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Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Friday, 27 January 2006

Friday, 27 January, 2006

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Gavin Esler's biography


From Gavin Esler:

Lib Dems

Is the Lib Dem leadership race increasingly looking like a battle to captain the Titanic?

Simon Hughes launched his campaign today, and Sir Menzies Campbell will make a big speech tonight outlining why he's the right man for the job.

Newsnight's Michael Crick is in our helicopter, Newsnight 1, soaring above the political battleground.

But with an opinion poll showing the Lib Dems at their lowest rating for eight years, we'll be trying to figure out what will be left of the party for the victor to lead.

Could it be a return to a handful of seats, and less of a political party, more a kind of think tank?

Palestinian election

Hamas-istan? Rather like throwing a series of bricks into a calm pond, the ripples from Hamas' astounding election victory keep growing.

We'll have the latest from our Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen.

Whose news you use

If it's news to you it's news to us. Sir Ian Blair's comments about how the media treat murder cases has caused a huge row, with the Met chief forced to apologise for his remarks about the Soham murders.

But is Sir Ian on to something? It is obvious that some murders are judged by newspapers and broadcasters to be more newsworthy than others. Does that make one life less "valuable" - supposedly - than another?

Does it affect the way the police consider the importance of a crime? Or is it simply a reflection of the news business?

If one person were to be killed by an asteroid in the middle of Glasgow, would that be bigger news than a thousand people dying in an African famine? Discuss. (We will.)

Choice in education?

Today the education select committee published its much leaked critical report on the government's education white paper.

A dissenting minority of Conservatives on the committee refused to sign up to the report and published their own pro-Blair minority report instead.

But how would the proposed new freedoms on selection actually work in practice?

We take our first visit to Clapham Manor Primary School in south London where, over the coming months, we'll be following the parents as they try to cope with choosing a secondary school for their children.

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