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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Friday, 25 November 2005, 11:38 GMT
Feedback - November 2005 (page 2)

What do you think of the stories we have covered? Do you have anything to say about the programme or the issues of the day? You can read November's views from this page.

This month:


General comments
Lord Turner's pension report
Your views: Flu jabs
Your views: Editor's column
Salt poisoning case
Sex trafficking
Nuclear energy debate
Richard Watson's Uganda film
Pensions debate
George Best

Click here to read October's feedback

The e-mails published reflect the balance of opinion received.

Lord Turner's pension report - 30 Nov 05

Your interview with Hutton was a waste of time. This man has no views and says nothing.
J Fife, Abingdon

When Jeremy questioned the minister as to the likely retirement age tonight - "63, 73 or 83" - the minister replied "I expect it to be well beyond that .....!" Did I hear right? EIGHTY THREE? Surely not! Can the government clarify? Suggest pass this clip to "Have I Got News For You!"
Yours Chris Jolliffe, 55 and "Worried of Wigan"

Pensions could be improved by eliminating income tax on pension payments; as used to be. Tax having been paid on income at the time when contributions are taken, not when paid back.
Eric Sargeant, Long Eaton, Derbyshire

I question the content of the coverage of the Turner Pensions Review. As part of the coverage you gave several scenarios for the year 2050. The first scenario, painted as the "ideal" one, included the taking of Class A drugs. It is difficult enough to bring teenagers up with an understanding of the dangers of such drugs without such superficial and uninformed comment.
Gerry Lynch, Chichester


We need an urgent public debate on climate change, global warming and oil. We need Paxman to front it. Please!
Gillian Wells, Brighton

Tonight's Newsnight (29.11.05) was probably the best issue that I, a regular viewer, have ever seen. A mix of intriguing subjects admirably handled by Paxman.
Ray Smith, Swindon

Stephen Luckhurst, London


Your Tuesday night article on a case of salt poisoning implies that it would be difficult to poison a child with salt due to it being unpalatable. This assumption has been disproved (at least in babies) following a tragic feeding accident in 1963 cited from an excellent BMJ review on the subject:

Distinguishing between salt poisoning and hypernatraemic dehydration in children
Malcolm G Coulthard, consultant paediatric nephrologist and George B Haycock, professor of paediatrics BMJ 2003;326:157-160 (18 January)

Mass accidental salt poisoning in infancy: a study of a hospital disaster
Finberg L, Killey J, Luttrell CN.
JAMA 1963; 184: 187-190.
Jeremy Newman, Ashford, Kent


Human trafficking is a crime, but as the Chinese Government recently said about fur trading, the UK must take its share of the blame by creating the demand. The only downside is that the newly acceded countries have access to all our markets.
John Stiles, Skopje, Macedonia

I'm glad to see that you covered the sex trade/slavery issues in tonight's programme, I'm surprised that very little coverage is given to what I think is a completely horrifying situation. Is there no agenda for something like the registration of prostitutes? I don't think that most men who use prostitutes would want them to be slaves. I know very few of the arguments for and against this but surely this horrifying situation demands more solutions.
Lucy, London


Nuclear power does not significantly reduce carbon emissions. Granted, there is no carbon emission where the electricity is generated. But plenty of CO2 is emitted before and after the power generation cycle. In fact, comparing the full life cycle of coal, gas and nuclear electricity generation, it turns out that nuclear produces only marginally less CO2 than gas. Therefore, any argument that starts: "we need nuclear power to prevent global warning" is just nonsense.
Henk Bakker, Harold Wood, Romford

Is it environmentally sound to scrap a sound boiler for a new one with slightly higher efficiency? Surely the advice to do so taps into the wasteful consumerism we should be striving to break away from if we are to conserve the Earth's resources.
Tom Ives, Preston

Your environmental expert's encouragement to switch to a "green" energy supplier will have no impact on the total CO2 emissions attributable to electricity use. Electricity cannot be stored and cannot be traced to source. If the wind blows, a wind turbine will generate power for the national grid; all suppliers receive a heavy incentive in the form of subsidies to source from renewables. Those purporting to sell green electricity are tapping into ignorance in the public to sell the same product for more.
Tom Ives, Preston

Why can't the government do something to "force" newer cars on the road? Introduce lower road taxes (or none for years years) for new cars and put up the tax for old cars.
Smith, Ariane, Welwyn Garden City

At last some serious media attention on alternative energy. I was so relieved to see that the geothermal/geo-exchange source is to be used to heat a school extension. This source of energy has got to be the future worldwide and is already in use in a friend's home in Norway. Canada use this in their new buildings too.
Penny Bartlett, Poole

I've just watched the nuclear debate again and I am not very happy with the so called experts and their disagreements. Serious points were missed regarding energy demands for the future. Some even said there will be no power shortage. What happens when the gas runs out or supplies are reduced? No mention was made of the INCREASED demand there will be for the heating and cooking and if the current infrastructure will be able to carry the extra load. No mention that we currently import electricity from France, which we are able to do so courtesy of their Nuclear Power program.
Paul Farrar, Hants.

