28/07/2011 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Gavin Esler.

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Tonight, just when you think it could not possibly get any worse,


further revelation about the detective hired by the News of the


World. The phone number of Sara Payne, the mother of the murdered


schoolgirl, was found among Glenn Mulcaire's papers, she says she's


absolutely devastated to learn her phone may have been hacked. We will


discuss that and the impact the scandal could have on James


Murdoch's leadership of BSkyB. What's the real cost of America's


debt crisis in the footsteps of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of


Wrath, Paul Mason takes the trail of misery from Oklahoma to


California, to find lost lands and the newly homeless middle-class.


What is the hardest thing about it? Just having my kids here. America's


top general is back home, David Petraeus talks to us about his


hopes for Afghanistan, and shaky relations with Pakistan. Everyone


is stepping back from the abyss, after looking into it. And can it


really be true that watching this programme can seriously damage your


love life, not everyone thinks so. Newsnight is one of the greatest


aphrodisiacs, political debate, what more could a woman ask for!


Good evening, at every stage of the phone hacking scandal, it seemed


difficult to believe the revelations could be more shocking,


but tonight, again, they may just be. After her daughter was murdered,


Sara Payne, worked together with the News of the World to publicise


information about paedophiles. Now, it turns out, the number of her


mobile phone was discovered among the papers of the disgraced private


detective, Glenn Mulcaire. We don't actually know if she was hacked, or


by whom, but she says she's devastated at the thought she may


have been. Even at the end, the News of the


World had a few friends left. Even after the politicians, and the


advertisers had deserted the title, Sara Payne was still proud to


standby the paper that had fought for her cause.


Sara Payne gave this tribute, having been told by the police that


she was not among those suspected of having their phones hacked by


the News of the World. Now that assurance has been withdrawn.


People will be deeply shocked that the newspaper which was campaigning


for Sarah's Law, was at the same time invading the privacy of her


mother. It is unspeakable that we hear these allegations tonight.


That lady has been through the trauma of what happened to her


daughter, has had serious medical conditions, and thought that


newspaper was on her side. Even at the depths of the phone hacking


scandal, News International executives tried to keep reminding


the public not to lose sight of its role in changing the law. As you


know, part of the, my main focus of my editorship of the News of the


World was in convincing the parliament that there needed to be


radical changes to the 1997 Sex Offenders Act, which became known


as Sarah's Law, which was very similar to laws imposed in America


under Megan's Law. Sarah Payne was murdered in 2000. Her killer, Roy


Whiting, was a known sex offender, Sarah's mother, Sara Payne


campaigned for a change in the law, the News of the World helped.


Parents should have, they argued, controlled access to the sex


offenders' register, to find out if somebody living nearby is danger to


their children. Rebekah Brooks called this law change the


highlight of her tenure as editor The damaging influence that many


are drawing from these allegations that the News of the World only


gave the phone to Sara Payne, in order to hack it. One commentator


believes we should discount this as a theory. They would have been able


to hack her phone, the phone she already had any way. It is not


clear what benefit they get from having a phone that only they know


the number of it, if that was the case who else would leave messages,


on the face of it, it doesn't really add up that is the most


likely explanation. Although, if true, it is a very damaging one


indeed. More likely, what this illustrate, it is a new low,


certainly, the level, the appearance of disloyalty, double


dealing, betrayal, even, no doubt Sara Payne feels it very deeply,


that is shocking, even by gutter tabloid standards, if you like.


Others believe tonight's revelations actually lend credence


to Rebekah Brooks' claim not to have sanctioned phone hacking. One


former senior member of the News of All that is so far alleged is that


Sara Payne's phone was targeted. It is not clear that the private


investigator who allegedly did this was working for the News of the


World at the time, nor that, if he did try, he was successful. Tonight,


the former News of the World employee, Hayley Barlow, who became


very close to Sara Payne tweeted Today the far-reaching inquiry,


triggered by the phone hacking scandal, had its first meeting. The


panel will begin hearing evidence in September. The focus of the


inquiry is the culture, practices ethics of the press, in the context


of the latter's relationship with the public, the police, and


politicians. All these matters overlap, and my goal must be to


consider what lessons, if any, may be learned from past events, and


what recommendations, if any, should be made for the future, in


particular as regards press regulation, governance, and systems


of oversight. It was in this man's notebooks that Sara Payne's details


were allegedly found, along with those of around 4,000 other people.


