BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Friday, 4 January 2008, 11:19 GMT
Martha Kearney's week
By Martha Kearney
Presenter, BBC Radio 4's The World at One

Gordon Brown
What will be on Mr Brown's mind in 2008?

This was my first week back after Christmas.

As you may know The World at One is on every day of the year except for Christmas Day itself, though I had pre-recorded some "end-of-the-year" interviews, which baffled friends and family who kept saying: "I thought I heard you on the radio yesterday."

Thanks to our valiant planning department we had a series of interesting interviews, some of which touched on political themes for 2008 which are bound to be preying on Gordon Brown's mind: the private equity millionaire Jon Moulton sounded gloomy on the economy; this week the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith stressed his objections to 42 day pre-charge detention.

It was also moving to hear Nuala O'Loan, who has just stood down as police ombudsman in Northern Ireland, describing how her teenage sons had been beaten up because of her job.

The main story of the week has been the violence in Kenya caused by the disputed election result.

On Tuesday the EU observer Alexander Graf Lambsdorff told Shaun of his concerns about the way voting figures had been gathered.

On Wednesday we heard a very moving account of the massacre in the church at Eldoret from our correspondent Karen Allen.


The analogy with Rwanda immediately sprung to mind and the tribal violence there in 1994.

Both sides invoked the word "genocide" to describe what was happening, but it was interesting as the week unfolded to hear expert views explaining how very different the situation is in Kenya.

Professor David Anderson from Oxford told us that there had been a carefully orchestrated campaign of civil disobedience planned before the election by the opposition, whose name The Orange Democratic Movement had been inspired by the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.

On Thursday the UN's most senior figure in Kenya described for us the gathering violence around the country.

As I write this, it remains to be seen what will happen to the demonstrators who were thwarted at Uhuru Park in Nairobi yesterday.

So what should the international community do?

The Liberal Democrats here say there should be a recount of votes and a failure to comply should result in sanctions or suspension from the Commonwealth.

I put that suggestion to the secretary general, Don McKinnon, who said that would be like applying the death penalty to someone who had shot a red light.

His view was that suspension from the Commonwealth would mean a loss of contact and influence.

Train woes

Our main domestic story this week has been the delays on the West Coast Mainline and the disruption caused to tens of thousands of passengers.

The director of operations at Network Rail gave us an interview on Wednesday and employed an interesting tactic. He couldn't have been more abject in his apologies. I wonder if politicians would fare better if they tried the same technique.

For my part, I am glad to have survived my two-day week.

Like most of our office I have had a bad cold and spent the mornings sneezing and coughing but there is nothing like the adrenalin of a live programme to keep even cold symptoms at bay and I managed to stagger through without spluttering all over our guests.

I am not sure I could have presented the programme with Norovirus, though one of my old Newsnight colleagues did manage an entire programme while suffering from food poisoning by turning to a bucket under the desk.

Not captured on camera.

Send your comments using the form below.

Your e-mail address
Town/city and country
Your comment

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Martha Kearney's week
21 Dec 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
14 Dec 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
30 Nov 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
09 Nov 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
02 Nov 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
28 Sep 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
14 Sep 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
31 Aug 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
24 Aug 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
15 Aug 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
03 Aug 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
28 Jul 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
23 Jul 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
14 Jul 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
06 Jul 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
01 Jun 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
25 May 07 |  Politics
Martha Kearney's week
18 May 07 |  Politics


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific