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Dear This Week: your views on our show

Andrew Neil
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Here is a selection of the comments from This Week viewers on our show.

Please keep yours brief - a few short sentences are ideal - and include your town and real name to have a chance of having your ideas published.

We cannot include all comments - and entries longer than 200 words will probably be edited for length or left out - but those we use represent the balance of general opinions we receive.

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We now have a Facebook page where comments go up more quickly and you can add them directly to the film or the interview you wish to comment on:


I watched David Starkey on TW with some degree of agreement since he sets out just how bad the situation really is and did not pull his punches when commentators and politicians alike stick their heads in the ground. However right at the end of his piece he made a statement that government revenue under Gordon Brown was 25% attributable to the City. Nobody including the usually resourceful and excellent Andrew Neill looked in the slightest bit phased by this statement and yet Starkey's next comment about the whole collapsing economy relied on this "fact". Its a shame that so many people in the media make statements of mind bending inaccuracy and then make a point based on it. Please tell me what the true city contribution was and how it was made up. It surely wasn't made out of corporation tax!
Steve Mann
Stephen Mann, Bath

Have you been left behind in the old BBC Television Centre? Surely you didn't take your tacky set and furniture to the new building even if you have taken your tired old jokes about Michael 'choo choo' Portillo etc along.
Laurie Walshe, Bedford
TIHS WEEK REPLIES: We have always been based at Westminster, so not directly affected by the move from TV Centre to New Broadcasting House. Our jokes and guests are perhaps slightly older than the buildling which closes for good this week.

I've submitted a previous comment about how This Week is the only thing which keeps me paying my TV license. Well that has now been reinforced by the appearance of Molly the Dog who is a genius addition to the team. Neil as ever is hilarious and brilliant at what he does. Thank you, This Week.
Charles Forrest, London

Why is this absolute gem of a programme put on so late at night? I absolutely love it but I have to record it to watch it. How many more fans would it have it was not buried in the dead of night, placed after the now far too often vapid and lowbrow Question Time with its ill informed audiences applauding inaccurate and politically biased comment for what seems to me to be no good reason whatsoever. I often wonder if there is a BBC employee standing out of camera with a 'Clap Now' board.
William McCormack, Bath
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Because we would never get away with it on prime-time?

Professor Starkey's disparaging comments about Roosevelt's New Deal were highly misleading. Between 1933 and 1937 very little extra investment was made in the economy because Roosevelt had so much opposition to his proposals. In consequence, there was a second recession. When effective investment was made in 1939 the economy blossomed. Professor Starkey, in his reply to Alan Johnson, defined himself as the historian who knew all about the topic. Perhaps he should learn a bit about it before sounding off.
Alec Melvin, Maidenhead

Now that we have two and a half Tories as regulars, it was irritating but unsurprising that bumptious David Starkey should be allowed to get away with some of his outrageous comments last night. I'm sure Diane would have torn into him about the relative success of FDR's New Deal and British non-Keynesianism in the thirties. She would surely have mentioned that the New Deal was seriously hampered by Congressional opposition. In the end, of course, both countries were hauled out of the mire by hugely increased defence spending (based on government borrowing)in the run-up to WWII. Sadly this turned out to be the most effective way of getting locked-up capital flowing back into their economies.
Anthony Turner, Norwich, Norfolk

I was wondering who is the owner of molly the dog. And why she is sitting on the couch in the programme. Can't be Alan Johnson's a former postman couldn't stand dogs after working as a postman. Is Micheal Portillo a fan of dogs as well as drinking blue nun and popping around to annabels. Or is she your speicial dog.
paul Simmonds, welwyn garden city
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Molly belongs to Andrew

A solution for the Falkland Islands:-As most of the Falkland Islanders are of Scottish descent the Falkland Islands should be given to Scotland when it becomes independent next year.
Scotland's earlier attempt to set up an Empire in the late 17th century failed . This time we could guarantee success!
from H. Deakin (A.L.E. party rep: Aspirational Liberal Eurosceptics ) in association with C.U.L (Cut out Useless Leaders Party)
Harry Deakin, Bewdley , Worcestershire

I see molly as been reinstated I think she will get better and bring a bit of life into the late night discussions she reminds you of the house of commons a bit like ken Clark falling asleep in a debate perhaps if you put a box of dog biscuits on the table she would keep awake and join in the debate.all the best Normsky.
Norman Barton, Shopshire
THIS WEEK REPLIES: If she spoke, we would have to pay her more and all viewers know This Week has no budget to speak of, even for dog biscuits, sadly.

Lovely dog on this week..even she was fedup with talking politics and went sound asleep..boring..
diana turner, oakham rutland

Andrew Neil, your show was better than usual last night. Must be the guests. I always appreciate Michael Portillo's analysis but Molly adds the right balance. Can we just have Michael & Molly in the future?
Graham Colbourne, Itchenor, West Sussex

Dear Mr Neil, do they not teach Greek north of the border? The hoi poloi, THE hoi poloi? Evry ful no that hoi is grek for the.
Con Byrne, Lomdon, Greater London

Tell Andrew it is the '64' to Auchenshuggle!
Gordon Cummings, gordoncummings

With all this talk about education tonight, is nobody going to highlight that our Chancellor spoke of one pence off a pint of beer in his Budget speech. There is, of course, no such thing as a single pence which is a plural word by derivation.
D Lloyd
Mr D Lloyd, London SW3

The best post budget programme with D Starkey Michael Alan Terry Wogan and Laura had great clips!
Andrew Neil hilarious anchorman!
Ermintrude Horrockstein,

I usually watch the programme anyway - but LOVE the addition of Molly the dog - don't let her go anywhere! Who does she belong to?!
Caroline Dunmall, Orpington, Kent
THIS WEEK REPLIES: She belongs to Andrew, and this was her second TW appearance.

I find it incredible that not one politician connects Britains troubles with the depression of working people's wages. The so called 'competive' labour market must be a myth. The fact is that the majority of working people depend on tax credit, housing benefit etc etc and there is not enough money going round for enterprise to flourish. Please pass this on
John p t smith, Banchory

Perhaps this week you could include something agitating hundreds of thousands of people. The Government retrospectively changing laws in response to being ruled against in DWP workfare case even before Appeal is heard and to prevent legal re-imbursement of seized benefits in defiance of Appeal Court ruling.
Colin Veitch, Tayport Fife

Please cover IDS's plan retrospectively to change the law over the Poundland decision. An appalling action that undermines the rule of law, yet the BBC seem to scared to offend the government to cover it.
John Wiggins, London

Budget The idea of encouraging more 95% mortgages is ill thought out. You all ready have about 15% of the population with mortgages from pre the credit crash trapped with existing mortgages at higher rates than the rest of the population who cannot remortgage or switch to a new fixed rate deal . An example of this is all the Alliance & Leicester customers left on high SVRs. This is just creating a future group of trapped borrowers. Perhaps the stimulus should have been to existing borrowers giving them say 5 years to use the saving to pay down debt so that their mortgages are then at true market rates not inflated. This would allow a equal pay down to banks that they should be compelled to lend out again or redirect the overpayments back to the tresury. Add the government guarantees to micro house builders so that they can get develpment finance from banks. Not support the major housebuilders who already have massive land banks. This will increase supply if houses and make housing more affordable. The child care is another burecratic shambles. Just make a under 18s personlal allowance of 1/8th the normal for each child, which parents can utilise. E.g to feed, cloth, educate, entertain, their children. Thus the strivers need to work to get the increased allowance. Parents also can control who they want and trust to care for their offspring , not a nanny state dictating nurseries for under 4s etc. Child care after school is still a cost when the kids are 10-16 be it extra after school enrichment clubs or just sports. All have a cost to a family and should be the parents choice to decide what is best for their family. The government have forgotten that 96% of small companies employ 20 or less people, this is where the innovation is not in the large burecratic entities we alway support.
Peter Astie, London


How about some new guests. the shows turning into a has beens merry go round,
martin, brighton

As sad as it may seem, I am a long time fan of your show. It is a relief to watch a programme which usually manages to present a balanced political view, compared to the default left of centre bias of all other BBC current affairs and news reporting. Unfortunately, this balance was completely lost in you show of 14 March with two left wing guests in the form of the ex St Pauls vicar and a guy from the Huffington Post. Both of these people have been on Question Time in recent weeks expounding their socialist convictions. Those two, plus Alastair Campbell acting always as though he is presenting a Labour Party political broadcast, left only Michael representing the right of centre corner. 3 against 1 is hardly a fair balance. I hope you do much better on tonight's show.
Clive Gibson, Salisbury, Wiltshire

An e-mail I have sent to Michael "Choo Choo" Portillo - I watched a rerun of one of your European train travels last night - Holland to France. If you had undertaken the same journey some years ago, you have spent time at no less than six border posts, and lost a considerable amount of your cash to the rapacious banks as you went from Pounds to Guilders, to Belgian and then to French Francs. Not everything in the Euro garden is as rotten as you make out on "This Week".
J Leslie Buchanan, Barcelona Spain

Alastair Campbell is far too " on message " and keen to protect his own legacy to be a regular guest on this programme. Bring back Diana Abbott, I never thought I would say that
paul rivers, London

After Question Time i was looking forward to This Week but nearly spilled my usual cup of warm milk. The normally excellent Alistair Campbell had turned into a rabid mongoose. Please save us the 5 mins, and wipe away the foam. Next time go to Annabell's before the programme thus no Johnny raincloud.
Chris Becker, Glasgow

Better late than never I am momentarily reading the Hutton Report (ref Dr David Kelly) from 2004 where Alastair Campbell blamed the BBC of anti-Government. I couldn't believe it when I heard him say the same anti-Government words on the March 14th show yet again so many years later. I guess every famous/infamous figure needs a catch-phrase.
Baroness Dr Karen Evangelista, Buckinghamshire

On having just viewed the latest show, I've felt like contacting the programme to offer up the prayer that Andrew Neil and Michael Portillo, by providing a fearless commentary on British politics & culture, understand the magnitude of their contribution to the National good; I don't think this praise wide of the mark and mean it sincerely.
Charles Jack, London

Kind of the TW crew to offer a helping hand to David Lammy, whose false accusation of racism was mocked by a rehearsal of the real thing. Absolutely shameful.
Iain Inglis, United Kingdom

Under our system of criminal justice as it stands, Huhne's and Pryce's sentences were probably right but the other question is what purpose prison serves. A close look will say that short of keeping some dangerous people off the streets for a while, absolutely none.
John Hardman, Bolton

Latest progamme spoiled by rudely argumentative Alistair Cambell. The more reflective style is what makes this programme watchable compared with the usual party politics. My Blue Nun turned to vinegar !
Josephine Tallon, Brokenborough, Wiltshire

love the show ,but please no more Alistair Campbell, he turn's every programme he's on into an advert for the Labour party & compared to Alan & Michael is very boring. I do vote UKIP,but am not a member of any political party;
regards Clive Sheppard
clive sheppard, Seaford East Sussex

I watch this programme because unlike panel forums, discussions can take place without the usual polarised standpoints just for the sake of it. The inclusion of Alistair Campbell makes reasoned discussion impossible, so much so that not even Andrew Neil can control him. He bangs on and on about the Tories and with his constant snipes smothers debate. Portillo can see much wrong with this government but Campbell is just Labour through and through. Alan Johnson or even Jackboot would be preferable anytime.
Dave Westney, Cheshunt Herts

Please no more Alistair Campbell one bully is enough
John Pepper, Brixham

Could someone ask the Rev. Fraser how it is "facing up to" their responsibilities to have more children than they can afford to provide for. Family allowance etc. is rewarding people for being irresponsible, just to try and buy votes, and punishes the ones who have not been irresponsible. Punishing good and rewarding bad is what the politicians have been doing for years, to buy votes and it amazes me that they can not understand why more and more people are becoming bad
Andrew Green, Lincoln

I'm with Giles Fraser, hopping mad about the way this blood curdling demonisation of those who are poor, working & unemployed & disabled, is justified by right-wing presenters like Andrew Neil, as an issue about 'fairness'. That inaccurate, partial cannard of benefits of £26,000 is churned out as if it was disposable income handed over without having to meet legitimate needs. It is the upper limit of benefit ( social security) very few get that much. It is made up of rent paid as Housing Benefit, to mainly private landlords who are laughing all the way to the bank. The 'spare room tax'is mean, nasty, counter productive & expensive. It's consequences will soon be made manifest. How strange to hear Neil point out that Alistair Campbell is a 'labour man', while spending most of the programme talking to right-wing Portillo, he & him long standing insider fixtures on the right, the nasty right. I was delighted to be reminded of the night Portillo lost, I too drank some champagne. Oh what a night it really was such a night. He is much better as train spotter- almost benign. He is ALWAYS, ALWAYS,wrong on everything re: present Tory Party. Phew ...pleased to get that of my chest. And, finally, Andrew Neil has a face & hair? for radio, who keeps him on the telly. I'm off to 'Annabels'.
Eva Holmes, Wilmslow Cheshire

I remember Michael Portillo predicted on this very programme that the Huhne case would not come to court, ie there would be no prosecution. Seems strange now that he's comfortable with the sentences passed.
Celia Savage, Cranleigh, Surrey.

Of all the people in the world, why oh why did the BBC need to invite the never elected war mongering moron A. Campbell who has simply never been capable of any civilized debate and whose self rigorous arrogance and forever interrupting bullying tactics will simply never allow anybody else to speak. Is it so difficult for the BBC to invite a credible guest?
Phillip Bolken, Ferndown

housing association tenant 30 years here paying rent working not on benefits but due to rent rises cannot afford to stay. Lot of housing has been built flats part-buy part- rent but too expensive for low paid workers. A lot of low paid workers concerned. As one young person stated "Sad London out of reach but time to move on find a home". Yes eventually you do not think of it as home. Young people leaving to work/live abroad. Young people coming from other countries not staying long find it too difficult to start up anything. Lady Godiva exhibition at Westminster Hall last year, with Book of Intent by children from Coventry did anyone in government read it? Yes benefits system gone beyond what it was set up for. But balance of salaries wages out of balance with costs of basics housing/food/fuel.
Carolsanrawilliams, Islington London

Unbelievable. Huhne didn't just seek to avoid 3 points on his licence, he sought to avoid a ban! Then he persisted to deny. Gross attempt to pervert the course of justice. Ex-wife's attempts to pervert the course of justice no better. Those in society who come from less fortunate backgrounds are dealt with similarly. Good for the goose as for the gander.
Alasdair Warren, Perth

I have been really impressed by the common sense Michael Portillo has shown since he has not been a Cabinet member, but tonight his comment that the government was elected by 60% of the country was way off the mark as it was only about 60% of those who voted! Also, when argueing that the benefits have been rising with higher percentages than wages is missing the point that 5% of a small amount is still only a small amount compared with wage rises. I wish everyone who cannot decide on who to vote for would spoil their ballot paper. Then there would be a problem if spoilt ballot papers exceeded the highest vote for a candidate!
Paul Reed, Benfleet

I always enjoy the lively debates that take place on your show -well done and keep it up.
I note (currently watching 14/03/13) the debate on benefits.
I would like to say that
1. I used to work with a long term disabilty
2. Laid off TWICE, once while in hospitalised for disability related matter and other while on sickleave for the same issue.
3. Where is the figure of £26,000 in benefit the government has come up with based on exactly - that you guys ae quoting back to Father Francis?
I get £709.00 per month Housing benefit my rent is £850.00 having moved further out of London twice because of expensive rent in inner London and £443.40 ESA per month so leaves me with £302.40 per month to pay all bills and buy food for myself and my cat of 12years total per annum = £13,828.80
This per annum figure is almost half the so called £26,000 the current government is talking about- I don't get it and I wish I was still being paid £30,000 per year but because of my disability I can no longer work.
My main issue here is please do a little more investigation on what the facts are than just repeating what the government says - which is completely manufactured and manipulated particular in the area of benefits.
Thank you

You may wish to better inform your viewers that the new Pope - the first Jesuit pontiff - is named after the first Jesuit martyr, Francis Xavier, not Francis of Assisi, as your contributor Giles Fraser stated. Francis Xavier was one of the original seven Jesuits under Ignatius Loyola, and like the new Pope, a native speaker of Spanish.
judge foozle, Ipswich, England

Dear Sirs,
I believe that it was fundamentally wrong to have sent either Chris Hunhe or Vicky Pryce to prison and have written to them both in prison to express my sympathy.
I take this view: -
(a) Because I broadly agree with the view expressed by Simon Jenkins in his article in this week's guardian that it amounts to a medieval practice of putting politicians in the stocks or, as I would prefer to put it, ritual humiliation;
(b) Because it is a waste of public money and a substantial fine with lengthy community service would have represented an adequate deterrent sentence;
(c) Because far to many people are being sent to prison in this country and no one should be imprisoned on the basis of retributive justice i.e. punishment for punishment's sake;
(d) Because I believe that the law is too harsh to describe point swapping for speeding as perversion of the course of justice. I am not defending the offence but it should be a separate and lesser offence with a low, normally non-custodial tariff;
And (e) I do not believe that Huhne in particular deserved to be punished by imprisonment because he lied in not initially admitting to his offence. I am not trying to excuse his offence per se but he knew that the moment he admitted to the offence he would have to give up his career and that under existing sentencing tariffs he probably faced imprisonment anyway. I also accept that he tried to keep the case out of court to protect not just himself but also his family.
James Walker, Canterbury Kent

Re Bedroom Tax. WHO is going to pay for the people to move? buy new carpets and decorate the home to a standard that they have left. Maybe the government will argue that this will create jobs with the need for more removal men.
Liz Thorpe, Conwy

Why does not Giles Fraser recommend to the poor that they "Consider the lilies"?
And the reason why house prices are high in London is immigration. Why is he silent about that?
Paul Sutton - ILFRACOMBE

Well Alastair Campbell on again so I won't be watching. I hope This Week finds a Labour back bencher who can tell the truth soon. Shame you occasionally spoil a good show.
Derek Blacklock, Clitheroe

Could Michael confirm if our Prime Minister is a politically Catholic? Mr Cameron seems to be employing the withdrawal method for most of his high profile pledges. He makes a great show of bedding a policy in only to pull out just before they get consumated... (minimum pricing, Leveson recommendations, et al)
Peter Fife-Faulkner, Calne, Wiltshire


Am I the only one who found the so called cheeky Girls offensive? I am a foreigner, I need Benefits despite working and I never called anyone workshy I wouldn't dare!! For someone who takes Money for prancing (sory trying to make the point) around she has a very high opinion of herself. this is the sort of talk that WILL get People riled. You show me one young Person from any Country who would not take a Job Opportunity anywhere,that earns him a good living and would say no. Regardless what Country
rita smith, Merthyr Tydfil

Brilliant show!
One thing that keeps coming up here and elsewhere over and over again is that "no sitting PM has ever increased his or her majority".
Harold Wilson did it in 1966.
Mr. Rodney Clayton., Kettering, Northants.

Alan Johnson is deluded re Labours record on immigration and benefits. He spoils the programme with his partisan views, for example using the babies who died at the Bristol Hospital when the Conservative were in power. This gets us no-where and doesn't add to thre discussion. I was so pleased to see Michael Portillo get quite angry at his comments (rightly so) and with his superior intellect, wipe the floor with him. I think the hirers and firers should try to find some-one from the left who isn't blinkered like Alan Johnson thereby ensuring a better quality of programme and discussion. ps - where did Alan Johnson get the idea that the average wage is £471 per week. Dolt!
Sandra R, Bedford

This Week is the finest antidote to Question Time - whose panel usually only score points over each other.
Between Andrew and Michael, plus guests, the political week is put in clear, unhurried perspective, but detail is always allowed through.
The programme is an ideal nightcap every Thursday. Worth waiting up for.
John Anderson, Paignton, Devon.

