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Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Tuesday, 7 February, 2006

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Gavin Esler's biography


From Gavin Esler:

Abu Hamza

Incitement to murder. Incitement to racial hatred.

The jury's verdict on Abu Hamza, the Muslim cleric once associated with the Finsbury Park Mosque, seems anything but surprising given his comments over recent years and the way he used the British media to disseminate them.

But why did it take so long for the British authorities to crack down on this troublemaker?

Should the police have acted sooner in the face of what the jury found to be clear provocation?

And - at a time when the vast majority of British Muslims are uneasy that their peaceful religious beliefs are often drowned out by the noisiest and most extreme minority within their community - how long will it be before another "Abu Hamza" takes his place?


Tony Blair backs down on his controversial Education Bill? Or he sticks to his principles but is prepared, statesmanlike, to give a little at the edges?

Which is it?

Gordon Brown

Everyone knows about the Religious Right in America. But have you ever considered the Religious Left?

Pastor Jim Wallis appears to fall into that category, with a new book arguing that the Iraq war was unjust and that helping the world's poor is a moral and spiritual obligation.

But wait a minute. Who's that writing a foreword endorsing the book? Why, it's none other than the Chancellor, Gordon Brown.

What's going on? The Blair Government, in the words of the former Number 10 spokesman, "doesn't do God". But might a Brown Government be different? We'll be asking Pastor Jim Wallis.


And is this town big enough for Stephen Smith and The Sparks?

He'll be talking to the eccentric but influential electronic duo, Ron and Russel Mael.

Their cultural influence far outweighs their commercial success inspiring groups such as Queen, Pet Shop Boys, Pulp and Franz Ferdinand.

Newsnight is at 10.30pm on BBC TWO.


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