This evening the News of the World's private investigator, Glenn


Mulcaire, was saying nothing. With fewer than 200 of the possible


victims so far contacted by the police, it is a safe assumption


that there are more revelations to come.


More revelations indeed in just the past few minutes, breaking news,


the police officer who led the investigation into the murder of


Sarah Payne, has told the BBC, that he contacted officers from


Operation Weeting two weeks ago to say he also could have been the


victim of phone hacking. It surrounds an occasion where he was


contacted by a senior news executive from News of the World,


about a story that he believes was gained by listening to his messages.


In yet another development today, the BSkyB board have offered their


unanimous support to their chairman, James Murdoch, on the eve of the


company's results being announced tomorrow, the board will keep a


watching brief on external issues. Not all the shareholders are happy.


What happened today? You had a meeting this afternoon of


the board, it went on for a long time. What is significant is they


came out of the statement saying James Murdoch had their unanimous


support, more or less when the news about Sara Payne was breaking. They


had a few adjustments after. We have been hearing afterwards that


non-executive directors were grilling James Murdoch, he was told


by one he was on probation. He was always a controversial choice,


because it is a listed company, anyone can buy or sell shares in t


it is not meant to be run like family business. Back in 2003,


James Murdoch was a controversial choice for chief executive, when he


became chairman in 2007, it was questioned could he be independent,


can you really represent shareholders equally, when your dad


controls 39% of the company. Sharehold hearse a gripe, as well,


that they weren't quite happy with the price it was suggested to pay.


They won't be as unanimous as the board was. I spoke to one


shareholder from one of the smaller investment groups, he wanted to


remain anonymous, but he was adamant James Murdoch should stand


down. He said: Shareholders wouldn't be doing


their job if they weren't thinking about the money. What will happen


tomorrow? Tomorrow we will get the results and the profits. This is a


highly lucrative business, it made �752 million of profits last year.


This year it is expected to go up to �950 million. This business, as


one shareholder told me, just throws off cash. The days peerns of


the takeover bid has obviously meant - disappearance of the


takeover bid means the price has headed south, they are hoping that


their patience of Sky, when they invested new money into new


technology, that their patience would be rewarded, there is a hope


they will get a special dividend to handsome of their money back. I


asked one supportive shareholder, James Bevan of CCLA investments, he


manages money for churches and charities. I asked him what he


really thought about whether the ethical questions were separate


from the financial ones? Absolutely not, we think that corporate


governance lies at the heart of long-term shareholder value, we are


really very concerned that we do have a chairman, who is going to be


doing the right thing, both in terms of ethic, but also in terms


of the law. That said, it seems to me he has been a first rate steward


of shareholder value over the years. We think that BSkyB is in an


absolutely first rate position. With their thoughts on revelations


from the investigation, and the news about the impact on BSkyB, I'm


joined by the former chairman of the BBC, Christopher Bland, the


Times editor, formerly, David Evans, and Tom Watson on the committee for


investigating the crisis. This story about Sara Payne seems to be


shocking, we don't know if she had her phone hacked or the details?