This week is one of my favourite show. I love it but i gotta say that there is one thing that im sure is wrong; when Andrew does one of his introductions to a sketch my peaceful chuckles are interupted by the DA DA DADADA at full volume Its too loud! I have to grab the remote as not to wake the baby and the whole village. Please Please Please tone it down alittle.
jim alan clack, bangor gwynedd

Our mother recently died in Southampton General Hospital from C-Diff. She was in terrible pain when the infection got out of control. We, her daughters, have many concerns about the care and treatment that she received. It appears to us that those in charge of running the NHS are not aware of what is actually happening on some of the wards in the NHS.
S. Iles, Southampton

Dear Andrew,
You excelled yourself with your introduction to tonight's THIS WEEK. One of these nights, Michael might just react. Hilarious. Next, you added real fuel to the immigration debate with a double helping of CHEEKY glamour who proved they were not just cheeky, but bright too. Now, please arrange to have SIDSE BABETT KNUDSEN (Birgitte Nyborg in BORGEN) on a future programme to help us all understand coalition politics as how it should be run. Not only would she bring real 'Thinking Man's Crumpet' to your super late night programme, but ever since the last series of BORGEN ended, I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms from the human race which even your daily appearances on TV has totally failed to rejuvenate. This Week is always a very enjoyable nightcap. Much political obscurity is always made clear by yourself, your guests and all your insight. I always feel included in the conversations.
Marvellous. Thank you very much.
ps As a Scot living in Devon, I need weekly revival that all is well with the world - this is such an old tory backwoods place, sometimes I cannot believe it!
From John Anderson Paignton Devon

Much as i like Portillo and think Alan Johnson is a left wing plonker ( NOT that i am a Tory ), the blame for the NHS scandal lies with the INDIVIDUALS concerned, NOT the NHS head, OR the system - what is wrong with these people? The problem is, there is NO individual res[ponsibility today - always someone elses fault. There seems to be a confluence of people who do the wrong thing, hateful actions, time and time again. You may think it extreme, but it was a similar thing with Hitler and the SS - many of these persons went on to live normal lives, in denial of what they had done. I was ( amongst others ) horribly and sadistically bullied at JUNIOR school by the teachers. They are the same people. The man at the top CANNOT know everything - where does the fault lie? Evil people.
Dean Nixon, Notts

Michael is 100% correct the bankers bonus cap by the EU is an attack on the city of London. The EU, or more accurately Frankfurt followed by Paris, would love the revenue it makes paid into their government's coffers rather than ours.
Stewart Ramsay, Hanwell

Alan Johnson. You are a disgrace. Harold shipman was an outright murderer. Not quite the same to compare intent Nicholson as complicit or incompetent.
Carolyn Renwick , Sheffield

Have decided to continue watching TW tonight because you have not put a woman on the soffa who should be in prison, ie Jack Boots Jackie.
Regards, Mr. Lee.
Mr. E. Lee., Ely, Camb's.

It was quite inappropriate to make such a cynical introduction about sinkholes when a man has just died so tragically.
Anne Benjamin, Canterbury

British media & BBC hardly set themselves very high standards when it comes to EU related matters, so not surprising you're at it again tonight re Roumanian and Bulgarian immigration. For instance:
- a recent dutch report on the social security impact of Polish immigrants shows actually they're net contributors as opposed to recipients (they contribute while working, but tend not claim retirement benefits)
- the Belgian government recently reported it had expelled thousands of EU citizens (including Roumanians & Bulgarians) who were abusing social benefits while never having contributed. No objection whatsoever from the EU. So what's the UK's problem?
In summary, British media yet again getting all worked up on EU-issues thx to an excess of Blue Nun and woeful lack of fact!!
Robby Vd Wyngaert, Antwerp, Belgium

hi all, great show as ever . but ? when the lovely cheeky girl went into shop , sign said open . by the time she left it was closed . how long was she shopping . only having a laugh about it . keep on keeping on .
jodies granda, aberdeen scotland

Well done to the sisters, they handled themselves very well. Now Andrew don't be inviting those innocent girls down to anabelles!!
Philip OFarrell Folkestone

Can you put a suggestion forward that all immigrants (and possibly everyone bar UK disabled) should have to be in full time employment to claim NHS benifits and have worked for a minimum of 5 - 10 years before being entitled to any benifits? Thus having made a fair contribution to british society.
James Shah, London

Alan Johnson stated average wage is £471 per week!!! what planet does he live on. He made this statement in a discussion about the forthcoming Romanian immigrants and talked about benefits at £71 per week.... well, add the housing, education, healthcare, council tax and you get way over £700 pw....Our infrastructure just cannot take this number of people, we are already bankrupt. Trying to keep data on marriage is difficult also, as nationality is not mentioned on the Marriage Certificate.... why?
S I Hilton
sylvia I Hilton, Shrewsbury Shropshire

I find it quite offensive that the cheeky girls, who have made money off their fame should comment on the standard of living and what we can offer imagrants, im a single mum who is trying to find work to suit my hours of looking after my son, which is extremly hard if i ever want to see him, and now all i here is that they want to bring in more people from over seas,will i be forever called a scrounger even though i do work part time and sit back and watch more people come into our country who know its an easy ride.
Lisa, Hitchin

I find it ironic that you have Nigel Kennedy on This Week to talk about Bieber being a late performer. I watched Nigel perform a concert a couple of years ago at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester - Nigel was around 20 minutes late going on stage in the first and second halves and was very rude when people shouted out complaints or slow clapped. He is just a self adsorbed prima dona and I won't be going to watch him again. A very disappointed fan.
Terry, York

Seldom spurred in to a response like this, BUT, Alan Johnson's comment about £71 a week on benefits and £471 average wage ! I can only say HILARIOUS and sooooooooo out of touch, benefit claiments milk those systems for about £200 a week once everything is added together, I work 60 hours a week for £200 grosse, where can I earn £471 for the UK 37 hour week ????? I WILL START WORK THERE TOMORROW.
Leyland Easdale, Gloucester Gloucestershire

Your little sketch showed it all! The 'cheeky girl' did not pay for her purchases from the grocery store. Say no more!.
R E Scruton, Grantham

For gods sake, dont let Alan Johnson off the hook like you did at lunchtime. A failure at the jobs leading up to health, where he was out of his depth. The farce of his weeks as Shadow Chancellor just underlining that the man should never have reached Govt, but I suppose that applies toso many, but few as smug as Johnson.
barry wimbledon,

Council Tax Band A disappeared years ago on new property, presumably based on improved insulat-ing. Studio flats, tiny retirement flats Band B. Now adjust top Band H? How can it be right for landed gentry to only pay this band. Would bring in vast monies. LABOUR TOOK THE HEAT OUT WITH TAX CREDITS GIVING FREE COUNCIL TAX BUT IT IS UNJUST.
Kathy Downer, Bournemouth

I would like the following to be discussed on your excellent programme:
Is it 'un-British' for companies like Butlins to use foreign agencies to recruit workers from Eastern Europe whilst ignoring the locally unemployed? And should the Government take firm measures to discourage this?
Robert Wood, Staffordshire


I enjoyed Alain De Botton's contribution Andrew. He shared how his atheist beliefs and personal/public spirituality makes a contribution to our secular spaces and our public spaces. It would be cool and fair to have a Christian philosopher on with reflections about how their theistic beliefs and personal/public spirituality makes a contribution to our secular and public spaces. I can recommend a number for you to consider. It is worth noting that within the history of western thought philosophy and theology are the same field with commensurable ideas and common concerns. Keep up the good work.
Kieran James, Cardiff

Grant Shapps keeps harping on tonight about how many MPs labour has in the South: would Andrew like to ask him how many MPs the Conservatives have in Scotland? Or for that matter Wales and the North East of England? Frankly coming 3rd behind UKIP in one of your target seats given the background the Lib Dems have fought the campaign is pathetic
Jon Ardle, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Great interview with Tim Farron.. Told it like it is and stood his ground despite harsh challenges from Andrew. How refreshing to see a politician not dodge a question or struggle to sound sincere. Direct and honest but statesman-like. A future PM methinks.
StephenGB, London

Just watching the by-election special and am annoyed to see that there are no female representatives from any party and all interviews so far have been with male reporters, male party people etc. We are over 50% of the population!
Sue Vincent, Staines, Middx

Safe alcohol drinking limits were arbitrarily decided upon by psychiatrists, not physicians, in the 1960s. They in no way reflect ordinary people's drinking habits: if modern, serious research was committed to the damaging effects of alcohol, we might take more notice of health warnings. But if a couple of beers or glasses of wine a day constitutes, in the eyes of a GP, 'alcoholism', no wonder people lie to them about what they drink. Units cannot be applied by gender. Some men are drunk after a glass of wine; most of the women I've ever known can at least keep up with their male counterparts. How about GPs asking about the probable realcauses of serious illnesses - do you have a plastic kettle? Do you eat plastic-wrapped food? Do you eat ready meals in plastic trays? Bagged salad? You are consuming food out of a substance which contains carcinogenic chemicals. Do you live in a city? Drive a car? Use aeroplanes? Get real. People have smoked and consumed alcohol from time immemorial. Only in modern life do we have a cancer epidemic. My advice to my own patronising doctor is: get a life.
Linda McIntosh, Birmingham England

As touched on by Michael Portillo a few minutes ago, the root of the current LibDem crisis, the Jimmy Savile crimes, the crimes in the Banking Industry and the MP's Expenses scandal (and many, many more) all stem from an abuse of power. There should be a crime in Law of abuse of power where an individual's actions deliberately and specifically benefit themselves to the detriment of the society, their organisation or colleagues.
Gordon Cook, Milton Keynes

John Presscott on the couch pontificating on sexual politics. If it wasn't so DESPERATE I might find it funny - but you know it's not.
Patricia Murray, Prestwick

Great to see Prescott squirm regarding sexual harrisment of woman , as its well known he is one of the worst offenders . Old boys club steps in Andrew Neil says nothing your all Hippocrates, another nail in the coffin of British politics !
L moulding, Essex

What do the This Week presenters think about the Cornish councillor who thinks that disabled care costs are too high and the solution is to put the disabled down......Maybe the councillor could get a job with ATOS work capabilty testing teams.......And how come it took so long for hime to resign, onl doing so when the news hit the local and notional news.
Is this what is meant about caring for the most vulnerable is society?
Please debate today if possible
Robert Surowiec, Birmingham

How is a serious debate about sexual harassment in Westminster best served by choosing to film the presenter's argument in a wine bar? It trivialises the debate before its even started.
Julia, Bishops Stortford

Concerning the Eastleigh election. I am interested to know how the Tory party's representative got my home phone number when it is x directory and also being a member of the telephone preference service, being classed as cold calling how they had the right to phone me, when they should check the tps list to that I was on it. When I phoned their phone number on their leaflet to complain and demand an explanation and an apology the rude man put the phone down on me. These people claim to care and listen, I don't think so
Pete, Eastleigh

When you get a quiet moment in the marathon show tonight could you please put this question forward to any Conservative MP
It's truly amazing how quickly the measures have been put in place to immediately hammer the poor, disabled, the pensioners, the retired, The NHS, government workers, etc.
Yet dealing with the Bankers and Tax dodgers, etc, NOTHING has been done YET to control them, NO RING FENCING, no stopping bankers BONUSES, no system to stop tax evaders, the money recovered in these areas could pay off the countries debt's in record time, why are the people who caused a lot of the problems not been dealt with ?
( bankers seen again today, rewarded for failure ) I understand the failure is not with the current management but it's still wrong to reward people in this climate, can they not wait a year or two until the bank shows a profit?
Terry, Newcastle


On last week's show Michael Portillo, in the context of scandals, said that there were 'Not enough people in handcuffs.' Did his remarks include politicians who many amongst the general public regard as having 'got away' with expenses claims? Or does the BBC balance policy include a clause requiring a quota of MPs sacked by their constituents?
mervyn owen, worcester, UK

I watched your programme last night, 14 February 2013 and wished to comment on something Michael Portillo said during the discussion on Labour's statement that they would bring back the 10p tax rate. He said and all agreed with him that a 66p increase after tax was not worth it for anybody. This for me really summed up the politician's gung-ho attitude to money. What they don't realise is that for many people at the bottom of the food chain, I am living on a state pension, an extra 66p a week,£34.32 per annum, is a small fortune and could make the difference between whether I could afford to go to an NHS dentist during the year rather than let my teeth rot as I have to at the moment. Politicians need to get it into their heads that not a lot of not very much is a really large amount for many people.
Annie, Drybrook, UK

Love the show. Your research is excellent and right to heart of the matter every time. Just one thing, on the issue of taxation. You and all politicians are misrepresenting who benefits from raising tax thresh holds, it is everyone who are on a standard, 40% tax payer's included. On your programme 14/02/2013, you said that higher earners/higher tax rate payers do not benefit from the increases in thresh holds. They most certainly do, please seek HMRC advise on this. The liberals proclaim this is a measure to mainly help the poor. They do not make it clear that everyone on PAYE on a single person code gets the increase too, millionaire alike and as such pay less tax.
It would be great if you could be the person to expose this misrepresentation.

Interesting that, reference the horsemeat issue, Michael Portillo said that there ought to be more accountability and more people "in handcuffs". Many of us feel exactly those feelings following the MPs expenses scandal. Is it too wide a brush to suggest that if our leaders suffer little accountability for wrongdoing then why should anybody else?
John Smith, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear

Final item (15 Feb) tonight showed Speaker's procession was led by Jill Pay. She left, I think, in 2011!!!! As a current affairs programme this is tawdry...
Dennis Gordon, Salisbury

Urgh- the appalling discredited Jaquie Smith makes another appearance. Why? Surely you can find better guests. Who next? Hazel Blears? Why do you invite such a disreputable hollow lightweight? Must do better This Week.
Eric Lowndes, Manchester

Dear Sir/Madam. I am an avid watcher of This Week, but as soon as I saw who was sharing the couch tonight with Michael I had to switch off. I am of the opinion that she should not be paid by the BBC to appear as she is lucky not to be in prison.
Yours Sincerely,
Mr. Lee.
Mr. Lee., Ely, Camb's.

mr portillo's hand gestures and body language to dictate mr neils are so obvious - clair short is a very poor female host - i know bbc love to be representive but she's rubbish - taps his left leg - hand behind the sofa -please its so obvious
alexander george spencer west, yarmouth

Demonstraions on rape of women worldwide, absolutely, especially after the horrific case in India. But to hear Jaqui Smith choose this as her moment of the week is cringe making. In her expenses she claimed for her husband hiring porno films!!! I despair!! And why does the BBC continue to employ her? She has no public role and her views are irrelevant. As a licence payer I say please BBC give JS the axe. I will now stop watching because she is on!!!
Pat Quigley, Leigh, Lancs

good programme , cant stand A Neils crap comments
just get on with facts and stop the mumbles
Roy powell, Worthing UK

Why not abolish vat and tax incomes: that would both help the not-well-off and boost the economy - might someone do the sums and see if it could work?
CeliaSavage, Cranleigh, Surrey.

I love This Week and watch it every week until I see Jackie Smith on the couch when I switch straight off. Why does the BBC continue to give this discredited politician - a former Home Secretary for goodness sake who fiddled her expenses - a platform from which to re-invent herself as a media star? Think again BBC. Mick Beeby
mick beeby, bristol

Jane Moore missed the opportunity to use the word, "Beefcake," when her last date came to the table.
Brian Lavery, Oakham, Rutland

I have always enjoyed This Week as a serious political programme where I can listen to intelligent & informed debate around current political issues. I also enjoy some light hearted satire. However, please ask Andrew to drop the rather childish "Michael Choo Choo Portillo" joke & the #tag comments during introductions - a bit old & stale now.
Other than that, a cracking political programme.
Neil, Liverpool, Merseyside

You mention the one who has broken his gagging order but there are many others under gagging orders. For example did you know that many MPs change the Hospital prescription just to stay within their budgets at the expense of their patients health. But the Out Patients staff are under gagging orders not to inform the patients. So much for transparency and patient choice. How Can they make a choice if the person they have put their trust in is feeding them false information.
Sydney MARSH, Jumilhac le grand, FRANCE

The recent annoucement on 10p tax looks like a balls smoke & mirrors why not just take the allowance up by £500 same effect but not such banner headlines and what about the cost of introducing further complexity.
Terry, Newbury


Terrific show, Andrew is perfect chair, skillfully combining mix of wit and humour with hard politics. It's a shame that Michael Portillo and Alan Johnson couldn't show this much clarity, fairness, clear thinking and level-headed debating when they held power - maybe this wisdom comes only when the party-pressure is off?
David McMillan, Goole, East Yorkshire

Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your programme. The recent "themed" ones have been superb and better than some comedy shows!
Best wishes to all.
Graham Collett, York

Dear Mr Neil , I have enjoyed This Week for as long as it's been on our screens , but unfortunately you now have a massive problem. "Michael Portillo" It's time he went off to spend more time with his trains . You now have two people on your sofa each week who are far off to the left.
Where it be with Alan Johnson or before him Dianne Abbot, maybe his proximity to them has made him go native.
This has been coming a long time now , capped by his bizarre piece about gay marriage where , whatever your view was both lecturing and insulting to peoples intelligence . Your show is now as biassed as the rest of the B B C 's political output . It's a great shame because you used to be an island of reasoned argument in a sea of left wing , self-richeous , hand wringing , indoctrination,..but no more. You need someone on your sofa instead of Portillo like Peter Bone each week , to more reflect the public mood and give your programme some balance again. ......I know it's a little long but I thought it might make a change for you to get a shot of common sense ..... Regards Ian L
Ian Linney, Lymington Hampshire

David Baddiel superb this week - so eloquent and thoughtful. Good Portillo film too. Alan Johnson getting a bit tired though don't you think?
Gareth Thomas, g.reth

I am a regular this week follower, drawn in by my admiration of Michael Portillo in recent years and so I hesitate to seem critical.
My comment is on the chosen apparel assumed for a late evening programme. The impression is of the end of the day next step is pyjamas and brushing teeth.
Michael is admired for his jackets on his choo choo programme , so why the underdressed evening look. He is after all giving the audience serious opinion.
Are the rules of dress..Sumptuary law...not worthy of no consideration?
Often these days , since Dianne Abbot who dressed well for the programme, the guest by Michaels side dresses more formally. Alastair Campbell last week and Alan Johnson this week dress more formally. I liked his roll neck and interesting jacket.
The look does not need to be suited and booted just a tad more
C'mon Michael !
Sue Perrott, Sevenoaks Kent

How can Alan Johnson claim that David Nicholson is "a very good" chief executive? The statement has a ring of Soviet-style contempt for the facts. The only point of a hospital is to ensure the finest medical treatment of patients, to maintain the best care of patients, to minimise the suffering of patients, to prevent avoidable deaths of patients and to keep patient welfare as top priority. Nicholson failed on all these, so how can he be "very good"? It demonstrates how the Labour mindset is fixated by targets, statistics and top-down control. Unaccountable management has caused most of our problems, in the NHS, banking, police, home affairs and security, and other vital areas of our society. The Labour government would not criticise the MET and actually supported it when police shot an innocent man. Labour allowed corrupt management in the banks. Failed policies and failed management are regarded as great successes and the thousands of victims are ignored by all parts of the system. The Tories and LibDems seem to be no better than Labour, probably because governance is in the hands of the civil service.
Stan Evans, Alferton, Derbyshire

Bring back Rees-Mog every week.Nice to see the Brain of Britain, sorry train of britain portillo given a History lesson.mogg`s anaylsis on every item incredible.
Oh by the way Johnston forgot when he was health minister the public enquiry asked by families at South staffs hospital was ignored.
Come on Andrew wake up, too much blue nun!
r hipkins, bromsgrove worcs

Huhne's crime is trying to get the charges dropped knowing full well he did it! Smug and arrogant
Melissa, Kent

why as nobody been charged with corporate manslaughter for the dreadful dealing of the patients of the staff hospital?
Trevor Voyce, manchester

.........and not one single word that the homosexual marriage thing only applies to englandshire and the c of e NOT the whole uk!! Scotland and the CHURCH OF SCOTLAND will make its own decision on this NOT the englandshire govt at westminster! England england england....richard the turd - now is the winter of discontent still discontented!! And as for the education thing no mention will be made of the different circs in the other 3 parts of the uk where even wales can make its own decisions about exams without gove interfering. And here we go with the appalling stafford hospital story without any mention that it only affects the englandshire health service, NOT the other 3 health services in the uk, so all 3 are now tarred with the english brush. Disgraceful!!
jim adamson,

Listening to mr rees-mogg has just confirmed to me how totally out of touch with every working class[or more appropriately every unemployed working class]person these upper class twits really are.
kimberley mcintyre, millport

Mr. Neil,
I suppose his Majesties parking fine will be a Kings ransom ?
Regards Russ
russ tollerfield, Southsea Nants

If, as heard on question time the Hospital, particularly Staffordshire, death scandal, is a political problem. A Lab/Con governmental error of policy.
Why then wasn't every hospital in the country accused of killing patients?
Given they were not, then the hospitals killing patients have executives in charge that should be prosecuted. Ward Staff, Nursing executives, nurses even.
Chrissie Parkes, Isle of Man

I think the media is underestimating the sheer delight that many of us are feeling about seeing Michael Gove eat humble pie. To describe his u-turn as a tweak is absurd. He has been made to look very foolish and will hopefully be kept on a shorter leash from now on.
Phil, Lewes

Is the problem not that nurses now have to have a degree and think themselves above basic caring duties?
Melissa, Kent

TW and Daily Politics great shows. But Andrew, PLEASE give up your one liners..# tags, (especially)'choo choo', blue nun, etc.. they are now a bit boring and no longer 'clever'. Best to avoid all together is this does not present the best image. Alan J is good but as a MP can he really be as critical of the Labour leadership as Michael P is of the Conservative party.
Richard Scott, Edinburgh

If Alan Johnson is on This Week again, I implore that he is questioned about his role in the scandal of 1,200 people being allowed to die of neglect in Mid-Staffs hospital. He rejected calls to have Martin Yeates, the chief executive, sacked; and he rejected calls for an independent inquiry. There is no mention of the report and the total failings on his watch on his web-site. He is responsible. Ask him if he thinks he shouldn be in prison for manslaughter. Please let Andrew question him or who ever is representing Labour this week.
Matthew Nelson, Stafford


Dear Andrew,
I watch the program every week, will molly be on every week she was a bit shy on her first program and lost interest and went to sleep, i think she would be good on the daily politics as well and could be a hit for the program.
Normsky Barton, Shropsire
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Normsky and other readers have been asking about Andrew Neil's dog Molly, who made a surprise visit to the set last Thursday. Many have asked for her to come back. We have no news of any further appearances at this stage.

HS2 is an arterial system right for France in the 80s and China today but now old hat.
We need a capillary system offering not marginally higher speeds but high connectivity, frequency and flexibility (Hcff): an innovative system using unmanned short trains like airport shuttles dispatched automatically in response to demand that can be gradually expanded to reach every corner of a de-Beechinged England (including all airports that matter):
o School trip to Bath? your train will be at your nearest station at 8.30;
o Conference at Harrogate? frequencies will double for the day.
Hcff would serve our needs, provide scope for innovation and could be built step by step starting now (not 2030) with only measured disruptions to landscape and life.
Balint Bodroghy, Brighton, East Sussex

Hello, we call you ''our friends '' who join us every Thursday night ! Your best guest ever arrived last night .... who owns the beautiful golden retriever who padded around, relaxed and then fell asleep. If she/he is homeless can we offer a good and friendly home ...please .. otherwise can he/she be a weekly visitor, Tony and Angela xx
angela tribe, harlow essex

Thank you Alastair Campbell for your highlight of the week last night. Let's hope Ghastly Gove (Iago Gradgrind) is given enough rope soon to ...........!
Enough is enough!

Rosemary, the dog is Molly and belongs to Andrew. Lots of comments about her on Facebook. Everyone (including me )thinks she is gorgeous!
Cynthia Sell, Tunbridge Wells

Love "This Week" and Andrew Neil's humour but please why was that dog wandering around the studio? I kept on expecting, to no avail, and explanation! Please explain in next week's programme.
Robert Griffith, London

I am curious as to why there was a Golden Retriever wandering around on the set during last night's This Week? (31/1/13)
Sarah Gouriet, Westbury

I was dismayed by Alistair campbell's derogatory comment accusing the opponents of a nuclear dump in Cumbria of nibyism. It was an ill judged and ignorant comment not supported by any evidence perhaps he should do some research like we did before spouting forth
susan fuszard, Cumbria

Last night's HS2 discussion was unfortunately one-sided and uninformative. The guests were entitled to their unanimous view that HS2 is essential, we should "catch up with the rest of the world" and objectors are merely Nimbys. However, it could have been mentioned that while the Transport Select Committee supported the scheme it stated in its report the project had not been properly thought through. Quite a criticism for something costing £33bn-plus. While distracted pouring the Blue Nun, This Week missed the irony that in the decade Japan opened its first Shinkansen Bullet train route Britain was running down and closing main lines. One of them was arguably the best-constructed route from London [Marylebone] to Manchester. It served Leicester and Nottingham city centres which HS2 will not. No wonder there are capacity problems now, but instead you can walk your dog or cycle on the trackbed. A further irony is that Quainton, featured in Mary Ann Sieghart's piece, was part of that discarded route.
Michael Strutt
Michael Srutt, Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Re HS2. It is very easy for Alistair Campbell and Michael Portillo to accuse other people of NIMBYism when it doesn't actually affect them. The follow up question should have been "now that the nuclear waste repository isn't going to be built in Cumbria, would you support in in your locality?". Well, would you Alistair? Would you Michael?
Donald, Buckingham

Once again, a narrow discussion on Africa. You could not get past the Cowboys and Indians mentality of them bad, we good. Please, have someone on to enlighten as to why so many want to harm us.
Michael Connolly, London

Thank you for a great show. For all the mucking around & humour, This Week is one of the few places you can get something like real politics, opinions given genuinely in a truly propaganda-free environment. Andrew Neil is perfect; about a centimetre behind the irony is a seasoned hack with no patience for spin or PR. Michael Portillo is just as good, a real statesman. If there's a weakness, it's the lack of a left-leaning incumbent of Portillo's quality. While I greatly enjoy Diane Abbot, she's not quite as ingenuous. Alastair Campbell was never an elected politician and has, in my opinion, insufficient regard for the electorate. Alan Johnston comes closest to the ideal Labour heavyweight. Really, your programme is unique, and uniquely valuable.
John Machin, London UK

Who did the lovely Labrador/Golden Retriever belong to? He didn't seem very interested in the programme!!
Best Wishes
Rosemary Wheeler
Rosemary Wheeler, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

Please tell me if Andrew Neil is a 'stand up comedian' or political news presenter? Also, why does he wear a pinstripe suit with no tie and open collar? To me he looks like someone who has no class or any idea of it. Open collar LOL
Rankin, Melton/England

I stand for the house of lord reforms but i belive that we the english desirve to have our own asemberly as the welsh and irish and scottish, they get to cherry pick what laws that are passed they want and certainaly how their monies are alocated and yet they sit in the 2 houses telling the english what we should do.
amy croucher, grimsby

Re Nick Clegg's choice of school, what nobody is remembering is that a school is chosen by at least three people: father, mother (where there are both parents) - and most importantly the child. Some schools suit some children, some do not. It's a very personal decision and the current media furore is totally misplaced because it is especially unfair to the child.
Celia Savage, Cranleigh, Surrey.

It took 4 years to build the first major railway between Manchester and Liverpool (as stated in a BBC programme), with modern technology the fact HS2 will take almost 10 times longer shows how incompetent modern day politicians and planners are!
Mike, Nottingham

We should not be wasting £32Billion on what is just revamped Victorian technology (HS2) - we should be leap-frogging the Japanese and French and investing the money in some truly 21st Century technology such as a linear-induction network, running individual computer-controlled family-sized cars, which can be booked on-line to take you to any A and B in the country.
James Davies, Garstang

Why cannot we have a MaLev run down the centre of our motorways? No problems of breaking through new land, no planning problems, the technology has been tested in Japan .
Michael Lingard, Hawk hurst

Hi I often watch this programme after question time and find the topics interesting etc the only problem is the backdrop, with the days of the week floating along is so distracting, with all respect yes it's called this week so ok there are 7 days of the week but most people watching this will hold basic intelligence of what it's all about anyway.I suggest that this can be looked at as I have thought it often but this week felt a need to feed back my viewpoint it actually makes it a distraction on the guests .I feel for a political type programme ,something of more relevance would be more suited. Thanks even if you just had it without the days moving would help. But ultimately the more I watch it. The more it needs altering honest watch it from a viewers point of view the colours also floating like ink in water just makes your eyes strain watching it in a way. Somehow I feel it just needs a simple nice colour backdrop or maybe a picture of topic of conversation of the week that's all.
Beverley Brereton, Widnes

I am sad to see Alastair Campbell on your show. When Alan Johnson is not available surely there is another Labour back bencher you could use. I am unhappy license fee money being paid to a spin doctor whose main ability is to avoid the truth at all costs.
Derek Blacklock, Clitheroe


in the video clip of the this week program titled (Children's online activity: Katherine Ryan and Lowri Turner ) in the video clip the older of the two women on the show said that she the government should make it compulsery for internet service providers to act as censors and protect her children for her then you said that you supposed that it would take years to develop the software, well i have news for you and all the other parents that just can not be bothered to protect there children from all of the unsavoury things and people that are out there on the internet and i have news for all of those parents not all of the unsavoury things that are out there on the internet are ran or put out there by nasty adults some of it is put out there by thirteen year old boys and girls just has a joke which backfires which they never thought it would, to protect kids like that there is already a piece of software on every piece of computer hardware and that includes all play stations and Xboxes and that software is called a "parent lock" and it allows adults to pick and choose what programs there kids can look at and at what age leveal they are allowed to whatch that program
Mr Vivian D Hankey, Burton upon Trent STAFFORDSHIRE GREATE BRITAIN

You had Neil Hamilton on thursdays programme, why was this, his past shows that Hamilton has poor judgement and lacks integrity. I watch This Week for the variety and quality of judgements given by its participants Neil Hamilton devalues that experience.
Alan McGarrity, Birkenhead, Merseyside

AN is an excellent interviewer. Puts politicins from all parties on the spot. However, the real issue is the economy and what the Coalition has done and is doing to the social fabric of our society in the name of ideology (Conservative that is). The country is being run by out of touch ex public schoolboys. One positive for public schools is that they breed self confidence. The real problem however, is when this spills over into arrogance and is coupled with incompetence. This is a potent combination and is clearly illustrated by the Coalition's trashing of the UK economy and their insistence that they are 'on course'despite every economic indicator to the contrary. The Lib Dems will pay dearly at the next election for allowing this to happen and to continue.
bob, Ainsdale

Can something please be done about Andrew Neil?
Did someone once mistakenly tell him that he is funny?
His lugubrious, flat footed delivery of his idea of humour is increasingly irritating in a show that I have always considered is supposed to be a responsible commentary on the week's political events.
Michael "Choo Choo" Portillo
David "Call me Dave" Cameron
Vince "The" Cable
And so many more of a similar kind that one would expect from a school child. Plus of course the endless references to Blue Nun and Ababells. Has no one ever told him that this is less than funny?
I think it's time Andrew Neil is replaced by someone up to the job.
Andrew Taylor, Kent

Very disappointed by debate on Cameron speech. Expect to see better debate on the issues from this program. This was even worse than Newsnight. First, 4 guests all anti, couldnt find one person able to make the arguments for the ideas DC put forward! The Economist managed to. Afraid that some might find the speech made sense? Second, trivialising of the issue. No reference to finer points like the reference to Turkey entering the EU and showing up how ever closer conflicts with ever larger over a disparate continent. Hate to say it but Andrew Neil, once the best informed and most balanced pundit, seems to be developing an agenda - or is it the producers?
Peter Beaumont, Dorking, Surrey

I'm a regular viewer but Andrew's hackneyed intro to Alan "hash-tag man on the left" and Michael "sad man on the train" is driving me nuts. Please stop or think of something new to say
john mills, Bristol

I watch this week every week. What realy gets to me, is just how much room Portillo takes up on a 2 seater sofa (2/3) and this is every week and realy gets up my nose. Can someone do something about this please it is very off putting.
Harry Parrish, Burnley

Two mistakes on This Week last night:
Firstly Neil Hamilton said that Cameron had offered a cast iron guarantee on a EU referendum prior to the last election. What Cameron actually said was there would be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty IF it hadn't already been signed. But Brown HAD signed it before the election, scuttling in and out by a back door so that he wouldn't been seen.
Secondly, Laura Keunsberg said that Britain was "on the brink" of a triple dip recession. As a recession is defined as TWO successive quarters of economic contraction we are at least three months away from that.
Very surprised that Andrew didn't correct either of these basic mistakes.
Donald, Buckingham

Dear Mr Neil
I have always admired you as a political journalist and broadcaster and watch 'This Week' regularly.
I feel we should stick to what we know best. Your attempts at humour have regressed from poor to puerile but tonight you crossed a line.
You managed to insult your audience. What was the point? I can only conclude it was to reveal to us the contempt in which you hold the viewers of 'This Week'.
I am registering my 'inconsequential existence' and thoughts regarding your arrogance, unprofessionalism, rudeness and sleaziness.
The irony of a presenter who frequently uses sexual innuendo at the expense of others and almost weekly references to 'Babestation' chairing a discussion on juvenile 'sexting' etc., was just the final straw.
Watch the programme and see how it came over. Not your finest moment I think you'll agree.
Yours sincerely
Victoria Lambert
Victoria Lambert, Burwash, East Sussex

I disagree with the Lowri Turner.
Most websites do require Parent censor, even the BBC's iplayer can only restrict content if the Parent's set it up.
As an electrical engineer the idea of producing machines that come pre-locked is ludicrous as only parents have the fiscal means to purchase them and two software has to constantly update.
steven allan karagozlou, Portsmouth

I just wanted to comment on the prince harry story, I think harry is doing his contry very proud, this is what the royal family should be doing! Harry and william are the future and we should support him and understand that the press go to far in what they write about. Thank you harry you are doing a great job and we are very proud of you.
scott gammon, Morecambe

Can you please, please stop using placing your otherwise respectable journalists in such embarrassing situations to explain the most basic political stories. I do not need to literally see a reporter climb a slippery slope in order to explain the idea of a slippery slope. Thanks!
Neil Long, London

Hamilton obviously has no idea about hygiene!
Fingers inside of jars making jam?
I am seriously considering leaving UKQIP and going back to the Tories!
I am in no way involved with making food products but surely even someone of Hamiltons limited intelligence can understand that putting his fingers inside of the jars of jam is something one does'nt do!!
Wally Alert!
There is also someone on the sofa,( perhaps an ex-postman!) who doesn't understand that the shirt he is wearing would look out of place on a 19 year! For goodness dake, act your age!
Two Wallies in one show!!
Well done! (but, please no more!)
Colin mills

Could you explain why we still have to listen to Neil Hamilton who has been to prison when there must be many other people with valid arguments. You seem to pay people who have already defrauded the British public instead of letting people who are honest getting a chance to have their say
David Edwards, Dronfield

What has happened to the ties? Is there no one of importance on this week? Anyway, it was nice to see respect given to Kofi Annan.
Paul Lawrence, Liverpool

Why are politicians banging on about a referendum about the political union with Europe which they quote we have not had a say about in 40 years, when we have not had a referendum about the houses of lords or the commons for that matter since the norman invasion
Steve Collison, pETERBOROUGH

Greetings to TWT for the Burns (and referendum) season! Thoughts that David Cameron gave Immortal Memory at Burns Supper in Davos (with nip of Jura whisky in hand no doubt): 'Ae fond speech and then we sever/one referendum and gone for ever/Angela enjoy the bowl of porage/It was made specially by Nigel Farage' (pace Rabbie and MacGonagall) Why is Alastair Campbell not on the show tonight to pipe in the haggisa? 'Euro awa tae bide awa' perhaps? Great to see Michael in Plockton on his railway odyssey of Scotland. We shall have him fluent in Gaelic eventually and in time for the National Mod in Paisley!
slainte mhath!
Duncan Ferguson, Stromeferry IV53

I would like to comment on the current EU news story.
David Cameron is playing a very interesting game here, but not necessarily for the reasons he states.
He wants to give the British people a referendum on Europe. This has been circling the halls of Westminster for the best part of a decade.indeed the last Labour government signed away many of the powers to Brussels that The coalition is now trying to protect or reverse.
I moved to Europe for a better standard of living. I was sick of living in rip off Britain. It may be that Europe is suffering and in terrible recession and Cameron is right to protect the country and the currency of Britain.
However don't be fooled Britain. This is a ploy to strengthen David Cameron's own little Europe- the coalition. The promise to hold a referendum is not the real reason for this push to be strong in Europe. The next Election is and strengthening the coalition to win a second term is DC's objective and look who was the first to jump in support of DC's major speech. UKIP
This is the real issue here. UKIP is gaining mighty ground in the UK especially on the subject of Europe and Immigration. Our beloved Prime Minister is protecting his interests and without the support of UKIP the coalition would not win a second term. DC is taken the biggest gamble of his political career. Should it pay off, and the coalition wins, it won't have any impact on the membership of the EU. It would cost far too much to leave it and would have a huge impact on our position as a trading nation- and DC is fully aware of this.
Don't be fooled Britain. This is just a game.
George Antoniou, Amsterdam Netherlands

Dear This Week, Regarding the big issue of the week...did Beyonce sing live? As a singing teacher my instinct is that she did. When she sings the word 'red' just before she touches her earpiece there is a phlegm rattle in her throat, and then the ornamentation after that is clearly flat!
Jason Pimblett, Brighton East Sussex

"sexualisation of society" problems are a result of de-sexualisation of society. why do we insist on selling our kids a fairytale dream like reality? indigenous cultures dont do this, they give age relevant understandable information, thus instilling respect and reverence for sexuality.
fiona devine, derry

Why have you got two women discussing porn (trotting out the same stuff to be heard on almost any discussion programme on television)? Is there a boycott of men talking on this subject? The BBC should not subscribe to the standard practice of letting the views of only possibly damaged women drone on about this, there must be interesting views on it from men.I mean, can you provide a balance of thoughts on the matter? A woman and a man sometimes. Spruce up!
Colin Davies, London UK

Could you get someone to point out and discuss, that contrary to headline reports by the BBC and others, Cameron did not in fact offer an in or out referendum, but only a vote on a renegotiated agreement with the EU. As he will not get one, it is most unlikely there will actually be a referendum, as there will not be any agreement to vote on.
Pat Andrews, Sheffield


Andrew Neil said, "Now regular viewers will know we're not exactly on the best of terms with this rather vague concept known as 'truth', here on This Week...I mean...why do you think Alastair lies so easy on this sofa?" Never a truer word spoken on This Week.
Some more truths even This Week should be able to see:
1. Germany wants its gold reserves repatriated from USA & France ('ll have to wait a while for us to find those tungsten...I, where can we find that elusive gold?!)
2. Mali is Africa's third largest gold producer
3. France have recently commenced military operations in Mali & America has offered logistical support
But this is all about "Islamists", right? How did that term recently become so prevalent all over the media? Almost like there's an agenda to conflate "Islam" with "terrorists" in the minds of the public, but allegedly intelligent, rational people still use it. Follow the money...pure gold!
Noor Khan, London

What a superb programme it was this week - serious commentary, serious politics, seriously well dressed presenters - just like THIS WEEK used to be: before all the dressing down and utterly irrelevant frivolity was introduced.
Please set this programme as your new standard!
John Leggett, Haslemere

Diane's replacement has been predominately Male. Isn't the time right for a permanent Female replacement. I'd suggest Hazel Blears as having the personality without the 'party line' of Jacquie Smith.
Ken Spurrier, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

What a pleasant change to have some gravitas on the programme last night instead of the usual knock-about comedy. It certainly sorted out the men from the boys;Michael Portillo demonstrating what a sad loss he is to the body politic while Blair's former spin doctor just waffled.
Laurie Walshe, Bedford

Excellent show last night. Kofi Annan was a brilliant guest who spoke with real authority and a depth of knowledge. Thank you
Camille Closs, Kingston upon Thames

Dear Sirs, I know the wrapping does not define the object inside but Michael Portillo in a suit and tie looked and sounded so much more professional than laying around in a sweater or just a shirt. The sooner he joins Nigel Farage in a senior position the better for our political scene.
J.C.Jones, Crick, Northamptonshire

I have watched this week for the last 10 years, barely missing an episode. It is simply the best political show on the telly. Why, oh why do you persist in having Alastair Campbell as a panel member on the the show? He was hopelessly out of his depth last night in the company of Kofi Annan, Andrew and Michael, and contributed nothing whatsoever of value. The contrast between Michael's accurate and chilling summary of the Africa/Asia situation and Campbell's feeble attempts to say anything of relevance was very striking. He then spent the rest of the show trying to talk over the other guests like the bully he obviously is. It is very annoying. I often switch off now when I see he is on the panel. Please can you have more of Alan "AJ" Johnson who is both likeable and articulate, or Jacqui Smith who comes across much better now than she did when Home Secretary. If you must have Campbell on, please have him as a guest when the Chilcott Inquiry finally reports!
Keith Murray, Edinburgh

What a pity it takes a tragedy like Algeria to get Andrew Neil to stop his clowning at the beginning of the "this week" program on Thursday evenings.
Andrew Neil is a first class political interviewer but as a comedian, he is a dead loss.
Can management tell him not to spoil his programmes with his embarrassing attempts at wit. PLEASE
Michel Worms, Wokingham,

The best way to curb terrorism is to find more inclusive solutions which may require local population involvement. if not I think that political solution is not the only alternative
silué ténéna mamadou, bouaké

Professor Simon Wessely has recently been given a John Maddox Award for Standing up for Science. And a knighthood for services to military medicine. Despite U.S. acceptance of Gulf War Syndrome as a genuine illness, deserving compensation, Professor Wessely has presided over research which purports to prove that it isn't, just a psychiatric condition, thus preventing veterans here from getting compensation. (The quoted research involved multiple injections to marmosets, which apparently didn't give the marmosets Gulf War Syndrome - case proved! This has saved the MOD lots of money, so should the award have been 'for services to the Treasury? Just asking. (Apparently, Standing Up For Science involves manfully going on the media to attack ME people allegedly issuing death threats at a time when sound and serious criticisms were being made of the 'science' contained in the PACE trial. We wonder about the coincidence of the timing, as well as the fact that he is on the board of the charity involved in making the award, and of the fact that John Maddox was famous for having published an editorial in Nature claiming that probably AIDS didn't exist.)
Nancy Blake, Kingston upon Hull East Riding of Yorkshire

Good perspective from Kofi Anan.Really, no debate! Surely someone has to explain what motivates the terrorists. Perhaps Palestine. The West's relationship with Saudi? etc etc...
Michael Connolly, Dorking Surrey

Brillian Kofi, laying out the landscape, and as he always did and still can do, says, "Sort it."
Going on-
1)"Who dares wins!" Who said that?
2) Algeria says that there will be no negotiation with terrorists. What other country says this?
Also, what about the question of "More Capable" forces than those of Algeria? Tough boys, the Algerian army. Discuss further, without insulting Algeria, please. They are not losing a war in a far-off land.
Brian Lavery, Oakham Rutland

You people are all idiots. If we just minded our own business and left these countries to sort out their own affairs the world would be a better place. Kofi Anan is a fool and you are all fools as well, whatever you think your wisdom is.
Roger Harris, rogerharris197

What a huge improvement. None of Andrew 's puerile jokes but a thoughtful discussion on the state of north west Africa. Was this just because of the appearance of a former Sec Gen of the U N? If so bring him back more often.
Alan Rea
Alan Rea, Aberdeenshire

I am FURIOUS that BBC saw fit to invite that most notorious spin meister Campell to comment. This man has no credibility but huge culpability for the most destructive period in recent times. HE NEEDS NO BBC SOAPBOX. Get him off the airwaves.
John Battersby, Wadebridge Cornwall


I've just managed to catch up with the show, and was somewhat surprised to witness a rather unpleasant comment given by Amy Lame (Must be a play on words surely!)about UKIP supporters. Other than a well timed 'well....' from Michael I was amazed that this eccentric American commentator was allowed to get away with this slur on a growing section of the population. I am not a UKIP supporter but the very British trait of supporting the underdog against the bullies will only be reinforced through this type of unchallenged pathetic utterance from this rather uninspiring character (and not in the posistive sense of the word!).
From an increasingly tempted closet Farrage fan.
Darren Jones, Wrecsam

suggest you think of who you have on the show as do not appreciate being called vile by Amy lames, as i have voted for UKIP in the past. I look forward to my Thursday nights with QT then this week, not sure why you have a lady from the USA on talking about a party or parliament that does not effect her???????????????
anthony, birmingham

Re the debate yesterday about possible erosion of pensioners' benefits - nobody now gets a bus pass at 60 anyway; it is only issued when a person starts to receive their State pension, and as the age for this has already risen for anyone born after April 1950, the politicians have no need to make an issue of it, as many will not be eligible until they reach their late 60's anyway.Also bus passes only cost the Government money when they are used,so what is the point of taking them away from the wealthiest ? They are hardly likely to be found on a bus.
Lin Wells, Chelmsford

Andrew Neil is wonderful!!! Michael Portillo gets full marks too. What a good show. Not too serious.
norma mcfadyen, giffnock east renfrewshire

OMG...I choked and tipped my Blue Nun all over the place when I saw that ghastly grabbing old vache. The welfare state is for those who need it most not to make the comfortable more comfortable...greed is the creed not need!! Are we all in this together or what??? Happy Birthday anyway.
Debbie Munday, Pontypool

On last night's This Week, Janet Street Porter appealed to the principle that, because she had paid into the Welfare State throughout her long working life, now that she was a pensioner she was entitled to receive all the benefits that were going. Such a conservation principle may apply to the piggy bank on the sideboard - every penny you put in is available for withdrawal at a later date - but this is not how the insurance element of the welfare system works. No one expects to get their premiums back in full after ten years without making a claim on their house insurance. Anyone who tried to get back "what they'd paid in" would deserve little sympathy: they should be happy enough not to have needed to claim. What would Janet Street Porter think if Fred Goodwin made a similar argument? The air would turn bluer than the bluest Blue Nun Cuvée Reserve.
Jon Wainwright, London

Once again pensioner benefits were discussed last night and all agreed that it was far to complicated to deal with. Rubbish! Abolish all special payments to pensioners and consolidate the money into a universal pension. The money will, thus be automatically clawed back from the weathly through the tax system. What's the problem. There would also be the added benefit of a huge reduction in administration costs. Can someone please tell me what is wrong with this simple solution.
Laurie Walshe, Bedford

I am not a UKIP member or supporter but I must object to Amy Lame on This Week ( Jan 10th 2013) describing those who do back UKIP as "vile" UKIP is now a mainstream political party with an arguable policies and points of view. It is no longer a one issue party I understand it recently dismissed the Chair of the UKIP Youth wing for comments on homosexuality It is still inappropriate for Ms Lame to have described UKIP as "vile" even if she is a naturalised Briton and a lesbian. I hope she will never appear on This Week again. It is a programme that lends much light to political debate by including people who can speak with a good brain not simply a loud mouth
Helen Jackson, Wellingborough Northants

i wish complain about the remark made by amy lame that ukip supporters are all vile without her being taken to task on this subject
john leeson, derby

I very much enjoy your programme, bu the comment from Amy somebody or other, who calls herself a comedian, regarding UKIP supporters as vile is frankly just the sort of silly, smug, metropolitan rubbish you get from sneering lefties like her. She just proved her point that she is eccentric with admiring Gordon Brown! If anybody called members of the Labour Party vile there would be an outcry. As ever, the BBC is quite happy to portray UKIP as nutters and by inference former Toiry supporters, oh well we should be used to this by now!
Victoria Baillon, Somerton, Somerset

As a devoted follower of the programme i totally disagree with Andrew that after 10 years a highlights special is not an option. Come on, it,s a must! I think a one-off hour of highlights,lowlights, gaffes and outtakes would make excellent TV. So you guys in the archive dept. get cracking. It,s not rocket science!!
Michael Davison, Newcastle

Why do we have to have a Gay lady American telling us that UKIP members are evil ? is there no BRITISH BORN Ladies that can do it? or do you have to be so PC that "we have to show we are SO good to appease the ethnic minority stance" I am no way racist but this is going to far ! By the way I am not a UKIP supporter......YET!!
John English, Coventry

I am a disabled war veteran and a UKIP Member. I served this country for 17 years and fought in 2 wars. I take umbrige at Amy Lame's comments on the show about UKIP members. I am not vile, racist, lame or ecentric. I just do not want this country to be in Europe. Regards Michael
Michael Hartley, Stacksteads Bacup Lancashire

How very dare an american, who has no concept of how the british feel, insult UKIP supporters. She is either out of touch with reality or being paid by the millionaires that are in government now. If any of the millionaire government would like to come and share our life right now you are more than welcome, because you all need a reality kick up the backside as to how the everyday person is having to cope with surviving, not life, but actually surviving. None of you so called politicians of the people know anything about this, so when you watch the suicide rate go up I hope you're very pleased that you helped create it!!!!!!!
jennie, lynton

Andrew Neill's "Amarillo" extremely funny, he is a good sport and his deliberate term of "the fleecebook" is spot on! Keep up the good work. Please keep Alan Johnson as the permanent "Labour" contributor, he works well with the ever eloquent Michael Portillo.
Jan (no blue nun imbibed)
Jan Pope, Reigate, Surrey

Happy Tenth Birthday
A very good show tonight,well done.xxxx

I would like to know why your last (overweight) guest was not challenged when she called UKIP supporters "vile". That was a disgusting comment, although perfectly in line with the BBC attitiude. We UKIP supporters should be given a public apology.
Les Bolton, Hythe/Southampton/Hampshire

what would hapen if all the OAP.s pulld all the money out of the banks would country fall on its butt
colin tempest, county durham

Well said, Janet Street-Porter. Universal benefits are the simplest and least costly way to pay benefits, and would work fairly if the wealthier recipients were taxed properly. Any money saved from cuts to pensioners' incomes would do little for debt repayment. Seriously tackling tax underpayment and tax avoidance would bring more to the treasury as well as helping to convince the public that the government is not only hitting the poor and powerless.
Stan Evans, Derby

i find it rather insulting that after the only comment I have made on your website, you assume that I (and others) will be rude ,swear and more! Janet SP is enough to drive people to such motives as she belongs solely to her own camp. I personally believe she talked a lot of nonsense tonight, protecting her own financial interests as an OAP! She certainly does not fit into the government's policy 'we're all in it together'. As a single, childless, working and studying 38 yr old, with a chronic illness ...where does she think i stand in society, and mr cameron for that matter
donna mcgettigan, christchurch, dorset

Why not up the pensions and allow people to retire earlier bring the age down for retirement and benefits, this will free up jobs for the young, I'd rather my money went to pay for early retirement and pension than pay the young lazy work shy. Also think unless you have actually worked you cannot claim unemployment benefit because they've never been employed in the first place and unless younger couples with or without families have a disability that means they cannot possibly work and they are quite capable then cut their benefits not up them as it makes it worth their while not to work. Addicts etc should not have any benefits at all or drugs on nhs they choose the life let them live with it, freeing money for nhs. Budget prison money to bare minimum cut their food bill as long as they are fed they should be grateful if they want more then their own family can provide it if they wish. What kind of country are we living in? Stop tiptoeing around these issues and give the deserving the life they deserve give the young a chance to prove themselves let our pensioners enjoy their later life while they are still quite healthy and tell the scroungers to piss off and the criminals tough luck!!!! Vote for me and together we'll show them how to run the country these politicians cannot even be trusted to run a ménage and I wouldn't even consider them to look after my granny!!!
Linda Scott
Linda Scott , Irvine, north Ayrshire

i am 51yrs old left school in 1978 never been out of work more than 2 weeks and paid tax and NI all my life, i have kept myself as fit as i can and earn 16k per annum, i know that I have paid my tax to support todays pensioners but who will have pad for my benefits when I retire id the economy is depressed and the following generation of kids cant find work, I am really worried. i have a small pension that has not seen any profits for years and wont be worth anything when I retire at probably 67. what will happen to me?? my only asset is my home which is mortgaged until I am 70yrs old due to previous marriage endng after 20yrs.
sharon stallard, Market Drayton

I am a pensioner like many others and as Janet porter said why demonise us when they published today how much money the government poured into the banks just to prop up ,400 billion that beggars belief .
J davis, Bristol

Janet Street Porter is right - Pensioners of today probably worked without gaps in their careers thanks to full employment in post war years and contributed vast amounts to the exchequer. Many are now supporting / propping up their grown up children and their families who are struggling with pay freezes. They vote and they have time to protest. Politicians take note.
Danny Bolger, Plymouth

There is a simple answer to the annual winter allowance for pensioners. Absorb it into the basic state pension. Those who pay income tax will pay tax on the full pension amount including that element that was the winter fuel allowance, thus the more wealthy will pay higher tax. This will also remove the high cost of DWP/HMRC administrators arranging the annual payment to all pensioners some of whom will be wealthy.
Steve Wright, Pinner, Middlesex

Why don't we make it a condition of running a train or bus company that you have to let eligible people (pensioners ,people on benefit ect) travel free???? Cut out all the burocracy and all accociated costs?
Philip el-kadhi, London w3

You spoke about pensioners and universal benefits
I feel the way you control this is through taxation
That is by the amount people earn or get by way of a pension
Cheapest way to claw back
So that % levels would be
20 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50
Raymond Palser, Coulsdon<

I believe that political party manifestos if elected should become legal documents and they then have a legal obligation to implement the said policies on which they were elected. This at least will make sure they give what they promise rather than promise the moon and then change there minds
Eric Almand, Hayes / Middlesex

ms porter is as controversial as ever. Ridiculous how she bleets on about OAP situation whilst living her 'celebrity' lifestyle. I am 38, worked all my life full-time until struck down with Crohn's disease. Had to quit my job, spend 2 yrs in and out of hospital, lost my private rent flat and now getting my life back on track. I was on benefit for a while and now working and studying for a degree. I am appalled at JSP comments; so self obsessed, needy and wanting attention. she is a drain on society.
donna, dorset

Pensions. Why on earth doesn't the Government just take away all the extra benefits like winter heating, bus passes, and Christmas bonuses and just pay everyone a decent pension so they can spend the money as they want. That way well off pensioners would not be getting something they do not need because they would pay tax on what they received.
Stephen Green, Huddersfield

Janet was great all power to the Gray pound

The simple solution to pensioner benefits (and indeed all benefits) is simply to add them to income before applying income tax. In this way all benefits could remain universal, but a good part would be clawed back automatically via the income tax systen. Simple and fair.
graham slater, birmingham

Well done Janet Street-Porter for speaking up for the pensioners. The majority of us have worked hard all our lives contributed thousands in NIC and Tax and never claimed a benefit in our lives. Politicians attack us at your peril !
Trevor Bedford , Epping Essex

Dear This Week.
Have just watched your piece with Janet Street Porter. I thought I wasn't too keen on her but what a breathe of fresh air and down right common sense she has spoken. Janet Street Porter for PM - the saviour of OAP's!
Richard Copper, Camberley, Surrey

janet street porter has made a point which should be reinforced. we are the people who have worked all our lives and contributed as asked. now our retirement dates have been moved back (female especially). Why are the things we have paid for being taken away?
lynne riley, leeds

Janet Street-Porter just said that 1% of the welfare budget is "a drop in the ocean".
1% is ONE PART IN A HUNDRED. It is A LOT. This is why we do not have a 99p coin, this is why we put our pennies in the jar to save them. One in a hundred is A LOT. Interest rates are 0.5%-- by Porter's argument, they should be -0.5% or 1.5%, since a 1% change is presumably just a drop in the ocean.
I don't know about her, but when I see a penny on the street, I pick it up. Last year my penny pot had £27.36 in it and my fivepenny pot £116.75, all from picked up off the street.
Some people really do have more money than sense.
Simon Treworthth, Letchworth

Please ask Michael Portillo if he agrees with the government re all the cut backs that are happening to the poor who now in this day and age have to go to food banks (read soup kitchens). He experienceD hardship when he changed places with an young Mum in Liverpool and found it difficult to manage. Would he like to exchange places NOW .
Mrs B A Melia, bmelia

The government says they want work to pay... but they want to take away benefits from those who have worked. I think it should be 'If you have worked, you get the benefits' for example: if you have worked 10 years you get free TV license, worked 20 years you get free travel, etc. The only benefit that should be excluded is fuel allowance so the elderly don't have to work about putting the heating on, but should be paid to the fuel company.
Neil Wilson, Peterle/County Durham

A new record, 4 minutes, before Andrew Neal said something uncomplimentary about Diane Abbott. This his first comment following his usual opening nonsense.
Mike Friend, Oxford

I wonder what Alan Johnson will have to say about the affair at Stafford hospital (the hospital I was born at and is my closest hospital). Or will TW avoid asking the difficult questions and sweep it under the carpet. Alan Johnson has questions to answer...
Catherine Boswell, Stafford, Staffordshire

Lots of comments are rejected as they do not include a name and town as we require
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I usually try and watch your programme and as a fairly tolerant individual mostly enjoy the humour, that is until last evening when I heard your last guest Amy Lame? refer to the members of the Party to which I now belong as "Vile". This is totally unacceptable and has made me extremely angry. For her information I used to be, like many other people in the country a very loyal and dedicated member of the Conservative Party from my youth in the Young Conservatives. I left the Party when John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty and made me, together with the Queen, a Citizen of Europe. For many years I did not belong to a political party, that is until a colleague introduced me to UKIP. As far as I am concerned the only Party prepared to make a stand for our Culture, Traditions and Heritage is UKIP and I think they are the only Party worthy of my support. Sadly many people now in the media do not seem to realise that because of our membership of the E.U. we have almost irradicated 1000 years of history and the question of Democratic Accountability seems to be unimportant to any of the main parties. To re-cap, we are losing: Magna Carta; Habeas Corpus; the right to a fair trial by a jury of our peers; English Common Law; the British bill of Rights 1689 have all been wrecked by our membership of the E.U. the destruction of our heritage, in which we built a strong, flexible Constitution, which protected the rights of the individual and prevented an over-mighty Executive from acting in a tyranical manner. Finally, I would like to ask why UKIP, now polling at 16%, way above the LibDems, are not being invited to engage in discussion on your programme? As well as Nigel Farage UKIP have many talented and independently minded individuals who would be only too pleased to be invited on to your programme, so why are they being overlooked at such a crucial time for our countries membership of the E.U. In addition, even Michael Petillo has given his opinion on Britains membership of the E.U. saying "Britain is totally unsuited to being a member of the European Union" so therefore why do you not bring different people on to your programme so the subject can be discussed in a much fairer and honest way? It would also regenerate the programme and make it a lot more interesting. I would hope that Andrew Neil will apologise to all those members of UKIP for the insulting remark made on his programme and give some support to those people who just want "Our Country Back" and the memory for which many of our ancestors died.
Mrs. Elizabeth Curzon-Howe, Exeter, Devon


I have just watched 'This Week' broadcast on 20/12/12. Unfortunately, it ended with yet more one-sided fawning commentary on the monarchy. Not a single dissenting voice amongst the sycophantic guests: and not a single truthful statement spoken by any one of them. Mrs Windsor hasn't "put a foot wrong", simply because she had nowhere to place it - constitutionally speaking - and therefore doesn't perform any meaningful function. The 'overwhelming support' for monarchy spoken of simply doesn't exist: most British citizens are disinterested, it's just that the only scenes ever broadcast are those of a few cheering people attending free events. For a programme that purports to present a balance view, 'This Week' fails in every respect when discussing the monarchy. Are you actually AFRAID of having a proper debate about this subject, and if so, why?
Stuart Tunstead, Plymouth, UK

Dear Mr Neil,
I enjoy your programme, but get rather frustrated at the sterile polarised debate centred on whether or not we should borrow more for growth, or spend within our means, as 'the least worst option'. No imagination - on a political analysis show! I would suggest (in detail on the show, if feasible) at least one other way, and that is the spend less and spread the loss, with full employment - on a four day week. Less work - More leisure - for all of us!
An Ordinary Joe
Michael Connolly, Westcott, Surrey

Why on your programme do you make comments about constructive dismissal before finding out who can claim it? It was my understanding that if you were employed for less than 12 months you can be dismissed with no reason and not have any recourse to emplyment tribunal. Does this not apply to the BBC DG? Also the case for reducing the income tax threshold. Why do none of the commentators mention that if someone earns more their Tax credits, housing benefits and council tax benefits are reduced? I think the BBc should consult experts on both these subjects before deciding or not knowing which polititian is wrong
bill evans, oswestry

I am so angry.. It's all about England. What has the Olympics done for us ? Andrew Neil..I'm ashamed. Never done this before, but YOU enough said
anne doigh, dundee

How much did you/we spend on the downturn abbey claptrap?
It's ok to have a bit of a joke, but it's not what politicians do well. In fact I'm not sure what it is that politicians do well.
Portillo in touch as usual, the rest was crud.
And for christs sake, bin the "choooo chooo" even my kids think you're a retard.
Gareth Hinton, Oswestry,Shropshire

It is my belief that Andrew Mitchel did not call the police plebs. It was far worse than that. He used the Conservative's biggest insult. He called them Cleggs.
Ian Amos, London

Dear This Week
Have the BBC executives who have been transferred to other duties after the shambles of the Newsnight fiasco suffered any penalties? Have their salaries been halved in order to pay the former DG's ridiculous severance payment?
Has Lord Patten no sense of the licence-payers' anger at his decision re this payment as well as his evident failure to supervise the management structure that allowed this debacle to develop in the first instance? When will he have the decency to resign?
Stuart McMurray, Holywood Co. Down

Re: Mitchell
It is clear from CCTV footage that there is no group of passers by listening to the alleged contratante between the police officer and Mr Mitchell. Why then did the police not look at this and question the statement insinuating that there was, which ultimately lead weight and exaggerated this affair. I suggest that this whole episode occurred around the time of the Hillsborough expose and deflected from the enormity of this.
I am not a Tory, but I uneasy about the whole way this minor loss of temper was dealt with. I seem to remember a certain Mr Prescott punching a member of the public in the jaw in 2009. This behaviour resulted in it becoming a subject of amusement! No question of stepping down from political role
Debbie Robins, St Lawrence, Isle of Wight.

