight we'll be examining the impact such accidental and planned disappearances have on the ones they leave behind.

Friday, 30 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Nov 07, 05:33 PM

Dodgy donations
alexander_harman.jpgNow Paul Green, the Jersey based businessman who helped fund Wendy Alexander's uncontested election campaign to lead the Scottish Labour party has released a letter from Ms Alexander.
In it she thanks him for his donation. Given that she addressed the letter to Jersey it casts doubt on her assertion that she thought the money had come via a Glasgow based firm connected with Mr Green.
If she knew the donation came from "offshore" then surely she knew it was an illegal donation? Can she continue as Labour leader in Scotland and was either her brother Douglas Alexander, or the Prime Minister, in the loop on this one?

Meanwhile Harriet Harman, who's due to have a fundraiser, next week in Leicester Square to help with her election campaign debts, is on the rack. The Electoral Commission has contacted Harriet Harman's office to seek clarification of how she funded her election campaign. As David Grossman reported last night on Newsnight, only one loan, an overdraft facility for £10,000 taken out in October last year has so far been reported. Is she having such a bash simply to pay back that loan? Michael Crick and Paul Mason are digging deep.
Brown denies war over donations

Imagine living in a town surrounded by hundreds of square miles of frozen forest, which used to serve principally as a place of exile for political dissidents. Khanty-Mansiisk 1,400 east of Moscow has a population of just 60,000 people but now it's Vladimir Putin's show town. It's been allowed to keep the majority of its vast oil revenues and it's a boom town with a state-of-the-art hospital, university, performing arts school and many shiny new buildings, and a birth rate of twice the national average. People are flocking there even though the temperature can drop in this Siberian province to -40. Tim Whewell went there to witness the boom times for himself, in advance of this weekend's Russian elections which Putin is almost certain to win.
Read Tim's article here - and watch him try out the local hospital's cryotherapy chamber here.

Newsnight Review

Brad Pitt as Jesse JamesJoining Martha Kearney on Review this week are Paul Morley, Michael Gove and Rowan Pelling.

Up for discussion: Brad Pitt in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - a lengthy title for a lengthy film; the BBC documentary series dogged by controversy before it was even screened - The Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work; Dame Vivienne Westwood's cultural manifesto; and the Wellcome Collection's exhibition on Sleeping and Dreaming.

Join Martha and co on the sofa after Newsnight and read about the above and more on the Newsnight Review website.

Friday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Nov 07, 11:48 AM

Liz Gibbons is Friday's programme producer - here's her early email to the team. What else do you think we should pursue today?

Labour logoDonations - How can we move the story on even further today?

We have a fascinating film from Sibera scheduled to run - pegged to the Russian elections.
Read Tim's Whewell's article on the Siberian oil boom here.

What else would you like to do? There's a key Iran meeting in London and it's world AIDS day tomorrow….

Thursday, 29 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Nov 07, 06:38 PM

Met on the Case
abrahams203x100.jpgIn the last few minutes the electoral commission has decided to refer the Labour disguised donations affair to the Metropolitan Police "for further investigation." So could we be on the cusp of another criminal investigation into a New Labour funding row? Tonight Newsnight has more information about the Labour Cabinet Minster Harriet Harman, and questions about how she funded her successful campaign to become Deputy Leader of the party.

The Economy
Gloomy news for house owners today, with more evidence of a slow down. With rising inflation and signs of slower growth, could we be heading for a recession?

Climate Change
We have an exclusive interview with Sir Nicholas Stern ahead of next weeks Bali conference. In a speech tonight he will make alarming warnings about the risk of failure.

Boom Town
We have a fascinating film from Siberia on a newly built oil boom town. Glitzy buildings, entertainment and public facilities all built from the energy reserves that are transformimg Putin's Russia.

Stern climate questions

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Nov 07, 11:57 AM

The Grey Glacier in Chile falling into the seaLast autumn, former Treasury mandarin and World Bank Chief Economist, Sir Nicholas Stern warned the world of the economic and social costs of climate change. (Watch his 2006 LSE lecture and Jeremy’s interview with him from January this year.) The former World Bank chief economist argued that unabated climate change would cost the world at least 5% of GDP each year; if more dramatic predictions came to pass, he said, the cost could be more than 20% of GDP. (The Stern Review)

Sir Nicholas is now warning of the consequences of failure at the Bali conference on climate change which begins next week. Tonight Newsnight has an exclusive interview with Sir Nicholas Stern. What questions would you like us to ask him?

Thursday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Nov 07, 10:51 AM

brown_harman203x100.jpgThe Labour Deputy leader, Harriet Harman is in Parliament today, and is likely to come under intense questioning from MPs about how she came to accept £5,000 from a conduit for David Abrahams. She has said that she didn't know that the donation really came from him, but what did she know and when? Newsnight has some other awkward questions for Ms Harman.

The Economy
Mervyn King is also in front of MPs today, is the economy really heading for the "perfect storm" of slow growth and rising inflation? Stephanie Flanders looks at a more fundamental problem for Gordon Brown's Government.

Climate Change
We have an exclusive interview with Sir Nicholas Stern ahead of next weeks Bali conference. In a speech tonight he will make alarming warnings about the risk of failure.

Boom Town
We have a fascinating film from Siberia on a newly built oil boom town. Glitzy buildings, entertainment and public facilities all built from the energy reserves that are transformimg Putin's Russia

Wednesday, 28 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Nov 07, 04:36 PM

brown_commons203.jpgLast night the man at the heart of the secret donations row broke cover to talk to Newsnight. David Abrahams told us that the man in charge of Labour's fundraising - Jon Mendelsohn - had just written to him personally to thank him for being one of the party's 'strongest supporters' - a revelation that has set a new frenzy of questions and allegations. It is now known that Mendelsohn knew earlier this month that Abrahams was making donations through intermediaries. Michael Crick has spent the day investigating the implications of the latest twists in this on-going saga.
Read Paul Mason's blog on the events and the questions that remain.

Within the past few minutes the Foreign Office has confirmed that a British teacher, detained in Sudan after she allowed her pupils to call a teddy bear 'Mohammad', has been charged. Gillian Gibbons, who's 54 and from Liverpool, is accused of insulting religion and inciting hatred. We hope to bring together a member of the Sudanese Government and a supporter of Gillian Gibbons.

Liz MacKean has a report on increasing paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland. The story centres on the murder last month of Paul Quinn in South Armagh. Both his family and the Independent Monitoring Commission point the finger at members of the IRA but politicians on all sides reject the claims. We'll also be speaking to Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward.

Wednesday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Nov 07, 11:28 AM

Robert Morgan is Wednesday's programme producer. Here is his early email to the Newsnight team.

Good morning,

Labour donor
Gordon BrownLots around today. The donor story gets bigger and bigger with more new questions needing answering.

IRA violence
Liz Mackean has a strong film on increasing paramilitary violence in Northern Ireland. The story centres on the murder last month of Paul Quinn in Armagh. Both his family and the Independent Monitoring Commission point the finger at the IRA but politicians on all sides reject the claims.

What else?
Other stories could include Pakistan, the state of the World economy and Kosovo. Any light stories out there for a discussion?

What do you think we should cover?

Tuesday, 27 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Nov 07, 04:15 PM

Party Funding
harman203x100.jpgThe row over David Abrahams’s donations to the Labour Party has deepened. But just who knew what about Mr Abrahams’s funding and when? Harriet Harman seems to be in trouble after it was revealed that her campaign did take money from Janet Kidd, one of Mr. Abrahams’s intermediaries. This is made more embarrassing because the Prime Minister’s own leadership campaign rejected a donation from the same source and Hilary Benn also turned down the cash because it wasn't in David Abraham's own name. In the interests of transparency there will be an enquiry but the person commissioning it is none other than…Harriet Harman.

Middle East
The talks about talks continue in Annapolis, Maryland on attempts to reach agreement on a peace plan for the Middle East. Ehud Olmert, Mahmoud Abbas and George Bush have agreed that negotiations on the creation of a Palestinian state should begin next month, but how meaningful has this meeting in Annapolis been? Peter Marshall is there to assess the progress that has been made.

Rumble in the Jungle
Greg Pallast has travelled to Ecuador's rainforest to hear how a group of Ecuadorian Indians are suing the Chevron-Texaco oil company. The villagers claim that the oil company is responsible for polluting the water supplies in the Amazon rainforest where they live and that this has led to an increase in cancer cases and other health problems amongst the local people. Texaco-Chevron denies responsibility. So is Chevron-Texaco just an easy target or is the new power that oil has given to South America politicians offering these villagers a chance of justice?

Tuesday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Nov 07, 10:16 AM

brown_cbi203x100.jpgLots of interesting areas to chase, David Abrahams himself and his planning applications, who knew how much and when, donations to Harriet Harman's deputy leadership campaign. And Gordon Brown's monthly presser is at 12.00. Let's discuss angles, guests and treatments at the meeting.

Peter Marshall is there and will do a piece on the progress that has been made and what needs to happen next. Let's try and get an interview with one of the players.

We have an interesting film from Greg Pallast on how a group of Indians in Ecuador are suing Chevron/Texaco. They allege that the oil company has caused environmental damage to the rainforest and led to an increase in cancer cases and other health problems amongst the local people.

Any other stories you are interested in?
Paris riots, CGT, MI6 recruiting...

Monday, 26 November, 2007

  • Gavin Esler
  • 26 Nov 07, 05:25 PM

UPDATE: All change to tonight's programme with the news that Labour's General Secretary has resigned. Peter Watt admitted he had known that a major donor to the party had paid his money through intermediaries - but not that this might have been illegal. Our political editor Michael Crick asks if the buck stops here or could others yet be dragged into this latest donor scandal. And what happened to Gordon Brown's promise to restore trust in our politicians?

Today's Quote for the Day: "You talk about it in our system and people think you are a nutter" - Tony Blair on religion and politics.

Northern Rock
Northern RockIf Tony Blair is right - that the British do not do God and politics - we certainly do Mammon and politics. Virgin is the preferred bidder for Northern Rock. Why - you may wonder - in an open capitalist system, is anyone the preferred bidder? And why - you may equally wonder - are people criticising Virgin for getting a bargain? (Prompting the thought: if Britain's most notorious bank is such a bargain, sunshine, why don't YOU buy it?) All will be clear by 10.30 tonight.
Virgin's Rock bid 'to be blocked'

Oxford Union
As I write this protests are expected at the Freedom of Speech debate at the Oxford Union tonight because the Union has chosen to invite the BNP's Nick Griffin and the historian (and ex jailbird) David Irving. As George Orwell once remarked (more or less), does it take an intellectual to do something quite so stupid? Or do Mr Griffin and Mr Irving have something important to add to our debate about liberty?
The limits to freedom of speech

Annapolis, Maryland, is not only the place America's top sailors for the future are trained, it is also home (to my certain knowledge) of the best crab cakes I've ever eaten. And - though this may be a less lasting claim to fame - it is playing host to a Middle East Peace Conference. Beyond the photo opportunities, can a weakened American President convince a weak Palestinian leader and a weak Israeli prime minister to make peace?
Bush optimistic of Mid-East peace

Monday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Nov 07, 11:12 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme editor - here is his early email to the production team. What do you think we should cover?

Good Morning.

Northern Rock
Sir Richard BransonPlenty around today. Northern Rock has chosen the Virgin Group as its preferred buyer. Virgin's offer - which has been backed by the Treasury - includes an immediate repayment of £11bn of the £25bn the bank owes the Bank of England. Private Equity businessmen have already expressed "shock" at what they regard as a very generous deal for Branson. So how fair is this deal for the taxpayer?

Gordon Brown has just given a speech outlining his plans to "intensify compulsion in the benefits system." New briefings are promised on welfare reform today. Is this just a reannouncement of existing policy to grab a quick headline, or something more interesting?

Labour donor
How could a jobbing builder and secretary in Newcastle contribute nearly £400,000 to Labour Party funds? Because it was "given" to them by a publicity shy property developer, that's how. This was clearly an unusual practice and potentially against the law, but is it even more serious than that? Did anybody in the Labour Party know about this unusual arrangement?

Middle East peace
The Annapolis conference begins tomorrow, there are talks at the White House today. Peter Marshall is there for us.

Oxford debate
There's a freedom of speech debate at the Oxford Union tonight. David Irving and Nick Griffin have been invited. Large protests are expected before the meeting. There's clearly a discussion that can be had over this, but rather than the usual suspects do you have some original suggestions for guests?

Other ideas, treatments, guests, other stories?

Friday, 23 November, 2007

  • Emily Maitlis
  • 23 Nov 07, 06:32 PM

The Gordon Brown Stuff
Gordon BrownHis was meant to be the boring but competent government. The administration that would break away from the spin of previous years, do no serious wrong, excite us little. But the events of the past few days have shown us a government that has been far from boring. And indeed, you could argue, far from competent. Perhaps you wouldn’t even need to argue that at all. Tonight we ask how much the fiascos of the past weeks have been specifically of Gordon Brown's own making.

Have the moves he made at the Treasury now come back to haunt him? Do all these cock ups - from missing data, the handling of Northern Rock and Qinetiq - through to the dealings with Britain’s top generals - have his fingerprints all over them? We'll discuss that good and hard.

Sweatshop allegations
Oxfordshire is rarely thought of as a den of sweatshop drudgery. But our report this evening looks at one small business there that stands accused of exploiting migrant labour. Long hours, dangerous conditions with people who are so desperately grateful to find any sort of work they are loath to complain. This is no third world factory, this is a little corner of England. So why has no one clamped down before now?

The price of privacy
We may get outraged when the government loses details of our bank accounts and our children's names in the post. But how much are we exposing ourselves anyway in the things we sign up to on a daily basis. Whether they're supermarket club cards, social networking sites or webpage services we part with information pretty readily these days. It's all big bucks for the businesses involved. But what's the actual cost to us? Our Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders will be taking a look.

Newsnight Review

sleuth203100.jpgJohn Wilson is joined by Tom Paulin, Tony Parsons and Julie Myerson to discuss not one but two new Kenneth Branagh films - Sleuth and The Magic Flute. A new novel by king of small town Americana Garrison Keillor, Channel 4's drama Boy A and the Led Zeppelin revival complete the line up.

Read more on all those over on the Newsnight Review website.

Friday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Nov 07, 11:25 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here is his email to the team. What else should we look into?

Brown under fire
It's been a truly terrible week for the Government but are they just the victim of events or is the truth more damaging for Number 10? To what degree can Gordon Brown - and in particular his actions as Chancellor - be blamed? From the anger of former Defence Chiefs, to Northern Rock and the data security breach, we hope to look in detail at how he contributed to his own misfortunes.

Sweat Shop allegations
Martin Shankelman has a special investigation into a small business in the South east of England which has been accused of exploiting migrant labour and running, in effect a sweat shop.

Social Networking Sites, Personal Data and the Consumer
Social Networking sites are facing a backlash from members for advertising tactics which, in effect, track peoples' personal activities. These tie-ins can though benefit users, both in terms of convenience, and, often, price. Up until now, most of us have chosen consumer convenience over privacy when asked to give up personal details on the web, but could this be about to change?

Other ideas, guest ideas, treatments?


Thursday, 22 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Nov 07, 05:53 PM

Those Missing Discs
Emails have just been released by the National Audit Office confirming that HM Revenue and Customs officials were thinking about the cost implications of trimming down the amount of data given to the National Audit Office concerning benefits claimants. We'll be getting the latest on this story and political reaction.
Officials 'warned on data safety'

heathrow203.jpgLondon's Heathrow airport is the place we love to hate. Working almost at full capacity, the government now is considering whether there should be a new runway for Heathrow. But it seems they've already made up their mind to have a Third runway. What sort of consultation is that? The aviation minister and a leading opponent of the expansion plans debate the issues live.
Heathrow expansion plans unveiled

England's pub team performance against Croatia last night provoked heated debate in the Newsnight office over whether the blame lay with the players or the managers. (Yes.) Anyway - it also raised the question of whether the British are good at managing ANYTHING -- not Northern Rock, not Revenue and Customs, not the England Football Team... hmmm... if we can get some lively performers, we'll have a debate.
Where it went wrong for McClaren

Ozzie Rules
We're in Australia for the general election in which Prime Minister John Howard - if you believe the opinion polls - could be about to come unstuck. Nick Bryant's been finding out what's gone wrong.
Nick Bryant's Australian election blog

Thursday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Nov 07, 01:42 PM

heathrow203.jpgRobert Morgan is Thursday's programme producer. Here is his team email for the morning editorial meeting. What do you think we should cover?

Good morning,

A few good stories around today. There's Data, Heathrow and McLaren for starters. Ideas about how to do these stories or others are welcome.

Martin Shankleman has what promises to be a good expose on a modern sweatshop.

And Australian elections - Nick Bryant has an eve of election film for John Howard's constituency of Bennelong.

Wednesday, 21 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Nov 07, 06:00 PM

Loss of faith
Gordon Brown in the CommonsTonight we're devoting a substantial part of the programme to the impact the loss of 25 million child benefit records is having on Gordon Brown's government. The prime minister said he wanted to be remembered not just for competence but also for his vision. He must be wondering now whether he spoke too soon. After an autumn of damaging stories starting with the election that never was, then Northern Rock and now this latest crisis is the government's reputation for competence ebbing away? Would the Blair government have handled this crisis more smoothly? We'll be debating the government's performance in the studio with politicians and commentators.
Brown apologises for records loss

Policy problems
Do ID cards have a future now? Is Alistair Darling right when he says biometrically protected data would make things safer? Or have the events of the last couple of days tipped ID cards into a vote loser? Just what are the measures which should have been in place at the HMRC to safeguard the public from these sort of cock ups? Susan Watts will be looking at this and exploring the case for and against ID cards.

And if you wondered what on earth persuaded Michael Caine to remake Sleuth with Jude Law then the simple answer is Harold Pinter. In an interview with Stephen Smith, Michael Caine reveals the true pulling power behind his decision to sign up to the remake. Sleuth 2007 has got a stellar cast and crew with Kenneth Branagh directing and Mr Pinter's updated script. But can it improve on the 1972 original?
Read Steve's article on meeting the Nobel laureate

Oh and not forgetting football. Fans will be willing England to win or at the very least draw in tonight's Euro 2008 qualifier. They face Croatia at Wembley stadium at 8pm but you can imagine what life will be like for Steve McClaren if they don't succeed.
Live international football from the BBC Sport website

Wednesday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Nov 07, 10:59 AM

Carol Rubra is Wednesday's programme producer - here is her early email to the Newsnight team. What do you think we should cover?

Records crisis
(left to right)Gordon Brown, Chancellor Alistair Darling and Treasury minister Andy BurnhamGordon Brown said he wanted to be remembered not just for his vision but for competence. After an autumn of damaging stories starting with the election that never was, then Northern Rock and now the loss of 25 million benefit records is the government's reputation for competence ebbing away? How do we do the political story?

Information implications
Do ID cards have a future now? Is Alistair Darling right when he says biometrically protected data would make things safer?

We also have a film from Steve Smith on the new adaptation of Sleuth, including interviews with Harold Pinter and Michael Caine.

A football playout?

Any other thoughts welcome.

Tuesday, 20 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Nov 07, 06:30 PM

An Extraordinary Breach of Data Security ….

darling203x100.jpgTwo computer discs holding the personal details of all families in the UK with a child under 16 have gone missing.
The Child Benefit data on them includes the name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number and, where relevant, bank details of 25m people.
The Conservatives have described the incident as a "catastrophic" failure. The head of Revenue and Customs has resigned.
The Chancellor has blamed mistakes by junior officials at Revenue and Custom, who he said ignored security procedures when they sent information to the National Audit Office (NAO) for auditing.
An incredible lapse of data security but who is to blame, and was this an accident waiting to happen? Tonight we'll be joined by a Treasury minister to ask what the consequences will be for the Government, the Chancellor and the tax payer.

Newsnight's Lib Dem Leadership Debate

Tonight we have a live discussion between the two Lib Dem leadership contenders. After a rather sedate campaign, Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne clashed rather spectacularly on the BBC Politics Show on Sunday over a briefing document prepared by Huhne's team entitled "Calamity Clegg." Is Clegg really a "flip-flopper" as Huhne alleges? Are Huhne's tactics a sign of desperation? What would each offer British politics? Jeremy asks the questions.

France v Britain

strike203_100.jpgTeachers, hospital workers, civil servants and students are all set to join railway workers in a wave of crippling strikes across France today. More bad news for the French, but are we too quick to be smug when we view the disruption across the channel? Who has the better economy and quality of life - Britain or France? …Allan Little investigates the facts, and asks which is the better model - the Anglo-Saxon or the French?

Tuesday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Nov 07, 10:27 AM

Clegg V Huhne
huhne_clegg.jpgTonight we have a live discussion between the two Lib Dem leadership contenders. After a rather sedate campaign, Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne clashed rather spectacularly on the BBC Politic's Show on Sunday over a briefing document prepared by Huhne's team entitled "Calamity Clegg." So what would you like us to ask the two men? Is Clegg really a "flip-flopper" as Huhne alleges? Are Huhne's tactics a sign of desperation? What would each offer British politics?

France v Britain
Teachers, hospital workers, civil servants and students are all set to join railway workers in a wave of crippling strikes across France today. More bad news for the French, but are we too quick to be smug when we view the disruption across the channel? Who has the better economy and quality of life - Britain or France? …Allan Little will look at a variety of indicators to assess which is the better model - the Anglo-Saxon or the French?
Interview and production ideas most welcome.

So they are dumping dead cod in the fish because of EU quotas. So why don't we farm cod, shell fish and more species of fish as they do in Scandinavia? Susan Watts will investigate.

Northern Rock - there is a board meeting later today, and the shares have plunged further. This will be a moving story all day.

Story ideas, Guest ideas, treatments all most welcome!

Monday, 19 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Nov 07, 06:14 PM

Northern Rock
Alistair DarlingThe Chancellor has promised to protect the interests of taxpayers and depositers over the crisis at Northern Rock. The mortgage lender has revealed that bids from potential investors fall below the current market value of the business. Alistair Darling said any proposal on the future ownership of the bank would have to be approved by the government. But will taxpayers really get all their money back with interest? Stephanie Flanders and Michael Crick are on the case. And we'll be debating the political fallout for the chancellor and the Government.
BBC News special: Credit Crunch

Climate Change
Gordon Brown pledged today to make Britain a world leader in the battle against global warming, with a green "technological revolution" which he said could create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK. In his first major speech on the environment since becoming Prime Minister, Mr Brown hinted strongly that he is ready to extend the Government's target of a 60% cut in Britain's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, revealing that he has asked an independent committee of experts to look at the possibility of an 80% goal. But does the Prime Minster's rhetoric make sense in reality when the Government is set to back the expansion of Heathrow later this week? Science Editor, Susan Watts investigates. And we hope an Environment Minister and the director of Greenpeace will go head to head on this story.
Climate change - reports and analysis

The heads of state of the association of south-east Asian countries Asean currently meeting in Singapore will tomorrow sign a charter committing the association' s ten members states to promoting human rights and bolstering democracy - which all sounds fair and sensible enough until you remember that Burma is one of Asean's members. UN special envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari who recently met with some of the top Generals and the country's democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, whose been under effective house arrest for the last fifteen years, was invited to the summit to brief Asean's heads of state but earlier today the Burmese delegation objected and that briefing has now been cancelled. But what's actually happening inside Burma? We asked Sue Lloyd-Roberts to go into Burma undercover to find out how life has been for the people and what going on with the country's underground pro-democracy movement. See her powerful report tonight.
Read Sue's report and watch a preview of her film here.
Burma protests - in-depth

Monday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Nov 07, 11:08 AM

Today's programme editor is Robert Morgan - here's his early e-mail to the programme team:

Burma protests
Good morning,

Quite a bit around today. There's Northern Rock, Brown's climate change speech and incapacity benefit.


The people of Burma and their supporters have great expections for two meetings taking place among world leaders to day - the meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels and the meeting of the South East Asian regional powers, ASEAN in Singapore. But will there be any real action against the Burmese Government? Six weeks after the military brutally cracked down a peaceful protest, Sue Lloyd-Roberts has been undercover into the country to test the mood there.

Should we do interviews off the back of the film?

What else should we cover?

Friday, 16 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Nov 07, 05:52 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Gavin Esler.

nr_203.jpgThe Chief Executive of Northern Rock has just resigned, along with four non-executive directors - a bit late now you might think. The question now: Who will buy Northern Rock? And what kind of deal will they demand for taking on what has become the pariah of the High Street? We speak to the former Monetary Policy Committee member Professor Willem Buiter and to the economist, Will Hutton.

We're live in Valencia for the Climate Change conference.

Rather like the Monty Python take on the People's Front of Judaea who were NOT under any circumstances to be confused with the Judean People's Front, George Galloway's party "Respect" is holding its conference this weekend. And so is Respect. Confused? Well, there's a split. Or maybe there isn't. Our political editor Michael Crick will try to find out.

It was one of the great stories of the Cold War - Russian ships in a British port, a British frogman sent to spy on them underwater - and then his body is found, decapitated. Now the Russian who says he killed Buster Crabb has come forward - we have his TV confession tonight. An amazing tale of the Cold War - but what is the truth?