Susan Watts' energy programme was fairly poorly presented, with amateur video photography, but at least had the virtue of depicting the attitudes of smuggish, average consumers. This in turn highlighted the lack of our government's feeble lead upon an issue which Blair declared as the most important issue of today! Heaven help us...
David Bateman, Oundle

Can gentle persuasion make people go green? Probably not immediately - at least until they start receiving colossal energy bills! Nevertheless, congratulations to the Newsnight team and your Science Editor Susan Watts for highlighting the urgent need for people to save energy. A stark lesson for us all and a clear message to the government who remain ponderous at best.
Paul Meyer, Hastings

I watched your special on global warming (28/11/05) and was overcome by the superficiality of it all. The whole thing boiled down to individuals feeling good about themselves; in the 21st century your moral worth is measured by your energy use it seems. Forgo putting up your Christmas decorations and replace all your bulbs with energy efficient ones and you can save the planet: except it isn't true. Every Newsnight viewer, everyone in Britain for that matter, could do as was suggested and it would make a negligible difference to the planet's warming over the next century. The true challenge is to develop new technologies of generation and delivery to enable us to switch away from fossil fuels. Those who suggest otherwise are environmental puritans and deserve ridicule not indulgence.
Martin Johnson, Manchester

Whilst I agree that more needs to be done to conserve our dwindling resources, whether that be energy or water, I have great concerns about how we will be treated by the utility companies if we do go down this path. A motivation to do this is often presented as saving money. However, if we all cut back on our usage this will cut the profits of the companies who will no doubt respond by increasing prices. This scenario is not addressed by any of the correspondents and I haven't heard of any guarantee by government that they will protect us. We have seen it with diesel where usage has increased dramatically, but just as we began to save money the chancellor very kindly increased duty to make it more expensive than unleaded.
Paul Farrar, Hants.

In tonight's programme about the public's role in reducing greenhouse emissions no mention was made of the government's role in encouraging the public by tax breaks on insulation and condensing boilers etc. This could have a far greater effect than any other single action in my opinion. Regards
D.A.Bird, Lowestoft


The arrest, detention and farcical trial of Uganda's opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, is something that arouses a lot of turbulent thoughts in a world bent on democratic governance. It is a shame that such a thing is happening! It does eclipse all the good things president Museveni has been known for.
Joshua Mmali, Kampala


One wonders how many people will die between the age of 60 and 67
Angela Southern
I shall be 60 next week and have no intention of leaving my full-time job, and I have deferred claiming my State Retirement pension until I need it. Health permitting, I hope to work until I'm 65, but because I shall shortly be over 60 I shall no longer pay national insurance contributions because I have paid enough to qualify for a full state retirement pension. It seems ridiculous to me that I shall not be paying national insurance and contributing to the country in this way. I do not expect to be any better off via this non-payment of NI because obviously I shall pay more to the inland revenue instead and also pay more towards my student loan (yes, I am a recent graduate still in possession of a brain in spite of my years.) Another point is that, although statistics show that people tend to live longer than they used to, one wonders how many people will die between the age of 60 and 67 and never reach pensionable age of 67. The tragedy would be to spend all one's life working and never have the opportunity to "retire".
Angela Southern, Street, Somerset

GEORGE BEST [24.11.05]

Newsnight editor Peter Barron responds

Some viewers felt it was distasteful to raise the issues of liver transplantation and the licensing laws in our interview with Professor Williams on Friday's programme.

I can't agree with that. A large part of the story surrounding George Best's death was of course the nation's appreciation of his extraordinary talent as a footballer, which we reflected both in Friday's piece and in Michael Crick's personal tribute on Thursday night, but I believe it would have been irresponsible journalism to have glossed over the very serious and topical issue of alcohol abuse which was the other key factor in George Best's life.

I was disgusted at the attitude adopted by Kirsty Wark in her interview with Prof Roger Williams. Here is a man who had done everything in his power to help Best and gets a grilling about Best's alcohol abuse when he had died less than 12 hours previously, from someone who pales into insignificance compared with a man of Prof Williams standing. As a licence fee payer I found the whole episode totally distasteful. I wonder if the pressure is on from the programme producers to make every interviewer and rude as Jeremy Paxman?
Nigel Whyte, Bedford

I would like to express my dismay at the line of questioning pursued by Kirsty Wark toward Professor Williamson about the very sad death of George Best. Her summation at the end of Newsnight tonight suggested that George was ashamed of his alcoholism, but Professor Williamson intimated that George only ever apologised for the problems he caused others (medical staff and his family) not for his own predicament. To then link this tragic event to something as banal as the amendment of licensing regulations displays crass insensitivity to George's family and his legion of fans.
C.A.McGinley, Lesmahagow

I was horrified to hear Kirsty Wark's interview with George Best's physician tonight. How could she be so heartless as to discuss his liver transplant in such a callous way on the night of his sad passing? I am neither a football enthusiast nor a fan of Best, but I respect him as a human being who accomplished greatness in his life. Kirsty Wark has an important role in bringing important moral and ethical issues to the British public; however, compassion is also required. How could she add to the grief of Best's family in this way, especially when they have requested time and space to come to terms with their loss. Shame on you Kirsty!
Paula Webber, Gwent

Why so much media attention on an ex-footballer who abused his body so much he had to have a liver transplant and then proceeded to abuse that precious gift of a second chance? He's not a hero, he's not a great example for others to emulate. Just let him go quietly and leave his family to deal with it.
Christina Luckings, Gillingham

Brilliant coverage tonight of George best - thanks.
Bill Ward, Torquay

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