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Last Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007, 12:08 GMT
This week's programme...
Jon Sopel
Jon Sopel
Presenter
The Politics Show

Vincent Cable
Vincent Cable has had good reviews for his Commons performances
On this week's Politics Show...

Unfortunately we can't promise you the same firework display that Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne gave us last week - in a shower of colourful sparks and a series of bangs and whizzes, the two Lib Dem leadership contenders tore chunks out of each other.

We have had e-mails from some of you saying you'll now think twice about voting for a party whose senior figures are so uncivil to each other.

But in other respects, the Lib Dems have not been having a bad few weeks.

The party is led by a stopgap, the veteran Treasury spokesman, Vince Cable - who has been getting rave reviews for his performances at Prime Minister's Questions.

There was a time when shadowing Alastair Darling was the guarantee of a quiet life, because the man who succeeded Gordon Brown as Chancellor had the gift of keeping his previous departments out of the news.

But Mr Darling's luck has run out in the last couple of weeks, over Northern Rock, and the lost records from the tax authorities.

That's kept Vince Cable landing punches, and he'll be joining me live on Sunday.

Prison meltdown?

Cell interior
What can be done to address the prison space crisis

Since last summer, the prison system of England and Wales has been in a state of permanent crisis.

The cells are full beyond capacity, and even the early release of prisoners has barely staved off meltdown.

Many people shrug their shoulders at the thought of convicts having to put up with overcrowding - if you don't want to do the time, don't do the crime.

But the crisis is preventing any serious rehabilitation work being done in many prisons, which means the reoffending rate has gone up - and using prison cells and buying in extra capacity is costing the taxpayer a lot of extra money too.

Politicians on all sides are rushing to try and find a solution.

The view from Kampala

As the government totters from crisis to crisis, there are grumblings from Whitehall that the Prime Minister's personal leadership style is part of the problem.

He does not have the reputation of delegating easily, or confiding in a wide circle.

Douglas Alexander
Douglas Alexander is one of the Prime Minister's closest advisers

The only ministers widely regarding as having Mr Brown's ear are a group of younger members of the Cabinet - Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander, who became International Development Secretary in June.

Mr Alexander travels this week with the Prime Minister to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kampala, Uganda - from where I'll be speaking to him.

Farewell to Blairism?

Last week the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced that he was cancelling contracts for several privately-run treatment centres for NHS patients.

In his Autumn Political Cartoon Gallery, Gary Barker gives his own personal take on the politics of the week...

The government line was that this was not a move away from the policy of involving the private sector in providing services; it was just that these particular schemes weren't delivering value for money.

But that hasn't prevented opponents of private provision from celebrating a victory, or hardline Blairites from grumbling that the Brown government is backsliding on the path of reform.

The Politics Show investigates whether policy is really changing.

Do join us this Sunday...



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