Friday's prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Nov 07, 10:29 AM

Hello all.

Northern Rock

Will the Rock be sold for a song? How long will this open ended state aid continue - £25b of loans and counting ? And will taxpayers ever get their money back? Today is deadline day for bids for the Rock, though, in reality, they'll probably come in all weekend. There could be as many as 8 bids, all thought to be "aggressively low." If the Rock is sold, what guarantees may the Treasury have to give, and will the taxpayer foot the bill?

Respect schism

Though the Respect party deny that they are divided, tomorrow they have not one but TWO separate annual conferences. We also have evidence that the dispute has become very violent. Crick is on the case.

Spy mystery

Who killed Commander Lionel "Buster" Crabb - James Bond to you and me? Last night a Russian spy said he killed Buster in 1956, who he claims was trying to fix a mine to a Russian submarine during the visit to Britain of President Khrushchev. An extraordinary allegation to make on Russian television...but could it be true?

what other stories, ideas, guest ideas do you have?

Thursday prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Nov 07, 10:32 AM

Today's programme editor is Robert Morgan - here's his early e-mail to the programme team:

Good morning,

nuclear_nn203.jpgLots around today. We're hoping to have an exclusive report about Britain's nuclear security.

Iran's new top nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili holds his first Tehran news conference today ahead of the release of a key IAEA nuclear watchdog report on the Iranian nuclear programme. Have the Iranian co-operated enough to reduce the chance of more sanctions?

Barry George has just won his appeal against his conviction for the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando.

The Government is seeking a compromise over its plan to extend beyond 28 days the maximum time terrorist suspects can be held without charge. Ministers are proposing that people could be detained for up to 58 days, but only in special circumstances. How would you like to do this story? Is there anything new we can bring to it?

Foreign Secretary David Miliband will give his first major speech on Britain's relations with the rest of the European Union.

All other ideas welcome,

See you at 10.30


3.17pm - We're sorry to say that the blog is experiencing serious technical difficulties at the moment which are making it difficult for some people to post comments. We'd strongly recommend that you copy and save your comment elsewhere before hitting the POST button in case the error causes it to be lost. We hope to resolve the issue within the next few hours.

Wednesday, 14 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Nov 07, 05:04 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman.

OFWAT has fined Southern Water £20.3 million - their biggest ever fine - for misreporting of information and providing a poor service to customers. The Serious Fraud Office dropped its fraud investigation earlier this year because of lack of evidence. So what has happened to those responsible? The new CEO Les Dawson has admitted it was dreadful conduct and that they had betrayed the trust of its customers. We'll be asking if anyone has been held to account for this scandal.

If you are a Southern Water customer and have been affected by this please contact us, we'd like to hear from you

Are you confused by Lord West's comments on the terror laws this morning? We are. First he was running on a good wind one way on Radio 4 this morning saying he had yet to see the evidence that detention beyond 28 days was necessary, only to be tacking back in the opposite direction an hour later. Lord West describes himself as a "simple sailor" and not a politician. So is Gordon Brown's strategy of inviting non-politicians into the fold making it more difficult for the government to get its message across? David Grossman will be investigating.

The governor of the Bank of England gave his assessment of the strength of the economy today - amid continuing uncertainty in the financial sector. Stephanie Flanders assesses what the latest inflation figures signal for the economic outlook.

We have a fascinating interview with the President of UEFA, Michel Platini, who makes an extraordinary attack on the billionaire American owners of leading English football clubs. He says they're only interested in money and predicts they'll even try to change the rules to allow TV advert breaks.

Ira Levin, the author of the best selling horror and suspense novels Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives - both made into popular films - has died at the age of 78. He also wrote The Boys From Brazil, published in 1976, featuring the infamous Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele, seeking to clone a new Third Reich. Steve Smith will be looking back over the life of the writer.

Wednesday prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Nov 07, 10:19 AM

Today's programme editor is Carol Rubra - here's her early e-mail to the programme team:

Good morning,

tap_203.jpgOFWAT have fined Southern Water £20.3 million, their biggest ever fine on a water company for misreporting of information and providing a poor service to customers. The SFO dropped its fraud investigation earlier this year. So what has happened to those responsible?
Southern Water facing £20.3m fine

Mervyn King will be speaking to journalists this morning at the launch of the quarterly inflation report. He will give his assessment of the strength of the British economy and the continuing fallout from the credit crunch. Meanwhile there are more details on the costs to the taxpayer of the Northern Rock bail out.

Gordon Brown will announce the results of Admiral Sir Alan West's review of security arrangements in crowded spaces. He will also talk about measures to prevent the rise of Muslim extremism in local communities.

The UN nuclear monitoring body, the IAEA is expected to report today on how far Iran has complied with its requests to monitor the country's nuclear activity. Gordon Brown has threatened further sanctions if it fails to comply. Is Iran serious about co-operating? We have an interview with Iran's Ambassador to the IAEA.

Peter Marshall has done an interesting interview with Michel Platini, President of UEFA. He's accusing billionaire American owners of leading English football clubs of being in football to make a fast buck.

Other things happening today:
Pakistan - Imran Khan has been arrested, Scottish budget, PMQs.

Any other stories around you think we should look at?

Tuesday, 13 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Nov 07, 06:35 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman.

Immigration Cover up?
"Blunder, panic and cover up" at the Home Office? Well, that's the charge from the Tories after leaked e-mails revealed that the Home Office was warned five months ago that thousands of illegal immigrants had been cleared to work in security jobs, some in Whitehall. One of the memos from Jacqui Smith's private secretary talks about holding back the information because "she did not think the lines we have are good enough for the Press Office or Ministers to use to explain the situation." During angry exchanges in the House, she said she had taken "robust action" as soon as she was informed of the problem. But the accusation remains that news management was the overriding concern of the Home Office. We'll have more tonight.

"Free and Fair Elections"
In Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto is under house arrest again. In interviews with foreign media this morning, she has called for President Musharraf to step down from office and has said her party is "unlikely" to contest elections in January. Where does this leave the Washington/London strategy towards Pakistan, and can any kind of elections, let alone "free and fair", be held in these circumstances? We'll be speaking to Pakistan’s Minister for Information.

Sarkozy and the strikers
Rolling strikes on the railways are due to begin in France tonight over pension reform. Other public sector workers will join in over the coming days. Is this Sarkozy's "Thatcher moment?" Allan Little is in Paris.

Cost of war
How much did the war in Iraq and Afghanistan cost? A Congressional report by Democrats tonight claims that that "hidden costs" have pushed the total to $1.5 trillion, that's $20,900 for the average US family of four - but do their figures add up?

We also have an interview with the Aga Khan on his attempts to restore ancient Islamic art. And we’ll have the latest on the bird flu outbreak in Suffolk.

Tuesday prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Nov 07, 10:59 AM

Today's programme editor is Dan Kelly - here's his early e-mail to the programme team:

Good morning.

Some good stories today.

The Home Office have been accused of a cover up, after leaked e-mails suggest that the Home Office was warned four months ago that thousands of illegal immigrants had been cleared to work in security jobs, some in Whitehall. One of the memos from Jacqui Smith's private secretary talks about holding back the information because "she did not think the lines we have are good enough for Press Office or Ministers to use to explain the situation." The story was finally leaked this Sunday to the Mirror. An attempt to bury bad news? What happened to Brown's spin free "new politics?" What are the real figures, and what type of jobs are we actually talking about?
'Spin' claim over illegal workers

In Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto is under house arrest again. In interviews to the foreign press this morning, she has called for President Musharaff to step down from office and has said her party is "unlikely" to contest elections in January. Where does this leave the Washington/London strategy towards Pakistan, and can any kind of elections, let alone "free and fair" be held in these circumstances?
Huge Pakistan clampdown on Bhutto

Rolling strikes on the railways are due to begin in France tonight over pension reform. Other public sector workers will join in over the coming days. Is this Sarkozy's "Thatcher moment?" Or will he bend as Chirac did famously in 1995. Allan Little is in Paris.

We have an interview with the Aga Khan on his attempts to restore ancient Islamic art.

Other stories today include inflation higher than expected, we'll watch bird flu and is can Newsnight gain any friends on Bebo???

Other ideas, treatments? Guest suggestions?

See you at 10.30


Monday, 12 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Nov 07, 05:09 PM


brown_bush.jpgWhen he was Chancellor, he insisted on wearing a normal suit, but Gordon Brown will be donning the traditional white tie and tails for his first Mansion House speech as Prime Minister tonight. And that's not the only change that's he's likely to signal.

When he took over the top job, Gordon Brown appeared to suggest that the US could no longer take its special relationship with Britain for granted. The appointment of Mark Malloch-Brown as a minister seemed to confirm this. However tonight, he's expected to reaffirm that Britain's ties to the US are the most important we have. So, tonight, we'll attempt a definitive assessment of the state of the relationship.


If a British Council poll out today is to be believed, then we can expect that not many of Britain's teenagers will be plugged in to the PM's speech. They care less about international affairs and have a worse attitude towards learning other languages than their counterparts in Nigeria, the US or Saudi Arabia.

We decided to test the hypothesis by linking up with the social networking site, Bebo.

If you're a Bebo user and want to contribute to the forum we've created there, you can find the page by clicking on "ch-ch-changes" on your login page.

And the chief executives of Bebo and the British Council will discuss the findings with Jeremy.


Commonwealth officials are meeting in London today to discuss whether Pakistan should be suspended, after General Musharraf's imposition of a state of emergency. Meanwhile, the General's commitment to holding elections in January yesterday has been welcomed by the international community. Mark Urban is assessing whether these apparently contradictory moves amount to a strategic game plan.


And - this is not something we often say - we have a fascinating report from Kyrgyzstan. The radical Islamist party Hizb ut Tahrir has seen a surge in support there, and in neighbouring Uzbekistan. It's banned in both countries, but people are joining in droves anyway. In fact, it may be that the clampdown on political and religious freedoms is actually driving more people to join, despite the risks.

Monday prospects

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Nov 07, 11:36 AM

Gordon Brown is making his first Mansion House speech today - setting out his foreign affairs vision. Is it time to analyse the state of the special relationship? If so, how, and who with?

Commonwealth meeting in London to discuss Pakistan today, following yesterday's announcement that elections will be held in January. Interested in your thoughts on the best angle…

British Council survey suggests British teenagers are the less clued up on foreign affairs than their counterparts, in 10 other countries including the US - should we explore this, and if so, how?

Also set to run tonight is a feature about the growing influence of Hizbut Tahrir in Uzbekistan.

Friday, 9 November, 2007 - part two

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Nov 07, 04:45 PM

From tonight's presenter Gavin Esler:

Benazir Bhutto - from pariah to martyr...?

Benazir Bhutto is under house arrest. Politically, is that good news for her? And are we witnessing the beginning of the end for General Musharraf?

We can't hold back the tides - nor could King Canute - but could we at least stop so much building on flood plains storing up inevitable disasters in the future?

Liz MacKean is in Lincolnshire to find out why planning permission has been granted to high risk housing schemes.

iPhone hackers
The new iPhone is coming out at 18:02 tonight, and hackers are already working out how to unlock the expensive tie in contract with O2. With every new advance in IT and the web, an increasing number of "Geek Guerrillas" are liberating the technology to make it free for the consumer. Who are they and - apart from the obvious - what motivates them? Paul Mason finds out.

And don't forget that Newsnight Review will be live in New York. Click here for details.

Friday, 9 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Nov 07, 10:39 AM

Here's today's e-mail to the programme team from output editor Dan Kelly:

From Pariah to Martyr - the transformation of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto has been put under house arrest in Islamabad and has just been served with a 30 day detention order as her supporters gather for a rally in Rawalpindi. What does this mean for the future of politics in Pakistan? Can she turn these events to her own advantage, and can Musharraf survive without her? Mark Urban investigates.


There has been some flooding in eastern England today, but nowhere near as much as feared. It's a good opportunity though to look at why so many housing schemes are still being given approval on flood plains despite interventions by the Environment Agency. The Agency has just released a report into the number of houses and building developments approved by local authorities this year and last, despite their stated objections during the planning stages. Local councillors say they have no choice - they have to meet the demand for housing. Given Gordon Brown's plans to build three million homes in a few years, this is a problem that may only get worse.


The new iPhone is coming out at 18:02 tonight, and hackers are already working on unlocking the expensive tie-in contract with O2. With every new advance in IT and over the web, an increasing number of "Geek Guerrillas" are liberating the technology to make it free for the consumer. From the burning of software to wi-fi squats, it's a phenomenon which is hurting multi-nationals but leading to some fascinating innovations.

Which guests should we get? Other ideas? Treatments?

See you at 10.30pm.


Thursday, 8 November, 2007 - The Big Immigration Debate

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Nov 07, 01:12 PM

Tonight, in a broadcasting first, Newsnight and Radio 5 Live will be jointly hosting the BIG immigration debate.

immigrationlogo_203.jpgAn expert panel will join Gavin Esler in the Newsnight studio. Richard Bacon will be taking texts, emails and calls live on air. Both will be putting questions to politicians from the three main parties.

We've already had a fantastic response on our blog asking for views on the government's record, whether limits should be imposed and if we have benefited economically and culturally from immigration.

Our poll findings have been interesting. 72% of the respondents believe the government is doing a “poor” job in its handling of immigration, while nearly 62% thought that Britain would lose its unique identity if immigration continues at its present rate.

In relation to employment, 52% of those surveyed believed that immigration posed a threat to UK jobs. However, 46% felt that without immigrants coming to the UK the economy would ultimately suffer.

One thing I can say is tonight will be a must watch. Do join us, and Radio 5 Live, for a piece of broadcasting history.

If you want to take part in the programme you can call the usual 5 Live number - 0500 909693 - it's a free call from any UK landline. You can also email or text us on 85058. Alternatively, you can post your comments below.

Wednesday, 7 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Nov 07, 06:13 PM


oilrig203x100.jpgThe White House warned today that oil prices are "too high" as US crude hit $98-per-barrel. So are high oil prices all bad? With prices expected to breach $100 shortly and petrol at UK pumps now more than £1-per-litre, tonight we ask how the rising price of crude is affecting the geo-political balance of power. The International Energy Agency says world demand for oil will grow from 84 million to 116 million barrels per day. So how do we secure future supplies and from where?

Sir Ronald Cohen

We have an exclusive interview with Sir Ronald Cohen. A Labour donor and a close friend of Gordon Brown, he's the multi-millionaire city businessman who founded Britain's first private equity company, Apax. Earlier this year he warned that the growing wealth gap between rich and poor could spark riots on the streets of London. Now he has a book out about how to be a successful entrepreneur. We'll be speaking to him about his book, his relations with the prime minister, taxation, the ethics of private equity and more.


MPs are debating plans to extend the current laws on how long terror suspects can be held and questioned without charge. The government wants to increase the 28 day limit to 56 days but opposition parties say they aren't yet convinced this is necessary. Meanwhile pressure is building on the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair to resign over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. Richard Watson will have the latest developments.

Welfare Reform

Is Britain failing some of the poorest and neediest members of society by creating a culture of dependency through the benefits system? This is a view which is gaining currency in political circles here and the model which has swayed them is Wisconsin. David Grossman has been to the state to assess the success of Governor Tommy Thompson's Welfare Reform model and look at why it has provoked such interest in the US and here.


Film director Ridley Scott talks to us about violence and gun crime here and in the States. His new film American Gangster opens here next week.

And don't forget our immigration special - click here to join the debate.

What do you want this Wednesday?

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Nov 07, 10:03 AM

Today's output editor is Carol Rubra:

Good morning,

ball_203.jpgThere are a few interesting things around - what do you think we should lead on today? Cancer, party funding, 28 days detention, something else?

We also have an exclusive interview with Sir Ronald Cohen. He's a Labour donor and close friend of Gordon Brown, a multi-millionaire city businessman who founded Britain's first private equity company. His book on how to be an entrepreneur - called The Second Bounce of the Ball - is out this week. What would you like to ask him?

Welfare Reform - David Grossman has been to Wisconsin to look at the state's influential welfare reform model. The policies there became a template for the rest of the US and now some here interested too.

Who else should we be talking to? What else should we be doing?


And don't forget our immigration special - click here to join the debate.

Stories for Tuesday, 6 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Nov 07, 05:42 PM

Queen's Speech

queen3_203.jpgGordon Brown is hailing his first Queen's Speech as "the next step forward for a stronger, fairer Britain". There'll be bills to raise the school leaving age to 18 - build three million more homes - and allow more flexible working for parents with older children.
The most contentious proposal will involve terrorism, with ministers considering doubling the limit when suspects can be held without charge from 28 days to 56. The Conservative leader, David Cameron, has said the government's new legislative programme - outlined by the Queen during the State Opening of Parliament - shows that Gordon Brown has "nothing new to offer".

Michael Crick and David Grossman will be examining if this adds up to a new vision for Britain. And we'll be discussing the key policies with senior politicians from all three parties.


Michael will also have some intriguing new developments in a spinning row involving Downing Street and schools that thought they'd feature in a speech by the Prime Minister.

Credit Crunch

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, has warned of further shocks in the banking sector following the run on savings at Northern Rock. He also said it will be months before the full extent of the financial losses resulting from the downturn in the American mortgage market will be known. Following Northern Rock the Queen's speech addresses the issue of deposit guarantees but can Gordon Brown do anything to reduce our exposure to the credit crunch? Paul Mason is on the case.

US elections

The 2008 American Presidential election is considered one of the most wide open races in nearly a century. With 17 candidates, no obvious frontrunners, and the country at war, voters there have a great deal to consider. Residents of a small town in Virginia are already grappling with the issues that will drive them to the polls one year from today. Washington correspondent, Matt Frei takes us there, with the first in a series of reports.

Tuesday, 6 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Nov 07, 10:31 AM

Good morning,

There's quite a bit around today.

Queen's speech

crown1_203.jpgGordon Brown's blueprint for his next year in government will be outlined later today. The Queen will set out more than twenty bills in her speech to mark the State Opening of Parliament. It will include plans on a range of issues including counter-terrorism, immigration, affordable housing and education.

Mervyn King

The Governor of the Bank of England has said it was the chancellor who made the final decision not to support a move by Lloyds TSB to take over Northern Rock. Mervyn King told BBC Radio's File on 4 that he had told Alistair Darling it was "a matter for government". Mr King said Lloyds TSB had wanted a £30bn loan from the Bank of England at competitive rates as part of the deal. The collapse of the deal meant that Northern Rock had to go to the Bank of England for emergency funding. "I said to the chancellor: 'This is not something which a central bank can do'. Where does this leave the Chancellor?

Sarkozy meets Bush in Washington today. Is it worth examining their changing relationship and any diplomatic repercussions?

Pakistan - what will Benazir Bhutto's next move be?

US election

The 2008 American Presidential election is considered one of the most wide open races in nearly a century. With 17 candidates, no obvious frontrunners, and the country at war, voters there have a great deal to consider. Residents of a small town in Virginia are already grappling with the issues that will drive them to the polls one year from today. Washington correspondent, Matt Frei takes us there, with the first in a series of reports.

We could do the opening of St Pancras station as the playout. Any other thoughts welcome

Any thoughts on these? Guest ideas? Other stories we should do?

Monday, 5 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Nov 07, 05:51 PM

Teenage terrorists

"Extremists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in the UK. They are radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism."
These are the words of the Director General of the Security Service.
His audience? Oh, just a bunch of newspaper editors. A write up on the PA news wires later, and guess what tonight's headline is in the London Evening Standard? "The Teenage Terrorists."
So the timing ahead of the Queen's speech may be a little suspect, and the newspaper reaction may have been calculated, but is the head of MI5 right? How widespread is the "grooming" of young people for terrorism? We speak to the head of a children's charity who says she has had to intervene to stop her young charges from becoming radicalised, and we have a live interview with a former - and senior - member of a radical Muslim organisation.


So the Elections in Pakistan will go ahead after all in January, Musharraf's Government said today, but can we believe them? What has been the pressure behind the scenes from Washington. Were the West right to invest so much in the General all along? We'll speak to politicians in Pakistan and the US.

Queen's speech

Can Gordon Brown seize the initiative in tomorrow's Queen's Speech and set out a vision for his Government? Or will we see a shopping list of policies, most of which we've heard before? Michael Crick has been on the case.

Beer rebranding

Finally, we have a fascinating film from Jackie Long on the attempts of Stella Artois to rebrand its beer, as it tries to shed its nickname as the "wife beater’s drink of choice".

Tonight, with Jeremy at 10.30.

What do you want in Monday's programme?

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Nov 07, 10:37 AM

Continuing with our experiment that began last week, we're sharing the early thoughts of our production team and asking for your ideas as to what Newsnight should be covering tonight. Here's today's e-mail from output editor, Dan...


Pakistan is clearly very interesting. Can Musharaff succeed? Will the army stand with him? What can/should the West do about this? Having invested so much in the President to fight Al Queda and the Taliban, what is the West's room for manoeuvre? If Musharaff's rule unravels will this be another watershed moment in the so-called war on terror?

Queen's speech

The Queen's speech is tomorrow - can Brown find a theme, vision for his Government?

Credit crunch

The head of Citigroup has gone, the Sainsbury's private equity deal is off, are we witnessing the credit crunch mark two?

Beer rebranding

We have a fascinating film on the attempts of Stella Artois to rebrand its beer, as it tries to shed its nickname as the "wife-beater's" drink of choice.

Any thoughts on these? Guest ideas? Other stories we should do?

Friday, 2 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Nov 07, 05:52 PM

Tonight's presenter is Emily Maitlis:


blair_men_203.jpgThe moment opposition politicians start using phrases like “frankly untenable” you know someone's job is on the line. The Met Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair is confidently sticking to script, insisting he can and will stay in the post after the guilty verdict on the De Menezes shooting. But what's going on behind the scenes? Are there forces - no pun intended - at work to make him change his mind? And more importantly, perhaps, just how will this verdict affect the way this country is policed in future? The Mayor of London fears we could end up with a force so bogged down in health and safety regulations it loses the ability to act in our best interest.

Northern Rock

Each British taxpayer has essentially had to stump up £730 a head - through Bank of England loans - to keep this business going. On top of that, the treasury has also indemnified a further £20 billion of deposits. The burden of responsibility this places on the Chancellor is huge. Is it a price worth paying if it saves the system from collapse? For how long can it realistically continue? What are the alternatives for the Bank of England and the Chancellor?


The immigration picture in this country is pretty baffling. Not least, it's emerged this week, to the Home Office. But tonight, we examine how this country looks from the other side. If you're an immigrant is it an easy, attractive, welcoming place to live? We ask those who've come to live in Britain from Poland, Afghanistan, Iraq and Nigeria.

Thanks very much for all the suggestions on the blog, some of which we've managed to reflect.

Thank Newsnight it's Friday

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Nov 07, 10:29 AM

Today’s output editor is Robert Morgan – here are his early thoughts about how to fill tonight’s half hour....

Good morning,

I'm genuinely open to any new ideas today. There are a few strong contenders for stories.

Continue reading "Thank Newsnight it's Friday"

Thursday, 1 November, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Nov 07, 05:22 PM


blair203x100.jpgThe Metropolitan Police have been found guilty of breaching health and safety laws over the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are now calling for the head of the Met, Sir Ian Blair. Before the trial started, Sir Ian said that if found guilty "the implications for operational policing in the UK would be profound". So what went wrong? We'll be looking at the judge's conclusions and discuss what they mean for Sir Ian and the future of policing in this country.


Many Newsnight bloggers were keen for us to look at the effects of immigration. The LGA have said it needs an extra £250 million a year to cope with the added numbers using public services. We've sent Paul Mason to Slough to see what the local feelings are towards immigration and will try to make sense of the many statistics used on both sides of the debate. David Cameron has called for a limit on immigration, but is this practical, or desirable? We'll be debating in the studio.


pakistan.jpgPakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, is still waiting to discover the Supreme Court's decision on whether his election win back in October is legal. He's also facing a wave of Islamist violence, the latest being a suicide bomber who killed eight Pakistani air force personnel earlier today. Our diplomatic editor Mark Urban has been travelling around Pakistan and spoken with politicians, the army and ordinary people to ask what impact Pakistan's role in the 'war on terror' is having on the country's tentative moves toward democratic elections.

What do you want in Thursday's programme?

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Nov 07, 10:34 AM

Continuing with our experiment that began yesterday, we're sharing the early thoughts of our production team and asking for your ideas as to what Newsnight should be covering in tonight's programme. Here's today's e-mail from output editor, Carol...

Continue reading "What do you want in Thursday's programme?"

Wednesday, 31 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 31 Oct 07, 06:53 PM

Cash for Votes Allegations

Tonight, a special investigation into dramatic allegations that Labour tried to bribe their way into power in Birmingham Council.voting203_100.gif We've spoken to locals who say they were offered cash for postal votes, and hear claims that drug addicts were paid to impersonate voters.

We'll have the full story and live reaction.

Election 2007

Had Gordon Brown gone ahead with calling an election earlier this month, today would be the eve of polling with frenetic last minute appeals to voters. Let's just imagine a parallel universe where an election had been called, what would have happened in the campaign - would Labour be struggling to keep their majority, or heading for a clear victory? It's a good chance to see how the British political scene has changed in the last three weeks. We have a panel of political grandees who have seen it all before - Ken Clarke, Charles Kennedy and Roy Hattersley.

