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The nuclear debate
Su Doku competition
Working hours directive
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The only time we see a minister on your programme is when we have to hear the latest aspirations from their think tank. Whenever there are some real questions to answer there never seems to be a minister available. I'm getting very cynical of the whole main party system - maybe it's about time that the real members of the parties took power back so that we can get back to some sensible polices either left or right.
G V Seymour, Ferndown
Jack Straw has made a lot over the killings in Uzbekistan but never mentions the thousands that have been killed, tortured and imprisoned for the last 50 years in Tibet by the Chinese, and even though it is still going on to this day all our government can be bothered about is the cheap clothing imported from China. Would it be possible for Mr Paxman to question Mr Straw about the Chinese illegal occupation of Tibet and their total disregard of human rights in that country?
John Taylor, Leicester
THE NUCLEAR DEBATE (16.05.05)
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The Newsnight debate on nuclear energy was an unsatisfying mess. Probably because much more time is needed for such a complex subject - and a more patient presenter would help. It didn't even cover the vexed question of continuity of supply, where nuclear has a clear advantage over wind.
J D Robinson, Welwyn Garden City
Why did nobody mention bio-fuels in the nuclear debate? We've apparently just started paying farmers for not growing food. They'd love to be growing energy instead. If Brazil can successfully grow diesel fuel, why on earth can't we?
Terry Richter, Chichester
My wife & I have been on an energy saving programme for years: more economic cars and less use; cycling to the shops; new improved roof insulation; double glazing; wear sweaters more (central heating set at 18C rather than 20C); showers rather than baths; new low energy kitchen machines; high efficiency combined boiler/central heating. Conclusion: Our energy use has declined by 50% in 10 years. Probably now at a level of 20% of a similar couple in the US!
I am disappointed to see that the nuclear debate is limited to the
three big parties. Two (Lab & Con) of them will be trying to say the
same thing without wishing to agree and the third (Lib Dem) will say
what they think will play well even if they would do the complete
opposite were they to get into power. Why not invite some of the other
parties that might have different and well thought out views? Or invite one of the single issue groups and expose their dearth of ideas?
What was very clear from the debate was that the "experts" couldn't agree and the politicians wouldn't decide. Making no decision cannot be an option as the urgency of the climate situation, and the length of time it will take for abatement to influence climate change, means that action must be taken now. The options are clear - nuclear or renewables.
Jon Atkinson, Leatherhead
Why is it that whenever renewables were mentioned this automatically flagged up wind power? This might be a more controversial form of renewables but there are certainly many more forms of renewable energy that weren't mentioned. Also, why is there such contempt for increasing efficiency? TVs left on standby use enough electricity to switch off one power station. Why not legislate to force manufacturers to include a mechanism that will turn my TV off after six hours? Apply it to stereos as well and think of all the electricity that could be saved. Finally, place more investment into solar energy, think of all the roof tops in the UK that could be used. As prices come down with the investment it can save a lot of energy.
Christopher White, Newbury
I believe that nuclear power is the obvious medium-term solution to meeting our energy demands. However, any new nuclear power station building would have to be accompanied by an immovable commitment to replacing them with renewables at the end of their lifetimes, which is probably not going to happen.
Peter Burgess, London
I realise there was limited space and time for guests, but could you not have mentioned that UKIP was the ONLY party from the top four to unequivocally back the nuclear option in its recent manifesto?
Rob McWhirter, Guildford
At last the energy debate is back on. There is a problem - we are not going to meet our Kyoto targets (which are very low anyway) and we have to shut down 20% of our current "clean" generation capacity. We cannot wait. This is going to take everything we have, not just one technology. Thank you Newsnight for re-opening the debate!
Digby Morrison, Loughborough
There is far to much time wasted talking. Start introducing safer cleaner energy into all new homes built, alongside wind and sea power, then maybe we will get a little idea on which way to go from there.
Barbara Lockwood, Norwich
Tonight's programme on nuclear power carried info that offshore wind energy was more expensive than onshore. This is no longer true - technology unveiled at the Clean Energy Show two weeks ago will produce electricity offshore cheaper than onshore. It uses vertical axis rather than horizontal axis, a technology abandoned 15 years ago after the failure of a badly designed experimental unit designed for onshore generation rather than offshore.
