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Last Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007, 13:06 GMT
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Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
Presenter
The Politics Show

Jon Sopel Photo by Jeff Overs

Hello again...

On this week's Politics Show...

It's four years since Tony Blair defied some of the biggest demonstrations in British history... negative opinion polls, and much of his own party, to throw in his lot with President Bush in attacking Iraq.

Back then, hopes were high - a safer Middle East, a new Iraq setting a democratic example which would prove compelling to the peoples of the region, and in due course a measured withdrawal of foreign troops from a newly stable and prosperous country - an Iraq at ease with itself.

The best laid plans...

Mourning Iraqis
What price the coalition actions in Iraq?

Needless to say, it hasn't quite turned out like that.

Although few lament the passing of Saddam - and British ministers would certainly point to the queues of Iraqis outside polling stations choosing their government for the first time in their lives.

But do the gains justify the enormous cost... diplomatic, financial, and most of all in human lives?

Four years on from the invasion, I'll be speaking to the Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

European constitution

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel with her slimline son-of-constitution

Another best laid plan was European... to write a constitution for the EU.

That fell to pieces when the Dutch and the French voted it down.

And that looked like being that... dead as a dead Monty Python parrot.

But it isn't.

Next week, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, will start the process of trying to get son-of-constitution back on the rails.

It may be slimmed down, but in key respects the likely blueprint may mirror the document rejected in 2005.

If that were to happen, would we be given a chance to vote in a referendum? Paola Buonadonna investigates.

"And the meek shall inherit the earth..."

Castle Howard
An Englishman's house is his castle... but the Chancellor will take some too

There was a time when only the estates of the very rich paid inheritance tax.

If your granny passed away leaving the terraced house she'd lived in for years as her main asset, the taxman probably wouldn't touch it.

Not any more.

The rapid increase in house prices has far outstripped meagre increases in the tax threshold.

And now more and more of us are talking to the lawyers and accountants to try to protect the family's wealth from the taxman.

It's good news for the public finances as extra billions roll in, but bad news for the a wide section of middle class people.

In the week of the Budget, is there a real case for reviewing or even abolishing inheritance tax?

And, a pat on the back for the Politics Show.

Last week we looked at whether Tony Blair might apologise for British involvement in the slave trade.

This week, he did just that - although on our website nearly 90% of you voted he should do no such thing.

Still, it shows we're asking the questions...

Lastly, we will be announcing the winner of the Gerald Scarfe and Steve Bell original cartoons we've been auctioning for comic relief... watch out on the website to the last minute of the bidding - you can of course click that mouse until 12:00 GMT Saturday 17 March...



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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
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An interview with Gerald Scarfe


An interview with Alan Coren



THE POLITICS SHOW... FROM DOWNING STREET TO YOUR STREET



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SEE ALSO
The Politics Show Newsletter
14 Jan 07 |  Politics Show
Laughter in The House
07 Mar 07 |  Politics Show
An interview with Gerald Scarfe...
07 Mar 07 |  Politics Show
Steve Bell - a life in cartoons...
10 Mar 07 |  Politics Show
An interview with Alan Coren
07 Mar 07 |  Politics Show
Scarfe and Bell limited edition prints...
08 Mar 07 |  Politics Show
Your chance to win a Scarfe or a Bell...
07 Mar 07 |  Politics Show
The Cartoon Competition Rules
07 Mar 07 |  Politics Show

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