Child Labour and Cotton

We have a follow up to last night's extraordinary film by Simon Ostrovsky into the cotton industry in Uzbekistan. The film showed child labour picking cotton for very little money. Some of the cotton is eventually used in clothing sold by major retail outlets in the UK. Simon has spoken to Britain's high street chains and asked for their reaction to his report; we'll reveal what they said.

Cancer - A report too far?

On the Newsnight website today, some of you said you were interested in the report by the World Cancer Research Fund into the links between lifestyle and cancer. Their recommendations seem pretty tough - try not to gain weight as an adult, avoid sugary drinks, alcohol and bacon. Do these reports do any good or are they counter-productive? If two-thirds of all cancers have nothing to do with lifestyle, is it wrong to give the impression that we can control the disease?


A restored version of the classic Hammer film Dracula is out in time for Halloween. Steve Smith looks at the film that dramatically changed British cinema and the horror movie, and considers how the genre has changed since those innocent days.

What do you want in Wednesday's programme?

  • Newsnight
  • 31 Oct 07, 10:37 AM

You can tell our editor’s just returned from a blogging conference. Fresh faced and with fists clenched, he’s pushing another Newsnight experiment in audience participation. It’s quite simple – opening up the Newsnight running order to the people who watch us.

runningorder.jpgBefore each morning meeting the programme’s producers are sent an e-mail suggesting the stories we might like to think about before getting together, with plenty of scope to bring new ideas to the meeting.

How about we share that morning e-mail, and open up our blog for your ideas as to what we should seek to include in the programme?

Let us know if you think this is useful – or if you think it’s a desperate attempt to appear engaged with our audience. We can take the criticism!

The experiment begins today: here’s the e-mail from today’s output editor, Dan...

Continue reading "What do you want in Wednesday's programme?"

Tuesday, 30 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Oct 07, 06:22 PM


boy203_100.gifIt's an uncomfortable thought, one that we normally push to the back of our minds as we search out bargains in the High Street. An investigation for tonight’s programme has found that the government of Uzbekistan uses forced child labour to pick cotton – and that cotton often finds its way into clothes sold in British stores such as Asda, Matalan and Burton.

Uzbekistan is the world’s second largest exporter of cotton, a trade which is controlled by the State, and merchants claim that ninety per cent of its output is hand picked. Human rights groups estimate some 450,000 children are shut out of schools and working in its cotton fields every harvest, despite the government’s stance that child labour is outlawed.

We'll be speaking to the Trade and Development minister, Gareth Thomas about what can be done to stop this.


Also tonight after the apology by one but two government ministers about the substantial underestimate of the numbers of migrant workers who have arrived in the UK since 1997. Now after some close reading of the revised statistics it appears that more than half of the new jobs created in the past decade have been taken by foreign workers. W here does that leave Gordon Brown's rallying cry at the TUC conference - British jobs for British people?


The authorities in Chad have charged nine French citizens, some of them from the French organisation Zoe's Ark, with abduction and fraud, accusing them of trying to smuggle more than a hundred children to Europe. Zoe's Ark claims the children are orphans from the Darfur region of Sudan, Chadian officials said most appeared to be from Chad. The news raises the issue of international child adoption and the risks inherent in it. We'll be discussing that tonight. Remember the furore over Madonna's adoption of a little Malawian boy? Other celebrities have opted for children from abroad, and many ordinary families too. Is it ever a good idea to adopt or foster children from their home country?


And we'll be remembering Professor Anthony Clare the renowned psychiatrist who has just died. An author and broadcaster he demystified psychiatry and engaged the Radio Four audience with many series of "In The Psychiatrists Chair.

Monday, 29th October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 29 Oct 07, 06:07 PM

Saudi visit
kingabdullah.gifThis afternoon the Saudi monarch King Abdullah arrived in London for the first Saudi State visit in 20 years. The Saudi flag and the Union flag are flying side by side all the way up the Mall. It was always going to be a controversial visit.

Concerns about Saudi Arabia's human rights record have led the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable to announce he will be boycotting the state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

We speak to Vince Cable.

Oil prices

Oil is power, and with the conflict in the world, a powerful weapon. Today oil prices are sky high - $93 a barrel - that's 40% up on the figure at the start of the year, and four times the price five years ago. Oil is pretty close to the prices it hit during the oil shock in the early 1980s. Stephanie Flanders will be looking at why oil is so expensive right now. And we'll be discussing if the answer could be the hydrogen fuel car.

Phone innovation

And somebody's paying for the new 3 Skype-phone but who is it? Paul Mason dials up the communication revolution which allows Skype users to make free Internet calls to each other while on the move. The phone which marries Skype and the mobile phone company 3 is being launched in nine markets including Britain, Australia and Italy. There are already 246 million strong registered users, so where does this fit into the technology arc, what impact will this have on the communications industry, and how quickly will there be yet another innovation?

Friday, 26th October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Oct 07, 06:21 PM

Newsnight Review

Kwame Kwei-Armah is joined by Julie Myerson, Bidisha and Michael Gove.

eliz203.jpgElizabeth: The Golden Age Nearly ten years on from her Oscar nominated performance, Cate Blanchett resumes the role of Elizabeth. The film has been heavily criticised in the States. Was it a wise decision to make this sequel? Britz Writer and director Peter Kosminsky's first purely fictional drama. A post-9/11 thriller. Renaissance Siena The current exhibition at London's National Gallery has a combination of paintings, sculptures and artefacts it aims to put Siena back to its unacknowledged and overlooked role in the great Italian Renaissance movement. Boomsday The latest satirical novel from American writer Christopher Buckley which imagines a scenario where the US government is in so much social security debt that it can't pay for the retirement plans of the Baby Boomers.

Read more about all those and more on the Newsnight Review website.

Thursday, 25 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Oct 07, 06:35 PM

dna203.jpgWe begin with a disturbing Newsnight investigation into the reliability of DNA profiling - specifically the development of ever more sensitive techniques. The latest, called DNA Low Copy Number, can pick out the DNA from just a single human cell at a crime scene or on a weapon. But this technique, the technique at the heart of two high profile cases - the Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann - is itself under scrutiny. Our Science Editor Susan Watts has uncovered serious doubts about its use by the Forensic Science Service that developed it.

The United States has imposed sweeping new financial sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear programme. Washington says the measures will make it much harder for individuals and companies around the world to trade with Iran. We'll be analysing what's happening. And we hope to be joined by a leading member of the Pentagon Policy Board.

Most people have heard the name Valerie Plame, but almost no one has heard her story - until now. When her identity was published in a newspaper column four years ago, she was an undercover agent for the CIA. And when an investigation traced the leak of her name all the way to the White House, it became apparent this was no ordinary spy story. Her cover was blown after her husband, a former ambassador named Joe Wilson, criticized the White House about the Iraq war.

Watch tonight for the first UK broadcast interview with Valerie Plame - and read an extract from her book Fair Game. Part of the Newsnight Book Club.

As a statue of David Lloyd George is unveiled, opinion on Britain's World War I prime minister continues to be divided. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph ahead of the unveiling, playwright Harold Pinter, journalist John Pilger and former UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Iraq, Denis Halliday, criticise its existence. They say that during his tenure - between 1916 and 1922 - he ordered bombing in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. But Lloyd George supporters praise him for leading the country to victory in World War I and say he was a pioneer for establishing the first stage of a welfare state.

Liberal Democrat leadership candidate, Chris Huhne, regards Lloyd George as his political hero. He'll be in debate with veteran Labour politician, Tony Benn. Lloyd George knew his father.

Wednesday, 24 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Oct 07, 05:28 PM

Abortion row
Health Minister Dawn Primarolo told the Commons science and technology committee today that the government does not believe there is sufficient scientific evidence to lower the legal abortion limit of 24 weeks. The Pro-Life Alliance is calling for the upper limit on terminations to be cut, and Lord Steel, architect of the 1967 Abortion Act, has voiced concern that the procedure is being used as a form of contraception. We'll be exploring the issues and asking how attitudes to abortion have changed in the last 40 years.

Fires in Escondido, CaliforniaCalifornia, the richest state in the United States, is reeling from a natural disaster. The fires have led to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people - the largest number since Hurricane Katrina. We'll have the latest and be assessing how the government has responded to the crisis.

Michael Moore's latest film compares the health care system of the United States with those of other countries which offer what American politicians call "socialised" medicine - like the NHS. Moore paints Britain as a much better place to get sick in than America. Is he right? I'll be talking to him.

We regret that we are unable to run our "Voting Scandal" film tonight. We have received new information which we need to investigate and we hope to show this film at a later date.

Tuesday, 23 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Oct 07, 07:55 PM


It's not clear whether anyone is trying to change the facts on renewable energy targets (20% of all energy by 2020!! Up from just 2% now), but environmental groups seem to think the government is planning some kind of U-turn to "keep the nuclear industry happy". Stephanie Flanders is figuring out what is going on, and looks into Gordon Brown's mixed record on climate change.


John Yates of the Yard appeared in front of MPs over his inquiry into the so-called cash for honours scandal. Did anyone try to lean on him? How cooperative was Downing Street? Where did all the leaks come from?


Iran's nuclear negotiator changed today in talks with the EU. Rather like a rewriting of Churchill's description of Moscow under the Bolsheviks, Iran's leadership is "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". Paul Mason has the job of decoding it tonight.


"Misunderstanding the lessons" from Northern Ireland. David Trimble is tired of politicians drawing glib lessons from Ulster and trying to use it for conflicts across the world. He tells us why.

Monday, 22 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Oct 07, 05:49 PM

Genetic Pioneer

We've decided to give over a big part of tonight’s programme to a man who can fairly claim to be among the most controversial scientists in the world.

He's Craig Venter - famous for being part of the race to map out the human genetic code, and notorious (some say) for trying to patent human genes. We'll talk to him live about all that and his latest project to create life forms which can produce clean energy - and he'll also debate with his critics.

Also in the programme:


The Turkish Prime Minister is on his way to London as rebels of the Kurdish group the PKK kill more Turkish soldiers. The Turkish army is champing at the bit to strike back into the PKK heartland in northern Iraq. Nobody disputes Turkey's right to defend itself and its citizens - so what can be done?


Today's Commons clash over the new EU Treaty is the beginning of a long running debate that will probably run up to the next General Election. Michael Crick is on the case.

A Good Man In Africa?

Is awarding $5m in prize money the right way to get better governance in Africa. Discuss.

Friday, 19 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Oct 07, 08:37 PM

In tonight's programme - we'll have the latest from Pakistan after last night' s terrible bombing. Yesterday Mark Urban travelled with Benazir Bhutto as she arrived in Karachi. Today, he's been speaking to Pakistanis about the blasts and how they feel about Bhutto being back in the country. He's also looking into who could be behind the bombings, and what it means for the elections scheduled for January.

Lib Dems
With the former leader Charles Kennedy declaring that they have "passed the knife" on to the next generation - Nick Clegg has declared himself a candidate for the party's leadership. What's his vision, and how does it differ from Chris Huhne? Michael Crick has been at the launch in Sheffield.

The leaders of the 27 member states agreed to the European Treaty in the early hours of the morning. But what do the citizens of Europe think about the European project? Newsnight witnessed a unique seminar of citizens from all the member states coming together in Brussels to see what they make of it all - you may find some of their views surprising.

And finally Newsnight viewer Chris Mills sent in this Joke fit for an eleven year old:
"The knock on from the recent US sub prime market problems, that hit Northern Rock among others, shows no signs of letting up. In fact it has now badly affected the banking system in Japan. In the last 7 days the Origami Bank has folded, Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank plans to cutback some of its branches....."

Newsnight is at 10.30 on BBC 2

Thursday, 18 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Oct 07, 05:55 PM

brown203x100.jpgWhen Gordon Brown sits down to dinner tonight with fellow EU leaders in Lisbon, the EU Reform Treaty may already have been effectively signed and sealed. So has Britain surrendered too much sovereignty and denied the people a say in a referendum? Or is the Treaty a simple tidying up exercise that will make the EU operate more effectively?

"Horrible" and "inexcusable" - ITV executive chairman Michael Grade's description of a damning review of ITV's phone in competitions. More than 8 million callers are now eligible for millions of pounds of compensation after they contacted programmes such as Ant and Dec's Gameshow Marathon and Saturday Night Takeaway. Many entered competitions that they had no chance of winning. Grade's sorry, but why hasn't he sacked anyone and how could such grand scale deception have taken place at all? Jeremy will interview Michael Grade on tonight's show.

Bhutto's Back
A tearful Benazir Bhutto has been greeted by tens of thousands of supporters in Karachi after eight years in exile. Mark Urban travelled in with Mrs Bhutto from Dubai, and spoke to her about her plans. Can she become Prime Minister again, or will her "deal" with President Musharraf count against her in the eyes of voters?

Wednesday, 17 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Oct 07, 06:37 PM

thompson103100.jpgThe BBC Trust has approved plans for big changes to the corporation.
It'll include substantial job losses and a cut in the number of programmes to be commissioned. The full details will be published tomorrow after staff have been told. We'll be speaking to the Chairman of the BBC Trust, Sir Michael Lyons.

Turkey has edged closer to launching a major cross border offensive against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq -- whom they blame for terrorist atrocities within Turkey. President Bush has warned Turkey not to rush into action. We hope to be speaking to the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq about his concerns following these developments.

Even for the mighty Chinese Communist Party, citizens can really undermine the mission statement. The Party's holding its congress in Beijing this week with ringing edicts from President Hu Jintao about creating a harmonious society. What he means is that Chinese society is anything but harmonious. For 30 years, coastal China has been allowed to run ahead of the brooding hinterland of subsistence farmers. And now the divisions of wealth are alarming. White Horse Village is the China that is supposed to get help. When we started our series there 16 months ago, we were told the village would be transformed into a city within three years but the miracle has not worked completely in the village. Carrie Gracie reports on the third in our series on White Horse Village.

Tuesday, 16 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Oct 07, 05:18 PM

As European leaders prepare for their summit in Portugal later this week pressure is increasing on Gordon Brown as he tries to deflect calls for a referendum on the European Reform Treaty. His ability to maintain this position depends on the so called "red lines" or opt outs Britain has negotiated. But how red and how thick are those lines? The Foreign Secretary is appearing before the ominous sounding EU Scrutiny Select Committee. Which, as the title suggests have been looking in detail at exactly what has been agreed. If David Miliband doesn't succeed in convincing the committee that the opt outs are legally robust, where does this leave the calls for a referendum?

After Menzies Campbell's sudden resignation as leader of the Liberal Democrats last night he's said today he feels "irritated and frustrated" at not being able to lead his party into a General Election. The challenge now for the Liberal Democrats, as leadership contenders take soundings from supporters, is how it can carve out a distinct identity when Gordon Brown and David Cameron are also concentrating on the centre ground. We'll be talking to two key Liberal Democrats from different strands of the party on which direction the Lib Dems need to take to reverse its fortunes. Join the debate on our Big Fat Politics Website.

Cumbria is moving into the digital age as it becomes the first place in the UK to lose the analogue TV signal. We on this programme have a special interest since BBC Two will be first to go in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The remaining analogue channels will be switched off on 14 November. Our Culture correspondent, Steve Smith is in the town of Whitehaven to assess how prepared the people there are.

Shortly before we go on air the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced with Ian McEwan and Lloyd Jones the front-runners. We'll bring you an interview with the winner.

In the second of our special reports from China we go to Wuhan, a city in central China about the size of London. It is here that director Weijun Chen has conducted an experiment. A grade 3 class at Evergreen Primary School have their first encounter with the democracy when they are asked to hold an election to select a Class Monitor. Eight-year olds compete against each other for the coveted position, abetted and egged on by teachers and doting parents. Tonight's film Please Vote for Me is a portrait of a society and a town through a school, its children and its families.

Join us at 10.30 pm BBC 2

Monday, 15 October, 2007

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 15 Oct 07, 04:17 PM

Sir Menzies CampbellSir Menzies Campbell has announced his resignation. Was he pushed or did jump? And who will take on the task of being the third Liberal Democrat leader in just two years?

Michael Crick and David Grossman will be on the case and we will be joined in the studio by senior players in this drama.

This week on Newsnight we're going big on China .Today the 17th Chinese Party congress heard a 2 hour 20 minute address from the country's leader Hu Jintao as he began his second five year term in which he castigated corrupt party members, and promised to spread the benefits of economic growth.

The speech was entitled "Upholding The Great Banner Of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, Striving to Seize New Victory in Building of a Well Off Society in an all Round Way". We'll be hearing from Beijing and speaking to Lord Patten, the former Governor of Hong Kong, who has met Hu Jintao on several occasions.

Have we lost the war on drugs? The Chief Constable of North Wales says we have, and has called for the legalisation and regulation of all drugs, and making heroin available on the NHS. His report for his local police authority will be given to the Home Secretary Jaqui Smith as part of a national consultation on drugs reform. Tonight we'll speak to Chief Constable Brunstrom about his radical proposals.

And business leaders are ganging up on the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, urging him to suspend Capital Gains Tax reforms which he announced in his pre-budget report warning a single rate of 18% would “risk serious damage to this county's entrepreneurial culture." We'll be assessing the danger of that.

Friday, 12 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Oct 07, 05:36 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman.

gbnn1_203.jpgIt's been a damaging week for Prime Minister Gordon Brown. First his opponents said he'd "bottled" the election, then he was accused of stealing the Conservative Party's tax plans. Tonight Newsnight reveals that three-quarters of voters do not believe that Gordon Brown has lived up to his promise to bring about a new era of spin-free politics. And a majority of those who took part in the survey believe that Labour pinched ideas from the Conservatives for Alistair Darling's pre-budget report on Tuesday.

Check our new Big Fat Newsnight Politics Page for full details.

We'll be asking Polly Toynbee of The Guardian and Anatole Kaletsky of The Times what's gone wrong for Gordon Brown and if he can repair the political damage.

The former American vice president Al Gore has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to warn the world about the dangers posed by global warming. He won an Oscar for his campaigning film, An Inconvenient Truth. Roger Harrabin examines what this means for Gore, the environment and the Nobel prize.

We have the latest film in our Why Democracy? series. When a provincial newspaper in Denmark published 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in September 2005, it provoked violent protests from Muslim communities all over the world. Critics of the cartoons claimed they were racist and Islamophobic, supporters argue that the cartoons were an expression of freedom of speech in a Western democracy. The Danish journalist and director Karsten Kjaer went to talk to some of the people who played key roles in the cartoon crisis and gives his personal view of the impact.

Thursday, 11 October, 2007

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 11 Oct 07, 04:41 PM

Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficileThe catalogue of failures over the pervasiveness of the Clostridium difficile bacterium in hospitals in the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is so damning as to be, potentially, the subject of criminal charges.

Appalling hygiene, patients left in their own excrement, food kept in clinical fridges, patients with c.difficile nursed alongside other patients - it's therefore no surprise that the Healthcare Commission described events as a "tragedy." There were 1,176 cases of the bug between 2004 and 2006, and the report estimates that 90 had died as a result.

We are also pursuing the story of Rose Gibb, the Trust's former Chief Executive - in charge throughout this time. Does she accept responsibility and did she get a payoff when she left?

If you or someone you know has had an experience of bacterial infection contracted inside a British hospital, we want to hear from you. And if you're a hospital worker who knows why this is happening, do let us know below.

Nobel prize
Doris Lessing has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and I am about to go to her house to interview her for tonight's programme. In a body of work that so far spans more than sixty years she has explored the inner lives of women, but she repeatedly rejects the label of "feminist."

The Swedish Academy called her an "epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny." As one of the generation who devoured The Golden Notebook I'm delighted to be speaking to her, both about the award and about her outspoken views to find out where her criticism is focussed now.

Why Democracy? Bolvia
And in the latest of our Why Democracy? film series the Argentine journalist Rodrigo Vazquez travels in Bolivia with Evo Morales on his election campaign. He was elected the first indigenous President, almost forty years after the death of the revolutionary Che Guevara. His crackdown on cocaine production, with the help of the US government has united many indigenous people behind him. Will he foment an indigenous revolution?

Wednesday, 10 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Oct 07, 06:59 PM

newpoliticslogo203credit.jpgWelcome to "the New Politics"

"For 10 years you have plotted and schemed to have this job, and for what? No conviction, just calculation. No vision, just a vacuum." Cameron on Brown.

"He said he wanted an end to the Punch and Judy show!" Brown on Cameron.

The Prime Minister promised us a "new politics," is this it and what do you think of it? The fortunes of the parties may have changed but has politics?

Talking of new, we've just launched our new Big Fat Newsnight Politics Page. Take a look and let us know what you think.

Jail a Politician?
Would the "new politics" gain a welcome boost if politicians could be prosecuted for telling lies? Film maker Richard Symons drafts just such a bill and puts it to senior Ministers and MPs. You can watch it now on our new politics page.

Undercover Mosque
You may remember the Channel 4 Undercover Mosque documentary which showed some inflammatory comments from local Imams. It was controversially referred to OFCOM by the West Midlands police, who claimed that the quotes "were a complete distortion." Peter Marshall has got hold of the transcript which suggests otherwise. Off the record, police sources have given him some fascinating comments. Was the local force trying to appease local radicals? Or genuinely thought the documentary biased and unfair?

Tuesday, 9 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 9 Oct 07, 04:49 PM

The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has announced in his pre-budget statement that he's raising the inheritance tax threshold for married couples - from 300,000 pounds at present to 600,000. Mr Darling also announced that private equity tax loopholes would be tightened, and that he would be looking at ways to make sure that people with income from abroad paid a fair share. Turning to public spending, the Chancellor announced extra funding for the police and security forces, transport and health research.

Has the Government shot the Conservative inheritance tax fox? Political Editor, Michael Crick and David Grossman will gauge the political reaction and Economics Editor, Stephanie Flanders will be running the figures.

We also hope to be joined by a top notch group of senior politicians to debate the pre-budget report.

In 1999, the elected president of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, was ousted in a military coup led by General Pervez Musharraf. Since then, Musharraf has led Pakistan, promising to bring democracy to the country. Stuck between the military, religious extremists and war against terrorism, governing is a difficult balancing act between ensuring foreign aid and pleasing the public. Filmmaker Sabiha Sumar talks to President Musharraf and travels around the country to try to find out what democracy means in modern Pakistan.

Monday, 8 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Oct 07, 06:09 PM

From tonight’s presenter Gavin Esler:

What next?
brownnn_203.jpgIt's been a busy day for the Prime Minister. Michael Crick will be assessing Gordon Brown's performance at his press conference, and in the Commons. Now the decision by the Prime Minister not to call an election has been made we can concentrate on the substance of what his premiership will bring. On Iraq today and on the economy tomorrow, we'll be assessing Mr Brown's "vision" - what he says he would like the electorate to judge him on.

We may not be exercising our democratic right in the next few weeks, but we have a series of films looking at those who will be around the world. Tonight we have a fascinating report about the story of a Japanese councillor seeking election. Watch it and you'll get an extraordinary insight into Japanese life and culture.

Friday, 5 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Oct 07, 05:55 PM

Queen Row
queen203100.jpgToday the Controller of BBC One, Peter Fincham, resigned on the publication of the report into the Queengate row, in which a tape was wrongly edited to show the Queen marching out of a photo session with the American photographer Annie Leibovitz, and played to the press as part of the BBC's autumn launch.

The report paints a damning picture of both the BBC's role in the affair, and the actions of the independent production company making the series, a Year with The Queen. We'll be hearing from former Director General Greg Dyke - who made his own sharp exit from corporation - and asking senior BBC management where the corporation goes from here.

Michael Crick is back out on the hunt for clues to Gordon Brown's big nail biting decision, election or no election? He's been darting around some marginal seats, and talking to his deep throats. Does today's decision - after a 20 year wait - to go ahead with the London Crossrail project, signal a green light for Gordon?

We convene our top notch panel of political insiders for all the political gossip...

Newsnight Review
father203100.jpgPresenter John Wilson is joined by panellists Paul Morley, Tom Paulin and Marina Hyde to discuss a new movie starring Colin Firth, the latest Richard Harris novel along with theatre, art and a new poetry collection which mixes English and Punjabi.
For more go to Newsnight Review

Thursday, 4 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Oct 07, 06:14 PM

Gordon BrownWill today be called Wobbly Thursday? Our programme has been picking up signs today that Downing Street may be wobbling over calling an election next week. With two opinion polls set to publish tonight we ask has Gordon Brown lost his appetite for an early election? We'll be investigating and getting political reaction live.

Gordon Brown was just ten days into the job of PM when he announced a major NHS review headed by Lord Darzi, the then new health minister. Today he produced his interim findings, and unveiled his new title. Lord Darzi will become "Champion of Innovation" - there's to be new patient friendly GP hours, greater infections control - in particular over MRSA - and a better productivity measure. But so far it's hard to work out whether Lord Darzi reckons the extra millions already poured into the Health Service have had any real impact on patient care.