is a new low, but yet another scandalous revelation, I do very


much, my party goes out to Sara Payne tonight, she must wonder who


her friends are. More importantly, what it shows is this company is


still not showing any contrition. They have hired this highly


expensive PR firm in London to put a statement out. There has been no


apology, no acceptance of the fact that Rebekah Brooks is ultimately


responsible for the culture that allowed these kind of things to


happen. People who know Rebekah Brooks say, this is the last thing


she would have done, she genuinely was friends with Sara Payne, she


would be appalled to learn this went on? I can't speak for Rebekah


Brooks and her personal relations, but she was head of the company,


and she is a former editor of the newspaper. There was a culture


created in that newsroom that allowed a private investigator to


think it was acceptable to do this kind of thing. Unless she carries


responsibility for that, and really accepts that she is, as head of the


company, was responsible for setting the tone. Even if she


didn't know? It is the culture that allows it to happen, not the


specific items of wrongdoing. Rushocked by today's revelations


that - Simon Rushocked by today's revelations? Simon, are you shocked


by today's investigations. The phone was given to her by the paper


and the number is in the pocket of one of the investigator, I'm not


shocked. I don't think it justifies leading Newsnight, it is not a big


news story, it is another sordid chapter in the every day history of


News of the World. Newsnight can look after itself, it is the front


page of the Times tomorrow, the Guardian, I looked at the Telegraph


website, and the Mail, Times of India have been carrying the


stories? I won't defend anything to do with the News of the World, it


is nothing to do with me, it is a shoddy and dreadful newspaper. I'm


glad it is closed. But that's gone. It is still a big story, is my


point, is it not? There is danger of our profession collectively


looking slightly ridiculous in the eyes of the public, we have gone on


about this for three weeks now, at a time when serious stories were


rattling around the world, familiar anyone in Africa, the European


economy is collapsing, the American economy is collapsing, the welfare


state is collapsing. There are serious news stories we have not


covered properly because we have been completely obsessed with the


whole business. Have we got this out of whack? For two years every


media company ignored this scandal on their doorstep, I don't think it


is unusual they played catch-up. The symbolism of Sara Payne herself,


who led a campaign for Sarah's Law, who had the support of News


International, producing leaflets and going to politician, to being


given an assurance that she wasn't targeted, and then to be hold by


the Metropolitan Police that her perch details are held in Glenn


Mulcaire's personal files, ordinary people will be shocked.


telephone number was in the file. We know nothing about this. I'm not


defending T I can see that Tom is on a role here, my paper is on a


role here, the BBC is on a role here, no problem with that at all.