Richard Moseley, Cambridge
Having just seen the Science Museum interviews about nuclear power over renewable, I'm staggered that nobody's mentioned Hydrogen. We are going to have to rebuild our society along different lines anyway. Genetic engineering, nano-technology and computer technology are already doing this slowly. There are no guarantees of anything. All that we do know is that 'tomorrow's world' will look different and we sit at the point of making the best, bravest choice now.
Roger Brown, Treforest, Wales
Why did Jeremy Paxman not ask the unthinkable question? What do windmills do when there is no wind? How do you replace their output? Therefore, how can their cost be calculated without including the cost of replacing their lost output on calm days? From an engineer who has to keep the lights on!
David Beasant, Dunadry
Well done, Newsnight. Nuclear is not an easy or popular option but unless people are happy to use 25% less electricity per household or accept a 25% increase in greenhouse gas emissions, we have to take the tough decision to build new clean and efficient nuclear power stations. Keep asking the difficult questions and getting the politicians to look longer than four years into the future.
Amanda Dales, Cheltenham
SU DOKU COMPETITION
What fresh hell is this? Tombola? This, plus the weather report, takes you uncomfortably close to becoming the thinking man's "Nationwide". Possibly featuring Jeremy as Frank Bough, if that's not a libellous suggestion. If there is any intention of running an item on "pets who do funny things" over the next couple of weeks, please don't. Or "funny shaped vegetables".
Daniel Davies, London
A tombola now? Please God no. And there was me thinking Jeremy looked uncomfortable reading the weather.
Tess Read, London
Our local school is having a summer fair soon. As Jeremy has shown such an interest in tombolas I wonder if he would be available to give ours a spin? We could also run a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Looking forward to your guess the weight competition of all presenters! Tess Read
Tess Read, London
The weight of our presenters is likely to remain a matter for conjecture only.
It was stated that "Mr Paxman will be pulling six winning entries from our tatty tombola, live on air". In fact, Mr Paxman only pulled out five names from the tombola.
Zara Hayat, United Kingdom
It is true that Jeremy unintentionally pulled out only five winners. The following morning we picked a sixth winner from the pile of entries that Jeremy took from the tombola while on air.
Click here to read the names of the winners
WORKING HOURS DIRECTIVE (11.05.05)
I believe that I am "an intelligent and sophisticated person" (to quote Jeremy Paxman) and so instead of hectoring MPs and MEPs why not focus on the issue? A Labour minister just said that they wanted to create more jobs in Europe but you failed to ask how allowing fewer people to work longer hours helps achieve this. Your interview with Willets demonstrates that the line you took with Labour representatives plays straight into the hands of petty party political squabbling. The issue of a healthy work-life balance is an important one and here was a chance to explore one aspect of this which you singularly failed to take on. Grow up.
Ian B, Cambridge
Isn't it time we grew up a little concerning social issues in this country? Even Newsnight flags up the EP's vote on the 48-hour working week as "being dictated to" by Europe. What a strange dislike of forward planning we have in this country. We are disorganised, informal and flexible to a fault at work and, worst of all, do not focus on timekeeping, deadlines or quality of work as well as workers on the continent do. No wonder we Brits fall back (in desperation) on putting in overtime and working late. Our generally sloppy work practices require this - to the detriment of our own quality of life. And then, like ungrateful children, we blame the EU and the EP when they try to help us to organise our lives a little more professionally. What a damn shower we are. I wish you journalists could see this reality for what it is and give your reporting a different "spin".
Anthony McCall-Judson, East Molesey
I would like to register my increasing frustration. It is now Tuesday evening at 11.03pm and I would like to be watching "real" Newsnight instead of the second airing of Reporting Scotland. I should have the facility to watch what the rest of Britain is watching via Realplayer, except the feed is stuck on the previous Friday's episode or "not available for copyright reasons". Please sort it out. It may not seem like a big issue, but I often miss items of international importance, only to have to make do with Parish politics.
David Fraser, UK
We do occasionally have to edit portions of the programme when copyright restrictions don't allow us to play certain clips on the web. When this is necessary, the live stream is cancelled and an edited version posted on the website after the programme has aired. Until then, the previous edition of Newsnight remains online. We endeavour to ensure that this occurs as little as possible and apologise to our online viewers for any frustration caused.
Lovely pictures of the North Wales countryside illustrating the police force item [18/05/05]. I for one would like to see more of these. If, as it appears, your aim is to constructively dismiss Jeremy by making him present unbearably trivial items (such as the Eurovision item) then perhaps you could consider running coverage of sheepdog trials on Newsnight. We at least know that there is a loyal audience for these which is not currently being served by the BBC.