Both the government and the opposition say that the NHS will be a major battleground in the next elections - whenever that may be. We'll be debating the Darzi report, not with Lord Darzi who is unavailable but with a Health Minister, and his Conservative and liberal democrat opposites.
NHS review targets GPs and bugs

Political trends
We'll also have an exclusive interview with major US political strategist Mark Penn about his new book Microtrends. He's currently Hillary Clinton's chief strategist, and advised Tony Blair, so what does a UK election look like from where he is standing? Read more of Mark Penn's thoughts - Microtrends is the latest entry to the Newsnight book club.

Kenyan satire
We also have a film about the rise of political satire in Kenya, mainly the work of a comedy group called Redykyulass. They first made their name lampooning the one party regime of President Moi. Now with an election in December they are focussing on President Kibaki and his wife Lucy, and trying to get people interested in the political process - just 6 million Kenyans out of an electorate of 33 million voted last time. It seems to be working. In areas where they make people laugh - where they take potshots at corruption and the slow pace of change, voter registration goes up.

Watch Paul's last film from Kenya, looking at how mobile phone innovations are making real differences to people's lives.

Wednesday, 3 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Oct 07, 06:14 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman.

cameron1_203.jpgWithout autocue and with just a few notes, David Cameron stood up in front of the party faithful promising them change and saying he was ready to govern Britain. And ready he might have to be, as noise of an impending election refuses to quieten down. Cameron took it upon himself to offer this advice: "Why don't you do it and call an election?" We're in Blackpool to count every round of applause, laugh or raised eyebrow in what has been described in all quarters as a "make or break" speech. Jeremy will discuss with the three main parties whether he has indeed made it, or broken it.
Let the people decide - Cameron

Rather annoyingly for our programme's planning purposes, Gordon Brown has still not made clear whether he's going to call an early election. We're hoping he might call in before 10:30pm to let us know. But even without confirmation, there's no doubt everyone is on an election footing. So how are the plans shaping up in marginal constituencies like Chester? (19th on the Tory target list). Michael Crick has spent the day there to find out if the candidates are ready for the fight, if the voters are really wanting to vote, and if they are, who for?
Poll delay 'would be cowardice'

Refugees from Darfur who have been refused asylum in the UK say that they have been tortured by Sudanese officials when they are sent back to the Sudanese capital Khartoum. So why does the government continue to send Darfuris back to Khartoum? The Aegis Trust has submitted a dossier of allegations to the Home Office and is calling for the government to rethink its policy on returning refugees to Sudan. Two of the refugees tell their horrific stories of what happened after they were deported from the UK.
Sudan pledges $300m to aid Darfur

It's the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik. Back then, the Soviet Union took everyone by surprise with the launch of their unmanned space mission and caused great unease in the United States who were pushed into a rapid space programme of their own. Our Science Editor Susan Watts talks to, amongst others, the first person to walk in space and three people who have been to the moon. She asks whether the arguments for a return space mission to the moon, or further afield, with UK involvement are becoming more convincing. So should the UK put our own person on the moon? Leave your comments below.
Beam us all up Scotty

Tuesday, 2 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Oct 07, 07:06 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman.

Basra troops
brownbasra_203.jpgGordon Brown's announcement of a reduction in troops on a surprise trip to Iraq this morning was flagged up by our own Mark Urban on last night's programme. But the timing and the manner of his statement has provoked a major political row. First, the PM's suggestion that 1,000 troops would be leaving by Christmas had to be "clarified", as the departure of 500 of those had already been announced. And then, at their conference in Blackpool, a series of Tories accused Gordon Brown of trying to distract attention from their proceedings there, asking why the announcement hadn't been made to parliament. We hope to put this point to a government minister on the programme.
Tory anger at Brown's Iraq visit

Cameron's big day
The Tory leader is limbering up for what is sure to be the biggest day of his political life tomorrow. The success, or otherwise, of his speech at the party conference is likely to have a major influence on Gordon Brown's decision as to whether to call a snap general election. Our Political Editor Michael Crick has been assessing what David Cameron has to do to win over the waverers.
Tories pledge to cut immigration

The head of the controversial US private security firm, Blackwater, is appearing before a Congressional committee in Washington today. It's said that the company has been involved in 200 shootings in Iraq since 2005. Paul Mason has been watching the proceedings.
Blackwater boss grilled over Iraq

Muslim punks
We’re running an extraordinary film about a group of Muslim punks who've been touring across America, playing some gigs, having some cancelled, and having some stopped by the police. They call their subculture "Taqwacore" - and their sound and message is not exactly what you would expect.
On tour with the Taqwacores

Ronnie Hazlehurst
And, Ronnie Hazlehurst, the composer of a host of theme tunes that are doubtless rattling around in the nether regions of your brain, has died. Steve Smith brings us his greatest hits.
Theme tune writer Hazlehurst dies

Monday, 1 October, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Oct 07, 05:47 PM

Tory Tax Cuts
George Osborne"The death knell for the death tax" says Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, as he tells the Tory conference of his plans to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1m. He also plans to scrap stamp duty for first time buyers on homes worth up to £250, 000. The cuts will be paid for by a charge on rich business people who register abroad for tax purposes. So will the plans revive Tory fortunes? Do the sums add up? And could the policy blitz change Gordon Brown's mind about the possibility of an autumn election? Emily is at the Conservative conference in Blackpool and will quiz a leading Shadow Cabinet member.

British Troops In Iraq

Mark Urban has some exclusive news about the future of British troops in Iraq - watch tonight to find out the full story.

Putin's Power Play
- or how the Russian leader plans to stay in charge after he steps down as President next year.

Putin has said today that he will run for election in December's parliamentary polls and says that suggestions that he might seek to become the next Russian Prime Minister are "entirely realistic." What's he up to, and can he get away with it?

Greenspan the Great?
What's it like to move markets with the odd Delphic utterance? Or to have Presidents and Prime Ministers eating out of your hand? Jeremy interviews the ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan about his life at the top and his predictions for the world economy.

Friday, 28 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Sep 07, 05:35 PM

From tonight's presenter, Emily Maitlis:

gbnn_203.jpgHow snap is snap?

It takes a certain talent - as Gordon Brown might say - to be in the right place at the right time.

Something the Secretary of state for Culture, James Purnell, is discovering to his peril today. But more on that later in the programme...

Timing will certainly be crucial to the call of an election. And tonight we'll be doing pretty much what we imagine Mr Brown will be doing this weekend. Consolidating the myriad polls, mountains of advice, and conflicting external factors to tell him on what date he should go to the country if he goes for a snap election.

We'll speak to a panel who know all about giving political advice - and ask them just how much is left to chance in these decisions.


What would it take to complete a full scale revolution in Burma? How close are the protestors to their end game?

The thing that tipped the 1988 revolt into a revolution was a split within the army and a general strike by Burma's working class. So how does a country - where trade unions are banned - mastermind a revolution?

Paul Mason has been speaking to some of those working - in exile - to exact change in their homeland, and asks whether a shift within the military could occur this time.

And we hear from Pascal Khoo Thwe - one of those politicised by the Burma uprising in 1988. His book - From the Land of Green Ghosts - puts the human face on the atrocities perpetrated by the generals who took over the country. Tonight, he tells us his story.

Thursday, 27 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Sep 07, 05:35 PM


Reports today from Burma suggest things have taken a turn for the worse. We'll examine what - realistically -- the outside world can do to help end the bloodshed. Diplomatic Editor, Mark Urban will bring us the latest.


Will he, won't he? Well, would you give up your job to help Labour next week? Some activists are being asked to do so. Does that add up to an election in November? Political Editor Michael Crick will read the tea leaves.


We've a follow up to our report on the conditions for some young workers in the pizza chain. The Chief Executive will respond to the new allegations and we hope to be joined by a Government minister responsible for the rights of workers.


She's the first female cellist to record Elgar's concerto since Jacqueline du Pre made it her trademark in 1965, but she's having to struggle with unsought comparisons to a tragic legend. Our Culture Correspondent, Madeleine Holt talks to her about the du Pre comparison, Elgar, plus sex and sales.

Wednesday, 26 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Sep 07, 06:51 PM


Watching ten thousand protesters march past the Embassy in Rangoon, the British Ambassador described today's demonstrations to us as "quite exceptional". He says despite nuns and monks having been beaten they will keep coming back onto the streets. Mark Canning also tells us of his 500 mile trip to meet the government. On the day the military junta began its crackdown we'll be hearing first hand accounts from inside Burma.

Following the Foreign Secretary David Miliband's interview with us yesterday on the extent of British investment in Burma, we have had further responses from the Foreign Office and the Burma Campaign which you can see posted on our website. Our Business Correspondent Paul Mason will attempt to clarify the position and to uncover the extent of British investment and trade with Burma.


We have an extraordinary film from video journalist Vaughan Smith. If you want to know what life is like for soldiers in Afghanistan this is the nearest you'll get to it.


And Michael Crick has been wandering around the Labour Party conference armed with his election calendar. He's been looking at November 1st and 8th as possible dates for a General Election. And he's been talking to psephologists and a former cabinet minister about what could be going through the Prime Minister's mind.

Do join Jeremy who's safely back in the studio, at 10:30pm tonight.

Iraq: right or wrong?

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Sep 07, 06:53 PM

Tonight on Newsnight, as Jeremy mentioned in his e-mail, we'll bring you a special Newsnight debate from the fringe of the Labour conference.

soldierdark_203.jpgIraq may have barely merited a mention in Gordon Brown's speech yesterday, but there's no doubt that it's still a hugely controversial issue within the Party.

We asked two people - the Labour MP Mike Gapes and Oliver Kamm to make the case for the invasion, and two others - the Labour MP Bob Marshall-Andrews and comedian Mark Steel - to make the case against, and asked delegates to put their points.

We want to know what you think. Tell us here.

Tuesday, 25 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Sep 07, 03:32 PM

From tonight's presenter, Jeremy Paxman:

dmili_203.jpgWhere to begin in attempting to describe to you the unalloyed joy that is the Newsnight team's lot in covering party conferences?

Imagine an underground car park. Now fill it with temporary desks and chairs, laptops, televisions and phones. Then cover the desks in a delightful collection of old newspapers, plastic bags and filthy fast food containers. Scent the air with the aroma of many overheated people and a lot of decaying food.

You begin to conjure up the BBC office.

Now add the dilemma facing the staff. These events ceased to have much political significance years ago. When they made party policy they mattered. Now they're just a very expensive series of rallies.

So, welcome to my world.

The most remarkable thing, of all, however, is what seems to have happened to the delegates. I believe that embalmers remove the blood from corpses before they fill them with preserving fluid.

Well, something similar seems to have happened here. All passion has vanished. There are things called “debates” happening. But they lack that critical factor in discussion, which is a difference of opinion. Mostly what happens is that someone gets the nod from the chair, goes to the microphone and makes an appeal to the leadership or the party. Then they sit down and someone else has a go. Then the bigwig responsible - or sometimes a group of bigwigs - takes the microphone for a much longer period.

This morning we had David Miliband on foreign policy. Actually, although he delivered his first Foreign Secretary's speech to conference as if he was the school swot being asked to talk at Speech Day, he had some rather interesting things to say.

The most charged event of the last 10 years of Labour foreign policy has been the Iraq War. The hundreds of thousands of dead there aren't - of course - being debated in Bournemouth. So we've just staged our own Iraq debate, which you can see on tonight's show.

Miliband was interesting because he was trying to lay out what he called the “Second Wave of New Labour Foreign Policy”. I'll be asking tonight whether this amounts to anything more than forgetting the First Wave.

Now, back to the fug.

Monday, 24 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Sep 07, 04:28 PM

brownsmile203.jpg"I will not let you down," says Gordon Brown as he promises to build a "Britain of aspiration" in his first speech to the Labour conference as Prime Minister. But can he really "unlock the talents" of the British people and provide public services "personal to all"? Jeremy is at Labour's conference in Bournemouth and will be interviewing Cabinet Minister Jack Straw.

Plus, what do the voters think of the new Prime Minister and his Tory rival David Cameron? Frank Luntz speaks to a focus group of floating voters who are… err… less than flattering.

And the game that's sweeping the conference - Guess Gordon's Election Date.
I won't let you down, says Brown

Guest speakers are often welcomed within the hallowed walls of America's Ivy league colleges. Occasionally, they even have quite controversial things to say. But some cause more of a stir than others. Tonight, Iran's president will be welcomed at a question and answer session at Columbia University in New York.

Students will be able to ask Mahmoud Amadinejad about his government's policies, his Holocaust denial, and his alleged development of nuclear weapons. It promises to be quite a good watch, and we'll bring you the highlights, Match of the Day style, of Iran's answer to The Special One.
Burmese military threatens monks

It's been a huge show of dissent against a government not known for it's tolerance of dissent. Up to a hundred thousand protesters have marched through the streets of Rangoon - the sixth day of marches, sparked by economic worries over the government's rise in fuel prices.

The demonstrations in Burma have grown in size and confidence by the day. In fact few can understand why the ruling junta hasn't cracked down on them before now. Today, the first shot across the bows as the country's religious leader warned the many marching monks not to take their protests further, invoking images of the violence that occurred during the last crackdown. So will the protestors take heed? Or has the peace movement gathered enough momentum to carry on regardless?
Anger at Iran leader's NY speech

Friday, 21 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Sep 07, 05:12 PM

Richard Dannatt
General Sir Richard DannattDo we actually appreciate the work our soldiers are doing in Iraq? Never one to fear the outspoken word, the head of the army, General Sir Richard Dannatt has voiced his concern about the growing gulf between serving soldiers and the rest of the population. His worry is that men and women returning from war find the public increasingly dismissive or indifferent. Or just don’t understand the cause for which they've been offering their lives.

Newsnight has looked extensively at the covenant between soldier and public in recent weeks (watch here). But this is the first time a top military leader has explicitly shown his fear of this dislocation. And implicitly, perhaps, criticism of the mission itself?
Army chief's concern over public
Watch more Newsnight Iraq reports

Back in Business
If Gordon Brown ne Prudence was worried the past week of Northern Rockiness would have cost him his reputation as the Iron Chancellor, his mind may be put at rest after the results of this poll. Newsnight has found Labour comfortably ahead of the other parties when voters are asked whom they would trust to best run the economy. The ICM poll indicated a high level of confidence among the public about the economic climate, and surprisingly perhaps, even their own financial prospects. So armed with this knowledge and a possible spring in his step, is Gordon more likely to announce a snap election next week? We'll discuss the political fallout from Northern Rock and the Labour conference ahead.
BBC News party conference coverage

Lack of Respect?
Is the Respect party - built upon a coalition of anti-war feeling, fronted by Big Brother inmate and MP for Bethnal Green and Bow George Galloway - on the point of collapse? Michael Crick has the story.

George ClooneyRosie Boycott, John O'Farrell and Sarfraz Manzoor join Martha for this week's look at film, art and tv.

Up for debate and dsicussion this week: Michael Clayton - George Clooney stars in a corporate law thriller; Billie Piper returns to the small screen as a high-class prostitute with a notorious blog in ITV2 drama Secret Diary of a Call Girl; a major retrospective of the work of German painter Georg Baselitz at the Royal Academy; and Ken Loach's film It's a Free World - a story of the exploitation of the thousands of immigrants who come to Britain each year seeking work.
Read more about all the items featured this week, on the Newsnight Review website.

Thursday, 20 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Sep 07, 05:03 PM

Shouting fire in a crowded cinema
KingThis is how John McFall MP described the effect of the governor of the Bank of England's intervention as lender of last resort to Northern Rock last week.

Mervyn King, was being grilled by MPs at the Treasury Select Committee over his handling of the banking crisis in recent weeks. The Governor forthrightly defended his actions but worryingly stated that current legislation prevented him from taking the action he felt necessary - covertly supporting Northern Rock.

In effect he is saying the current system does not work. So why, some are asking, has it taken him so long to realise this?
Bank chief defends role in crisis

Liberal Democrats
Michael Crick has been watching Menzies Campbell's speech down in Brighton. The audience seemed happy but behind the scenes has it silenced the whisperings of discontent about his leadership?
I'm not too old, says Sir Menzies

Voting on climate change
When US Pollster Frank Luntz asked our focus group of "sceptics" and "believers" what climate change meant to them he couldn't shut them up.

We asked him to find out how important environmental policies are to a group of British voters. If the strength of the response from them is anything to go by, politicians still have a lot of work to do to convince people that their actions would make any difference.
Climate change: in-depth

Sue Lloyd Roberts' exclusive film for Newsnight last week provided first hand evidence for many of just how serious the humanitarian crisis is in Zimababwe at the moment. Now Gordon Brown has reacted in an article today.

He has said that he will not attend the forthcoming EU-Africa Summit in Portugal if Robert Mugabe goes but the Portuguese government doesn't agree. It says he should be invited because other African leaders want him to attend.

How is Zimbabwe reacting to the Prime Minister's intervention? We will be talking to the Zimbabwean ambassador to the UN live on the programme.
Brown threatening Mugabe boycott

Naming the dog
And, we've had a huge response to our "name the dog" competition. The results are here.

Wednesday, 19 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Sep 07, 05:48 PM

spence203.jpgThe Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire says she can't cope with the increased costs of having thousands of new immigrants in her region. She says some new immigrants "have different standards" than the locals, and blames them for an increase in drink driving among other offences. Richard Watson has been to Cambridgeshire to find out more.

We'll speak to the Home Office Minister Liam Byrne, Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman Nick Clegg and Andrew Green from Migrationwatch about the pressures of immigration on our public services.
Police chief fears migrant impact

Money men
Who are the "masters of the Universe" who run the City and Wall Street and ...err…. what is it they actually do?
Global credit crunch

Martin Amis is starting a new job as a Professor of Creative Writing at Manchester University - why is he doing this and what is the future for the novel anyway?

Blue Peter
All the above and the lastest scandal to hit Blue Peter - this time the cat's to blame.

Tuesday, 18 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Sep 07, 02:22 PM

From tonight's presenter Gavin Esler

nrock.100gif.gifNorthern Wreck
The latest on Northern Rock - the Chancellor's offer to compensate every existing investor for every penny seems to be the right medicine to calm the turmoil - at least for now. But why did he take so long to administer it? We'll be speaking to the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Sir Callum McCarthy.

And on the day the US Federal reserve will pronounce on interest rates, we’ll be asking what is the outlook for the wider economy?

The Syrian Mystery
We know two things. We know that Israel bombed Syria. And we know that no-one in Israel or Syria will officially tell us why. We'll try to unravel the mystery.

We'll be speaking to a senior Syrian diplomat and former US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. The Israeli Government don't seem to be keen to speak at the moment.

Carbon labels
Have you ever thought about the impact of a packet of crisps on the world? Walkers Crisps have put a label on their packets telling consumers how much carbon dioxide has been emitted making their product. It's part of a scheme by the Carbon Trust to get manufacturers to reduce their carbon emissions and get consumers thinking about carbon in products - which account for over half of the UK's carbon footprint. But will a label be enough to tackle climate change and what does 75g of carbon dioxide (the amount emitted from each packet of crisps) actually mean to consumers? Paul Mason reports.

Monday, 17 September, 2007

  • Gavin Esler
  • 17 Sep 07, 04:59 PM

Northern Rock
Northern RockPoliticians are calling for investors in Northern Rock not to panic. But a lot of investors are simply not listening, and have taken to high streets up and down the country to withdraw their money. Paul Mason has been in the queue with them. He's also been finding out the latest on any potential takeover bid.

Meanwhile our economics editor Stephanie Flanders has been trying to find out if anything could have been done to prevent the crisis, and who if anyone is responsible. As the Federal Reserve considers whether to cut interest rates tomorrow - we'll be comparing the Bank of England's approach - and asking if their strategy to deal with the financial crisis was the right one.

Lib Dems
In the last of our series of interviews with the party leaders, Sir Menzies Campbell is in the spotlight. He's cross examined by Stephanie and our political correspondent David Grossman - and says he has no intention of stepping down as leader, and would be happy to invite Charles Kennedy to the front bench if he so wished. Watch a preview here.

Friday, 14 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Sep 07, 05:24 PM


Northern Rock
nr203.jpgThe UK's fifth largest mortgage lender, Northern Rock, has urged customers not to panic as a result of the announcement that it's to receive emergency funding from the Bank of England. The price of Northern Rock's shares have plunged - queues of people have formed outside many of the bank's branches; some have withdrawn their savings.

Our Business Correspondent, Paul Mason will examine how and why this has happened. He'll see what the implications are for Northern Rock. And he'll ask could other banks and building societies follow?

We'll be getting reaction to events today from the Chief Executive of Northern Rock.

Bad money
Our Economics Editor, Stephanie Flanders is just back from the US where she's been investigating the roots of this credit crunch problem.

We hope to be debating the fate of Northern Rock and what can be done to resolve the credit crunch with a City regulator and senior politician live.

The Newsnight interview with Sir Menzies Campbell in which he's quizzed on his leadership and policies will now be aired on Monday.

Newsnight Review

yuma203100.jpgJoining Kirsty for Newsnight Review tonight are Germaine Greer, Ekow Eshun and Ian Hislop.

They'll discuss 3:10 to Yuma, the remake of the classic Western based on Elmore Leonard's short story, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and directed by James Mangold, who gave us Walk The Line.

And Elmore Leonard's latest novel, Up in Honey's Room, is also on the agenda, along with the Chinese terracotta army exhibition at the British Museum library and TV drama Stuart: A Life Backwards.

Read more about tonight's Newsnight Review here

Thursday, 13 September, 2007

  • Emily Maitlis
  • 13 Sep 07, 05:58 PM

A very big tent
Gordon Brown and Lady ThatcherIt was, quite simply, one of those moments where you stop whatever you're doing to stare at the telly: retrieving your jaw, temporarily, from the edge of the desk.

Earlier today a car drew up outside the Prime Minister's residence. From it emerged a former tenant of 10 Downing Street: one Lady Thatcher, dressed in the most formidable pink. Gordon Brown then extended a warm welcome and a protracted greeting ahead of their private chat. So what was this Presbyterian Socialist doing in a sustained photo op with the living embodiment of Conservatism?

Is this the ultimate Big Tent gesture by Gordon Brown? Is there the glint of mischief in the Baroness's eye? And what was David Cameron making of all this behind the scenes?
Brown welcomes Thatcher to No 10

The unseen Zimbabwe
Inflation is at 8000%, food and water is scarce, electricity is erratic and government intimidation is widespread. The description of Zimbabwe is familiar, but the picture is one we very rarely get to see. BBC News has been banned from reporting from the country but our correspondent Sue Lloyd-Roberts got in, undercover, to make this remarkable film. She asks one question - brutal in its simplicity: how do those living there survive?
Inside Mugabe's Zimbabwe

It's taken twenty drafts so far - the White House has revealed - to write the President's 15 minute address on Iraq. It may well take another 20 - instability being what it is in that part of the world.

Today, an influential Sunni leader - and American ally - was killed in a bomb attack there. In one way, the timing works in George Bush's favour. He's pleading patience with the American people, as he attempts to pacify with the announcement of a partial troop withdrawal by the middle of next year. We'll cross to Washington for the latest analysis from Mark Urban.
Bush 'to announce Iraq troop cut'

Formula One
It's got the intrigue of a Willy Wonka factory heist but at stake, not chocolate recipes, but the secrets of the heady world of Formula One. The World Motor Sport Council is hearing evidence against the McLaren team over allegations they spied on their main rival, Ferrari. If McLaren is found guilty of exploiting sensitive technical information it could be fined, or even expelled from this year's championship.

Where would this leave the remarkable victories of Lewis Hamilton and the surge of patriotic interest he's inspired in the sport? And how damaging has this whole episode been for the Formula One brand?
McLaren hit with constuctors' ban

Wednesday, 12 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Sep 07, 05:53 PM

Gerry and Kate McCannMcCann Investigation
We're planning to lead the programme tonight with an exclusive interview secured by our Science Editor Susan Watts about the DNA evidence in the case of Madeleine McCann.

And Madeleine Holt is in the Algarve talking to the Portuguese media about the criticism they've faced about lurid headlines and unattributable sources. Some of what they've reported weeks ago was officially denied but has turned out to be the case. So have they been vindicated?
McCanns consider own tests on car

Just days after the county was declared Foot and Mouth free, another outbreak has been confirmed in Surrey, and there are suggestions that a pig farm in Norfolk may also be affected. We'll have the latest.
New foot-and-mouth case confirmed

Quality of life
The Conservatives' Quality of Life report is out tomorrow, over 500 pages of ex-tree. Newsnight's seen a copy, and we'll be assessing whether the welter of policy proposals, from taxing parking in the workplace to creating a Public Diet Institute will really have a postive impact on our quality of life. We hope to speak to one of the report's authors later.
Tory group urges 'green rebate'

Iraq troops
We've heard nothing from the two men credited with "authoring" the US Iraq surge strategy since General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker began their assessment of its effectiveness to US congress on Monday. We'll have the first interview with one of them tonight.
Bush 'to announce Iraq troop cut'

Led Zep
And, believe it or not, the debate that's been raging in certain parts of our newsroom today: were Led Zeppelin a heavy metal or a blues band? It hasn't come entirely out of the ether - the band's promoters have announced today that they are getting back together for a special gig at the O2 centre. Peter Marshall will put the question to bed tonight, with the help of a rather impressive tribute band.
Led Zeppelin confirm reunion gig

Tuesday, 11 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Sep 07, 04:40 PM

maajid_100.gifMaajid Nawaz, one of the most senior members of the radical Islamist party Hizb-ut-Tahrir talks exclusively to Newsnight tonight. Nawaz reveals how Hizb-ut-Tahrir advocate the killing of millions of people to unite and expand an Islamic super-state and why he resigned from the party.