We're all in this together sounds pretty hollow when we hear that mp's meals and drink subsidy at westminster has recenty been increased.
People on minimum wage subsidising millionares and top earners? I think you should let people know.
edward loveland Tamworth staffs
edward loveland, tamworth staffs


I thought inviting Konnie Huq was a good decision to hear her speak on the ethnic minority views specifically on race issues highlighted by the 2011 census. Increased net migration into the UK made her views particularly interesting to be listened to, yet Andrew Neil failed spectacularly to take full advantage of her presence. More specifically, why didn't Andrew ask a single insightful question to Konnie about the race politics "WITHIN" the ethnic minority groups (rather than simply asking her about her experience as an ethnic minority person living in predominantly, but increasingly less predominant, white British society)??? Such questions could have included one on the attitudes, e.g., of Asian population (Konnie is one) on inter-racial marriage with,e.g., Black population that highlight the difficulty of allowing ethnic minorities to keep their traditional, cultural views and practices that nonetheless support overtly racist attitudes towards other ethnic groups, including the white groups (e.g. White British, East Europeans).
Harry, Walton on Thames

Andrew Neil is a King amongst Journalists and Television Presenters. Why do we wait all week to see him - he needs to on a new show not This Week, but "This Day"

Left wing bias.
John whistle, Derby

Lots of comments are rejected as they do not include a name and town as we require
No point sending anonymous comments - or signing yourself 'disgruntled voter' or 'Ths Week viewer' etc - we won't do anything with them
Other comments are just too long - keep to under 200 words
We will print comments which support or criticise the show - but not those with bad language or libellous comments
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Why do we have to listen to people with no economic sense and who are so partisan but allowed to present themselves as impartial experts on issues they know nothing about. Owen Jones needs to live on estate where for many those in work have a far poorer standard of living than those in work. Particularly if you are single and responsible. Tax credits and benefits are huge if you are a single parent but a single female gets nothing and the results are entirely predictable. Its no coincidence that Labour always ruin the economy. That under Labour the private sector shrank dramatically. The best way out of poverty is work, work is good for health and children with parents in work achieve more. Yet everything Owen recommended would reduce jobs by making it more expensive to employ people. We can't afford to keep taxing everything out of existence to pay for idiotic ideas. Its also getting tedious for all the left wing guests saying that the poor are entirely blameless and everything is the fault of the rich. Its totally infantile and wrong, people like Owen claim the left is always demonised but find it acceptable to demonise every rich person
Neil Hewitt, Nottingham, England
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Our guests are neither asked or expected to be impartial. They are invited on to give their point of view and then debate it is in the studio, with a range of views over different weeks.

Alan Johnson was visibly evasive on immigration/migration under Labour which is now a watershed. Why do I pay being in my 70 year my Licence Fee for his appearance then again does he appear free? Your response would be appreciated Under the Freedom of Information Act. I am one of the quiet people whose family built this country after World War II.
Kathleen Mosley, Derby

Two points:
1. On gay marriage - it does NOT introduce equality since heterosexuals cannot have a civil partnership. Marriage is historically and culturally (legally too in many countries) a relationship where the wife is subsidiary to the husband (even in effect becoming his property in some countries and cultures, as was the attitude of many British people including HMRC 40 years ago), so the extension of civil partnership option to heterosexuals is very important for any couple who want an equal relationship within the home.
2. On the personal allowance increases, second earners in low income households dont benefit as Cameron claimed since their earnings are cut by loss of benefits and tax credits from the first £. In universal credit, there will be a 'disregard' for earnings only by the first earner - the second earner's wages will be 'taxed' at 65% from the first £. Cuts in childcare and childcare support magnify this effect. I think that everyone misses a point about the (for some Tories intentional) effect of govt policy - to make mothers choose between living apart from a man or living as a financial dependent of a man.
mary campbell, Sussex

Hi, there has been debate ths evening about the financial support of "scroungers" and also earlier today in the news the statistic that 25% of uk residents have english as a foreign language. It would be interesting to know what petcentage of this 25% are employed.
Ian Holt, Manchester

A Week in Politics is BBC's most entertaining political programme so please stop inviting that ridiculous hard left Trotskyist little twerp Jones on to your programme all the time, he really lowers the tone of debate with his class warrior mentality. Also the D list celebrity guests who are only there to plug their latest album or book are really unnecessary. At least Connie Huq was not peddling anything.
c norris, stevenage

There was also 2 power cuts in Sydenham SE26 in the past 24 hours, latest one was this evening.
Sean James Cameron, Syenham

Totally depressed
Thomas Hynes, Worcestershire

At last some sense on this show. Owen hit the nail on the head. The poorest have to pay for the extravagances of the rich. I'd vote for you so start an independent political movement.
Rob Jefferson, Stanley

Nothing encourages sterile debate more than someone starting a question with, 'Why should...?' Why did you do that tonight at one point? you sounded like a Daily Mail mouth-foamer.
P.S. Next time you've got Ed Balls, give him some hair-care tips. He looks like a Thirties storm trooper.
B.Lavery, Oakham, Rutland

why should churches be given the choice re marrying gay couples when hoteliers cant have the same choice because of their beliefs
william.pickles, lancaster

Can we remind Michael Portillo of the program he made with a poor family when he had to manage on the small amount they had to live on.
Mrs B A Melia, merseyside

Instead of capping housing benefit,why don't the government,present or future,cap the amount of rent that landlords can charge because they can charge what they like. I watch all the political debates and your guest tonight is the one and only person I can remember ever asking this question. Great show,keep up the good work
bernard dvidson, fraserburgh

The benefits needed a shake up, people should want to work, it has created a lazy society who expect someone else to look after them. We should ensure that you are better off working to not working, however we do need to add to the support for the mentally ill and homeless.
Marisa, Surrey

It was stated that the Labour party cut pay in 1931.
That is not rue, it was the Conservative government that cut public pay and benefits following wining the election in 1931 after being in coalition with the Liberals.
Sydney MARSH, Jumilhac le Grand, France

Comments tonight include, 'extra income can be earned by working more hours'. Quite beside the unfairness of this idea it is usually not the case, especially where employers take advantage of salaried employees who do not get paid overtime but who are expected to 'take up the slack'.
'Wages risen 10% over the last 5 years' (sorry if the figure quoted is not accurate but it was as I heard it) - not in most cases; in mine (salaried) while my hourly paid workers have seen a 16% increase during that time - to follow minimum wage increases - my pay, and that of my salaried colleagues, has remained the same.
Thank you
Ken Bye

Can you please find a left winger who has an understanding of economics, economic history and our current national economic situation. please. pretty please. Give Owen 15 years and he might have a clue.
James Dalton, Huddersfield

Why are you made to feel useless when you have to sign on for job seekers, worst day of my life
Lisa, Hertfordshire

Creative Scotland have let Scotland down - what is going to happen and what can we do\/

noooooooooo not owen jones again. wind him up and push him on. we know what he;s going to say before he says it. he's like a speak your weight machine . boring boring boring .
richard in crawley


A lot of negative comment re Mr Neil's 'Nigerian Scams' joke! (Didn't know that TW was that popular on the African continent …. Truly global TV it seems! Well done Team TW!)
And comment about a wine brand! (Wine whining perhaps?) One of the better parts of TW is the humour! Without it we may just have no option but to start absorbing what most of the politicians want us to believe! And that would really be a road to disaster! Perhaps if the Government of Nigeria cracked down on all the scams emanating from that region then there'd be less opportunity for the 'country-ist' jokes! And would viewers prefer jokes re imbibing supermarket own brand wines? Surely we don't want the programme to sink that low?
Keep the jokes! All power to your elbow Mr Neil !
(Humerus! Bone! Geddit?)
And talking of Ms J. Smith, what's the problem? Have we forgotten all the others that had to refund - "within the rules" - expenses! (Would we ever have known about that without a 'free press!) One more thought, some late news …. David Laws is back at the 'top table'
Jay Aperson. Milton Keynes.
J Aperson, Milton Keynes

In the sixties it was trade union leaders who tripped in and out of 10 Downing Street, as if they owned the place. Today it is Rupert Murdoch and the editor of the Daily Mail that the Prime Minister consults to find out what his policy is. It strikes me that Murdoch & Co need to have their wings clipped as badly as the unions once did.
Leslie Dellow, Church Stretton, Shropshire

I'm a massive fan of the show. You really are one of the best things on TV. I'm not in this demographic, at all, but tying the new welfare reforms to one family member is going to make life so hugely difficult for abused women. Please cover this in full! As I said, not my demographic. But a serious issue. Massive fan of the show!
Liam Hutchinson, Bath

Lots of comments are rejected as they do not include a name and town as we require
No point sending anonymous comments - or signing yourself 'disgruntled voter' or 'Ths Week viewer' etc - we won't do anything with them
Other comments are just too long - keep to under 200 words
We will print comments which support or criticise the show - but not those with bad language or libellous comments
We give priority to views about issues covered by This Week - if your comment is about another show, contact them instead
We don't promote facebook groups and online petitions etc

Why do sensible and rational people go berserk when it comes to discussing education, especially selection and their beloved grammar schools? The discussion between Tony Parsons, Andrew Neil and Michael Portillo was preposterous (and Jacqui Smith's extolling of 'reform' and academies was no better as there is no evidence of their superiority but huge amounts of money are being poured into them, as Labour did too). The evidence on selection is all the other way, as the OECD has repeatedly pointed out. I give below one of a number of quotes from their reports which have been included in the complaint that I and several other people have sent to the BBC Trust about the recent absurdly unbalanced BBC4 pair of programmes "The Grammar School: a secret history".
From A Family Affair: Intergenerational Social Mobility Across OECD Countries (2010), page 193: "OECD evidence suggests that moving from a practice that separates students into different schools at age ten to a practice that separates students at age sixteen would reduce by two-thirds the influence of the school socio-economic environment on students' achievement". Andrew, Michael and Tony: it is now time to end your misplaced love affair with selection and grammar schools. Forget about your personal experience and look at the evidence fairly and in the round.
Ron Glatter, Hemel Hempstead, Herts.

Mr Portillo is always mourning the passing passing of grammar schools. Well I was one of the unlucky 80% to fail the eleven plus and even though I managed to get a good degree (it took me four years longer to get to the position of going to university) it has left scars. I am also a secondary school teacher and I wouldn't wish the old system of selection at 11 on amy of my students,
Helen Hare, St Albans Hertfordshire

why is the government stupid? why are their elitist stupid people? They make everyone redundant, then say how dare so many people be on benefits sitting on theirs butts with the curtains closed. I will cut their benefits so it is impossible to survive unless they find a job. Only catch...their are no jobs since you have closed them all. Is this concept really that hard to understand? If you do not create jobs, then no one can get a job, no matter how hard you make it. What will happen is people out of necessity will turn to crime. Only you have cut the police so who will arrest the criminals? The prisons are already full so where will those unlucky ones who have been caught go? The country will become a ghetto of crime...this terrifies me, but I have nothing to steal....but you do be warned !
Marie Gebhard, Birmingham

Show some respect to Nigeria. Without Nigerians your Olympic gold tally would have been less.
sina adelaja-olowoake, Croydon

Really disappointed that your news casters on numerous cases made racial jokes about Nigerian ..........I think something should be done about it, don't you?
OSA , Lagos

There are more British born scammers than the entire world put together and this is no secret.
Manuelo, Melfort, Canada

BBC take caution in the way you rain insult and racist comments on Nigeria and Nigerians, we might not have taken any action before now, but the time for action is near if you guys don't take a detour on the bias journalism and racist journalism especially against Nigeria.
Femi, Lagos

What'a Andrew Neil's fixation with Nigeria and 'nigerian e-mail scams' so much so that he mentions them when that's not the topic of discussion? Has he been a victim before? was he sure that they were Nigerians? Let it be known that not all email scams are 'Nigerian' as Andrew so heavily claims. Also, a lot of scammers claim to be Nigerian, while in actual fact they're from other African countries. Was Andrew not loved by his mommy while growing up? He should get a life!
Adebayo lawal, London

I would like to raise objection and complain formally about MR Neil's Joke about Nigerian Scam. The joke is an unfortunate example of national stereotyping bordering on racist. There are many British Men who travel to several countries as sex tourists often to prey on underage children. Would it be proper to make jokes about such men in a way that stereotypes a whole nation. perhaps Mr Neil would reflect on this as he would fit the profile of many such men given his demographic background. This is not harmless banter but institutionalized disrespect which must stop.
adewale akilo, Birmingham

I consider Andrew Neil distasteful joke at the expense of decent Nigerians on the BBC 1 program "This Week" of 6 Dec 2012 11.35 pm as out of place and unwarranted. Freedom of expression does not exclude circumspection. Thanks
Tosin Okeola, Lagos,Nigeria

Michael Portillo's comment that comprehensive system has resulted in 0% of state educated pupils now gaining places at Oxbridge/ Russell universities is rubbish. I taught A level Physics at a local comp and sent many pupils to these establishments.Most schools set children for each subject so that they can learn at an appropriate pace. There are hundreds of schools like mine and I think that his opinions are based on the poor performance of some innercity schools which have many social problems.
Lorraine Woolrich, Maidenhead, Berkshire

I have had enough of Andrew Neil, his so called humour and his insistance on advertising Blue Nun every week. This leaves me with one option, to Stop Watching. Why can't the BBC extend Question Time to 2 hours ?, it would be a much better use of this currently wasted hour. Now an Ex viewer, so Choo Choo over that one Beeb.
Eric Harvey, Gravesend Kent

just a word of thanks to Andrew for his impromptu homage to Brubeck. And he DID get the names of the other musicians right- so stop being pedantic people about mis-titling the tune! And thanks Dave for some inspirational jazz......
pete barnard, castlebar co mayo irish republic

Hi there,
This Week we enjoy very much and Andrews stamina seems limitless.
Ruth,my wife and I have two sons and seven grandchildren,Ruth was Miele UK's first lady manager running a Dept turning £40m and I was a Special Forces bomb dispoasl expert decorated by the Queen.
Q. Have you ever considerered running a slot or programme perhaps looking at a butterfly ? What if God does exist ? and the Greatest Story Ever Told is true that the child in the manger spoke the 93 billion lightyear dia universe into being. And He is coming back, possibly "This Week ! Happy Christmas, God bless you all .... Jim & Ruth
Jim Haper, Charney Basset Oxon

Great show tonight!
Victoria Thomas, Exmoor

Regarding M. Portillo's point of comparing our economy with that of Spain/Portugal/Greece (PIGS). To (mis)quote (paraphrase) a great man, we don't develop ourselves by comparing ourselves with our peers. We can only better ourselves by comparing oneself with our past behaviour. A major element of our current situation is those that have racked up a massive public debt at the expense of private gambling. Guaranteed by public money without ANY (seeming) control of those (private enterprises) we've 'invested' in. It's outrageous. and scandalous how those in the lower rung are TOLD to "pay their fair way" rather than have any discernible, valid, way of protesting these decisions. When those paid the most are asked/begged to participate in the taxation structure. Bizarre. Ben Polwin
Ben Polwin, London

you have labour and conservative arguing about who will win next time there is an election. My question is who first applied for the credit card?
chris, HORLEY

Andrew Neil paid so called homage to Dave Brubeck who has just passed away. He titled the track as 'Time Out' but I remember that track as 'Take Five' as it was written in 5/4 time, it was my brother's favourite music at the time and he had a copy on a 45. Please investigate and confirm. Thank you
Jill MacGregor, Thringstone, Leicestershire

Derr!!! It was Take Five from the album Time Out!! Call yourself a fan?
Ian Stewart, Canterbury Kent

Dave Brubeck's best-known jazz piece was titled 'Take 5', not Time Out' as Andrew Neill said.
cliff, enfield, middx
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Andrew did clarify his comments at the end of the show.