I think the professional journalism, which I care about, and has been


dragged through the mud, rightly so, needs to be careful, how it reports


these stories. I don't think I know that there are a lot of people out


there who think we are just overdoing it. Getting on to BSkyB,


you have particular concerns about that at the moment what do you make


of this part of the story? I think Simon is partly right, this isn't,


it doesn't add a great deal, because already we knew the phone


hacking was endemic in the News of the World, this is just icing,


doesn't seem the appropriate simply, but it is more of the same - simile,


or worse, the key issue is today, the more important one, of what has


happened at BSkyB. Where the board has unanimously voted to retain


James Murdoch as chairman. shouldn't it, we heard Rupert


Murdoch say clearly that the News of the World was 1% or less of his


business, he does many, many other things, which he does, and BSkyB is


a separate company? Well, it is not his company, but it has been


treated as though it was a satellite of News Corporation, and


the reason why James Murdoch should go is very simple, he's damaged


goods. He has a day job in New York as deputy COO of News Corporation,


and most importantly, BSkyB is a big British company, it is actually


the biggest television company in the UK, it is in the FTSE 100, it


is never now going to become a subsidiary of News Corporation. It


needs to cut itself off from News Corp, the shareholdings should go


down to 29%, and it should become a profitable and no longer a cash cow


for News Corporation. But it is hugely profitable, it has been very


successful, and done extremely well? Yes. That doesn't mean it


should ignore all the rules of corporate governance, it shouldn't


be run as a satellite of News Corporation any more. I agree. News


Corp is a serious media company, it has unattractive aspects, as many


media companies do. It has got rid of its worst product, News of the


World, it, I think, should have been allowed to take the rest of


the Sky Broadcasting shareholder, it shouldn't be run by the Murdoch


family any more. Murdoch has done his bit by the world's media, and


the world's media has done its bid by Rupert Murdoch. He has patently


come to the point where he has to step aside. The family rightly have


been castigated by what was happening at the News of the World,


they knew it was going on. It was the worst of the worst. Now the


time has come for what might be called for News Corp to become a


proper krnings and BSkyB to be a proper company. It - company, and


BSkyB to be a report company. do you think? We have had


staggeringly contradictory evidence from the editor of the News of the


World, and the solicitor of the axe crow moany of what James Murdoch


told us at the committee last week. I think we should invite James


Murdoch back along with Myler and Crone to get to the bottom of this,


find the facts and parliament can move on and let the police to do


their inquiry. That is the former editor of the News of the World and


the chief lawyer. You want to get to the bottom of the contradiction


in the evidence about who saw what, particularly one e-mail? We brought


James and Rupert Murdoch in front of u we believed parliament had


been misled, he gave evidence and 24 hours later two chief executives


contradicted. Parliament needs to get to the facts on that and hand


over to the police. Maybe need to look at other things because there


are other big things on in the world? Parliament has known this


stuff is going on since 2003. I don't know any committee inquiring


into the press didn't know that the press was being illegally intrusive


in all sorts of ways. There is no defence for it at all, there are


much more important issues about press ownership and regulation than


this. Final thought. Do you see the shareholders getting very anxious


about this, given that the financial side of it is going very


well? Well, shareholders are a sue pine lot, but they should get very


anxious and make a change. It should be a change financially and


as well as governance changes, better for BSkyB. It would be a


better organisation if it was genuinely independent of News Corp.


Thank you very much. On Capitol Hill tonight, politicians of both


parties are posturing over how to cut America's debt. While they


fiddle around, in the real America they are struggling with the


hardest times many Americans have ever seen, and a sense something


terrible has gone wrong in the supposedly most powerful country on


earth. In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck wrote about a family


uprooting and hoping find work in California. Paul Mason has retraced


the journey. To the red country and part of the


grey country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not


cut the scarred earth. So begins Steinbeck's novel, The


Grapes of Wrath. The events it describes happened 80 years ago,


but today, once again, America is in the grip of unemployment and


Oklahoma in the grip of drought. I'm about to retrace the journey


Steinbeck describes. At the cattle market in El Reno, business is


brisk, but for the wrong reasons. Farmers are bringing their cows to


market because the drought, worse than any for 60 years leaves them


with no option. To operate my operation, I need


$400,000. A year? To keep it flowing. Credit? Yes. Brett farms


this land, but cotton, brief, it is all failing. I had to sell the


calves earlier than I normally do. Last week I sold half my momma cows.


Does it make you feel like giving up? A lot of nights I don't get


sleep and I stay up worrying about how will I stretch this out, how


will I make this work. But, I believe in the Lord, and he will


get us through it. At the cattle market, prices are


falling, but, unlike in the 1930s, the whole farming system is


underwritten with Government supsidies and loan, but now, even


that is under threat, as America moves to cut federal spending. So,


at knockdown price, they are selling their future.


In the 1930s, tens of thousands left this land and set off west for


California. The experience still haunts the landscape. The old route


west, root 66, has been replaced by interstate 40. But 66 is still


there, just at the side. In Steinbeck, the family make this


journey into a world of conflict, rootlessness, prejudice and there


is plenty of that today. What there is not today, and there was then,


is general agreement about the direction of American economic


policy. Because then, the state was set to play a larger part in crisis


resolution. And now, it is set to shrink.


The journey through Texas and New Mexico, takes you into a whole


different landscape. Today it is normal for Americans to


move home to look for work, the rootlessness that shocked Steinbeck,


is almost a way of life. As a result, amid the desert, boom towns,


and boom suburbs, that have now turned to bust. The families


learned what rights have been observed, the right of privacy in


the tent, the right to keep the past, black, hidden in the heart,


the right to talk and listen. That is how Steinbeck describes the


camp for homeless migrants that the family turned up in. Joy Junction


is a modern shelter for the homeless. Normally the families who


come here are coping with drink, drugs, domestic violence, but now


there is a new kind of customer, the American middle-class. Mime'