For 12 years Maajid Nawaz was inside Hizb-ut-Tahrir, not only propagating their views in Britain, but exporting them to Pakistan and Denmark. He was imprisoned in Egypt for four years for being a member of the party. Up until May this year he was on their leadership committee.

We hope to be getting Hizb-ut-Tahrir to respond to his allegations on the programme tonight.

US presidential contenders Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are among the senators cross examining America’s top commander in Iraq, General Petraeus, about the surge strategy today. Will we get a fresh insight into the possible US troop exit strategy post-Bush? Mark Urban will be in Washington as this story unfolds. And we're expecting an interview with a leading Republican senator.

Al-Qaeda has released a new video praising the September 11th attacks. The tape features a still image of Osama Bin Laden - who can be heard praising one of the 19 men who hijacked planes and flew them into targets across the eastern United States. But is this the real Bin Laden? Richard Watson analyses the latest statement.

We'll have the latest on the Madeleine McCann case.

And a European threat to pints and miles will finally be lifted today. Jackie Long has been quizzing people on the streets and finds them confused about our use of both imperial and metric measures.

Monday, 10 September, 2007

  • Gavin Esler
  • 10 Sep 07, 06:01 PM

Is the surge working?
General David PetraeusThe top US commander in Iraq General David Petraeus and Ambassador to Baghdad Ryan Crocker are beginning to answer that question today, at a committee hearing of US politicians. Seventy percent of Iraqis seem to think security has got worse in the area covered by the surge, according to a poll commissioned by the BBC. But the Ambassador and the General are reported to have come to a different conclusion. The US Democrats hoped that the Petraeus Crocker report might help them. But will it - in fact - provide President Bush with some much needed political cover to "stay the course?" Mark Urban's in Washington and we'll be talking to a Democratic and Republican congressman.

Refugee crisis
One effect of the Iraq war that is seldom reported is the influx of refugees into neighbouring countries. Syria, according to the UNHCR, sees 2,000 Iraqis cross the border every day. It's thought 1.5m in all have fled there since the invasion. But Newsnight understands that the Syrian government has had enough, and is on the verge of shutting the border, and setting up refugee camps. Our Baghdad correspondent Andrew North has been to Syria to see how the country has coped

Union discontent
It was his first address to the TUC as Labour leader, and Gordon Brown got a rather lukewarm reception. He stressed that a tight public sector pay settlement is necessary to cool the economy. Meawhile another union - the PCS - is to be balloted on possible strike action. Does a ratcheting up of the rhetoric actually suit both sides? David Grossman is there.

Sharif sent home
Nawaz Sharif, who returned to his native country early this morning in a bid to take on General Musharraf in forthcoming elections, spent a matter of minutes on Pakistani soil today before being arrested on money-laundering charges and dispatched to Saudi Arabia. Could this decisive move backfire on the General? We'll be speaking to the Pakistani Information Minister.

Mr Sharif spoke to Newsnight a short time ago about his decision to return to Pakistan - watch it here.

Friday, 7 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Sep 07, 06:00 PM

Kate McCannSearch for Madeleine
A McCann family spokeswoman has said that the Portuguese police suspect the mother of missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann is involved in her death. Justine McGuinness said officers suggested that traces of Madeleine's blood were in the McCanns' car, which was hired 25 days after she vanished. Kate McCann was formally named as a suspect in the case earlier today, while her husband Gerry has arrived at a police station for further questioning a few minutes ago.

We'll have the latest in the extraordinary twists and turns in the investigation. And we hope to be speaking to a McCann family member and a Portuguese journalist about the case.

Foot and Mouth
A report into the the recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Surrey has found it was probably caused by leaking drains, heavy rain and vehicle movement at a laboratory in Pirbright. The Environment Secretary Hillary Benn said there was no excuse for the outbreak. We'll be interviewing him on the programme tonight.

Newsnight Review
Keira KnightleyAnd on Newsnight Review, Tom Paulin, John Harris and Julie Myerson join Kirsty to discuss Joe Wright's big screen adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy.

Plus, Michael Ondaatje's new novel Divisadero, PJ Harvey's new album White Chalk and the Klaxons perform on the programme, fresh from stunning the music industry by winning the Mercury Award for their album Myths of the Near Future.

Read more about what's on Newnight Review and leave your comments below.

Thursday, 6 September, 2007

  • Gavin Esler
  • 6 Sep 07, 05:57 PM

I've just returned from interviewing General Sir Mike Jackson for what promises to be a fascinating special programme tonight on the state of the army. (Read an extract from his autobiography here.)

Broken Army?

British soldiers in KabulThe man who took over from Sir Mike as Chief of Defence Staff last year, General Sir Richard Dannatt, suggested the army was reaching breaking point. We're devoting all of tonight's programme to find out whether he's right - and to find out why, as our exclusive poll reveals, more than two thirds of us would be unhappy for our son or daughter to join the army.

The Defence Minister Lord Drayson will join me in the studio, alongside retired soldiers, and the mother of Ben Parkinson, who was severely injured in Afghanistan. And we'll be hearing a selection of viewers thoughts and questions posted on the Newsnight website.

We would like to thank the Imperial War Museum North for their assistance in the production of elements of the programme.

Wednesday, 5 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Sep 07, 06:16 PM

Reading a bookExtremist library books
Are public libraries inadvertently helping political Islamists in their recruitment drive? We reveal how extremist Islamic literature - including works by men convicted of incitement to murder - are freely available in public libraries in Tower Hamlets and how the collection is, in the words of the man who carried out the research "warped" towards extreme Islam. One former Islamist tells us these kinds of books are "dangerous". So are these libraries failing their local community?

Terror arrests
Possibly more devastating than Madrid or London - That is the verdict of the German officials on arresting three terror suspects earlier today who are accused of plotting to blow up Frankfurt Airport and and American military base in the country. Those arrested appear to have spent time at a Pakistani terror training camp. We'll have the latest details.

A leaky pipe
A report into the Foot and Mouth outbreak earlier in the summer is expected to find that the virus was carried through faulty pipes which leaked during the floods. But who is to blame?

What hope for Darfur?
We travel to the region with the UN Secretary General as he visits a refugee camp in Darfur and assesses the humanitarian crisis. He's also meeting the Sudanese President to discuss the deployment of the UN/AU peacekeeping force. But how effective can the force be when the Sudanese government are calling the shots. Meanwhile factional fighting between several different rebel groups is making the situation even more difficult to resolve.

We talk to the author of a new book called 'Wikinomics' who says we've barely begun to see how the internet will effect the way we live and work. Social networking is passe and will be replaced by collaboration in which individuals will be given the opportunity to become the professionals - leading to greater innovation and changing the way business and scientific problems can be solved. Is this a cheap way for businesses to carry out research or are we entering a new era in which the power of the consumer is on a more equal footing with big business? Read an extract and leave your thoughts here.

Army Special
And a quick reminder about our special programme on Thursday about the state of the army. We'll have the first interview with General Sir Mike Jackson in advance of the launch of his autobiography next week. And you can submit your own thoughts in writing on the website, or create a video message and send us a link by clicking here.

Tuesday, 4th September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Sep 07, 05:51 PM

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he wants to encourage greater engagement in a new style of politics. Yet today he brushed off calls to go up against Conservative leader, David Cameron in a TV debate insisting there were "plenty of opportunities" for him to be questioned already. Questioned by our Poliitcal Correspondent David Grossman at the monthly press conference Mr Brown stressed he appeared weekly in the House of Commons at Prime Minister's Question Time and that he made regular statements to MPs. The Tories have accused Gordon Brown of "running away" from the debate.

We hope to be asking a senior member of the Cabinet why as a believer in a new style of politics Gordon Brown won't have a TV leaders debate.

He describes himself as a Muslim fundamentalist. And yet he agreed to spy on a group of young radical muslims accused of planning terrorist attacks. Eighteen young men were arrested in Canada last year and are due to stand trial in what will be the country's most high profile terrorist case. But it's the role of the informer which has caused most controversy - not least within the Muslim community with some accusing him of being a rat. That informer - Mubin Shaikh - has spoken to the BBC's Security Correspondent Gordon Corera about why he became an informer.

Leaders of Iraq's Sunni and Shia factions are to consider a series of principles on non-violence after talks involving Northern Ireland and South African politicians. The discussion were held at a secret location in Finland over the weekend. We will be bringing together a Sunni and Shia with Northern Ireland politician Jeffrey Donaldson who's been at the talks. We'll discuss whether Iraqis can learn from the lessons of previous conflicts.

The terminally-ill fundraiser Jane Tomlinson has died. The mum of three from Leeds lost her seven year battle with cancer. She'd raised one-and-three-quarter million pounds by completing marathons and other endurance events after being diagnosed with the disease. We'll be discussing what led her to great acts of altruism while she was so ill.

Monday, 3 September, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Sep 07, 05:46 PM

MoD picture of troops leaving Basra palaceBASRA
As British troops complete their pull out from Basra palace, Newsnight has some stark poll findings about voters' attitude to the army's mission in Iraq. We'll bring you full details on the programme, but the most arresting headline is that over half of those polled think victory is no longer possible.

We hope to put the detailed findings to a Defence Minister. And Mark Urban will be analysing the significance of the move to Basra airport.

Gordon Brown told us today he's going to reconvene a rare procedure known as the Speaker's Conference to find out why voter turnout is so low. Could it be because there's not enough difference between what the two main parties are offering? There seems to be even less difference today, with Gordon Brown strengthening his concept of a government of "national unity" by offering two Tory MPs and a Liberal Democrat advisory roles to help formulate government policy. Is he genuinely reaching out, or trying to neutralise his opponents?

Meanwhile the Tories have made a significant step into Labour territory, by promising to stick to the government's spending plans if elected. So - if you believe in tax cuts - who on earth do you vote for now?

We'll hear from the three main parties.


The doyen of Spanish cinema is over in Britain to see one of his most celebrated films - All About My Mother - adapted into a stage play at Kevin Spacey's Old Vic. Madeleine Holt went to meet him, and discovered that in his next cinematic project he feels ready to confront an episode of Spanish history he's spent his lifetime trying to deny...

Friday, 31 August, 2007

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 31 Aug 07, 03:48 PM

Food productionCombine harvester

Hello viewers - I hope you've eaten well tonight - some fish perhaps, lasagne, vegetables and rice? Imagine the prospect of producing more food in the next 50 years, than during the past 10,000 years. Apocalyptic? Yes, but not a fantasy.

Scientists meeting in Iceland this weekend are warning that to keep up with the growth in population we might need this much foodstuff. But where is the fertile land to grow crops and rear animals? And are we going to achieve the food levels and quality we need by massive agribusinesses, or by local production?

This is all up for discussion at the UN-sponsored forum in Iceland and we will create some of the debate here on Newsnight tonight. Do tell us what you think.

Are Gordon Brown's defences against a EU reform referendum being chipped away from within as well as without? Following last week's decision by the RMT and the GMB to push for a motion on a referendum at the TUC conference, Keith Vaz, the former Europe Minister delivered his own call for a referendum today and it seems the foreign Secretary David Miliband has refused to rule out a referendum.

Michael Crick our political editor reports on the chances of a poll, and whether the pressure to hold one may have an impact on the timing of the general election.

Kung Fu
And then we have a colourful film from the Shaolin temple in China, home to hundreds of warrior monks who practise kung fu every day.

Following the resurgence of the Shaolin Bhuddist monks after the repression of the Cultural Revolution Shaolin is now big business with a million tourists a year, a kung fu reality show, and thousands of young Chinese coming to learn kung fu every year.

Thursday, 30 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Aug 07, 06:10 PM

Nawaz SharifPakistan
London has been the scene this week for serious power-brokering over the future direction of Pakistan.

Today at the Dorchester Hotel, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif confirmed that he will return to Pakistan to challenge President Musharraf. President Musharraf, who ousted Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister eight years ago in a bloodless coup has threatened to arrest Sharif if he enters Pakistan. Meanwhile Benazir Bhutto has said she's close to securing a deal with President Musharraf in which he will agree to step down from the army and stand as a civilian candidate in the election.

So is Nawaz Sharif really the best hope Pakistan has for a return to democracy and an end to the political unrest which has been shaking the country in the last few months? We have an interview with Mr Sharif.

A & E
We have often heard complaints from hospital staff about how the plethora of targets distort clinical priorities. What we hear more rarely is concrete examples of what this means for patients.

Now a junior doctor has written a book about life working in a busy Accident and Emergency ward. Writing under a pseudonym to protect his anonymity, Dr Nick Edwards argues that although additional resources and targets on waiting times have led to improvements for some, the pressure to achieve those targets can mean medical staff fiddle the figures to ensure patients get the treatment they need. We'll be putting his criticisms to the government's Emergency Health Tzar.

Faking it
A hot topic at the moment is how broadcasters can restore trust in television. Something we've all been discussing here is when does artifice become deception? Now, in an attempt to re-build viewers' trust, Channel Five News has decided to ban "noddies" and "staged questions".

Tonight we'll attempt to show how TV news pieces are put together using these techniques and ask whether this is a bold move towards transparency or an unnecessary over-reaction. Let us know what you think here.

Diana and the Express
It's difficult not to be aware that tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of Princess Diana's death.

Over those ten years one newspaper in particular has assiduously followed every twist and turn in the story of what happened in that tunnel in Paris - the Daily Express. Why is this? Is it just a cheap lead for the Express or has the paper been giving its readers what they want?

Faking it

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Aug 07, 02:31 PM

videocameraA hot topic at the moment is how broadcasters can restore trust in television. Something we've all been discussing here is when does artifice become deception?

Now, in an attempt to re-build viewers' trust, Channel Five News has decided to ban "noddies" and "staged questions".

Tonight on Newsnight we'll attempt to show how TV news pieces are put together using these techniques and ask whether this is a bold move towards transparency or an unnecessary over-reaction. Are "noddies" (shots of the interviewer placed over an edit point), "staged questions" (recorded after the interviewee has left because there is only one camera) and walking set-up shots to introduce an interviewee an acceptable part of the way television programmes are made, or do they distort the truth?

Let us know what you think.

Wednesday, 29 August, 2007

  • Gavin Esler
  • 29 Aug 07, 05:05 PM

David Cameron and the Newsnight panelWe've a special edition of Newsnight tonight in which we talk to the man who - if there really is going to be a General Election this autumn - could be British Prime Minister in a matter of weeks. David Cameron has had a bad summer. Gordon Brown - now ahead in the opinion polls - says the wheels have come off the Cameron bicycle.

I'll be joined by the Newsnight political, economic and diplomatic editors - and we'll be asking Mr Cameron questions based on the many received on this website.

Will he really raise taxes on aircraft passengers? What does he make of the widening gap between rich and poor? He says he wants to reward marriage - does that mean people who have children out of wedlock should think about tying the knot?

Click here to watch the programme now - and leave your comments below.

Tuesday, 28 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Aug 07, 05:45 PM

We'll lead tonight with Iraq and the calls from both sides of the Atlantic for the Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to resign. The French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner apologised for asking Mr Maliki to go. American politicians think Mr Maliki has failed to unite his country. But how far is this blaming the Iraqis for a catastrophe imposed on the country by ... well ... us?

Dick Cheney is - famously - the most powerful Vice President in US history. But is he now one of the most isolated? With the resignation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General and following Donald Rumsfeld's departure from the Pentagon plus the strategist Karl Rove leaving the White House, how important is Mr Cheney these days?

A year after a serial killer murdered five prostitutes in Ipswich Newsnight has gone back to the city's red light district to see whether a new strategy by the police to crack down on kerb crawlers and offer more support to sex workers is proving a success. If it works, there's a possibility other police forces might use similar methods.

All that plus Denis Healey at 90.

Also, a quick word about tomorrow's special Newsnight programme - an interview with the Conservative party leader David Cameron. He wants to be Prime Minister - but does he have the right stuff to lead our country, after a dismal summer of internal party rows and poor opinion poll ratings? Let us know what you would like us to ask Mr Cameron by contributing to the debate on the Newsnight website.

Friday, 24 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Aug 07, 04:30 PM

pool203.jpgThe main event in television today is happening in Edinburgh, where the annual TV festival gets underway.
The big topic up for discussion there is standards and what's become of them.

Back in London we'll be doing our bit to reverse this supposed decline.

Our main topic is, once again, the fatal shooting of 11 year old Rhys Jones. Merseyside police have issued a direct appeal for the killer, thought to be a child himself, to give himself up. They also need more information from eyewitnesses.

It is a particular feature of this type of crime that police encounter a wall of silence from the communities that hold the answers. That was the case when 15 year old Billy Cox became the 3rd school child to be shot dead in South London early this year. Today we return to the estate in North Clapham where he died to see what if anything has changed.

Then to Afghanistan where British soldiers are facing daily dangers. It makes news that three more have died, all presumed victims of so-called friendly fire, all the more tragic. It's reported the three, all from the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, were killed by an American bomb. Two of their colleagues were injured. We’ll hear the latest.

It makes another battle that's going on, up in Edinburgh, sound quite trivial by comparison, but Jeremy Paxman's lecture to the annual television festival tonight is bound to generate big headlines. Following weeks of debate about trust and standards, he's calling for the rescue of what he says is the "very soul of the medium."

We'll also report from another festival, this one, surprisingly, in North Iraq. It's the first arts festival in that country in recent years and we'll be showing you the highlights.

David Cameron - a Newsnight Special

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Aug 07, 01:06 PM

davidc.jpgDavid Cameron has had a rough few months since Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister. First there was the Grammar school row: then "David Cameron's Conservatives" failed to make much progress in the Ealing Southall by-election; a stumble on his attack over the Government's running of the NHS; a trip to Rwanda while his constituency was flooded. BUT perhaps most worrying for David Cameron is that, for the first time since becoming leader of his party, he's behind in the polls.

On Wednesday, in a Newsnight special, David Cameron will be quizzed by our Editors about his leadership and what he proposes for Britain. We want to know what you would like us to ask. Let us know here and we'll hope to include some of your questions in the programme.

Thursday, 23 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Aug 07, 05:56 PM

Anarchy in the UK?

From tonight's presenter, Emily Maitlis:

rhysjones_nn_203.jpgWhy has the killing of 11 year-old Rhys Jones shocked the entire country? It sounds like a stupid question, but it merits a moment's thought. Is it because he was shot? Is it because he was so young? Or is it because we think it's now symptomatic of the direction in which this country's going? Early this week David Cameron referred to Anarchy in the UK. He hardly coined the phrase. The song title - by the Sex Pistols - was released over 30 years ago. So have things actually got worse, or does every generation think it's on the verge of anarchy?

Two days ago, the story of a sausage hit the headlines. Indeed, the sausage in question hit an elderly man walking past the window of a young-ish boy. The case was brought before the crown prosecution service which was itself confused. Should they try the boy for antisocial behaviour or spend their time and our money elsewhere? Even the media were puzzled. Do we call it Just William? Or Just Stupid? One news bulletin asked.

But perhaps the question is more central than we realise. Does the kind of crime that ends in the shooting of an 11 year-old boy start with the lobbing of a sausage? And if we crack down on one sausage thrower early with parental or court discipline, do we cut down on life-ruining antisocial crime later? They called this zero tolerance in New York and it seemed to work there under Rudy Giuliani. But would it work here? Just one of the questions we'll be considering tonight as we dedicate the entire programme to the issues surrounding the death of Rhys Jones in Liverpool.

Our panel of five - including experts in the field of gun crime, youth work, violent gangs - as well as the Home Secretary herself - will be helping us to analyse why this problem now seems so endemic to Britain, and whether we actually have the root causes right. Today Gordon Brown promised new laws and tougher enforcement. But this country has not been short on initiatives - be they ASBOs or Parenting Orders - which in many cases simply fail to do the job.

Indeed the government itself showed how little sway it had earlier this week: unable to deport a convicted criminal - the killer of headmaster Philip Lawrence - because the European legislation proved too robust to allow it to have its way. So are the institutions which are there to protect - courts, immigration services, police - left impotent by dogged legislation?

This evening, the big questions are tackled head on: What causes violent crime? And how do we stop it.

Join us tonight, and let us know your thoughts below.

Wednesday, 22 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Aug 07, 05:26 PM

From tonight's presenter Kirsty Wark:

The EU Constitution is back on the agenda today with the news that three trades unions are throwing their weight behind the campaign for a referendum on the draft treaty. The GMB and RMT are considering using the TUC conference as a platform to press for the vote which was promised on the Constitution in the Labour Party's 2005 election manifesto. The government insists that there is no need for a referendum on the basis that the latest watered down proposals don't amount to a constitution, and don't cede sovereign powers to Europe. But can the Labour Government withstand the political pressure to hold a vote? Sadly Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel are otherwise engaged at a football match but we'll have some pretty high powered substitutes - politicians, thinkers and trades unionists.

Is Russia using Soviet era methods of repression to deal with critics of Vladimir Putin? Larisa Arap - a member of Gary Kasparov's opposition United Civil Front - has been released after being forcibly hospitalised in a psychiatric clinic near her home city of Murmansk. Her case was taken up by human rights campaigners and activists who claim her detention was revenge for exposing the alleged abuse of children at that same psychiatric hospital. Newsnight has secured an interview today with Larisa and we'll also be joined by former political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky who tells us he knows of other similar cases.

Others have likened America's involvement in Iraq to its role in Vietnam in the 1970s. Now George Bush himself has made the link. In an interesting speech in Kansas, he uses the example of Vietnam as an argument against early withdrawal of troops from Iraq saying in both cases a US withdrawal is harmful to American credibility with its critics. We'll have reaction to the speech from Washington.

And are children getting smarter? Stephanie Flanders has being trying to find out why children seem to perform better in IQ type tests than they used to. Are these children superbrains or were their grandparents just thick? Is it to do with better nutrition, smaller families, or do video and computer games mean that children are better at solving abstract problems?

Tuesday, 21st August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Aug 07, 04:29 PM

cameron203.jpgPoliticians and the NHS

Politicians love to do battle over the NHS so is David Cameron right about hospital closures or is he wrong? Are a whole load about to close or not? The Conservatives have their list of the 29 at risk and David Cameron has been touring the country to offer them support BUT today a member of his shadow team apologised to his local hospital saying that it was wrong that it was on the list. Since then many Trusts and hospitals on the list have also denied they are under threat. The truth? We'll be trying to find out and testing both Labour and the Conservatives' claims.


Here's a statistic the government wont like. 1.2 million 16-24 year olds are NEETs. In other words more than a million young people in the UK are " Not in Employment, Education or Training. " Jackie Long has been to Walsall to meet and hear from a number of people in this position. Should they be forced into national service? Forced to do community work? We'll be debating radical solutions to the problem

Amnesty Vs the Catholic church

This weekend in Mexico Amnesty International adopted a new aim to work to "support the decriminalisation of abortion" where a woman's health or human rights are in danger. As a result the Catholic church has asked followers to resign from Amnesty. The Bishop of East Anglia has done so after being a member for 31 years. He joins us on the programme to debate with Amnesty his decision.

A GameShow Education

It's India's newest reality TV show and over the weekend Arvind Aradhya won. The prize? A British education - a place on an engineering course at Warwick University to be precise. We'll be asking him whether he's ready for British student life.

Monday, 20th August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Aug 07, 05:29 PM

basra1203pg.jpg"The British have realised this is not a war they should be fighting, or one they can win."

"There is now a clear recognition that the objectives of their mission cannot be achieved"

The first quote is from the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, from an interview in today's Independent newspaper, and the second is contained in a letter from the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell to the Prime Minister calling for the British forces to leave Iraq. Meanwhile British forces in Basra are vulnerable to increasing rocket attacks from insurgent s in the desert on their encampment, apparently as many as ten a week. Tonight we'll be assessing whether the British military has "lost" Basra, and, if we have, are we staying there because of transatlantic pressure?

The tents and the banners are coming down and the campfires are cold. Was the week long protest - fest at Heathrow over global warming and airport expansion a damp squib? Is there climate change fatigue - the leading article in the new edition of Ecologist magazine seems to suggest there is. But is that because companies and local authorities have responded to pressure and adopted climate friendlier policies? Is there a lack of leadership from politicians, who once told us that global warming was the biggest threat facing the planet? Or is it because the pollution threat from China and India is so grave, it seems futile for individuals to make tough lifestyle choices which have a miniscule impact.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is in London to launch Equanomics, an organisation dedicated to the promotion of black leaders in business politics and industry. He was the founder of Operation Push in the states in the early eighties which became the Rainbow Push coalition, and I'll be asking him why he thinks Britain seems resistant to black power.

