We are in a recession, a crisis over MPs' expenses and, as we learned in April's Budget, our public finances are in a dire state. With that in mind Newsnight is launching the Politics Pen, where brave, bold thinkers, personalities and campaigners will be presenting their best arguments and ideas on how to cut public spending to a panel of political animals.
Take a look around the Politics Pen
Here is producer Mark Lobel to tell you more:
When a political giant turns you down on the basis your idea is not rigorous enough, it does not feel good and it is tough to digest.
Speaking to former deputy Labour leader Lord Hattersley I was told that his years of experience have taught him not to dally in "reality TV".
Someone else told me that they did not "do H-TV" - the H in case you wonder stands for humiliation.
Panellist Greg Dyke
But humiliation is not the key to the Politics Pen - it is good ideas, ideas about how we can slash public spending.
And the key difference with our "reality show" is that unlike the most popular ones, which may or may not feature Simon Cowell, Newsnight may have finally cracked a way to cover politics in an engaging, compelling and serious way.
That may sound like a claim you have heard before, but hear us out.
The topic could not be more topical.
Panellist Digby Jones
In Politics Pen we will see a series of brave, bold thinkers, personalities and campaigners put their best arguments and ideas on how to cut public spending to a panel of political animals.
The Politics Pen is modelled on (and with the kind permission of) the successful BBC business series Dragons' Den.
Newsnight Editor Peter Rippon blogged
the defining political question during the recession is where to cut public spending, with no argument about the fact that cuts are coming anymore.
The ideas are very good.
Panellist Deborah Mattinson
Some of the best political brains in the country have kindly agreed to give up their time and squeeze their ideas into a two minute presentation before a 10 minute grilling from the panel.
And our panel of political animals are deadly serious.
We have been extremely fortunate to have the involvement of the former Trade minister and ex-CBI chief Lord Digby Jones, Tony Blair's policy man Matthew Taylor, the brilliantly efficient and straight-talking Greg Dyke and Gordon Brown's pollster, Deborah Mattinson.
Over the next weeks and months you will be able to read our advocates' presentations here on Newsnight's Body Politic website and leave your comments on their ideas on our blog too.
Panellist Matthew Taylor
Who knows, perhaps out of the current political crisis, a new way of presenting the solutions could be just the answer.
Even political giants may be convinced.
Or is that an idea too far?
The Politics Pen begins on Newsnight on Thursday 4 June 2009 at 10.30pm on BBC Two.
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