Larry Antista, this is my daughter Michelle, we are here - I'm Larry


Antista, we are here for the economic times, my spouse took off


on us, and that cut our income in half, and we lost our house and


here we are.'S A struck driver, and he can't work, he works for his


welfare payments $300 a month. His daughter, Michelle, is still at


school. Do the people at school know where you live? No. They don't


ask I don't tell them. You don't show up as homeless, even in the


school statistics? No. The sort of rich of America, really, the media,


do they understand that every night thousands of people are bedding


down like this? No. No. What would you say to them if you could speak


to them? If they could live one day of our lives they would see how


hard it is. And how good they have it. Because loot of them complain


about what they have got which is really dumb. This man was, not long


ago, the manager of a vehicle fleet. They lived in a moat tell, but his


unemployment money ran out. know when you lose a secure job,


and you have to downgrade, you have to downgrade your lifestyle,


sometimes the bills start racking up, you only get further behind,


after that it catches up and then you start losing stuff. Cars start


getting took, can't pay your note, you end up here. Can I ask you how


it is for you to cope with all of this? It is stressful. What's the


toughest thing, you have been here how many nights? We are on our


second week. What's the hardest thing about it? Well, just having


my kids here. Them. That would be my number one concern.


experience of all ba kurky gives me a whole new take on the moat tells


flashes past on the free way, look closely and many are housing the


hidden homeless. What role does a place like this play in the housing


and homelessness system? Huge. Many of the folks for the first seven to


ten days of each month, on the first or there about they get the


Government welfare cheque. They spend some or all of that forget


ago room for seven to ten day, once the cheque runs out they migrate


down to Joy Junction. It is like an alternating system. It is. It is a


reminder of the basic facts about this recession, it is a housing


crisis. Many Americans can't afford to put a roof over their head, and


home repossessions are still rising. The roads were filled with migrants


80 years a office workers, farmers, all displayed by poverty.


This landscape of Cactuss and vast canyon, must have seemed to them,


like a different planet. If you compare the book to the


actual journey, there is nothing in Steinbeck to prepare you for the


vastness, the aridity, and the distance that the 30s dust ball


migrants had to face. That is because I don't think Steinbeck


actually made the full journey, what Steinbeck knew about what was


was what was lay at the end of the journey, which was social conflict.


Today you don't have to get to the end of the journey to find that.


Arizona has become the political fault line of America, above all,


on the issue of migration. The boom times drew in millions of his


spannic migrant, millions illegal. But Arizona is still in recession


and tensions are rising. In Phoenix, the inmates are forced


to live in tents. The temperature when I went there was 114 degrees


Fahrenheit. They are forbidden to cover their heads in the sun. As


well as pink towels, socks and sheets, they are required to wear


pink underwear, the objective, humiliation. In this something he


gre gated section, every man is a migrant, jailed under the anti-


migrant laws, and destined for deportation. Under a law called


SB1070, if you are stopped by the police and cannot produce documents


to prove your legal residence, you have committed an offence. Other


laws criminalise the hiring of migrants, transporting them.


don't have a name any more, you become a number. They call you


alien, as if you were from another planet.


Fernando Lopez was picked up for driving without a license. He spent


a month in the prison system, and is now on bail, fighting


deportation. How do young Mexican men live, what kind of jobs do they


do? House keeping, land caping, restaurants. Every restaurant you


will find Mexicans in the back. What makes people come here since


it is so inhospitable, why do people still come? It is very hard


for them to live over there. They don't have any other option than to


go to go to another country. Probably the best option is the


United States. But the migrants keep on coming, in the car parks,


at hardware stores, here and across America, men wait for casual work,


for cash. As for the families, at this


Hispanic community centre, there is trepidation. Actually we are living


in state of fear. We can't even go to the store, or go out like we


used to do. Take the kids to the park, or take them somewhere to the


mall, we can't do that, now the kids are feared that the police


might stop their parents, or might stop us. So, right now, we just


stay home, and we don't do nothing, we just stay there.


At the office of the man in charge of law enforcement, there is a


Bailey protest, but fear is what he's aiming at. They are leaving,


they don't want to go into the hot tents, they worry about the Sheriff


rounding them up in the work place, or coming into our county. That is


why they are leaving. If you can do it in this county, you can do it


across the United States, if people have the will to do it and fight


the politics, or not care about the politics, or the his spannic vote,


or the employ - Hispanic vote, or the employers having cheap labour.


To the argument, that his spannics do the jobs nobody else - his


spannics do the jobs nobody wants, he says this? This is the greatest


country in the world, for them to say nobody lels do these jobs, are


you kidding, any time we go into the business and drag the people


out working illegally, they get tonnes of people applying for the


job that are US citizens. We have an economic problem in this country,


we have 10% unemployment. You have people from all professions that


will wash cars, to make money for their families. You are telling me


nobody will do these jobs, that is a cop out.