From Elton John to Roman Abramovitch - owning a football club is a prestigious and expensive business, and not for the faint-hearted, but the new proprietor of Manchester City is perhaps the most controversial yet. The former Prime Minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra is spending millions on the club, but back home in Thailand, the country he fled after being ousted in a military coup, he's being prosecuted for corruption, and human rights groups say his record on human rights alone should bar him from owning a football club. We have a profile of a man who is, at least, popular in parts of Manchester.

Friday, 17th August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Aug 07, 05:28 PM

Tonight’s programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman.

toriestax2_203.jpgThe former Conservative cabinet minister, John Redwood, has outlined how Britain's tax laws should change if the Tories return to power. As well as abolishing inheritance tax and raising the threshold at which workers pay higher-rate income tax, Mr Redwood wants business costs to be cut by a fifth. Political Editor Michael Crick will be finding out if the Conservative leadership are prepared to go for these policies. So will tax become the new battleground at the next election? We hope to be discussing this issue live with a senior Conservative and Labour politician.
Axe inheritance tax, Tories urge

Shares have been recovering on both sides of the Atlantic after the US Federal Reserve cut its discount rates to banks. Our Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders gives us her analysis.
US rate cut boosts global markets

The death toll from four suicide truck bomb attacks near Kirkuk in northern Iraq could be set to rise to 500, according to local officials. We speak to the US Army brigade commander on the ground in Mosul about the recovery operation he's leading and ask him if the surge is really working.
Iraq bomb death toll reaches 344

Are we seeing the slow death of magazines? Britain's best known titles from lads' magazines to women's weeklies are losing their readers in a big way. We discuss their future with two senior magazine editors.

Thursday, 16 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Aug 07, 05:28 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman.

marketsdown_203.jpgIt's been another day of turmoil on the markets with the FTSE reacting to big falls on the Asian stock markets overnight and trading below 6,000 for the first time since October last year. So could this loss of faith in the global financial system bring us closer to a recession, or can a little fear amongst traders actually be a good thing? We'll discuss what all the uncertainty means for you.
Heavy losses sweep world markets

We have a special report on the fight for compensation in the Ivory Coast over allegations that a waste dumping scandal left 100,000 people injured, and 16 dead. The company being sued is vigorously defending the case but the victims are determined that Trafigura must pay. We'll be talking to the founder of Trafigura live on the programme.

Our Political Editor Michael Crick will have the latest on the Conservative Party's plans to open up some clear blue water on tax with Labour.

First the commercial airlines, now private jets. Our Business Correspondent Paul Mason has spent the day with the anti-flying protestors as they continue their battle to make us all care about the impact air travel has on the planet.
"Troublemakers" claim at protest

Today is also the anniversary of the 1819 massacre at Peterloo, when the British military killed 11 and injured hundreds taking part in a pro-democracy demonstration in Manchester. It had a huge influence on giving ordinary people the vote. How has the politics of demonstration changed in the ensuing two centuries, and do the ancestors of today's demonstrators deserve a more fitting memorial to their sacrifice?
Call for Peterloo statue memorial

Wednesday, 15 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Aug 07, 05:50 PM

From tonight's presenter Kirsty Wark:

Iraq devastation
We begin tonight with what seems to be the worst attack in Iraq since the invasion.

As I write the number of dead in the suicide bombings yesterday in Northern Iraq is reported to have risen to over 250, and there are hundreds of wounded - many with horrific injuries.

The bombers, using fuel tankers and three cars, attacked members of the Yazidi religious sect, a small group of predominantly ethnic Kurds who live in isolated communities and whose religion blends Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The US military said it was too early to say who was responsible for the attack but the scale and apparently coordinated nature of the bombings were hallmarks of Sunni Islamist al Qaeda. The US military commander General David Petraeus is to deliver a progress report on the US "surge" next month and tonight we'll be asking whether the surge itself could have contributed to the violence in a hitherto "quieter" area, and why the Yazidi people may have been attacked now.
Frantic hunt in Iraq bomb rubble

The legacy of partition
Sixty years ago today post colonial India was born, partitioned by the departing British Raj, and amidst today's celebrations are painful memories of the rioting and mass migration that followed. Throughout the tumultuous years that have followed, India has been a democratic secular state and has transformed from a country of extensive poverty to an economic powerhouse. But religious and cultural tensions remain, and not only for Indians in India, but also for Indians, Pakistanis, and Sikhs in the UK. We'll be debating the legacy of partition for second generation British Asians.
India marks independence day

South Africa’s legal storm
The Truth and Reconciliation commission in South Africa left unfinished business, and the country is divided over a groundbreaking legal case. A former minister in South Africa's apartheid regime is to stand trial for the attempted murder 18 years ago of a prominent anti-apartheid clergyman. We'll be reporting from South Africa on the case, which is causing a storm 13 years after the end of white minority rule.

The Political Brain
The book that many politicians will be secreting in their beach bags this summer is a fascinating new exploration of why people vote the way they do by the American professor of psychology and psychiatry, Drew Westen.

His theory - borne out by research into American elections - is that emotion is more important that reason for the voters - and that the politician who can "connect" on an emotional level is more likely to win than the politician who can reel off statistics, policies and promises.

So how does he rate Gordon Brown and David Cameron? I'll be asking both Drew Westen and Rick Nye, the director of the political analysts, Populus. The book is a great read!
The Political Brain - read an excerpt

Tuesday, 14 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Aug 07, 05:40 PM

From tonight's presenter, Kirsty Wark

salmond_nn203.jpgNorth of the border

We begin tonight with the First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond's plans for a referendum on independence.

In their election manifesto the nationalists promised a white paper on a referendum within 100 days of an SNP administration. But the opposition parties have ganged up on the minority administration to oppose any referendum, and without the support of a substantial grouping (and so a majority) it’s hard to see how a referendum could become a reality.

Alex Salmond has called for a "national conversation" and the White Paper encompasses not only the independence option but what's been nicknamed the "devolution max" position under which the Scottish Parliament could have a range of new powers including, for example, fiscal powers, energy policy, or broadcasting.

At the same time the three opposition parties will now jointly review the devolution settlement opening the way to the accrual of further powers.

So it is a potentially dynamic situation which poses a number of questions for the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Will there be constructive engagement? Tonight I'll be interviewing Alex Salmond. Then, to discuss Scotland’s next step, I’ll be talking to Lord Forsyth, the Conservative former Secretary of State for Scotland, who urges the Conservatives to back the referendum in order to shoot Alex Salmond's fox for once and for all. I’ll also be speaking to Lord Steel of the Liberal Democrats - he was the first Presiding Officer of the Parliament - and the Labour MSP and former Scottish Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson.
SNP outlines independence plans

Pakistan’s anniversary

Pakistan celebrates 60 years since partition. We'll be hearing live from Islamabad and from author and former BBC correspondent Mark Tully – he has made a film for Newsnight to coincide with India's anniversary of independence tomorrow. He'll be looking at how the country has changed, whether it is as tolerant as it likes to think it is and whether the caste system is such a prominent feature of Indian society today as it was 60 years ago. He'll also be assessing how diverse a culture exists in this democracy, whether America's influence is too pervasive and if religious tolerance is actually on the wane.
Pakistan marks 60th anniversary

Lord Biffen remembered

"A great parliamentarian and respected Leader of the House of Commons." That was the Prime Minister's tribute to the former Conservative Minister John Biffen who died early today. Lord Biffen was in Mrs Thatcher's Cabinet first as Chief Secretary to the Treasury but famously fell out with her whereupon he was described as a "semi-detached" member of the Cabinet. Lord Heseltine said that description referred to his ability to see both sides of the argument and that he was a very cerebral politician with a fine mind.
Thatcher leads tributes to Biffin

Monday, 13 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Aug 07, 07:27 PM

Rove to go
President Bush is waving farewell to the man who, arguably more than any other propelled him into the White House not once but twice. The departure of Karl Rove, Bush's Chief political adviser to spend more time with his family leaves just Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice from the original praetorian guard. The end of the Administration is in sight and it could be that Karl Rove sees little more for a man of a hawklike disposition to do. Rove's fingerprints are on every big Bush decision, in domestic as well as foreign policy, and on much more we didn't witness. His role behind the scenes in political manoeuvres has been described as The Mark of Rove and as an article in the New Yorker once put it, Democrats use "Rove" as shorthand for the Bush administration,as in " Is Rove going to invade Syria?" such was his power. Standing on The White House lawn today with Presdient Bush he said he would remain a fierce and committted advocate on the outside. Tonight we'll offer up two very different views of Karl Rove . We'll be talking to a leading Republican politician and Democratic strategist, Sidney Blumenthal.

Which is the greatest threat, terror or climate change? BAA is accusing the protestors mounting a week of action at Heathrow over the airports expanision plans, of being irresponsible and unlawful. Mark Bullock , the managing director of BAA said, " With the current terrorism threat, keeping Heathrow safe and secure is a very serious business." But at the Camp for Climate Action where the protestors are expecting 1500 people to congregate over the week, a spokeswoman Sophie Stevens said the police were " flexing their muscles." The Met say all officers are being briefed to use their powers "robustly." Tonight we'll be debating protest in a free society, and whether the recent terror attacks - including the one at glasgow airport change the rules.

"A tax cut by any other name," is how John Redwood head of one of David Cameron's policy review groups described Conservative plans to cut £14 billion in red tape and regulation for UK businesses per year. But will easing regulation such as data protection laws, scrapping Home Information Packs, relaxing rules on hours and health and safety regimes be better or worse for business, and would it put a Conservative government on a collision course wih Europe and open up a damaging split again. Speaking to the Financial Times, the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said a Conservative government would " pick a fight" with Brussels to achieve cuts in red tape. John Redwood, one of the most senior politicians on the right of David Cameron's Conservative party will be live in the studio.

Tomorrow promises to be a wild wet and windy day with the threat of more floods in England and Wales, and flash floods to boot. Can our sewers and drainage systems cope? Luckily for Newsnight our Culture correspondent Steve Smith knows all about underground Britain - not the counterculture but diabolical drains, and he's even written a book on the subject. He has been investigating the best and worst of our subterranean structures. He'll be sharing it with us tonight.

Friday, 10 August, 2007

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 10 Aug 07, 06:06 PM

British soldiers in BasraGagging order?
The Ministry of Defence has updated its guidelines which some say effectively "gags" soldiers and others in the armed forces. Tonight we'll be asking if this is a reasonable restriction or not.

The latest guidelines specifically say soldiers cannot blog, email or post photographs or videos which relate to defence matters without specific permission. We know a lot about the problems they've faced in Iraq and Afghanistan through the anonymous postings of British and US soldiers - and I imagine the MOD doesn't like it.

The clarification follows the row over the selling of interviews by two of the Royal Navy personnel held captive in Iran, and the report into media communications that followed. But with two more British soldiers killed yesterday and casualties mounting - will there be online mutiny in the ranks? Join the debate here.

Market turmoil
Why did the European Central Bank have to pour jacuzzis of cash into the financial markets to ease a sudden liquidity squeeze? Our Economics Editor, Stephanie Flanders will make it all crystal clear and explain what the "credit crunch" is all about.

The Political Brain
And people engage their emotions more than their powers of reason when they decide who to vote for, according to a fascinating new book - The Political Brain - about the science and practice of persuasion in US politics which will be in many politicians' beach bag.

Drew Weston is a professor of psychology and psychiatry who has examined 50 years of American politics - the campaigns that worked and those which didn't. He discovered that a politician can have a perfectly sound raft of policies and facts and figures to back them up - but if there's no emotional connection between he or she and the voter - they are toast.

He demonstrates Clinton's appeal, but why Democrats then voted for Bush and not Kerry. So what would that analysis reveal here? Does Gordon Brown offer reason, whereas David Cameron's appeal might be emotional - who connects best with the voters? Does Gordon Brown engender the emotion of relief among Labour supporters? Do we make our political judgements in a different way from our American cousins? We'll be speaking to Drew Weston, and with him Rick Nye from Populus.

And Drew Westen's book is the latest addition to the Newsnight Book Club. Read an excerpt and leave your thoughts and reviews here.

MoD blog ban

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Aug 07, 03:14 PM

SoldiersThe MoD has issued new guidelines to personnel in the army, RAF, and navy. They state soldiers can no longer blog, post on bulletin boards, or release video, stills or images.

The government says the new restrictions have been put in place following the controversy over the MoD allowing two navy personnel, captured in Iran, to be paid for their stories.

But through these blogs and video posts (see the Army rumour service board and Live Leak video site - watch Newsnight's recent report about Live Leak) we have learnt of inadequate equipment in theatre, and poor accommodation, as well as unique testimony of soldiers' lives in Afghanistan and Iraq.

So have these restrictions been put in place to quell criticism? Are they legal? Are there good security considerations for the ban? And why, when blogs and video posts have been used by soldiers since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, are the MoD suddenly gagging their personnel?

Let us know what you think.

Thursday, 9 August, 2007

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 9 Aug 07, 06:15 PM

Cattle graze on a farm close to Pirbright in SurreyFoot and mouth
We begin tonight with an extraordinary discovery made by the Newsnight team investigating the foot and mouth outbreak. The disease may have been contained by culling, and the ban on cattle movement relaxed, but the Pirbright site could still be vulnerable to another outbreak, and will be so until radical action is taken. We'll explain all tonight and are hoping to put our findings to a government minister.

Krishna Maharaj
The 68-year-old British businessman Krishna Maharaj spent 15 years on death row in Florida, and has been in prison there for more than twenty - convicted of a double murder he insits he did not commit. Jack Straw believes him, so too does Harriet Harman, Peter Hain, the former Attorney Generals Lord Goldsmith and Lord Lyall, London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Dholakia and 300 politicians on both sides of the House who are calling for a retrial. Most importantly, having spent months investigating the case, the Foreign Office says it believes there is "prima facie evidence of a miscarriage of justice." Today Krishna Maharaj, armed with six alibi witnesses, begins his final appeal for clemency. Newsnight's Tim Samuels, who has visited Mr Maharaj in jail many times over the years, interviews him about his last chance for freedom. Read Tim's report here.

What is going on in Pakistan? General Musharraf threatens to declare a state of emergency then backs away. Was it a smokescreen for domestic problems and an attempt to delay elections and the introduction of civilian rule? Was it also an excuse for staying at home rather than attending a jirga hosted by President Karzai to talk about dealing with Taliban and Al Qaeda violence, one consequence of which is the deaths of British and US soldiers in Afghanistan? Today President Bush told the Pakistani leader he expected him to take swift action to crack. Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban gives us his take on what is probably the most critical region in the world today.

Role models
As a government report points the finger at rap artists for providing bad role models for black kids, we'll be dissecting who exactly produces rap, who listens to it, and what effect it really has.

Who owns the Arctic sea bed? Canada scoffed at the legal significance of Russia's planting of a flag on the oil rich bottom of the Arctic - only to spring into action a week later, attempting to complete an undersea map. The US Geological Survey estimates 25% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas lies in the Arctic. So who does it belong to? We hope we'll be able to tell you tonight.

Wednesday, 8 August, 2007

  • Kirsty Wark
  • 8 Aug 07, 05:50 PM

British troops in BasraIraq
Tonight we open with an exclusive investigation by our Diplomatic Editor into Iranian involvement in, and leadership of, attacks on British and US forces in Iraq. Mark Urban has high level intelligence pointing to the use of bombs designed with Iranian technology - one of which killed a British soldier. Add to that accusations that large numbers of Iraqi insurgents have been trained in Iran and one question for tonight is whether these actions are sanctioned by the Iranian government.
This comes as The Washington Post reports a senior US Intelligence figure as saying British forces have been beaten in Basra - where the Iranians are said to be active in fuelling the increasing violence. I'll be asking John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN and the Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, how the West should be dealing with Iran .

Foot and mouth
Tests have been carried out on all the drains at the Pirbright site, encompassing both the Institute of Animal Health and the Merial Laboratory, in an effort to discover the source of the outbreak of Foot and Mouth, and they are being sent to the government tonight. In developments today, the Chief Vet confirmed she is ordering the culling of cattle on an adjacent farm in Surrey - though it appears to be a precautionary measure rather than the response to any sign of the disease. She also announced a relaxation on of the ban on the movement of livestock in England and Wales, following the relaxation in Scotland. We'll bring you the latest on the tests.

Undercover mosque
In the latest episode in the TV "fakery" saga - the editing of a Channel Four programme Undercover Mosque has led to a formal complaint to Ofcom by West Midlands Police. The commissioning editor of the series Kevin Sutcliffe defended the programme saying he believed 'the comments made in this film speak for themselves - several speakers were clearly shown making abhorrent and extreme comments." However Abu Usamah, one of the preachers featured in the programme, said "to try and demonise the efforts of these people by taking their comments out of context was shocking." Who is right? Tonight we hope to bring together a leading member of the mosque in question with Kevin Sutcliffe of Channel Four.

And could corn become the fuel of the future? Ethanol, the fuel made from corn, is being touted in the US as a domestic alternative to oil from the Middle East. We've been to Iowa, to find out how American corn farmers are becoming an increasingly important lobby in the presidential race.

Eat, shoot and leave - should evolution run its course?

  • Newsnight
  • 8 Aug 07, 12:57 PM

Giant pandaA team of scientists has concluded that a freshwater dolphin found only in China's Yangtze river is now "likely to be extinct". If confirmed, it would be the first extinction of a large vertebrate for over 50 years.

The scientists added that human activity - such as building dams - may have contributed to the dolphin's decline.

But is human activity just part of evolution? Shouldn't evolution be allowed to run its course?

And why do we strive to keep some species such as Giant Pandas alive - despite obvious evolutionary shortcomings - yet neglect others?

What do you think?

Tuesday, 7 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 7 Aug 07, 06:19 PM

From programme producer Kavita Puri.

A dead cow is moved into a lorry in SurreyFoot and Mouth
We are eagerly awaiting the Health and Safety Executive report into the source of the foot and mouth outbreak. Our team have found out some interesting developments which we'll reveal tonight. We shall also be reporting on the economic impact on the farming community.

In a volte face the British government has asked the US to release - from Guantanamo - prisoners with rights to reside in Britain. Who are these men - and how will they be supervised here? And is Gordon Brown sending mixed messages out on security?

Madeleine McCann
There's a whirlwind of speculation about Madeleine's disappearance, prompted by the reported comments from some police sources in the Portuguese press that they believe she may not have been kidnapped.

Zimbabwe cafe
And independent film-maker Eugene Ullman has a remarkable film from Harare. From the Book Cafe he reports on a group of artists who are able to express themselves and their art without fear of censorship. Read his article here.

Join Jeremy at 2230 on BBC Two and live on the website.

Monday, 6 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Aug 07, 04:21 PM

From tonight's presenter Emily Maitlis

poster.gifFoot and Mouth
Is it possible that the agencies responsible for stopping the spread of Foot and Mouth have effectively been responsible for starting it? This curious irony may seem less of a curious irony if you're a farmer. Many of them just find it outrageous the country's facing the disease once again. We're about to learn the exact source of the virus.

Currently, the investigation is focusing on a private pharmaceutical company - Merial - which makes the vaccine for use in other countries - and the government-run Institute for Animal Health. There's even a suggestion flooding may have caused the outbreak. Inevitably, questions of whether to vaccinate cattle instead of cull them have now become more prescient. But even those who favour inoculation admit this outbreak is something of an “own goal”. We'll be discussing the impact this is likely to have on the way we handle the disease here longer term.

The company has been accused by protesters, of “legal bullying”, since it won a partial injunction from the High Court banning some environmental campaigners from creating a camp outside the airport. Protesters are fighting the planned third runway at Heathrow which they say will do incalculable damage to people living in the developing world through climate change. BAA argues the camp will create a security risk at a time of heightened terror alert and heavy passenger flow. But is the airport authority using the cover of security to silence those who make life uncomfortable for it? We'll be debating with both sides tonight.

A breakout at an immigration centre, with convicts on the loose: if only this were a new story. Unfortunately it's not. Campsfield's problems began just six months after it opened, in 1993, when six detainees broke out after a rooftop protest. In 1997 a report warned the centre was unsafe. In 2003, another warning that it was not a place of safety. And tonight, as I write, 14 convicted criminals are still on the run. Why has so little improved despite the warnings? Does the heavy campaigning of some local residents to have it shut down completely have anything to do with it?

Peru's war zone workers
Peru may seem utterly remote from the war on terror. In fact it's linked in a way that appears to be quite shocking. Young Peruvian men are being recruited to help protect coalition staff and troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are attracted by the relatively generous salaries - but many pay a heavy price. We meet some of those who have sustained horrific injuries and who are now battling for compensation. How did the war on terror become so globalized? And why, despite international condemnation, are these men still being employed in these dangerous roles? Paul Mason and Fernando Lucena bring us their stories.

Friday, 3 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Aug 07, 05:34 PM

From tonight's presenter, Kirsty Wark:

darfur1_203.jpgWe begin tonight with Sudan as the myriad Darfur rebel factions arrive in Tanzania for UN sponsored negotiations ahead of peace talks with the Sudanese government. After what was described by some in the media as Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy's diplomatic triumph of agreeing to send troops to Sudan, we examine the challenges facing the UN over its resolution on Darfur. Is there the international will to make it work?

Christian Aid has told Newsnight that the UN mandate is weak and the wording gives the Sudanese Government the chance to wriggle out of their commitments. They feel it could take over nine months to deploy the 26,000 peacekeeping troops and there isn't enough of a sense of urgency. Marry that to a seemingly reluctant support for the plan from Sudan's president who only last week accused Britain and the US of overplaying the problem in Darfur. I'll be interviewing the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN live.
Key Darfur rebel to boycott talks

The number of home repossessions in Britain has risen by an extraordinary 30% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2006. Why is it happening now and is this an indicator of worse to come in the housing market?
Home repossessions "rise by 30%"

Then we turn to the big political story that's been rumbling and grumbling this week. Have crucial parts of the draft European Treaty been lost in translation or not? How different is this draft treaty - published now in English - from the old one, and do the changes justify the government decision to abandon its manifesto commitment on a referendum? Political Editor Michael Crick investigates and then the Europe Minister Jim Murphy goes head-to-head with his political shadow, Mark Francois, over the issue of a referendum.

Some may describe Newsnight's daily e-mail as a bit of a blog but it’s only an infinitesimal part of the vast blogging universe. It is especially populated in the US where it is now having a significant impact on politics. This weekend, starting today, each of the eight US democratic contenders will be at a big political blogging convention in Chicago. We delve into the world of political blogging with a leading political blogger here, Iain Dale.

Click here for details of Newsnight Review

Thursday, 2 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Aug 07, 06:33 PM

From tonight's presenter Kirsty Wark:

The actor Chris Langham has been found guilty on 15 charges of downloading child porn. He first claimed his actions were to aid his research for a new comedy series, and then said he was abused as a child, and felt an empathy with the children in the images. What will be the impact of such a high profile conviction on others who download images of child abuse - if any? And how do we break through to the thousands of people who are in denial about the reasons for their shocking actions?
Actor convicted over child porn

There was yet more sadness today for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes with the extraordinary revelation that off-duty police officers at a cricket match knew of fears that an innocent man had been shot dead by police before the head of the Metropolitan Police was told. In fact, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission report which was published today, the head of The Met, Sir Ian Blair, was almost totally uninformed of events following the death of Mr Menezes. Robin Denselow delves into the report.
Anti-terror police "misled" public

The Mississippi River in Minneapolis is a scene of devastation. It follows the collapse of a major bridge, a crucial artery, at evening rush hour which sent cars and people tumbling in an avalanche of concrete and steel. So far four people have died and dozens are still missing. But it could have been even worse had four of the eight lanes not been closed for repairs. We will be looking at the science of bridges and what structural engineers and architects need to consider to avoid these types of disasters.
Bid to recover Mississippi bodies

The major international focus on Iran has been to challenge its nuclear programme, but the greater pressure on President Ahmadinejad may be pressure from within the country over the economy. This huge oil producer has even been reduced to rationing petrol. As Britain and the US push for new sanctions against Iran could the economy be the undoing of the hardline president?

Wednesday, 1 August, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 1 Aug 07, 05:03 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman.

From the programme producer Jasmin Buttar:

Sham Marriages
brides_152152.jpgTonight, in an undercover investigation, we reveal how the expansion of the European Union is providing new opportunities for those looking for a way to gain British residency. We show how Polish women - who now have the right to live and work here - are being approached and offered thousands of pounds to marry men who want to settle in the UK.

British Airways
“Any person who flew on a British airways flight between the UK and US paid more for their airline tickets as a result of this illegal cartel” - the damning verdict of the US Department of Justice today on a price-fixing deal between British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. We'll ask what impact this latest scandal will have on the world's favourite airline.
BA's price-fix fine reaches £270m

The Taleban's deadline for 21 South Korean hostages passed this morning. We'll have the latest and will ask why President Karzai agreed to the release of Taleban prisoners in return for the freedom of an Italian but refused to do the same in this case. Who is really pulling the strings in this drama? We'll speak to a former Taleban hostage.
Afghans warned of military action

Party Funding
Our Political Editor Michael Crick has spent his day digging around the accounts of the main political parties. Could they afford to run a campaign in the event of a snap election?