Tony was right. the grammar school system promoted social mobility. It didnt depend on where you lived or your background. it was an intelligence test. not dependent on what you had been taught or how well. not like present sats. My friends from a council estate got a brilliant education without prejudice.
lynne riley, leeds

When will politicians stop saying grammar schools are only for rich people? My sister and I and many of our friends grew up on council estates but passed our 11 plus and went to grammar school.On the same estate some of our friends failed their 11 plus but that wasn't a bad thing to them,they knew they wouldn't pass anyway,but they did go on to become mechanics,plasterers,brickies etc etc.What's wrong with that?
Andrea, Brighouse,Yorkshire

Hi, Im watching the show now and really enjoying the debate on social mobility. I'd just like to give an encouraging example forward to the panel though. I myself am an ex convict born to a 14 year old girl in the late eighties, brung up on benefits and written off at a young age by the education system. In fact by all the systems. But now I'm a student of Civil Engineering at one of the finest Russell Group universities in the country. People can change their standing in society but they need luck, and enough aggression to break down every barrier. The problem was never anything true for me but it has been the lies spread by the middle class children complaining about fees etc. Had I known as a child that I could go to university and what an experience it would be and that I would not pay back the fees unless I made a good wage first I would of been hear years ago. We (myself and all my classmates) where never encouraged to go to university. We were never even told about how it works or whatto expect. I dont know if this is the problem across the whole country but I can say for certain this is where the problem lays for every child in Carlisle!
Kind Regards,
Gavin Thompson
Gavin Thompson, Newcastle

Why on earth,once again, is a swindler on This Week. Jacqui Smith, as an elected MP, knowingly cheated the British public of thousands of pounds, yet the BBC feel it is OK to pay her to voice her opinions on this program. Surely the bbc should be an upholder of the law and keep such devious law breakers out of the public eye - WHY ARE LICENCE PAYERS HAVING TO FOOT A BILL FOR A CHEATER??
R Kendall, leeds

Andrew Neil on "This Week" of 6 Dec 2012 11.35 pm started the programme by cracking an irrelevant joke and comparing something to "Nigerian email scams". The topic he was discussing had nothing to do with Nigeria but he still went ahead and cracked his racist joke all the same just like I have been noticing in a few BBC programs of late. These subtle and not so subtle distasteful and racist jokes about Nigeria have to be stopped by the BBC. I know that the BBC is painfully white in the words of a former Director of BBC but I expect the BBC to show a duty of care to its many Nigerian viewers who also pay their TV licence and are sick and tired of these racist jokes about their
country. Even if you at the BBC and/or majority of your viewers find such jokes funny, Nigerians do not.
If the BBC is saying that all Nigerians are email scammers then they are simply being racist and ought to be ashamed of themselves.
Jibola Hurst, Londom

Labour destroyed education
Gary smith, Liverpool

Please please stop the moving backgrounds it's making me feel quite queazy
W Whitman, Orpington

The show tonight opened with the moderator stating: 'Evening all, welcome to This Week - the show that promises so much and delivers so little, leaving gullible viewers feeling conned and out of pocket. Think of us as the Nigerian email scam of BBC current affairs or the autumn statement'. I felt it was tasteless to have used the great nation Nigeria in such stereotyping. There are vices in every society and certainly email scams are deplorable and should be dealt with by the law enforcement agents in that country. There are however great innovations, gifted, honest people and incredible good to come out of Nigeria which it would be preferable to elevate on such a worldwide platform rather than this constant reference to its weaknesses perpetrated by an unjust few.
Oladejo Olaleye, Warwickshire

Michael Portillo's comment 'abolition of Grammar schools responsible for the lack of social mobility'. I agree completely ! the old system whilst not perfect still gave parents and pupils choice . They could choose to take up or reject a place at a grammar school ----the point is the opportunity was there for all . The old system also made mobility compulsory as students, irrespective of their backgrounds had to travel across the city to school and mix with children away from their own social ghettos . Schools now are too parochial ,merely a reflection of their own neighbourhood . Free schools will become the new direct grant schools as they were before!.
Ian Wellings, Guisely /Leeds/West Yorks


In general I enjoy the show, but I am now getting fed up with the constant referance to 'Blue Nun' and '#sad man on a train' CHOO CHOO. I don't know if Andrew thinks these constant referances are funny but I don't. As for Mr Portillo I think he's begining to get very fed up with the comments. I must say I get some what embarrest for Michael for putting up with it week after week.
Mark Carrara, Leicester

Great show. Never miss it but please you have to replace AC. His attack on the PM was personal bullying and having given him the benefit of the doubt on other occassions this was to far. Clearly his style is intimitaion and insutlts.One lost viewer until he is replaced.
Any Schendel
Andy Schendel, Surrey

Once too often you've given my license money to that loathsome Alastair "Mr Self-Interest" Campbell. Did you think that he'd have a balanced and morally considered view on the press legislation? Or that he'd unctiously sleaze his way to make black seem white for his own benefit? Such naked fork-wittery by the programme is the reason I won't be bothering to watch ever again. Why not just cancel the programme?
Alastair Blakey,

Conspicuous by its absence on This Week is overwhelming UN recognition of Palestine as a state.
In stark contrast, Rupert Murdoch's tweet: "Why is Jewish owned press so consistently anti-Israel in every crisis?" From his perspective, that may actually appear to be so.
He later apologised....for the "Jewish owned press" part...hmmm...curious. In truth, on Israel/Palestine reporting is as balanced as the death toll.
Harold Evans, amidst all the noise, cut to the chase: " thing which nobody's discussed, neither here nor really in Leveson is the ownership of the press...the key fundamental...why does that matter? Because they terrify the politician, you get a massive concentration of media power. You do not get freedom of the press, you get freedom for the proprietor to do what the hell he likes with the politician. ...It's very much an intimidated press, a once-free press."
While the panel blew smoke up David Frost's proverbial for his interviewing skills, Evans put on a master-class.
"Michael will know about this...weren't you terrified of the Murdoch press?...petrified..."
Michael Portillo admitted of himself, "I licked the bottom of the Murdoch press."
"Farrakhan blasts media" tells the truth about the press.
Noor Khan, London

I turned on my recording of This Week, and when I saw who was accompanying Portillo, I turned it off. I don't want to see, hear or smell Alistair Campbell on my TV screen. He has a disease called "lying" and, in his case, it is incurable.
Ken Boaler, ledbury

This week Levison gets the Andrew Neil treatment, "expenses paid trip to Australia"', "won't give interviews". Andrew revealing more about his political bias. Wasn't he once a very good journalist?. At least it was a change from his usual digs about Diane Abbott, though he did get in a dig about Gordon Brown. Please BBC, Andrew Neil's opinionated views are spoiling an excellent programme, he is past his sell by date.
Mike Friend, Oxford

Instead of regulating the press why not have them create a fund that is set aside specifically to pay for the costs of legal representation for those who feel they have been wronged by the press. The fund could be compulsory and contributed to by all the papers and rise based on inflation. That way the only regulation you would require would be to make the fund compulsory. Then the courts could decide on individual cases as they should. The obvious question would be how you gain access to the fund, but if you made it open to all the individual would only be liable for any costs, even if it is only a percentage of them, if they lose. Also and this is just a thought rather than a firm suggestion. Perhaps it would be possible to add a stick to this suggestion, in order to promote good practice, by introducing an extremely high minimum fine for wrong doing by the press. I would love to know what you think about this even if it's just to tell my why it wouldn't work.
Thank you for your time.
Jason Turner
Jason Turner, Plymouth

Tonight's show was more than usual, a mess of ill-mannered talking over each other! It is mostly turning more and more from what was interesting discussion into irritating "noise" with Neil now that bit too complacently conceited. Just don't try to be funny; your efforts are simply embarrassing.
Eg. After introducing Harold Evans so well, he was hardly allowed to complete a sentence!
No; it could be SO MUCH better with just a return to a bit more simple courtesy.
David Bateman, Oundle, Northants

What a delight! David Aaronovitch reminds us of the Select Committee squit who sought to challenge the Lord Poo Bah and our host consigns lucky Levinson to a fate worse then Ant and Dec.
Michael Tebbot, High Wycombe

Does Andrew Neil really have to mention Annabels nightclub every week or is he on commission! It is getting really boring.
Karen Rees, Swanage

A discussion about regulating the Press? It was a cacophony of unregulated journalists, not-at-all-chaired by somebody who had his ex-Sunday Times cronies sitting around him. If you, Andrew Neal, can tell me what your individual guests were trying to say, as they all talked over each other, then I'd be amazed. The most important issue your programme had to discuss in years ... bogged up! Shame, usually such a great and well-measured discussion.
john lawless, hythe hampshire

Further to my previous comment. I like the debate on This Week but have come to the conclusion that the only way to watch it is to record it and fast forward through Andrews 'funnys'.
Hugh Thompson, Newcastle upon Tyne

Why is Cambell on your programme when the inquiry criticised labour spin
Gary smith, Liverpool

1st. Andrew Neil is not a comedienne. Fantastic interviewer but cut out the funnys because they are not!
2nd. Not very balanced on This Week always a partisan Labour person but Michael Portillo is hardly a voice of the Conservatives. Let's have some balance please.
Hugh Thompson , Newcastle upon Tune

If the 1st Ammendent is such a good idea lets have the right to bear arms as well.See how much door stepping goes on if the householder has a magnum 45
Nick porter, Bournemouth Dorset

Love the programme...normally. Andrew, Michael Portillo and Alan Johnson all great. Can't stand this spin, spin Campbell, very objectionable and unable to be reasonable or listen. Switching off.
Jan Pope, east grinstead, west sussex

I had hoped that all MP's would have supported the recommendations made by Lord Levenson. It looks like the newspapers have succesfully lobbied the government and P.M to ignore the important part of the report. It shines through that media and politicians will try any excuse to avoid being accountable.
Arthur Robertson, Wick, Caithness

Do you not pay Michael Portillo enough that he cannot afford an iron? It looks as though as he slept in his shirt.
Trevor Koschalka, London

How surprising to hear Andrew Neil being anti Levison! Does The Times ring a bell with anybody? Cameron (and,therefore,the country) has paid for this inquiry. Surely he should abide by the result!
Barry Scanlan, Ellesmere Port

Leverson & The Press There may be issues with both Self Regulation and Government control but perhaps there is another option. That is for publication to be obliged to clearly publish their reliability and vested interest performance tables. People could then know whether they reading the views of a tainted informer. No publication would want to fall into an unacceptable performance level and if they did the acceptability of their reporting would be clear for all to see. This would work on the basis that any publication declares clearly its political leanings, its reliability failings, the number of times it has been successfully sued and the number of times it has had to issue a statement of apology. Phone tapping is not a publication issue it is a criminal issue and restricting the press on such an issue is not the issue related to a free press, but knowing what you reading is. At the end of the day when I buy a publication I want to know if I am getting a biased or unbiased report, I want to know if I am reading propogander. If I know the publication has a political elegance then i am quite happy for them to loan horses to the PM as I intelligent enough to rate the information I am being given
Alan Greenwood, Epsom, Surrey

Andrew Neil
Sir, I have heard that you are inviting that arch spin and poison meister Alistair give us the benefit of his wisdom...If i find it is the case , then, I shall be giving you a miss. Why this man is given the air time, anywhere, is beyond me. I look for fair and measured political responses, not his brand of vitriol..
I watched disbelievingly his performance on the One Show this evening...This is what I told them..
I am a keen follower of your show,.good subjects, good presenters, even handed, and up to now non political...Why you or any BBC program should have that discredited spin doctor for the Blair years ..Alistair beyond me...Spouting righteously about Levenson. when he was the arch master of newspaper and BBC manipulation..The Author of The notorious sexed up document which took us to war in Iraq, and then when discovered led to the Still doubtful suicide of Dr Kelly, and the sacking of a BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan and demise of a BBC DG...Why you allow him air time on a family time program eludes me..He is a disgrace, a man with blood on his hands
Anthony, Ipswich

Surely David Cameron is in a win-win position on Leveson. He has given the opposition parties a toy to occupy them while he gets on with other matters. He can stand aside while Milleband and Clegg busy themselves fighting the press and pushing a bill through parliament, while his people undermine and oppose it. If it is defeated he is the champion of free speech. If it passes he can use the next scandal to break those parts of the press who oppose him!
David Mathieson, Epsom, Surrey

Surely Andrew and his guests tonight must be astounded that Cameron has been so clumsy and politically inept in his first public response to Levenson. There was no need for him to back himself into a corner and incur inevitable public wrath. He could have uttered emolient words in Parliament today and put up resistance during the cross party talks.To seek to scupper Levenson at the outset beggars belief. Will labour make political capital ? Don't hold your breath !
Peter Kane, Heswall


wayne hill, rhondda

As a regular viewer I just wanted to reiterate what a number of people have already posted, that Anne Atkins segment was one of the most interesting and thought provoking I've seen. Like others I was also very alarmed at how aggressive Andrew Neil was towards her, he immediately tried to misquote her and put her on the defencive and had sly digs at the Church of England and her position throughout. At the end of the segment he seemed to dispense with the usual pleasantries.
Neil Hewitt, Nottingham, England

I have just watched this week's show on the i-Player and although not a religous person myself, I believe Anne Atkins made a brilliant argument on the question of women bishops. She made her point elloquently and defended her position very well against the agressive questioning by Andrew. My estimation of Micheal went up yet another notch when he embraced her argument. Well done on the show. The most informative political debate on the BBC by far!
Antony Curling, Chalfont St Peter BUCKS

Just wanted to say "thank you" from a loyal (slightly obsessed listener). You even managed to get me shouting at you this week, with Ann Atkins. How can she compare the running of the established church with her family - where even if there is one dissenter no action is taken! Women bishops this century? Well, that allows an awful lot of time for furtherprocrastination. thank you for your programme - it is my weekly political "fix".
Tessa Hall, London

Andrew Neil is wonderful although at times his introductions and dreadful smugness ("I know better than anyone else") wants me to reach for a brown paper bag. BUT 100% congtulations for Anne Attkins. IF ONLY the Archbishop (for whom I have great respect) had spoken as she did on your programme.I am in favour of women as Bishops. But that dreadful negative soul-searching after the Women Bishop vote was so stupily dramatic. 'It will come', as Anne said, But the vote reflected an unhappiness of a minority and many of us wanted to see that majority safeguarded. (Do you get that dear Andrew?) Get those safeguards right and all will be well. As a priest for over forty years I am still full of optimism for the CofE. Happy to talk further. I sensed Andrew was slightly out of his depth on this issue but full marks for Anne. Now if she were Archbishop!!! More of her please. Thank you for a great programme, always enjoyed. (Apart from those awful intros at the start!)Possibly one issue not touched on is that for the majority of faithful worshippers, Bishops have (very sadly) almost become irrelevant. My limited experience of ladies who are Deans and Archdeacons is that they are great bureaucrats but lacking in pastoral care. However I know a number of women priests who are superb in their parishes. Of course the same could be said of many male priests! I write for what it is worth and thank you again. Robert Prance
Robert Prance, Farnham, Blandford ,Dorset,

I thought Ann Atkins peice on the show was very good. She is saying the Women Bishops will happen, but not to the point where it hounds out local Anglicans. Another point that you did not pick up on is that the Bishops in the house of Lords only get there by seniouroty, with a few excpetions, London Durham York and Canturburyand Winchester. It is unlikly that a Woman Bishop will get one of those sees. It is more likly that they will be Suffergans first, so you could be waiting a lot longer.
Malcolm Griffiths, Telford

Andrew Neil is undoubtedly a very clever and able journalist - but accomplished comedian - he is not. This Week is a great programme and I always watch it - but please please someone stop Andrew from trying (without success) to be funny.
Craig Smith, Milton Keynes

When Ann Leslie is talking off the cuff, she is hopeless. But when she is doing a prepared piece to camera, as she did on last night's programme, she is brilliant. Michael Portillo's point about the lack of leadership in the Israeli/Palestinian struggle was spot on. The Palestinians in particular have suffered from poor leaders for sixty years. They don't have a talent for electing statesmen. They are a difficult people, disliked even by other Arabs. Only Western leftie luvvies like Vanessa Redgrave seem to like them. Generally we don't recognise how hard it is for Israel to deal with them.
Duncan Fraser, Perth

Very impressed by this week's show. Excellent debate and comments on several interesting and important issues (especially female bishops). Keep up the good work!
John Davis, Harlow, Essex

the basic problem with This Week is that it is anti-democratic, like virtually all coverage of 'politics' on TV. The ordinary person who is not famous or a politician or a celebrity is necessarily excluded because according to the This Week rules their views just dont count, you have to be a successful Daily Mail columnist or Guardianista or hang out with brillo pad at Annabels to be worthy of having your say. Essentially the This Week producers believe that there are two classes of people, those whose views are worthy of attention, the guests on the show, and then there are the plebs who should never ever be listened to, and certainly not given airtime. If you do want to find out what 'plebs' might be thinking then this will be mediated through someone like Owen Jones, a successful columnist for a national newspaper, or if you want to do a special report on say mental health then you get Alistair Campbell, a successful former spin doctor. Somehow you fool yourself into thinking this is a good representation of democracy in the 21st century. I dont think anyone in the This Week production team, or the onscreen presenters and guests, has the first idea of what the word 'democracy' means, except perhaps as an endorsement for an elected plutocracy. If democracy, and the representation of democracy on TV, is not participatory then it is not ....democracy. The recent elections for police commissioners which resulted in one polling station having not a single ballot was not covered at all on This Week, maybe the disjuncture between the BBC/media/celebratory/politico plutocrats and the rest of us plebs was a little too real for you to deal with... when people stop voting the myth of democracy as participation is shown for what it is.
Alex Lawrey, Tavistock Devon

disappointed to hear your programme refer to Lord mcAlpine's libel case as being a "watershed" moment. Obviously it is quite right that false accusations of abuse are dealt with quickly and rectified. But the thing that is not changing is that victims of abuse are not being listened to or taken seriously with abuse being covered up yet again, and perpetrators not being pursued.
I worked in residential establishments in the late 70's and am still haunted by the abuse I knew was happening and the suspicions I had of worse things happening but could not evidence directly. There was not any residential establishment I knew of in the 70's where I did not hear of rumours of abuse; some of which later came to court and proven.
I complained twice, once resulting in my loss of job. It is extemely difficult to make any complaint, especially as most abuse takes place behind closed doors and without witnesses. Also establishments and individuals concerned often had the ability and power to intimidate and discredit potential whistleblowrs, especially in the 70's.
Again, I say that is correct to ensure no-one is falsley accused (and the BBC did not name anyone) but the effect of all this libel is that yet again it is victime of serious abuse that are being ignored and the real perpetrators not bing investigated.
peter armitage, norwich

As a long term regular watcher of 'This Week'
I want to heap well earned massive praise on Michael Portillo as a contributor to the programme and as a person on most issues raised..
I Personally think he is an awesome contributor week in week out, without fail
His eloquent,efficient & well balanced viewpoints are refreshing.
I warm to him as a person and i rate his
personality and delivery as a member of the TW team extremely high.
John Goddard, Bradford West Yorkshire

Andrew Neil was completely outpointed by the excellent Anne Atkins on the role and priorities of the church. Neil is the kind of man who reminded me of the male bosses at the very top of the public body I used to work for. They were always telling us young white males much lower down the ladder how we should embrace 'positive discrimination' and 'equality in the workplace' - i.e being discriminated AGAINST, whilst they remained in their lofty positions of power. If Neil is so in favour of female empowerment/rights why does he not personally demonstrate it by giving up his anchor role on TW to a female presenter.
T.Carter, Cornwall

just something for ann. i dont always agree with what you say. but your comments are always interesting. i like the way you stand by your opinions. get the eyelashes bak. xxx
lyne riley, leeds

Is there any way you can improve the "distance" shots during broadcast?
We have a HD feed and a very good TV, the close up shot are very sharp, but the "distance" shots are awful and blurred.
Any idea what the issue is?
Roger Ball
Roger Ball, Manchester

Michael Portillo's remark re the Comservative Party havi ng a female leader 37 years ago is a pathetic irrelevant point . she did nothing to further the cause of women's fight to gain equality. David Cameron does not help his party in the condescending and patronising way he treats women in the House
Margaret Williams, High Wycombe

TWITER, Face Book, Email. etc... the machines never will type by then selves oever they want to say, they have no sense of express they wish our likes or dislikes, last week a nan from a virtual church just show in tv how good this can be for any environment.. you can go to any conversation who you what, the room exist for any reason you want to, for children's, adults, religion, gardening.. tv programs all and any think you want , you will be tagged for the ones you want to, you will accept to be followed for the ones you accept .. you cam block our accept oever you want..