The last part of the journey would be the most arduous, vigilante


squads, roadblocks, strikes. In the 30s, people made this journey


because at the end of it there were jobs. But for the past year,


America's been going through what economists call a jobless recovery,


and right now, even the recovery itself looks like it is stalling.


In the book, the family crossed the desert by night, and at dawn they


come to the San Joaquimvalley. drove through in the morning glow,


and the sun came up behind them, suddenly they saw all the great


valley below them. In Steinbeck, the migrants come to California to


look for work, and they find work. But the book is a metaphor for


something else, it is about the search for a new economic model


that can create jobs, sustain growth and drive America out of


recession. And that's a question they still face, even in place like


this. The journey ended in bakeserfield,


today, the - Bakersfield, today the biggest employers are oil and


farming, but the biggest employer by far is the US military, when


America boomed the town boomed, the population grew by a quarter in ten


years. But now 15% are unemployed, and one home in 70 has been


repossessed. All across the south, I found the


same basic problem, not enough jobs, and not enough credit to revive the


housing market. And in politics there is plenty of wrath. You can


see and read more about Paul's journey from Oklahoma to California


on our website. General Petraeus pet is regards as


one of America's best - General David Petraeus is regarded as one


of America's brightest. He begins his career as head of the FBI. His


time in Afghanistan ends with troops withdrawing, a suggest of


huge debai. As he headed home, we spoke - huge debate. As he headed


home we spoke to him about it. NATO forces in Afghanistan have a new


commander, General David Petraeus has served for a year, but he has


been called home to head the CIA. The force he left behind is being


cut faster than he recommended, and the insurgency has shown itself


capable of hitting backs, with assassinations and attacks. NATO


insists it is winning. This afternoon I asked the general what


the grounds for optimisim could be? What we have seen now recently is


developing into a trend. In fact, this past week, yet again, the


level of insurgent attacks was a good bit lower, over 20% lower than


the level of attacks the same week last year. That makes now nine of


the last 13 weeks in which this has taken place, in which levels of


attack s are lower than the course ponding month last year. That is


completely contrary to what the intelligence professionals


predicted. Do you think the strategic differences and the death


of Bin Laden has checked political momentum, or is it not really


possible to see it like that on the battlefield? It is a very


significant blow to Al-Qaeda senior leadership, to the overall


franchise of Al-Qaeda as well. He was the iconic figure of the


movement. Even his image has been tarnished, diminished, by the final


pictures seen of him, of just the fact that he is dead it's gone. And


in the Arab world that is a, the biggest blow you can sustain. That,


in a sense, is quite significant, obviously, it turns out he was


quite active with operational guidance and working the movement.