The Murdoch Empire Expands
Rupert Murdoch is on the verge of adding the Wall Street Journal to his media stable. What could it mean for one of America's most prestigious newspapers and what can we learn about the Murdoch effect from the fortunes of his past acquisitions?
Murdoch wins fight for Dow Jones

Tuesday, 31st July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 31 Jul 07, 04:36 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman

It's long been an open secret in the NHS that you don't want to get sick on August 1st - the day when thousands of junior doctors traditionally start new jobs. This year we've been promised even more chaos than usual, thanks to a controversial reform which has had junior doctors marching on the streets and newspapers predicting mayhem on the wards.

With hours to go before D-day, it looks like the predictions could have been overdone. But that may have been the problem with this story from day one. Our economics editor, Stephanie Flanders, has been finding the truth behind the Great Junior Doctor Fiasco of 2007.

We hope to be bringing together a junior doctors leader and a Government minister live.

The British Army's 38 year operation in Northern Ireland comes to an end at midnight. Its support role for the police there has been the longest continuous campaign in army history, involving more than 300,000 personnel. Mark Urban will be examining the impact on both soldiers and civilians on the ground

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has addressed the United Nations in New York. He said the wording had been agreed on a UN resolution for the deployment of a new peacekeeping force in the Sudanese region of Darfur. Mr Brown described the problems there as the greatest humanitarian disaster facing the world. Political Correspondent, David Grossman will have the latest.

Viewers’ comments about Jeremy's interview with Sir Richard Eyre on director Ingmar Bergman's life made us think twice today on hearing that film legend Michelangelo Antonioni had died. We've sent our Culture Correspondent, Steve Smith out to answer the question is art house cinema really worth the effort? We'll also be debating this live with cinema enthusiasts who hold very different views.

You can read more about the debate by clicking here

Monday, 30 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 30 Jul 07, 04:29 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman

In Camp David today there wasn't a pair of "ball crushingly tight" corduroys in sight.
David Grossman was at the press conference to decode the tone and language between Gordon Brown and President Bush and assess the state of the Anglo-American relationship.
We shall have a distinguished panel to discuss the substance of their meeting.

Why are we locking up more people on life sentences for relatively minor crimes when we're facing a prison overcrowding crisis? We examine the phenomena of so-called indeterminate sentences. The idea is that offenders can only be released once they've completed rehabilitation courses to prove they are no longer a danger to society - but what happens if the courses aren't available? We'll be asking the Prisons Minister if the system is working.

Cinematic legend Ingmar Bergman has died at his home in Sweden. Culture Correspondent Stephen Smith looks back on his life.

Friday, 27 July, 2007

  • Gavin Esler
  • 27 Jul 07, 04:57 PM

Domino's pizzaDomino's Pizza
It's been called one of the worst cases of worker exploitation. The Transport and General Workers Union claims Hungarian migrants employed at Domino's Pizza franchises in Derby have taken home virtually no pay for months because of illegal deductions from their wages. Tonight we put these allegations to Domino's Pizza live on the programme.

After the week of some of the worst flooding since records began in Britain there is a new appreciation of what some of the poorest people in the world face. We don't normally report the flooding in many of the world's countries but tonight we have reports from three other countries where flooding is devastating people's lives. And the causes are surprisingly similar to the ones you'll find in Britain - Victorian drains, building developments in the wrong place and cities built round the meeting points of big rivers.

Russian Youth
And while the coming week will see mass celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of scouting in Russia more than 10,000 will gather for a very different youth movement. It's a pro-Kremlin youth group, called Nashi or “our-own.” We've been finding out what the Nashi phenomenon means for Russia and potentially for its relations with the West.

SimpsonsHardeep Singh Kohli is joined by Rowan Pelling, Sue Perkins, Bidisha and Ian McMillan to discuss: The Simpsons Movie; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; Glyndebourne Festival Opera's Macbeth; and the film The Hoax. Read more about all those on the Newsnight Review website and add your thoughts below.

Thursday, 26 July, 2007

  • Gavin Esler
  • 26 Jul 07, 04:54 PM

It's the end of the parliamentary term and we've sent David Grossman out to see if he can come across any mad ferrets. Is there really a serious move by some people to oust David Cameron? More importantly, how well are Brown and Cameron squaring up?

We'll have a leading member of the Shadow Cabinet on the programme. And the Political Editors of The Spectator and the New Statesman will also join us live.

We'll have the latest from - unfortunately - one of Britain's new lake districts.

Tour de Farce
More allegations of doping, more supposed scandals, it must be the Tour de France. We'll discuss is it now time to scrap the race or have a drugs amnesty? What do you think? Leave us your comments below and we'll feed them into tonight's debate.

The next big thing...
Imagine if you could download pictures YouTube style from your ordinary TV. well, yiou can. But in which cutting edge place? Silicon Valley? Nope. Click here to watch Paul Mason's film right now to find out - and send us your own films here.

The Battle for Islam : A Newsnight Special

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Jul 07, 01:03 PM

MosqueTonight on Newsnight we're devoting the whole programme to exploring the struggle within Islam. Has the lack of any over-arching religious figure led to a schism between Sunni and Shia; to the rise of political Islam; and, ultimately, to an increase in the number of extremists willing to kill in the name of their religion?

Is there a crisis intrinsic to the Muslim faith? And, if so, does Islam need its own Reformation?

Or is the crisis a response to Western governments' attempts to influence, or even control, Muslim-majority nations? Should the USA be promoting, or trying to impose, democracy? And when democracy produces results that Western nations may consider "unsavoury" - what should their response be?

Gavin will be joined by guests including the former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the leading Islamic scholar Reza Aslan, and from Lebanon by the radical cleric Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed who is banned from returning to the UK.

Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, 24 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 24 Jul 07, 03:44 PM

From tonight's presenter Emily Maitlis


The news machine tends to embrace floods for as long as the waters stay high, the power stays off, the pictures are dramatic and the streets are wet. But what happens when things appear to return to normal?

Today, the sun is out in parts of the country and the levels are beginning to recede. But for the thousands still stranded, homeless, and without supplies, it will be a long haul to dry land. We revisit the parts of Hull that suffered so badly last month and ask the government what future lessons will be learned from all this.


If you're a monkey and you have electrodes inserted in your brain, you may well take issue with the government describing the procedure as “moderate”. Indeed, you don't have to be a monkey.

A campaign group called the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection is taking the government to court to argue the fate of lab animals and has accused it of failing in its duty to keep suffering to a minimum.

Is there enough evidence of the benefits to human health to justify this type of experimentation? We'll be debating that in the studio later with a surgeon who tests on animals and then uses the results to cure people.


Hundreds of local Iraqi translators risk their lives for the British military and the Foreign Office in places where our troops are stationed. They work - often in fear - and too often for little in return. What should this country be offering them? Tonight, David Loyn brings us their story.

Pay Gap

It sounds like a cracked record. It is, in fact, a cracked record: Women fly our planes, fight in our armed forces, run our hospitals, run our country, fill our television screens etc etc etc. Yet the pay gap between them and their male counterparts won't go away. Why not?

Monday, 23 July, 2007

  • Emily Maitlis
  • 23 Jul 07, 04:58 PM

Flood signFloods
I am writing this in the dark. Because of a pan BBC systems failure. Indeed I am actually writing it by hand, at present, because of a pan BBC systems failure. Curiously, though, this plays into what feels like a return to biblical times. Floods, thousands displaced, water supplies and electricity supplies cut and the threat of worse to come. And this is Tewkesbury, not Bangalore.

So tonight, there are no prizes for guessing our focus. The Met office warned of floods in no uncertain terms. Yet this country has failed to cope - why? Have we been spending money on the wrong things? Can this government realistically go ahead with building plans which include housing on flood plains?

Changing Weather
And of course the wider issue: Be you a sceptic or a card-carrying member of the climate change argument this amount of rain makes the issue slightly tricky to ignore. We'll be asking whether this is ever more proof of our world getting wilder or just another twist in a complex weather cycle which shouldn’t be over interpreted.

David Cameron's in Rwanda whilst there are these problems at home. And he's getting a fair amount of stick for it. Not least because there are murmurings within his own party that it may be time to change his style - or should we say policies - and stop isolating the right wing of the party. And after a poor showing in the by-elections last week when the Tories came third in each seat, those murmurings may gain a stronger foothold. Is he in trouble? Political Editor, Michael Crick's on the case.

A staggering two and a half million children in Britain are overweight or obese. Newsnight's been following the progress of a group of families on a nine week programme. Is it working? In the second of her films, Jackie Long goes back to find out. Watch the film now here and the first film here.

Friday, 20 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Jul 07, 04:25 PM

By tonight’s presenter, Emily Maitlis.

Cash for Honours

levy_nn_203.jpg“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the police for their hard work, diligence and decency.”

The words of the Labour Party General Secretary Peter Watt. Others aren't feeling quite so warm spirited about an inquiry that went on for 16 months, cost a million pounds, threatened to bring down a government, and ultimately yielded no charges. Last night the BBC broke the story that no-one would be prosecuted in the Cash for Honours investigation. Today, with the confirmation, came many, many questions. Was it, as some claim, a political stunt by the SNP? Why did police drag it out for so long if evidence was so scant? Was the decision by the CPS not to prosecute the right one? And where does this leave party funding, and indeed party reputations going forward? We've got a panel of those involved together and the discussion promises to be pretty heated.
Blair 'pleased' at honours ruling


It will be hard to think of the MP for Sedgefield as being anyone other than Tony Blair. But as from today, there is a new one. Phil Wilson won the by-election pretty comfortably for Labour, which also won in Southall and Ealing. So will two early successes for Gordon Brown give him the confidence to face the polls early for a General Election? We'll be discussing the implications of these results tonight with our hot political panel of familiar faces.
Tories shrug off by-election blow

Thursday, 19 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Jul 07, 04:58 PM

By tonight’s presenter, Emily Maitlis:

No Rushn
russian_fm_203.jpgWe waited. We waited. And we waited. When the response from Russia finally came, it looked rather like the one we'd expected from day one. Putin has expelled four UK diplomats from Russia: An exact tit-for-tat retaliation for the expulsions Britain announced on Monday. So will this escalate the diplomatic tensions between Britain and Russia? And what exactly do they mean by threatening to withdraw support from the “war on terror”?

One theory suggests Russia was checking out the international reaction to Britain's moves before it responded. With a certain irony, today will mark Tony Blair's first day in the job as Middle East Envoy. One of his bosses, so to speak, in The Quartet will be Putin, no less. We’ll be examining the way foreign policy is shifting under a Brown government as Foreign Secretary David Miliband launches what he's calling a “new diplomacy”.
Russia expels four UK diplomats

It's a funny old thing, cannabis. One day politicians can't deny their drug taking adamantly enough. The next, they're all leaping on the bandwagon of admission in a “me too” spirit. Jacqui Smith, our Home Secretary, admitted she smoked it at university. Now the Chancellor Alistair Darling - once labelled the most boring man in politics - has forced us to let our minds run wild imagining him, spliff tightly rolled, little finger lightly lifted, taking a good ole drag.
So tonight we're asking, does anyone really care any more? Would you admit past demeanours if you were now in a job of substance? Which euphemism would you employ to come clean? We'll talk to Tim Yeo from the Conservatives who refreshingly admitted he took it and enjoyed it.
Top ministers admit cannabis use

We'll have the latest from Michael Crick at the hotly-contested Ealing Southall by-election, and from the count in Sedgefield - both are key tests for all three main parties.
By-election voters head to polls

Cage fighting
And... fear not. We are onto the fastest growing sport - allegedly - in the world. It involves two men and a cage. And it looks fairly brutal. One practitioner we talk to is a preacher. Maybe the prayers come in handy. And in the spirit of Newsnight, our Culture Correspondent Steve Smith widens the niche market to ask Steven Berkoff why he's so attracted to the pastime of punching another's lights out. He claims Ian McKellan, Michael Gambon and other stalwarts of the stage are limbering up to join him. He's joking. We think.

Wednesday, 18 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Jul 07, 04:52 PM

By tonight's presenter, Gavin Esler:

bbc_nn_203.jpgThe BBC has promised a very significant and far-reaching plan of action to tackle "totally unacceptable" incidents of editorial failure. I'll be interviewing the director general of the BBC Mark Thompson on what he can do to restore trust in the organisation, and we'll be discussing Ofcom's finding of a "systemic failure" throughout the TV industry.
BBC to suspend phone competitions

Political Islam
We've an authored film from a former member of the extremist Islamist group Hizb ut Tahrir.

Brown is not Blair
Another attempt to distance himself from the Blair years today from Gordon Brown - opening up the possibility of re-classifying cannabis as a harder drug than at present. Is this part of a clear strategy by the new PM to repudiate bits of his predecessor's legacy without overtly saying so? Is it a good idea? Will it work?
Cannabis laws set to be reviewed

Tuesday, 17 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 17 Jul 07, 04:10 PM

By tonight's presenter, Gavin Esler:

soviet_203.jpgWhat next? We hope to hear from one of the key players in the diplomatic stand off - but in true Cold War style, I can't tell you who it is unless you have security clearance. All will be revealed at 10.30pm (if our guest turns up).
Russia warns UK over expulsions

Several reports out today claim that inequality now is much worse than 20 or 30 years ago. One tool that the government hoped would tackle the opportunity gap - SureStart - also came in for criticism. MPs said it was failing to target those who most need it. So what is the government doing to tackle the problem?
Wealth gap 'widest in 40 years'

Ealing Southall by-election
It's turning into one of the most colourful by-elections of recent times. Party defections, compromising photographs and some interesting accusations in those election leaflets. Of course we had to send Michael Crick to Ealing Southall to find out what is going on.
In full: Ealing Southall candidates

Organ Donations
Instead of signing up for organ donor cards - "opting in" - should the state presume we agree to be organ donors unless we opt out? The Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said so today. But doesn't that presume that the state somehow owns our bodies? We'll debate on the programme, but you can tell us what you think by clicking here.
Everyone 'should donate organs'

Monday, 16 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Jul 07, 05:07 PM

By Gavin Esler

Back to the Future?
andrei.gifDoes this remind you of something? Of the period between 1945 and 1989 perhaps? The government is expelling four Russian diplomats in the continuing row over Russia's failure to extradite Andrei Lugovoi - the man British police want for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. Mr Litvinenko was poisoned with Polonium 210 in November. We'll be assessing the implications for relations with Russia.

Mayor Boris?
No, it's not another Russian, just Boris Johnson who is hoping to become Conservative party candidate for the job of Mayor of London, saying (among other things) that he wants to put a smile on the face of the capital. Are we in for a new wave of personality politics? Perhaps Jade Goody should enter the fray? We'll discuss Boris's Bid - but let us know which Celebrities and which Political Job you think perfectly match up by clicking here.

Rather like the Biblical parable of the talents, the idea of giving schoolchildren ten pounds and seeing what creative ideas they come up with to increase their money, sounds like a good story. We think so. Inventive lot, British children. Tune in to find out how they made money.

Why are we so rubbish about rubbish?
How much of your household rubbish do you recycle? Across Britain, it's a mere 20% - making us the second worst recyclers in Europe. A committee of MPs described the government's recycling policy as "too timid" today. We've been to Austria - where 68% of household waste is recycled, and there are bold plans virtually to eliminate landfill sites.

Boris for Mayor?

  • Newsnight
  • 16 Jul 07, 02:51 PM

So...Boris Johnson has confirmed that he'll enter the race to be Tory candidate for Mayor of London. He's just held a rather shambolic photocall outside London's City Hall. Mobbed by photographers and reporters, he had next-to-nothing actually to say.

The Boris story has got us wondering whether direct elections - such as the one to be Mayor of London - promote more personality-driven politics. Is that good or bad?

Let us know what you think.

You can also view other comments on Have Your Say's website

Friday, 13 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Jul 07, 06:17 PM

From tonight's presenter, Kirsty Wark.

We hope to have a big story on Labour party fundraising. It will surprise you. Watch this space.

conrad_black_203.jpgConrad Black - once a powerful tycoon - is facing the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence, for fraud and obstructing justice. A jury in Chicago found him guilty on four of the13 counts against him. Lord Black controlled a media empire - including the Daily Telegraph - through Hollinger International, a company based in Chicago. He was convicted of defrauding the other shareholders in this company by taking millions of dollars in fees which he wasn't entitled to. He was also convicted of obstructing justice by removing boxes of documents from his office. He's said he'll appeal against the verdicts. We'll be speaking to his friend Andrew Neil and his biographer, Tom Bower.

Is Boris Johnson going to run as the Conservative Party mayoral candidate? Our Political Editor Michael Crick is on the case.

And then on Newsnight Review we continue the political theme with a review of Alastair Campbell's diaries of The Blair Years. Michael Portillo, Andrew Gilligan, Michael White and John Harris deliver their verdicts after some close reading (!) and that will be preceded by an interview with Tony Blair's former Communications Chief AKA the ultimate spin doctor about what he left out, about his temper and obsessiveness, Iraq and Dr David Kelly, Bill Clinton, oh and Princess Diana. I hope you'll be watching.

Click here for more

Thursday, 12 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Jul 07, 05:17 PM

By Gavin Esler

The Queen and the BBC

How could the BBC make such a mistake? We'll try to find out. Especially since it comes after the BBC was fined £50,000 by OFCOM for misleading viewers of Blue Peter over a phone-in competition.


I've been thumbing through the "Initial Benchmark Assessment Report" to the US Congress on Iraq. Some progress - a mixed bag. What will be the political implications when - as we reported on Tuesday - some prominent Republicans are already uneasy?


We're live at Wembley for a big Labour fundraising rally. How much difficulty are all the parties in when it comes to raising cash?


One of the most important yet under-covered stories is the future of this pivotal country right between Europe and the Middle East. Elections coming up; unease in the army; Turkish troops massing on the Iraq border. We've a special report.

Wednesday, 11 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 11 Jul 07, 05:18 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Emily Maitlis.

housing_nn_203.jpgGORDON'S GRAND DESIGNS
It was demolition followed by the promise of construction. In just 10 minutes, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown got rid of centuries of tradition, by announcing a whole raft of Queen's speech legislation without, indeed, the Queen. Michael Crick will be looking at Gordon's "blueprint", and why he's decided to announce it now.

The Prime Minister's main focus - first and foremost - was on housing. He pledged to build three million new houses by 2020 and said the government would release 550 publicly-owned, brownfield sites for housing development. Few dispute the difficulties many face getting on the property ladder when supply is so squeezed. But the big question - which we will tackle head on tonight with the three main parties - is where, exactly, will they build and will it be enough?

No less controversial was Gordon Brown's implicit suggestion that the super-casino programme needed a rethink, possibly even a u-turn. He raised concerns about whether super-casinos are the best way to regenerate badly deprived areas. Paul Mason delves into the mystery of the missing casinos.

A sparsely populated bit of Russia - in the far far east of the country - is seeing an influx of neighbouring Chinese. For China, this part of Russia is an empty land of opportunity rich in minerals and trading possibilities. But is its destiny Asian? And how, exactly, how do the Russians feel about the presence of so many Chinese traders? A fascinating film from the award winning Rupert Wingfield-Hayes.

Tuesday, 10 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 10 Jul 07, 06:13 PM

Tonight's presenter is Gavin Esler.

Could a US troop withdrawal from Iraq be announced sooner rather than later? With his popularity ratings falling and his own Senators threatening revolt, President Bush is under mounting pressure to announce a change of tack. Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban will be assessing how the US strategy is changing and we're hoping to speak to one of the leading Republican rebels in the US Senate.

Is it now all about the family? As the Conservatives demand the tax and benefits system loses its "anti-marriage bias", Labour claim the Tory plans will discriminate against lone and unmarried parents. Our political correspondent David Grossman will look at what could become one of the key battlegrounds of the next election.

People in New York are being encouraged to give up bottled water to help save the environment. City officials have launched an advertising campaign encouraging people to drink tap water - which they say cuts down on waste and saves on transport. What about us in Britain? We’ll look at the environmental cost of bottled water and the cultural embarrassment in restaurants of asking for tap water. We'll also speak to the drinks manufacturers live to see what they're doing to reduce their carbon footprint.

Do you ask for tap water in restaurants? Click here to join this debate.

These are difficult days for Britain's biggest arms dealer, BAE Systems. No sooner has the British government called off a Serious Fraud Office investigation into their arms sales to Saudi Arabia than the Americans have stepped in with their own inquiry. Meanwhile, British fraud investigators are still looking into BAE's deals in six other countries, including billions of pounds in sales to South Africa. Peter Marshall has been investigating the South African deal - and how it's brought rancour and suspicion to the new democracy.

Monday, 9 July, 2007

  • Gavin Esler
  • 9 Jul 07, 05:37 PM

Muktar Said Ibrahim and Ramzi Mohammed21/ 7
There have been four guilty verdicts on the 21/7 bomb plotters. We have extensive coverage of the plot, why it failed, and what the case reveals about Britain's co-ordination of immigration, the police and intelligence.

The Diaries
Michael Crick will fillet out the Alastair Campbell diaries for what is new and interesting, and we'll hear a wide range of views, from those in a position to know, about what fresh light they shed on the Blair years.

A third of children in Britain are obese or overweight. Jackie Long has spent eight weeks with a group of kids and their families on a testing programme, designed to re-educate them about healthy eating. It's a powerful film and shows how obesity damages childrens' lives as well as their loved ones.

You can watch the first film in our Broken Society series - on the problems kids face in one London borough - here.

Friday, 6 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Jul 07, 05:28 PM

Presented by Emily Maitlis.

Live Earth

liveearth_203.jpg“Would you,” one viewer asked “hold a hog roast to promote vegetarianism?” The analogy takes a moment. But it's there. Just.

Does the staging of an enormous carbon-spewing series of concerts across the globe really raise awareness of green issues? Perhaps, inadvertently, it does. Just as the hog roast - like the proverbial visit to the abattoir - really could convert you to the joys of a meat free life.

Tonight, we'll debate the point of Live Earth. We'll ask whether those involved really should practice what they preach. Or whether it's nice just to have a tree hugging sing-a-long anyway.


Gordon Brown made it clear this morning that he would be holidaying at home. No borrowed rock star villa in Barbados for him. Unfortunately, the man in charge of sanctioning the final touches to the Government of Talents is vacationing as we speak. Peter Gwynn-Jones is the man who can grant titles to the new peers. Without him nothing happens. And the Lords, as they say, are revolting.

Newsnight Review

diehard_203.jpgPresented by Martha Kearney.

Die Hard 4.0; FX's new forensic drama Dexter; photos from Fleet Street, at the National Portrait Gallery; and The Last Confession.

Click here for more details

Leave your comments for Newsnight and Newsnight Review below.

Thursday, 5 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Jul 07, 05:11 PM

Tonight's programme is presented by Jeremy Paxman.

The cost of borrowing is going up again. The Bank of England has raised the interest rate by a quarter of one per cent to five and three quarters percent. Why have interest rates gone up now and who or what is responsible? Our Economics Editor, Stephanie Flanders will give us the benefit of her analysis. We hope to be joined by senior politicians from all main parties to discuss the state of the UK economy and whether we can cope with a record £1.3 trillion level of personal debt.

The government has made clear that it's considering, "as a matter of urgency", extra funding for those areas hit by last week's floods. In Hull, thousands of people are struggling to cope with what has been described by the local authority as a “humanitarian disaster” after the city was deluged with two months of rain in just 12 hours. The local council says its resources have been overwhelmed and it's accused ministers of ignoring their plight. Our Science Editor Susan Watts is on the case. The Department of Environment says it’s responsible for sorting out the damage. But Susan is finding that it's difficult to pin down who out of the agencies and local authorities on the ground is really in charge. We hope to bring together the Leader of Hull City Council and a government minister to discuss what should be done.

Earlier this year on Newsnight we teamed up with our colleagues at BBC Look North in Yorkshire and started a project called Bradford United - with two groups of 15-year-olds reporting on life at two different schools in the city. At one school called Laisterdyke most pupils are Asian. At Hanson School most are white. This week, we got the two groups together for the first time to tell us about their experiences with a different community - and at a different school.

Click here to read about and watch the original report

It's 50 years this week since a very young Paul McCartney first met John Lennon and his band The Quarrymen. As Liverpool celebrates, Peter Marshall reports on a day that changed music for ever.

Wednesday, 4 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 4 Jul 07, 03:24 PM

johnston203.jpgAlan Johnston is free
After 114 days, the wait is over. We all woke up this morning to the fantastic news that our colleague Alan Johnston was released from captivity in the early hours of this morning. Alan himself has been extraordinary - composed, dignified and characteristically self-effacing - as he's talked today about both his ordeal and his first few hours of freedom. Tonight, we will bring you his story - in his words.

We will also look at what happened behind the scenes to secure his release. Hamas has clearly played a significant role in achieving this and have said that they would like "recognition" for what they've done. So what might this mean for future diplomatic relations with them?

Politics of terror
Last night on Newsnight we heard how a former member of Hizb ut Tahrir had been in close contact with one of those suspected of carrying out the attack on Glasgow Airport. Now today in his first Prime Minister's Questions Gordon Brown was asked why the controversial organisation Hizb ut Tahrir hasn't been banned. Gordon Brown said he would look at the evidence. Meanwhile John Reid, the former Home Secretary apparently decided Gordon Brown needed a little help and intervened to urge the Prime Minister to stick with his decision that, based on the evidence, the group shouldn't be banned. Newsnight's Richard Watson has been monitoring Hizb ut Tahrir's activities over several years and will be assessing the arguments for and against.