For once it was possible to listen to someone talking about the vote in General Synod from the position of an actual Anglican and someone who is an active church member. Wonderful to hear Ann talking such sense with such a balance and with charity. Who among the three others present was really listening to her? This is not a vote which was designed or destined to appeal to the rest of the populace. Who would understand unless they have a deeply rooted faith? This is or should not be about glass ceilings and routes to promotion. Christians should essentially be humble and not look for glory or enhanced roles anywhere.
Fiona Seenan, Scotland

It looks like Alan and Michael have been paying attention to newspaper filler stories today.
Apparently men who wear pink shirts earn more money than those who wear conventional colours, and pink shirts make the wearer more attractive to women. The article also suggested that men who wear pink shirts are more intelligent, but these two are obviously the exception to that rule!
Stuart Stevenson, Glossop, Derbyshire

i would support ann leslie stay out. what have we ever done that meant success.? we must look at the outcomes of intertervention in the past.
lynne riley, leeds

NEVER THE RELIGIONS LEADER will agree they religion is less stronger then the any other, this is the fight between Israel and Gaza, THIS IS NOT JUST A MILITAR action. religiosity have a very stronger power in all this.. we can't not just block out and pretend this is no real...

Plenty of debate about decision on women bishops but nothing from the no vote on why not?
marty, falkirk

Get me a dead baby now this could sum up bbc coverage of the last few days
Gary smith, Liverpool

We always will get the blain if to much or to little if they not happy with the result, never will be good sufficient to make all the people, politician, or only views happy or satisfied with the situation...
Dilnei Silva, LOWESTOFT

Why ? is Andrew Neil allowed to advertise Blue Nun every week, the BBC is meant to be a non commercial channel. Eric
Eric Harvey, Gravesend Kent

Women are not being allowed and voted against by a bunch of unrepresentative minorities. It DOES change my attitude to wanting to be part of a church who does not enable me as a women to be valued, represented and equal before God. If women cannot be bishops they are not see as equal by some people who are forcing their opinion on me. If the minorities don't like it they can go to a parish with a male bishop. I can't now go to a parish with a woman.
Alex, Milton Keynes

I thought Andrew Neil was far too aggressive with Anne Atkins this evening - and seemed to take offence at her challenging him, which is a bit weird for a political discussion show. It was almost like he was wanting to provoke her with rudeness and deliberate misunderstanding. To illustrate - I've seen mr Neil be far more understanding of people of other faiths when they have contributed tithe show. Is he merely anti-christian?
Ian Stewart , Southampton

Anne Atkins is right. "A minor blip in the 2000 years of Christianity." The CofE is a minor indistinguished sect in the big world of Christianity. She's a good representative.
Brian Lvery, Oakham, Rutland

I love your programme but wrong of you to sign the cross in a mocking way. Thats a step too far. It trivialises something that may have no significance to some but deep meaning to others. Mistake so say sorry please. Roger
Roger, Rochester Kent

Just getting too silly .........
Brian Barrow, Woking Surrey

very minor correction: laity did by majority vote for women bishops, not by two thirds
Sir Peter Bottomley MP

my daughter and i would like to ask...what is the point of Nik Clegg ? .... discuss ?
linda cain, swindon

Still showing the low standards of your programme by not using capitals for the days of the week I see.
Vince Wyre, Winchester

Given that we now understand how Alistair Campbell cynically manipulated public information to generate support for the illegal war in Iraq it is wrong that the BBC should continue to permit such a liar to appear on any show including This Week. He may well be skilful at networking with media people but we know how much harm was done by war criminals Blair and Bush. Campbell should be prosecuted for his deception.
Bethany Williams, Dover


police commissioners?
100 million pounds? wheres it gone, in every area no one knew who to vote fr , so who,s back pocket is i in?
james badkin , sharlston

I thought Kevin McGuire was going to say "It's criminal" when he mentioned the licence fee of £155.50
Especially the amount being paid to the ex DG of £455,000!!!
Why should I pay for that?
Evening all
Chris doherty

Hi, I appreciate you're busy but the piece this week on energy prices was rubbish to say the least. By way of reminder as you appear to have forgotten, This Week is a programme that covers politics yet somehow the the composition of the energy price didn't get raised - like petrol, a very significant proportion of energy costs is tax. Yet the "neutral" BBC says nothing, I wonder why? FYI the bookies have closed the books for those who want to bet on "green" and "climate change". Please pretend you're journalists in the future and do a proper job. Thank you.

Whilst I enjoy your programme immenseley - may I suggest that you make it less London centric and STOP inviting "Z list celebs" to make cheap little cameos. Stick to what you do best. Keep the journalists who can make sense of the ridiculous political world we live in and let them report - albeit tongue in cheek. PLEASE don't dumb this programme down. The BBC still has a lot of kudos - don't let that disappear.
Mike, Healing

May I comment on two 'age-ist' (awful word!) comments made on last night's programme. Referring to the use comparison sites Andrew said 'It would be too daunting for the late 70's' and Martin later said that '75 year old would find it too complicated' Utter rubbish! I'm 77 years old - at least that's the age of my body - but my brain appears to be at least 20 years younger. I still run a business full time. Of course, some people in their late 70's may have difficulty with the internet but that is more likely lack of training than lack of ability. And, when I need to communicate with the world at large or listen to, for example, political commentators I find many are nearly 'past it' in their 40's. Regards John Slate. PS Just going to ring my 12 year old grandson to see if he needs any help with his Maths homework!
John Slate, West Moors Ferndown Dorset

COMMODITY TRADERS: I really hope you will tackle my question; no one I know has the answer and I don't know any economists.
Q: Why do we need traders who are go-between's between seller and buyer. If I want to buy petrol I go to my supplier (local garage) and buy it. If Esso wants to by petrol/oil from Saudi why can't they? Why do we allow commodity traders to get in the middle and simply inflate the price? The only thing commodity traders 'produce' is inflation. It seems to me that plucking traders out of the equation would bring prices down at a stroke.
Colin Smale, GRIMSBY

Isn't it time Andrew Neil realised he is never going to be funny, his introduction of Michael choo choo Portillo has been done to death. It's time to move on Andrew a Jimmy Tarbuck you're not!
John Cummings, Market Weighton

My payment went up as a pensioner under Staywarm (energy provider for pensioners) to £154.00 a month over 3 years ago and I declined I now pay £78.00 per month three years later what a rip off this was under Labour. Alan Johnson displayed tonight as a politician a total lack of knowledge. My television licence payment equates to what on an income of £10,000 per year - is this value for money? I think not. From the BBC you never get a response from this programme. The BBC is out of touch and I am 69 and I am more streetwise than you because I live in the provinces and when the provinces go this country is in a real mess. I do not expect a reply because you never reply because you are so confident you were always right!
Kathleen Mosley, Derby

Really disappointed with your item on the energy industry (an industry I have worked in for over a decade) for independent suppliers and producers (not Big 6).
Usually your items are well thought out an inciteful. Instead of the high standards we are used to, this item was a messy, ill thought through and inaccurate.
A few brief points:
1) The Big 6 ALL have to have a social tarrif available for the eldery, disabled and socially disadvantaged.
2) Over the last 5 years the UK's energy costs have consistently been some of the lowest in Europe (gas is the cheapest and electricity is the third cheapest). This is despite our costs not being subsidised (e.g. Spain's subsidies cost 32bn Euro's per year).
3) Switching sites all charge the suppliers who smear these costs over their consumers (typically the cost is £40-£65 per customer).
4) The Which 'Big Switch' which Martin Lewis supported was charging suppliers £40 per customer. Many suppliers refused to work with Which as they refused to be open about the costs they were charging and the money they were making (est £8m).
5) Ofgem has proposals to simplify the tariff structures EXACTLY as discussed on your programme. These are in consultation but have been muted for many months and public for several weeks (google RMR and Ofgem to find proposals).
6) Ofgem had been investigating the 6 unusal trades in the gas wholesale markets for weeks before the 'Whistleblower' stories in the Guardian.
Richard Street, London

I think what worries people about the the new police commissioners is that it seems like just more jobs for the boys - especially during a recession wherein one might be forgiven for thinking the economic downturn may be starting to effect even that ilk of people that would be likely to apply amongst them some of which may be in such a financial pinch they may be having to consider selling one of their houses or possibly the holiday home. Whilst feeling for Mr. McAlpine how does waying him out with £185,000 reverse whats happened ?It seems the the person accepting ultimate responsibility - Mr. Entwhistle - gets paid out, Mr. McAlpine gets paid out tax payer/license payer pays for it all. Seems the money goes to people for which it will make very little difference. These would be complete life changing amounts of money to "ordinary folk". Consider an ordinary working person might pay something like £250,000 in tax during his entire working lifetime. In those terms 2/3 people have had to work there entire lives,and potentially all the tax they pay goes to just those two payments to Mr. McAlpine and Mr.Entwhistle. I know everybody will say that it does'nt work that way, especially in this case, but we need to start thinking in those terms in order to get a reality grip on where our money is going. Another example - Mr. Qatada - alledgedly has cost the tax payer £3,000,000 - well that would be 12 people entire lifetimes tax payments. See what I mean ?
Thanks for Reading
Russ of Newquay
Russ, Newquay Cornwall

Please give Michael Portillo and guest the bigger sofa! He always looks like a sardine which is why I usually can't bear to watch and tonight the female guest had a 3 seater to herself!
Georgina Timson, Macclesfield, Cheshire UK

Who are we voting for there has been no info who's standing for what no one knows how can you elect a police commissioner when no one knowes what they stand for
Graham tubb, Southampton

For the second or third week running, the wide angle camera view of the whole studio is slightly out of focus -- thankfully you only use the view sparingly, but enough that someone should really notice. Come on production team, can you sort it out, please.
Charles, London

Re turnout figures. When I attended the poll at 7pm I was No. 120 from an electorate of 70,000
Don. M.
Don Murray, murraydon

To Martin Lewis - I have just been on three different energy comparison websites, including Moneysaving expert and entering identical information, have recieved three widely different results!! How can he say it is easy to compare prices!!! Please read this out, I am so frustrated!!!!!!!!!!!
Stewart, Dundee

Neither me nor my partner voted today as we had no idea at all of our choices!Nobody knocked on our door and we had no mail through the letterbox.No way would we go to the polling station with no info
Andrrea, Brighouse,Yorkshire

One notable aspect of the PCC elections is that they seem to be on course to set a new benchmark for voter turnout (or lack of). If the Tories claim the PCC elections are a success, then they'll no longer be able to cast doubt on the legitimacy of ballots for industrial action by the unions...
Ian Rushforth, Liverpool, UK

Andrew, Everyone talks about energy and the companies supplying us. But.... They never mention the fact it is a cartel from the start as every one of those companies is buying their supply from each other. The country was divided into supply companies, each supplying the rest of the companies who supply us as customers. Therefore if every supply company bought at a fixed rate from one company not a supply company then we could start to be offered a compeditive rate. We need the whole system rejigged allowing each supply company to buy from a government regulator who sits between the market and the supply companies. ..... Hope this makes you think, Andrew. Take Care.... RCW
Ronald Wardropper, Edinburgh

Spend the yuppies coffee tax to reduce our tea bills.
fergus , haghill, glasgow

energy prices
tariffs should be simple to understand
and also if you can afford to pay by direct debit you can save upto £100 ,so the richer you are the more you save .
Eddie, liverpool

Please turn down light shining on Alan Johnson as the shadow from his nose is giving him a hitler moustache which is unfair
Patrick Mccaffrey, Aberdeen

Switching energy suppliers, they won't let you switch if you're in arrears, most people are (in arrears) - p n h
Peter n howells, Barry vale of glamor gang

My partner is disabled and I am his carer.We live in a rented home with pre-payment meters and we pay the highest tariff of all.How is that fair or right
Andrrea, Brighouse,Yorkshire

353 councils in The U.K.,should know all about crime in their area.e.g Greater Manchester has 9 councils. If one councillor from each council reported back to The Chief Constable with their recomendations for the crime prevention they thought necessary.Failure to to act on the recommendations could have consequences,in view of their ability to order his dismissal.
Much better to appoint a Police Commissioner at great expense in time of recession!!
I bet the election count to-day took all of five minutes.
tomdeko, Greater Manchester

Hi Team, Thanks for your brilliant weekly offering.
This is definitely one for #sadmanonatrain
Can the BBC hit back with some great investigative journalism and expose the Governments cynical manipulation of data on which the rate of inflation is calculated?
My point today is that it is an ENORMOUS coincidence that the rate of inflation fell to its lowest in the month that the Government uses to raise benefits etc but this month it has bounced back to 2.7%
Am I alone in wondering whether the Government have been - not manipulating the figures for that would be too easy to detect - actively changing the times of year things are reported to have the same effect.
I do not know how they would do this - but some investigative journalism might uncover something.
I personally do not believe that there is not some connection. Of course I have no proof, but I can see a very good reason for this to have been done if it can be because of the massive increase in payouts to benefitees if the rate went up and not down
Thank you for listening and taking this further
Kind regards
Jeremy Jackman, Basingstoke England


I too am getting fed up with the 'choo choo Po'tillo'joke(?),but not as much as'call me Dave' at nearly every reference to the PM it is neither funny nor much of an insult and is getting tedious.This week is the best politics prog on at the moment and Andrew,whilst being a smug git clever dick,is first class.I would venture to suggest he puts himself up for DG,I know he would have to take a monumental cut in pay,but the BBC would never have been in the mess it is in now if he was at the helm.He knows the industry inside out.
Noel Tomlinson, Hull,East Yorkshire

HelloHow about considering an unknown memeber of the public to appear on " This Week"?~
Wouldn't it be a novel idea to get the honest opinion of a rank and file person for a change?
Very often, journalists and polititions do not have their finger on the pulse of reality at grass roots level.
I am available for comment.
All the best,
Barry Watson.
Barry Watson, Sundridge Kent

Give us a break on calling Portillo "choo - choo" will yer? Time might be better used listening to Michael Portillo.
Tom Moore, Heywood

Andrew Neils may be wrong to say Obama was re-elected with the lowest majority ever. The state of Florida with 29 electoral vote has not yet called for any candidate and indications are that it will go for Obama. Hence 303 + 29 = 332.
Shahriar Roozpeikar, London

Dear this week What was going on with the lighting on Alan Johnson today? Couldn't help but get distracted by the shadow cast on Mr Johnson's upper lip which gave him an unfortunate Hitler moustache. You ought to check it out, I'm afraid that once noticed, anything he says goes out out the window. Lol
Eva, Staines

All for a 'living wage' but it should not be higher in london town than in the rest of the country.
wendy wallace's old man, glasgow

Still no capitals for the days of the week.
Why dumb the programme down?
Sack the set designer.
Vince Wyre, Winchester

Three ways to improve 'This Week', 1.Make it an hour long (at least), 2. Point out to Andrew that he is not a professional comedian, the choo choo Portillo thing was never funny and gets sillier as each week passes,and 3, please never again invite Alastair Campbell to appear. Otherwise, my best show of the week. Regards, Chris.
Chris Buxton, Macclesfield, Cheshire.

If the information on the internet naming well-known Tory politicians from the Thatcher era linked to paedophile activity within the care home system in Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey & parts of UK, for e.g. Hove, Nr Brighton, is, as you say, without foundation why are those named, over & over again, not taking action against those who are posting long detailed accounts of long standing well-known predilections for sex with teenage boys or younger? Telling viewers to go to the police makes no sense. Those in care in NWales for example did that, naming people, & also serving policemen who participated in the abuse or covered it up, alongside social care officers, & others. The reason we the public go to the internet is because we now see how Jimmy Savile stayed untouched, ready to 'take them all down with me'. Easy to make a public show of Glitter & Starr, it is all only accusation against them too. Does your star on the sofa know he is the subject of much of the speculation!! It is hard not to think of it when watching 'This week'.. A paedophile ring would protect itself above all else, however, those pointing fingers & blogging do have their own agenda too.What a mess!! Hope all the stuff on the net is untrue, but I do remember my MP Neil Hamilton in the Thatcher era being linked to similar allegations alongside the 'cash for questions' scandal. The people mentioned should not be given special protection, it will all be in public domain very soon.
E Holmes, Wilmslow Cheshire


Much as I enjoy Andrew Neil's jokes, Blue Nun and 'choo choo' are now well past their sell by date.
Richard Akers
Richard Akers, Loughborough

Andrew Neill is great: he manages to maintain an independent slant on the establishment that is truly refreshing. Michael Portillo is another. The humour is biting and the delivery effective. Andrew is not egotistical, despite what some say; he's just a great intellect that's principled, realistic and doesn't take life too seriously. Carry on.
Joanne Elizabeth Wright, Liverpool

Just watching the episode and thought Andrew Neil was particularly rude and obnoxious to his guests tonight. I want to hear what they say not his reactionary cynicism. Also please lay off the blue nun joke. It gets boring after 15 repeats in one episode.
Hugo , Cambridge

Interesting debate re Europe last night. Are our politicians and commentators out of touch ?? They agree that many have reservations about staying in yet, as alleged democrats, are refusing to contemplate a referendum. Dont forget that most people under 55 have had no say on the matter !! Memo to Andrew.. lose the "jokes " re "Blue Nun ", " Annabells " and Michael "Choo Choo " Portillo." NOT FUNNY !!

What is Will Straw on?? Europe is the gift that keeps on giving as far as the Labour Party is concerned, as each successive generation of the Conservative Party can be relied upon to tear itself apart over the issue with clockwork regularity. In electoral terms, Europe also splits the right-wing vote thanks to the rising threat of UKIP. With no comparable schism on the left of British politics, why on earth would Labour defuse the Tories' ticking EU time-bomb by offering an In-Out referendum?
Ian Rushforth, Liverpool

This Week - a mix of compelling and entertaining debate and cringe-making links and time wasters. I enjoy what Portillo has to say. He needs a good sofa companion who can get to the point quickly and succinctly - Alastair Cambell was good a couple of weeks ago - Tessa Jowell rather less so last night. I can put up with Andrew N when he is on form as an interviewer - until someone starts to get the better of him which he clearly does not enjoy. What I do not understand is why, on such a short program where interesting debate is always being cut short, so much time is allocated to Andrew's unfunny cringemaking poorly delivered monologues to camera. Someone really ought to have a word in his ear.
Mark Ebdon, Solihull/West Mids

Evidence / Objective based decisions? mmmm
1.) Olympics Jowell may not have been 2-3x over budget
2.) J Greening, seen on PMQ Front Bench!, would perhaps have spent £1m on an audit and not have 'wasted' £100m on the WCML for the sake of cuts.
3.) We would have stopped the cuts on The Forestry Commission when the ash outbreak occurred in Denmark early in the year.
4.) The non scientific logic behind the badger cull, and the onerous requirements on the farmers for the cull. OMG!
Prof Brian Cox, guest earlier in the year, summed it up beautifully when he said the spend on bankers exceeded the total spend on science since Jesus.
Paul Sanderson, Sheffield, Yorkshire

Sorry, but how horny does tessa jowell look. Fantastic legs!
Alex Thomson, Inveresk, east Lothian

Politicians have no right to give away powers to the EU. Electors give politicians the right to rule the country for a limited term after which all powers are returned to the electorate who then again choose who to give them to. These powers are not the property of the politicians they are only loaned to them and they cannot hand them to others. Only the electorate, by means of a referendum, can give up those powers.
Joe A Smith, Blackburn, Lancs

We MUST get out of our commitment to Europe... We, as a small island, will have NO SAY in any choice, and we, as a small island, will suffer on going. MPs are spitting on everyone that fought In the World Wars for us
Den in Kent, Kent

Why have This Week not mentioned the most important banking award this year?..."The award for innovation in interest rate manipulation"...The Intruders crash Investment Banking Awards in Mayfair to present it. Where's Germany's gold? has already been looted...the insanity has gone so far some mainstream commentators even claim it matters not if physical gold is there as long as it's on the books?! means a theft has occurred. South Park "'s gone..." episode is close to the truth. The derivatives bubble is going to make QE look like petty theft. QE, apart from robbing people by debasing their money, only delays the inevitable; nothing can stop the derivatives disaster. The global banking system is collapsing, the ship is sinking, and all that is done...corks are pulled from one hole in the hull to stem the leak from another, with ever increasing holes and ever decreasing corks. The ponzi scheme cannot survive unless it is changed...and bankers won't let that happen...we'll sooner be led into wars to distract and blame our economic woes on. People must see StormCloudsGathering leading to "The Road to World War 3".
There's a better way.
Noor Khan, London