He was also a very effective fundraiser. His replacement is no


Osama Bin Laden. So the movement, the overall Al-Qaeda franchise and


network, has sustained a substantial blow. Having said that,


it is not apparent what effect that has had on the insurgents fighting


in Afghanistan. Although some of their leaders, certainly, have had


second thoughts about how frequently they might move or


relocate at various times, when they are in areas that they deem


safe. There has been talk, particularly I'm thinking about the


chairman of the joint chiefs, but as this process of drawdown goes on,


at this rate there could be risks that are being embraced by going at


that speed. What do you think can be done over the coming year, 18


months, to mitigate the risks in the draw down? The key, of course,


is to maintain the pressure on the insurgents, to reduce their


capabilities, as much as is possible. To disrupt, to dismantle,


in some cases to defeat them, in some local areas. And then to


establish a combination of local security initiatives, Afghan


national security forces, that can back them up, Afghan enablers,


because again, keep in mind, we built the infantry formations first,


now we are helping them build their artillery units, their fixed and


rotary wing aviation, military intelligence, route clearance teams,


engineering units, logistics and all of that. That is an important


component as well. Indeed, to build that more rapidly, than we actually


draw down. How big a risk to what's been achieved is the state of


relations now with Pakistan? Well, clearly the relationship between my


country and Pakistan has seen some challenges, needless to say, in


recent months. Really in the last eight months or so. My hope,


frankly, is that we recognise the mutual objective that is we have,


and that we can indeed begin a process of reviving some elements


of a relationship that has indeed been difficult. We do have a lot of


common aims. It is, well I would say, I wouldn't say it is hard to


imagine things getting worse, there could be a complete shutdown of


relation, but it is at a pretty bad state, they have denied visas to


advisers to their forces, they are claimed by the Afghan Government to


be shelling into Afghanistan. They say they have withdrawn all co-


operation from the US on drone strikes and that kind of thing. Do


you really see the beginnings of a rebuilding of that, or are things


still in the deep freeze? I do, actually. I think everyone has


stepped back from the abyss. After looking into it, realising, once


again, that we have again very important objectives, many of which


we share, and we need to focus on those, and move forward.


The campaign in Afghanistan, it has been a long slog, and there has


been a huge price paid, in lives, in money, do you think that the


patience of the US, the UK, NATO, will hold out over the next few


years, can be depended upon, or do you see exhaustion setting in?


has been a long war, no question about it. And our countries have


shown enormous determination and persistence. My sense is that if


that progress continues, if the people recognise that this does


enable us to achieve our important objective over time, that they will


continue to provide the requisite support, but it is incumbent on us


and our Afghan partner, indeed, to continue to build on that progress,


so that it can be very clearly seen by all those back home, who have


sacrificed so much for this effort. Thank you very much. It is great to


be with you. A former editor of Newsnight once


told me that he thought this programme maybe one of the greatest


contraceptives known to mankind. That therefore didn't entirely come


as a shock that a blog claimed watching Newsnight when your


partner goes to bed, is a sure sign your relationship is in trouble. We


couldn't resist this one, if you are still watching alone or in


couples, this is what Stephen Smith is making of it!


You know how t it is late, it is just the two of you there on the


couch. Time to snuggle up and share your favourite news almanac. Good


luck with that. It turns out the only thing that's getting turgid,


is our analysis, that is according to our highly-trained, eh,


freelance journalist. It is a significant sign if your marriage


is going on. If you watch Newsnight. At all? The scheduling of it, the


timing of it, the attitude of it is not conducive to the end of a good


day and a good marriage really. it ain't so. We turned to a long


time Newsnight viewer and contributor, Edwina Currie.


She would stick up for us, wouldn't she? No she wouldn't. I'm not the


least doubtful that watching Newsnight can have a detrimental


effect on relationships. Afterall, you are sitting on the sofa and


your beloved says you are going up to bed. And you think, do I really


want to follow this rather large, perhaps rather bearded character


who is only interested in watching football on tele, when I could be


with Jeremy Paxman, I think that is # Let me be good to you


# # Let me be good to you 'S more like it. Newsnight unsexy,


I don't think so. What girl, or guy, wouldn't melt a little at the


thought of curling up with one of our box sets. Experts believe this


early erotic print may show a couple watching the programme!


Newsnight is one of the greatest aphrodisiacs, political debate,


what more could a woman ask for. Seriously, and a man. If you are


into mental stimulation, as a bit of foreplay. Are you sure you're


tuned to the right channel? Absolutely positive. As a


professional, doctor, is it possible that Newsnight could be


some kind of aphrodisiac? Ha ha, ...I Want you to think about this,


this is a serious matter? Newsnight can give topics for two people.


pillow talk? To talk about afterwards. Afterwards. After the


programme. After the programme or after the watershed? Ha ha, after


the programme. It can do that. I think people talk a lot about


what's going on today. People should. Everybody is affected in


one degree or another, unless of course people want to shut off from


it, there are a lot of people who do. But the people at the Middle


Class Handbook prefer to see our programme as a dirty little secret.


If you are man it is to be treated like a form of pornography, what


you should do is watch it very quietly perhaps on your iPhone on


the iPlayer during the day, or watch it can friend or discuss it


in the pub with your - watch it with your friends or discuss it in


the pub. Don't let Paxman become the third man in your marriage.


Newsnight is a tonic to my relationship, if you have an


argument and watch Jeremy take um bridge with an unforth coming


politician, or anyone, that apieces my rage, mellows the situation.


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