The moment both sides had been waiting for as Gordon Brown and David Cameron met at the Despatch Box for their first Prime Minister's Questions. So how did it go? Michael Crick will give his verdict.

You may remember that earlier this year, Humphrey Hawksley travelled to Ivory Coast where he met 12 year old Mark Yao Kwame - just one of twelve thousand children who have been sold as slaves to farm cocoa on plantations in West Africa. Watch the original film here.

His film on Mark's plight inspired a London primary school to write a play about Mark's story. Humphrey went to the school, met the children and watched the rehearsals. But the children wanted answers so tonight some of the cast will confront a representative from the chocolate industry in the Newsnight studio.

Tuesday, 3 July, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 3 Jul 07, 03:53 PM

From Gavin Esler

Terror Cells

police12.gifWe'll have the latest on the terrorist attacks in Glasgow and London. We're working on a number of stories on the terror plots and how some of the suspects may have been radicalised. Can't say any more for now but do watch the programme.


Today some sweeping proposals on constitutional change from Gordon Brown. Is this to make government fit for the 21st century or to address the West Lothian question a particular problem for a Scottish Prime Minister? We'll be asking Jack Straw what it is all about.

Pardon Me President Bush

Yesterday Scooter Libby had a let off. President Bush ensured that he did not go to jail. Remember Scooter was the Vice President's Chief of Staff convicted after the wife of Ambassador Wilson was outed as a CIA agent. Tonight we hear from that Ambassador - Joe Wilson - about why he is not happy with the President's actions.

Environment Agency

And The "Polluter Pays"… it's a guiding principle of today's environment laws. But has the Environment Agency - still reeling from criticism over its handling of the floods - also blown its chance to force one of the world's largest chemicals companies to pay for pollution dumped here in the UK - leaving the British tax payer to foot a multi million pound bill? Susan Watts has an exclusive report.

Monday, 2 July, 2007

  • Gavin Esler
  • 2 Jul 07, 04:33 PM

Police at Glasgow airportTerror
Foreign jihadists, not home grown terrorists? What difference does it make? We'll have the latest on the fast moving investigation into the terror attacks in London and Glasgow, and we'll also be assessing the motives behind the attacks. Is there really a link to British foreign policy? Or - given that a nightclub was the target of one of the London attacks, and a previous bomb plot targeted The Ministry of Sound - are these attacks primarily directed against the western way of life? We hope to be speaking to leading politicians and a former jihadist about what can be done.

Trouble for the Tories?
Are the Conservatives stuck in a rut? As the Gordon Brown / New Labour re-launch gives way to the current terrorist attacks, can the Tories get any political traction at all? Why are they stuck at less than 40% in the opinion polls? And is there anything David Cameron can do about it in the Shadow Cabinet re-shuffle tonight? Michael Crick is on the case.

When the boss of a UK company says "we're going to be the next billion dollar startup" there are inevitably weary groans from those who remember the dotcom boom and bust. But is this technology boom different? Paul Mason has been following the progress of Spinvox, a UK startup company, to find out what it's really like to raise and spend £30 million of other people's money.

Critical security

  • Newsnight
  • 2 Jul 07, 02:10 PM

The UK security level is currently at its highest - 'critical' - following the three attempted car bomb attacks over the last few days.

Counter-terrorism experts are working on the assumption that the failed attacks are connected - at least ideologically - to al-Qaeda and recent intelligence has suggested jihadists were planning an attack in Britain.

So how do we deal with the threat of jihadis in this country? What do you think?

Friday, 29 June, 2007

  • Emily Maitlis
  • 29 Jun 07, 04:41 PM

Police take away the carLondon bomb
Who was trying to blow up central London - and why?

Tonight we bring you all the very latest on the bid to target the capital with a car bomb. The details we have are quite unnerving. A vehicle packed with explosives that might never have been noticed had not an ambulance crew been called to the scene for a completely unrelated matter. Twelve hours on - all we're being told is that the device was potentially viable and could have caused carnage. But do security services know more about this operation than they're letting on to us? We hope to talk to those at the Home Office later.

Those at the Home Office of course have only been in the job twenty four hours. Indeed some of them appeared - disarmingly - in news conferences today before they had even technically been announced.

A former top police chief will be advising Gordon Brown on international security issues, a former First Sea Lord will be Home Office Minister for Security. The new PM did promise a government of "all the talents" but what do his long suffering Labour MPs - who didn't make the cabinet - make of all this parachuting? Michael Crick is on the case and we'll be talking to our political panel to give us their take on an extraordinary week in British politics.

And with only two days to go before the smoking ban comes into force in England, we ask if the tobacco companies themselves are worried about falling revenues. Experience of the Irish ban suggests they still know exactly who to target and how to keep smoking numbers up. So how do they do it?

Thursday, 28 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Jun 07, 07:12 PM

By programme producer Simon Enright.

milismith203.jpgNew Cabinet
Tonight the challenge of change has begun. Gordon Brown has kept in post only one of Tony Blair's cabinet. He's got the first female Home Secretary, two brothers and a husband and wife team all attending cabinet. Jeremy has promised to make sure that he goes through the whole cabinet so you feel fully informed. Michael Crick will explain what it all means.

Foreign Secretary
For the 41 year old David Miliband quite a daunting task - Foreign Secretary. Mark Urban assesses the challenge for the youngest foreign minister in 30 years. And we'll speak to a panel of "all the talents" to see what they think this all means.

As parts of England prepare for another weekend of rain we speak to the boss of the Environment Agency - Baroness Young. Has her agency done enough to stop the flood waters?

Manchester International Festival
Finally today is the start of the Manchester International Festival. Tomorrow Kirsty hosts Newsnight Review from the city. Ahead of that, tonight we interview "Manchester Man" Tony Wilson - the original 24 hour party person.

Join Jeremy at 2230.

Gordon's search for a star

  • Newsnight
  • 28 Jun 07, 02:41 PM

George ClooneyGordon Brown has said that he wants to have a government of "all the talents".

We've heard there are some surprises to come - we already know that he's asked Alan Sugar to advise him on business.

At the weekend, George Clooney was suggested to advise on education and Jennifer Lopez on International Development.

We want your "talent" and the jobs they should do. Let us know your thoughts here.

Fitting end?

  • Peter Barron
  • 28 Jun 07, 11:18 AM

Blair's gravestoneThanks to the hundreds of you who sent in suggestions for Tony Blair's political epitaph in 15 words. Some were funny, many were bitter, most mentioned Iraq with a smattering of spin and education, education, education. For him or against him, many thought he'd tried and meant well.

I'd pick three contenders to be carved into our virtual headstone:

"Here lies" by Dave Purnell, is economical and fiendish.

"He united his party for victory and divided his country in the name of freedom" from Simon Phillips-Hughes is elegant and factual.

But it's hard to do better than Sarah, quoting Mr Blair himself: "That is that, the end".

Wednesday, 27 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Jun 07, 06:02 PM

"And that is that…the end".
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in the CommonsWe devote the whole of tonight's programme to the handover of Prime Ministerial power.

David Grossman was on the front row of the Commons press gallery for Tony Blair's last Prime Minister's Questions. He witnessed an unprecedented sending off by Blair's fellow Parliamentarians. Combat suspended - for a while at least - the former PM received warm tributes, a standing ovation, as well as many good hearted pats on the back, he even threw in some good jokes. David brings us the definitive account of the final hours of Blair's premiership.

"Let the work of change begin"
Michael Crick started his day at the Treasury and has been watching the equally compelling journey of Gordon Brown's path to Number 10. He'll have the latest news on any reshuffle announcements.

Jeremy will be interviewing top figures from all the three parties as well as Quentin Letts, Andrew Rawnsley and Jackie Ashley.

We also reveal the winner of the Order of the Brown Nose.

Do add your thoughts on what should be on Tony Blair's political epitaph.

Do join Jeremy at 22:30. Leave your thoughts below.

Blair's epitaph

  • Newsnight
  • 27 Jun 07, 02:24 PM

Blair's gravestoneOn this, Tony Blair's last day as prime minister, we'd like to invite you to write his political epitaph in 15 words. We'll publish the winner on our website.

Or send us your thoughts on his ten year premiership, and what policy changes you would like Gordon Brown to introduce.

Your epitaphs below please...

Tuesday, 26 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 26 Jun 07, 03:59 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman


quentin.gif"Under your leadership the Conservative Party appears to me to have ceased collectively to believe in anything or to stand for anything". The words of the now ex-Tory backbencher Quentin Davies in a letter to David Cameron today, announcing his defection to Gordon Brown's Labour party.

He goes on to lambaste the Tory leader for everything from his opposition to nuclear power to his decision to withdraw from the European People's Party. Perhaps the wonder is that he endured so long in a party with whose policies he so profoundly disagrees. We'll be assessing how serious this is for Cameron.


There's still no official confirmation that Tony Blair is to be the Quartet's new Middle East envoy, but at a press conference this morning he said he was up for the challenge. We'll be debating whether he's the right man for the job.


The US Department of Justice's decision to pick up where the Serious Fraud Office left off and launch an inquiry into BAE's relationship with the Saudis could prove to be the first big challenge to Gordon Brown's special relationship with George Bush. He'll have to decide whether to pass on crucial documents which could aid the inquiry, but damage the British government.


And - he's been compared to Stalin by one man that worked closely with him. So has Gordon Brown been trying to cultivate a warmer style of politics? The independent film-maker Jamie Campbell has been following the new Prime Minister for the past month on the campaign trail, in a bid to engage him in a conversation. Watch to see if he succeeds.

Monday, 25 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 25 Jun 07, 04:08 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman

EU referendum?
Just how much of Britain's foreign policy has been handed over to Europe? Tonight on Newsnight we examine the new EU treaty and ask is it so much like a constitution that, like Ireland, we should have a referendum.

Brown assessment
gordo.gifHe's now officially taken over the reigns of the Labour Party and in two days he will be prime minister. But what will a Brown government be like and how will Gordon's way of doing things differ from Tony's. Michael Crick is on the case and the Republican pollster Frank Luntz gives us his assessment of the new look message from Gordon Brown.

Middle East peace?
Just how far away is peace between Israel and the Palestinians? And does Tony Blair have a useful role as an envoy in bringing about such peace? The western backed Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, met with the Israeli PM in Egypt today to talk peace. But at the same time Hamas proved they can still have a powerful affect on the process. They released a statement from the Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit - the first since he was kidnapped exactly a year ago. Mark Urban investigates.

GB tour
Finally Paul Mason has spent the last six weeks travelling Britain to find out what people make of politics as Gordon Brown prepares to take over as PM. In his final report he meets the surfers of South Wales to discover whether there is a new wave of support for David Cameron's Conservatives.

Friday, 22 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 22 Jun 07, 05:01 PM

From Kavita Puri - programme producer.

gordon203nnpmqs.jpgWe have a a special edition of Newsnight tonight. The soon-to-be-Prime Minister Gordon Brown meets some of the BBC's best brains - Martha Kearney, Political Editor Nick Robinson, Economics Editor Evan Davis and World Affairs Editor John Simpson. He's forensically interrogated on the economy, Iraq, Scotland, public services, Europe and trust. You may think I would say this, but it really is a compelling watch. See a preview here.

Don't miss it. Do join us at 22:30.

And for our Editor's take on the programme see his blog here.

Thursday, 21 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Jun 07, 05:59 PM

Sir Menzies Campbell and Gordon BrownA government of all the talents
Really? Gordon Brown's overtures to Paddy Ashdown to join his government might have flattered but ultimately failed to win the former Lib Dem leader, perhaps more importantly though, they have exacerbated tensions within the Liberal Democrats and provoked disquiet on the Labour back benches.

Is this what he wanted? Rather than showing his commitment to building a government of all the talents, was Gordon Brown up to something altogether more machiavellian when he approached the Lib Dem peer? Paul Mason will be on hand to guide us through the murky political waters.

Ask Gordon Brown

Tomorrow in a special programme with Gordon Brown, three of the BBC's specialist editors will cross-examine the in-coming prime minister. You can send us your questions and experiences by clicking here.

Opium and aid
We have an exclusive report into the growing concern in the Afghan government over whether millions of pounds of British aid money is being spent effectively in the fight against drugs.

Opium poppy growing has risen significantly during the last two years, particularly in the areas under British control. Newsnight has discovered that a fund, set up mainly with British money, to pay for alternative livelihoods for poppy farmers has spent hardly any of the money allocated. David Loyn has been to Afghanistan to investigate.

Watch David's report from earlier in the week on the growing political opposition in Afghanistan here.

Red LinesWhile Brown plays Fantasy Cabinets back here in London, Tony Blair is attending his final EU summit in Brussels. This is Blair's big moment; he's long argued that Britain can be at the heart of Europe without ceding power. Can he maintain Britain's red lines and avoid a referendum? And he's doing all the negotiating with Gordon Brown at his shoulder. We've dispatched David Grossman to Brussels where he is following the day's twists and turns.

Tina Brown
Kirsty Wark interviews Tina Brown, the woman who conquered the American magazine industry, about the highs and lows of her career, what she makes of Tony Blair, David Cameron and her new book on Diana.

Wednesday, 20 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Jun 07, 05:54 PM

Gordon BrownGordon Brown
One week to go before Gordon Brown takes over at Number 10. Are you excited yet?

Tonight he dons his lounge suit to give his final speech to the City great and good at the Mansion House. Stephanie Flanders will be there to hear what he says.

She'll also be reporting on the continuing row over the 10% tax break enjoyed by those private equity buccaneers who've made such a splash of late. We first reported that row in February - watch that report here.

But is it really sustainable for a chancellor who has talked about ending poverty to allow the mega rich to benefit from a lower tax rate than their office cleaners?

Lib Dems
Also more confirmation today about the talks between Gordon Brown and the Liberal Democrats. What have they been about? Michael Crick is on the case.

Michael first reported on this story back in May, and he even asked Gordon Brown about it - you can watch his report here.

And that item on top of the Gordon Brown in-tray - should I, should I not have a referendum on the treaty? David Grossman has the latest on public opinion from Brussels.

Credit Card Fraud
Also, credit card fraud - do the police care any more? The latest Home Office rules say the public should not bother the police if their credit card details are used by a fraudster - only banks can report this crime. Is this a green light to more credit card theft? Martin Shankleman has all the details.

Finally what about the man who is currently in the PM's job? Tony Blair and David Cameron had their usual clash at PMQs today. The next time that happens will be on Tony Blair's last day. Those who've faced Tony Blair across the dispatch box give us an insight into just what a formidable opponent he was and still is.

Jeremy will be hosting the debate at 10.30. Do join him.

Tuesday, 19 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Jun 07, 05:35 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman


"I welcome the report's clear recommendation that media payments to serving military or civilian personnel, for talking about their work, should simply not be allowed," so said Defence Secretary Des Browne in the Commons today.

He was talking about the way the MoD handled the media following the detention of 15 navy personnel by Iran in March. There was also another report today into the affair - into how the incident took place at all. Browne admitted collective failures led to the sailors’ seizure. Mark Urban will be analysing the significance of the reviews.


With the prison population topping 81,000, the Justice Secretary Lord Falconer says he will release over a thousand prisoners early to ease the overcrowding crisis. Is this the right way to be dealing with our lack of prison places? Michael Crick investigates. Join the debate here.


David Loyn meets the grandson of the former King of Afghanistan who's a member of a new secular opposition party. He tells us why his party, the National Front, which also includes communists and former warlords, is a challenge to President Karzai.


Stephen Smith has had a sneak preview of an art collection by some of Britain's top artists in aid of the NSPCC. He meets Tracey Emin - and let's say - it's a rather edgy interview.

Early prisoner release

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Jun 07, 02:08 PM

The prison population has reached over 81,000.

Lord Falconer is planning to ease overcrowding by releasing 2,000 prisoners early. Yet it was only six weeks ago that the government said they wouldn't have to resort to these measures.

Is this the right way to deal with the crisis? Who is to blame for the current overcrowding? Is it cost effective to the taxpayer or endangering the public?

Do join the debate.

For more comments see Have Your Say

Monday, 18 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Jun 07, 05:49 PM

From Gavin Esler, Newsnight presenter

Salman RushdieSalman Rushdie
The government of Pakistan has demanded that Britain withdraw the honour of a knighthood awarded to author Salman Rushdie. In the heated atmosphere the knighthood has caused, Pakistan's religious affairs minister appears to use the award as a justification for suicide bombing.

David Cameron and the Battle for Britain
The Conservative leader has made a speech rallying his troops against what he sees as the "old" politics of Gordon Brown. We'll be hearing from a senior member of the Shadow Cabinet about whether this is an attempt by Mr Cameron to get back on track after a very shaky couple of weeks.
And you can tell us what you think of his plan for government - Join the debate here.

Israel and the Palestinians
The schism between Gaza and the West Bank leaves Israel with the unpalatable possibility of a kind of "three state" solution" - two hostile Palestinian entities on its borders. With Prime Minister Olmert visiting the United States, we'll hear from a top Israeli about what the Olmert government sees as the next moves on Gaza.

Bernard Manning
The comedian Bernard Manning died today. Steve Smith will be assessing what he did for British comedy.

Power to the people?

  • Newsnight
  • 18 Jun 07, 01:26 PM

David CameronAt a speech in Tooting (home of Citizen Smith of course) David Cameron told us today what his big idea is for government - to do much less of it.

He wants people to make many more decisions at a local level, and take much more control over running their communities - harnessing the philosophy of the "wiki-generation".

"Every time we see a problem, we don't just ask what government can do. We ask what people can do, what society can do. That's the big difference between us and Gordon Brown, " he said.

Is it right to devolve power in this way or should we leave it to the politicians we elect to make decisions on our behalf? Is it achievable? Is it something politicians find easy to promise in opposition, but harder to deliver on in government? Is it a new idea, or is it one that is fundamental to the idea of Conservatism anyway?

Tell us what you think.

Friday, 15 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Jun 07, 04:38 PM

From Kirsty Wark, Newsnight presenter.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at Friday prayersGaza
Who is in control in Gaza, and who can resolve the crisis between Hamas and Fatah which is making the lives or ordinary Palestinians a nightmare? Hamas has seized the Gaza strip after a week of factional fighting between the rival groups which resulted in dreadful bloodshed.

The Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas has declared a state of emergency in Gaza and has appointed a new interim Prime Minister, Salam Fayyed, an Independent and a former World Bank official. But this move could be described as "firefighting". Is there any chance of a lasting peace? Is another unity government out of the question and with our Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett describing the violence in Gaza as "a coup" does the international community have a role to play in conflict resolution?

Lord Stevens' Inquiry into "football bungs" has reported that, after more than a year of investigations, questions remain over 17 transfers to five Premier League clubs - Chelsea, Newcastle, Bolton, Middlesborough and Portsmouth. The former Metropolitan Police commissioner has also expressed concern about agents and third parties involved in the transfers.

Now it's the Football Association's job to take these investigations further. Tonight we'll be examining Lord Stevens' report and asking whether the protestations of innocence by the Association of Football Agents are credible.

EU summit
If Tony Blair was looking to next week's European summit to provide a gala end to his time as Prime minister Angela Markel's billet doux to the member states encouraging them to approve a European constitution in all but name - add to that Poland's anger about the country's voting power within the Union - and next week's summit looks like being a rancorous affair.

The idea of a "charter of fundamental rights" is an anathema to the Labour government so what will Tony Blair do next week? Our Europe editor Mark Mardell gives us the inside track.

Local government
And radicalism is alive and well in the home of the Magna Carta - the people of Bury St Edmunds were so fed up with their local government, they voted to abolish it. Steve Smith has been watching anarchy in action - on the day that Michael Heseltine launched his new blueprint (same as his old blueprint?) for reviving local government - directly elected mayors with "very substantial powers". What would the people of Bury St Edmunds make of that?

Newsnight Review - 15 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 15 Jun 07, 02:07 PM

hockney_203.gifEdith Piaf's voice is legendary; her unmistakable delivery invokes equal parts Parisian heartbreak and hopefulness. Marion Cotillard gives a rousing performance as Piaf in the film La Vie en Rose – the Review panel give their verdict.

Plus, David Hockney’s selection of watercolours by English artist JWM Turner has opened at Tate Britain – Review takes a look. They also leaf through The Diana Chronicles, a biography by Tina Brown; and reveal whether they were switched on by BBC ONE’s new drama Jekyll.

Martha Kearney is joined on the sofas by Rosie Boycott, Mark Kermode, Andrew Roberts and Ian Rankin. Do you agree with their views? Leave your comments below.

For more details on the items featured in this week’s programme, click here.

Thursday, 14 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Jun 07, 05:02 PM

By Gavin Esler, Newsnight presenter.

Palestinian Fatah-affiliated policemenPalestinian conflict
Jordan's King Abdullah prophesied in December last year that the truly pessimistic scenario for the Middle East would be three civil wars in 2007 - in Iraq, in Lebanon, and in Palestine. Well, it looks like about two and a half. Tonight we'll have the latest from Gaza and the West Bank and what now looks like the schism between two Palestinian statelets, plus we hope to hear from a top level Israeli.

Control Orders
The government has been consistent in its loathing of control orders for dealing with terrorist suspects against whom there is insufficient information to bring charges. Now we learn that one of those who absconded had links to a key player in the 7/7 London bombings and the leader of the gang which tried a similar kind of mayhem but were stopped just in time. We'll debate what can be done about suspects of this type - if anything.

Live Leak
The British based company gets 200 videos from US soldiers a day. They show a side of Iraq you rarely see on the television screens. Some are incredibly distrubing showing US soldiers taunting Iraqis. And the Pentagon is trying to stop them showing their personal record of the war.

Broken Society
Do you know what a "shank" is? If you don't, then our very disturbing film from Hackney tonight will tell you about the nastiest side of our youth culture, the violence, and the hopelessness of one young man who says that if he fails his exams he will pursue a career opportunity as a crack dealer. It's the stuff of nightmares, but it is happening in our country. You can watch the film right now here and even download it as a podcast from here.

And tell us what subjects you'd like to see us tackling as part of our "Broken Society" series by joining the debate here.

Broken Society: Hackney's kids

  • Newsnight
  • 14 Jun 07, 01:40 PM

knife_bs__203.jpgIn the first of our series "Broken Society", we have a powerful film made by children in Hackney. They talk about living on the estates there: their experience of gang culture, gun and knife crime.

Earlier this year there were a series of murders of young black people in south London. Tony Blair in April said that the spate of gun attacks was part of a "distinctive black culture" rather than about poverty and deprivation.

Is he right? What's your experience of gangs and gun crime? Is it confined to one ethnic group? Do join the debate below. And tell us what subjects you'd like to see us tackling as part of our "Broken Society" series.

You can see the report here

Wednesday, 13 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Jun 07, 04:36 PM

Presented by Emily Maitlis

We mark an important centenary this evening; the 100th birthday of the caravan park.
You will no doubt be thinking of Margaret Beckett at this point. So let me bring this full circle and start with Foreign Affairs in a part of the world that is looking increasingly volatile tonight:

gaz_203.gifWhen the Palestinian President himself throws up his hands and cries 'This is madness!' you know things aren't going too well in Gaza. Mahmood Abbas really isn't mincing his words. He's said that without a ceasefire the situation will collapse.

Today, gunfire was turned on thousands of unarmed Palestinian civilians demonstrating against violence on both sides - and policemen loyal to Fatah fled across the border to Egypt to escape Hamas militants. So did the West have a role to play in helping to create this chaos - or is this internal wrangling which the West should stay out of? And what can be done to solve the crisis?

As ever in the Middle East, it doesn't stop there.

A car bomb has exploded in Beirut killing an MP and five others. The legislator - Walid Eido - was well known for his anti-Syrian views - and the method of assassination appears to be the same as that used in the past to assassinate Syria's opponents. It's almost exactly a year since the war between Hezbollah and Israel was played out on the streets of Lebanon. Tonight we ask if the battles between radical groups in the Middle East are gaining momentum.

In the latest in his series on how Blair changed Britain, Jeremy Paxman spends a day in rural England talking to people, some of whom feel they are Britain's most ignored minority group. What do you think? Join the debate here.

Which brings us back, rather nicely, to aforementioned caravans, and Steve Smith's celebrations thereof. Ever made a 100th birthday cake on a camp fire?

Blair's Britain: the countryside

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Jun 07, 12:45 PM

Northumberland countrysideOn Wednesday's Newsnight Jeremy Paxman continues his series on Blair's Britain (watch the previous films: Northern Ireland and The Economy). He's taken the train to Northumberland, close to where the foot and mouth epidemic began, to see how rural life has changed during the last decade and finds some people are still reeling from what happened then.

One former farmer told him she believes that "country people are the most ignored minority group there is". What do you think of the way Blair has handled the countryside? If you live or work in the countryside we'd also like to know your views. Join the debate below and watch Jeremy tonight.

Tuesday, 12 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 12 Jun 07, 04:20 PM

Presented by Jeremy Paxman:

The media is a "feral beast"