Daniel Davies, London
Sir, it's incomprehensible that you have axed the British weather from your programme. But since you have decided in favour of the trivial financial markets you may consider including the euro-dollar rate as well. I would appreciate it.
Brian Veltman, The Netherlands
Why aren't Newsnight viewers allowed to derive knowledge and understanding from those wonderful new BBC weather maps? It is obvious that such ground-breaking attention to detail and in-depth analysis befits a programme like Newsnight. Add Jeremy's or Kirsty's simple summary and I'm sure the maps would start to make sense to me. Come on Newsnight, let's have the markets, the weather and the papers all in the last five minutes of the programme. You know it makes sense.
Neil Welton, Cardiff
I feel that the issue of proportional representation should be discussed on the programme. Didn't Labour promise us a referendum on the matter in their 1997 manifesto? I wonder why they changed their minds?
Ian Charters, Bedfordshire
I have just watched a report about Banda Aceh on Newsnight. After 5 months, this is the first TV report I have seen that has given me any real feel for the scale of the disaster in Indonesia. This was a uniquely powerful and sensitive piece of work.
Ian Henderson, UK
Despite much of the Westminster village being obsessed with Iraq, the voters in Henley were bored by the topic and were focused on such matters as house prices, education and health. They were turned off by the grandstanding by arrogant journalists on Newsnight led by Paxman trying to bully and belittle our politicians. Electors were more interested in the prospect of Boris [Johnson] being the next Doctor Who and by Saturday tea time I noticed the streets begin to clear as people went home to watch that TV programme.
Nicholas Newman, Oxford
Jeremy Paxman asked Tony Blair several times how many asylum seekers there are in the UK. Blair couldn't or wouldn't reply. I have a translation business and I recently received an enquiry from the National Asylum Support Service looking for living accommodation for "up to 50,000 people".
John Hadfield, UK
I watched Jeremy Paxman interviewing Francis Maude last night (12/05/05). What struck me most was that Paxman seemed determined to reduce the interview to the game he finds most enjoyable: asking questions to which he knows he will never get an answer and then belittling the interviewee for refusing to rubbish his colleagues. Maude simply refused to play this depressing, uninformative game that too many of your presenters demand. Have presenters such as Paxman, Humphries and Naughtie not got the message yet that this negative game is alienating so many from the entire political process?
Sorcha Cusack, UK
I cannot believe anyone is willing to complain about Paxman. He is one of the most adept interviewers we have and this country desperately needs more people who can take top politicians to issue and force them to answer questions. Paxman is only ever rude when these questions are not answered. Why would we rather have a supposedly 'polite' interview if all we are going to hear is the same tosh we see in newspapers? Paxman's country needs him.
Thomas Mynors, Cambridge, UK
Jeremy Paxman continues to hector, browbeat and bluster at his interviewees. Just how long is the BBC prepared to tolerate him? Last night (11.05.05) he reached his nadir in an interview with a Labour Party representative about the European bid to cut the working week in the UK. He asked of the European Labour Party representatives in the European Parliament: "have they had their brains removed?" This is intolerable.
Douglas Rome, Dumfries
Out of pity for the poor man don't you think you could give Jeremy Paxman a comfortable seat to sit on for the Newsnight programme?
Alan Anderson, Brussels
THE NEWSNIGHT DAILY E-MAIL
I had to chuckle at today's sign off line [18/05/05], "Newsnight - it's the thinking man's Nationwide". But I do wonder about the wisdom of comparing yourselves to a programme that bit dust over 20 years ago.
Excuse me! "Newsnight - it's the thinking man's Nationwide". What about the thinking woman, or don't we exist?
If you used the subject line for the subject of the message rather than who the message is from (do we care?) you would find that more people would open it - more would recommend it to their friends - more people would watch Newsnight - and the world would become a better and more thoughtful place. All thanks to one subject line. Hooray.
Theo Ratcliff [above] has a point but the comment "... who the message is from (do we care?) ..." is careless: spam (& worse) is a bane of internet life and also IF one has asked for the e-mail it makes sense to READ it.
Mr James E Fox, Huddersfield
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My question is directed at Mr Jeremy Paxman. I understand that you have recently taken a keen interest in weather forecasting. I am about to embark on a fishing trip to Lough Corrib, County Galway, Ireland. I would be grateful if you could let me know your predictions for the next 10 days or so. Many thanks.
Rhys Thomas, Wales
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