Highview cryogenic power storage will transform the economics of wind energy generation. The critics of wind power appear to be ignorant of this technology which is being developed in the UK.
John Austin, Cheshire


Alan Johnson is deluded if he believes the behaviour of Jimmy Savile was not emblematic of the cultural attitudes prevalent at that time. Top of The Pops was a television show targeted at young, adolescent people which captured the teenager's unbridled obsession with their pop idols, as witnessed with 'Beatlemania', 'Rollermania', etc. There was an abundance of young girls who would do anything to meet with their idol and the predatory males, such as Savile, exploited this. However, I do not believe Savile was unaided. Likely there are many senior, influential people, many at the BBC, who were complicit in this scandal and who are pleased Savile's in his grave and unable to implicate them. This systematic abuse of position and trust is endemic amongst the rich 'n' famous. Should an unexpurgated, independent investigation be undertaken there will be more shocks and prominent people revealed. Savile was not acting alone in this.
DerekA, Cheshire

Hi guys. Would you please do something about the lighting in the studio. Everytime he's on the show, Alan.J has a movable Hitler moustache. I always think perhaps the lighting guys know about this and do it on purpose. Michael.P occasionally gets a whiff of a tache, but never as clear cut (oops), as Alan.
Barry Gray, gosport hants

The laughter is so bloody "in" on so many throw away lines,(particularly with Andrew Neal's too dominant mike level), that it all goes to make this viewer wonder what the hell the laughter and jokes are actually about, since mostly unheard... For it regularly WAS a very good programme; now just a bit too pleased with itself, well at least A.N. is: So producer; at least try and let only one person speak at a time just for starters...
Sincerely,David Bateman
David Bateman, Oundle, Northants

Could Andrew Neil please stop trying to be funny about Blue Nun? It has been overdone and has become boring. Andrew is not as good a comedian as he is an interviewer.
Linda vickers, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

Disturbing that revelation of 'a long political chain', controlling a news editor, "pales into insignificance" compared to a sex scandal. Even if more abuse found, from 1960s culture or a paedophile ring, greater scandal seen in brushing-off the context, our democratic deficit. Corruption by Fear & Greed is not news enough?
Robert Reynolds, Barnstaple England

So disappointed that the 4 men discussing Savile revelations did not realise that it is far more serious than Gilligan making a slip and the BBC failing to stand up to the Govt. Under age, vulnerable girls assaulted on BBC property, none of you appreciate the enormity of it even now.
Margaret, Harrow

Education, Know what students need, find out where they are now, set appropriate steps to take them to where they need to be. Accept moderated teacher assessment. Allow teachers teachers to exercise their professionalism instead of prescribing what they have to do. This approach won me an award and enabled the setting up of UNION Learn from a National Development program that I ran.
William Morehead, Darlington

Dear Mr Neil,
I always enjoy your This Week programme.
With regards to last night's programme about Jimmy Savile and the BBC, yes the issue is more about the victims than the BBC itself. However, not enough is said about the fact that whilst Newsnight was aborted, the tributes went ahead. The D G of the BBC said that he did not want to show undue interest, yet he showed interests in the tributes. For me, it was not lack of curiosity but total lack of concern. The BBC was too ready to crown a saint, totally oblivious that they were adoring the devil and, it seems to me, not wary enough about the 'too good to be true' syndrome. So what does the D G do to justify his huge salary? True, in his favour, he was new to the job and not responsible for the BBC's past errors BUT simple me, if I was going to put a man on a pedestal to adore him as a saint and someone told me 'someone is investigating rumours', then before blasting tributes to the whole world, I would want to know just a bit more. A HUGE error of judgement, not lack of curiosity. I always knew there was something wrong with this arrogant, egocentric man who knew how to manipulate but why so many top people were so naive to be manipulated and not see what was going on is beyond me; it makes me cringe that there was so much incompetence and so much credulity.
Jacqueline Smith, Abingdon, Oxon

The complacent arrogance of all four guys who led off this week's show is astounding. The poor misunderstood BBC, when it should all be about the evil Savile, eh? Just as the DG at the Commons committee who hadn't asked how many sexual harassment complaints have been made, you've all missed that this crisis is about key institutions (police, CPS, NHS, etc.) not acting to prevent abusive behaviour, and thus being part of the abuse. Not seeing that as important. Not as important as journalism, in the case of the BBC's DG according to John Sargeant. Just as This Week's guys don't see it as important, even when it has become the story; probably because guys don't see it as something that happens to guys, especially when joshing around together, as your four were. Yet Savile effectively abused many men too when he made them complicit in his crimes yet unable to stop him, and now accused of assisting him, even though his main targets were women, especially the most vulnerable. It is truly shocking this is not understood, yet.
Jenny, Manchester

First time I've ever written to any broadcaster or news medium...just to say been watching for years now; best show on TV...and I speak as a new subscriber to Sky.
Alan Slade, London

Alan mentioned that he did not like the term "chav" as it was thought to be derogatory. it is used in a derogatory manner, chav or chavvie means boy child or children generally in the romany community. Perhaps Alan will run a campaign against such negative use of the word.
Many thanks
E.Lowe, Brightlingsea,

I love your show and watch it weekly despite being tired the next morning! I have adjusted to the loss of Diane and now enjoy the interaction between Alan & Miguel but what's with those shirts and ties!
Audrey, Bath

First ThisWeek is the best show on the BBC... Possibly on earth... It rocks! However John Sergeant's piece de cam pointing out the way the BBC is fundamentally run due to the fact it is such a large media organisation. Giving its branches freedom to print or broadcast indepentantly is hypocrital of the way Rupert Murdock was slandered by all tabloid, BBC and the press. He is at the very top of the largest broadcasting corp in the world, how could he be responsiple for the recent phone tapping scandle which brought down the NOTW etc. If the BBC General Director is free of blame why was Murdock vilified by all?
John Paul, London

This is perhaps the best programme on television. Keep up the good work! And I say that after only one double whisky. Regarding the badgers story, have you seen Yes Minister, series 1, episode 6. Life imitating art.
James Hayton, London

Prisoners can't get votes but we give paeodphiles O BE
liam walsh, london

I am sorry but I have just listened to BBC staff JOHN SARGEANT defending the Governor General, please what a creep. I am a tax payer and I am fed up with the job you are doing, this is not a democracy, we do not have a say, you all protect each other shameful!How dare you say the Hutton report was a bigger crisis, poor Greg Dyke lost his job for being truthful, bring him back, I am sure he would have had his finger on the pulse. But go back and read the reports at the time and again the BBC blame the processes and procedures in place for their wrong doing. I feel so mad about you lot, I no longer have ant trust in the way you report things the bias and slant on stories is all to suit. What a sleazy lot you all are, you let Jimmy Savile get away with evil crimes for decades and nobody even now wants to take the can, I wonder what else will crop up because the tabloids are out to get you, you need to clean up and that is from the top down not the bottom up!
Caroline Mottram, dartmouth

You were all arriving at the common consensus that this is not the worst crisis in BBC history. You are all wrong, it is the shameful revelation of the sleazy hedonistic types that were running the during Saviles time there who by turning a blind eye were in fact complicit in his peadophile abuse. The shame continues where the Newsnight programme was ditched, without any explanation to the public why this was so. More dirty secrets are obviously being protected.
Burt, Bristol

Just turned on -What's going on with the fruit salad ties?
Jane Taylor, janetaylor

nice ties guys, (not)
dave williams, liverpool

Interesting point of view about the BBC by John Sargent but is there a bigger secret in the BBC?You nver see John Sargent and Jo Brand in the same place just like Sir Les Patterson and Dame Edna. Is there a bigger secret - what do the panel think?
andy, kent

Forget the BBC problems with Savile.the worst thing of the week is the ties worn by Johnstone and portillo
Jeff Marland, Sale cheshire

Could you please ask Alan and Michael, are they wearing those dreadful Tie/Shirt combo's for a bet?
Drew Walker, Bracknell

margaret cuddihy, glasgow

Andrews' comment about "Vision" re Saville comments should have had one hand either side of his face (ie: blinkers) instead of the far vision single hand above his eyes! Far more appropriate in my humble opinion xx
christina richardson, London

How heartening to see that Mr Neil has discovered why there is collar attached to a gentleman's formal shirt. Unfortunate that this should happen in the same week that Jeremy Paxman has joined the scruffs.
James Fitzgerald, Darwen, Lancashire

re. Alex Salmond:-
In the Scottish Assembly, Alex Salmond is flanked on his left by a renegade Labour harridan, on his right by a renegade Tory, while behind sit the yellow Liberals. In the face of such an array of opposition, Alex and his SNP team are to be congratulated on their indefatigability. Yes to independence.
Alex Forbes, Unst, Shetland


How much longer is Andrew Neil going to persist with the tediously boring and unfunny...Michael 'Choo-choo' Portillo and 'Call me Dave'utterances. Grow up man. Funny too that in any week that there has been bad news surrounding the economy, TW would focus nearly the entire programme around it. In a week that saw nothing but GOOD news regarding the unemployment figures/economy there was hardly a mention of it. Osborne ridiculed when news is bad NOT mentioned at all when news is good.
T. Carter, Cornwall

Rap performers, TV presenters and Alastair Campbell forever bragging about the number of disciples..sorry, followers..they've got isn't going to persuade me that twitter is anything other than a big ego trip/ fan club.
Simon , Cambridge

I cannot believe that public money was spent bringing Tommy Sheridan onto the programme n 18 October. Disgraceful. The last thing he needs is the oxygen of attention and the opprtunity to reheat his political life. Absolutely appalling BBC.
James Munro, Glasgow

Programme 18/10/12: Wasn't impressed, Andrew Neil, by your lack of intervention on Scotland's behalf against those english middle-class twats Michael P and Alastair C who were so patronising & dismissive towards Tommy Sheridan's views for a socially just, independent Scotland. You've really changed(no doubt in order to preserve your comfortable lifestyle) since your days debating at Paisley Grammar School.
yours, a very disappointed former pupil of PGS
jane, paisley

Hi guys
I have watched TW for many yrs not so much recently as the strands were produced in a more and more gimmicky way, the jokes got cornier and the panel guests got either tedious or ridiculous. However I have just watched this weeks show the first time for many yrs and I have to say it was great. Andrew Neil was on the money harsh with the humour but true to himself and not getting carried away delivering crap jokes as has been a fault in the past. Micheal Portilo always fairs well on the sofa but I do think that in Alistair Cambell you have finally found a great match. All we need now is more honest opinion and less gimmicky crap in the kitchen, as some one who has worked in media why get caught up on thinking you have to trivialise and contemporise the weeks goings on just to cross promo or acknowledge other BBC output . Some of the best reviews are just honest reflections of someones thoughts that are not laden in pointless badly done themes.
Enough ramblings
Good show keep it up
Hugh Broom
A farmer (amoungst other things) from Surrey
Hugh Broom, Dorking,Surrey

can someone please ask the question if scotland vote yes they go out of the union . if they vote no what then do they keep voteing every year till they get a yes or is this a one off.
john owen, cornwall

Surely the best reason for Scots to vote independant is that (mealie mouthed) Alister Campbell is against it! Why is the BBC encouraging and paying this man?
John Mason, Falkirk Scotland

Hi guys,
Fingers crossed for an independent Scotland, no more WLQ and less chance of English labour administrations in England, win win !!
chris, Portsmouth

At last , the guest was allowed to speak and put their point across,without too much bias from Andrew and co.
Pity about the bad taste joke from Andrew
ellie ross mcpherson, houston/renfrewshire

I have watched This Week for many year - a brilliant programme , in my opinion and believe that Andrew is a brilliant presenter. It is correct that all opinions are aired. However,I object strongly to having to listen to a convicted criminal expounding his nonsense!
A Smith Westhill
alan smith,

I never miss this program. Good to see Tommy Sheridan on tonight. Whatever your politics he's a refreshing change from the usual same old boring politicians!
Carolyn Carty, Renfrew

Michael Portillo is a legend !!!
Jason Howell, Bristol

I am a Scottish born, British citizen who is Scottish and British and deeply values both. What happens to my nationality and citizenship in event of Scottish independence? I have no vote per Salmond's plan. I am disenfranchised. Could I then become stateless post independence? I must have the choice and right to vote on any issue which determines my citizenship. Why is this not being discussed? There are huge numbers of non resident Scots who have a right to have a say. And all Scots need to know the consequences of their decision for nationality! Citizenship and passport!
Ross Sankey, Radlett, Herts

i was surprised and annoyed that sheriden who has just been released from prison for perjury and exposed to have attended a seedy night-club whle le the leader of an elected party should be on your programme. A bad show.
john dillon, rutherglen g73

Just heard tommy SHERIDAN lecture us about political morality and socialism. He clearly has no morality, and I doubt he gave his fraudulently acquired winnings frim suing the press to the third world, or the poor of Scotland,
Patrick kehoe, Kingston upon Thames

Is it possible that the european court of human rights could challenge the scottish referendum on the basis that it will only allow a minority of the British people to vote on the break up of the united kingdom.
David Lindley, Lancashire

i saw tommy sheridan on tv being interviwed about the transfer of council housing stock to housing associations.he said "the poor people of scotland don't need more private houses -what the people of scotland need is more public houses"i'll vote for that tommy!
john davis, greenock inverclyde

My question is, why Mr Bercow has blatantly tried to stop the publication/knowledge that MP's home swapping is prevalent, this is beyond his station ! what else is being hidden from us ? Load of bloody criminals if you ask me.
Mike Coombe, Suffolk


It was obvious throughout Ava Vidal's discussion about welfare benefit and the social stigma attached to claimants that the privilege born Michael Portillo and wealthy Andrew Neil would have no concept of what it's like to struggle financially and to be socially deprived of basic life requirements. Neil and Portillo both experienced an upbringing that bore no comparison to people raised in much poorer, socially deprived areas. They take for granted: quality housing in a respectable area; a good education leading to University and excellent job prospects offering above average financial remuneration because this is what they were born into. Both Neil and Portillo were very dismissive of Ava Vidal with only Alan Johnson offering any support of the points she raised. Welfare Benefit has been abused since day one - back in the 60's when I left school I was 'taught' how to cheat the benefit system and things have not changed too much since. Also, if someone is receiving, say, £1000 per month in benefits, does anyone honestly think this individual will go out and work a 40 hour week to earn £1200 per month? Who would work 160 hours each month just for an extra £200? It's too disproportionate. There needs to be better incentive than this.
DerekA, Cheshire

could we please have somebody on your show next week , arguing against ava vidals opinion ? thanks .
k phelps , cornwall

Let me see now, single issue grass roots movement, relevant to today's politics,ah yes The Coalition For Marriage,strange how no one thought of that considering their fringe meeting at conference and how it's the one issue that is tearing the Conservative party in particular apart.
Peter, Bodmin Cornwall

Mr Portillo`s mask slipped again last night... Cant think what he possibly knows of being in reciept of benefits and being reviled because of it. The panel are far too comfortabley off to make or give any positive input.
haech, brighton

What do Boris and "This Week" have in common?
They are both "A breath of Fresh Air"
They are both pretty irrevalent in the great scheme of things.
Matthew Renwick, matthewrenwick

Ava Vidal made a crucial point which was swept past by the This Week panel, namely that the bankers are responsible for the situation we are in. The rest, without addressing this issue, is essentially 'divide & rule' panem et circenses. Most astutely, Lord Acton stated over a century ago "The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks." Michael Portillo is quite happy to claim he thinks there is a conspiracy to stitch-up Andrew Mitchell, yet the This Week team avoid addressing the real grand conspiracy affecting the whole world. The LIBOR scandal illustrates the significance and extent of the banking cabal. Eliot Spitzer, Matt Taibbi and Dennis Kelleher give a good outline of the Lie-more banking cartel collusion & corruption. The way LIBOR rates are set means it is not possible for only one or two banks to be fixing the rates without collusion of many, if not most or all, of the others. Lord Acton also insightfully said, "Where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control. History has proven that."
Noor Khan, London

David Cameron and his wife look like they are holding onto each for dear life walking in the back alleys of Birmingham - utterly bizarre. Maybe they were trying to spread their privilege around England's back streets.
Sarah, Middlesbrough

I was amazed at the number of satelite dishes installed on the estate shown in the article about housing benefit. Are these an additional benefit or is benefit money being spent on such items.
Tony Walker, Hexham Northumberland

Unbelievable, you have a person telling you exactly how it feels to have to rely on benefits, yet you old boys still bullied Ava Vidal. Shame on you, Alan Johnson,you should have stood up for her more.
janine symonds, witham essex

firstly do you think alan johnson,s hair matches his shirt, tee hee. The government has many ways of saving money, try asking why the courts waste money.My son had to travel by G4 from tyne&wear to wales! costing howmuch? when he could have appeared at sunderland. long story, short cost. also 10yrs to get rid of mr hook hand! how much!!
linda scotter, durham

It's amazing it's easy to attack the unemployed by reducing their money, when they are living on bare minimum. Compare that Pension Credit is set at £140 a week, when jobseekers allowance is set at about £70. Does giving less cure anything? I would suggest not, just cause more social unrest and stealing. Then offset the other cost will there be any savings at all? I think the Tories should seriously look at the most successful country in Europe, Germany and it might give you an idea how Britain can be successful, since what they have been trying again has not worked before and will not work again. In Germany they are paid much more when out of work, for instance they get 98% of their wages if made redundant for a year, and after the year they get a good sum of money. How can Germany afford this, well its evident that directors are not as greedy as this country and they pay higher taxes since the believe it social responsible, unlike the Directors of the UK.
Ieuan Davies, Aberystwyth

Boris - we have no objection to Boris being major because it is not a proper job. He is a very clever (and amusing) guy but there is no way on the planet that the tories would vote him in as party leader and Andrew is more likely to be voted stud of the year then the Tories under Boris get voted in.
Valissa Burnett, Godalming Surrey

Can I visit Michael portillo land? It sounds like a magical place to be. how can you have people on this show that are so out of touch with the lower classes in this country? If you think living on welfare is easy, please come to a council estate and live on a welfare budget for a month, see how you fare!
Lewis, Leicester

I remember hearing Michael Portillo addressing an IFS conference as Secretary of State for Social Security in 1988. The 1988 reforms introduced the structure of Housing Benefit that exists today. So he should know fine well that people who are in work but with low wages and/ or face high housing costs are entitled to Housing Benefit.
Mark Stephens, Lanark

Did michael just say it was a stitch up by the police and the media. Does he have evidence to support such a claim?
Patrick O'Shea , Dundee

Why are young people who get pregnant at 15/16 are able to get full benefits , housing and tax free money to the amount of £46,000 when ive worked all my live fromm school and nearly 25 years shift work, and cant even claim working tax credit ???
Peter, Cardiff

I have listened to the issue of cutting housing benefit for the under 25's. No-one ever mentions that the reason the young people have to claim housing benefit is because there are many rich people making a living out of buying houses and renting them out - thus driving up house prices. There are no longer enough council houses to house the working poor - whilst businesses pay such low wages that working people cannot afford the rents. It is not the fault of the people on housing benefit, but the systematic removal of housing, driving up of house prices by buy to let and banks lending over 3 x wages and the poor wages paid by companies who make huge profits whilst paying poor wages. They are to blame. Perhaps the profits of large companies should be assessed thus: If the workers of any company that makes a profit are on any kind of benefit or tax rebate due to low pay, that company should be made to repay the amoun of the housing benefit and tax rebate before paying the profit to their shareholders.
Helen, Cumbria

mr portillo did a a living o benefit thing some years ago and sAW A REAL DIFFERENT SIDE OF LIFE ON THE DOLE HAS HE FORGOT THAT or has his bank balance changed
steve dudley, sutton in ashfield

Love the show. Re tonight:there's nearly no training for the unemployed.
judy mccusker, weybridge surrey

Hi. On the topic of removing housing benefit for under 25s. Why not bring in rent controls? That would lower the benefits bill wouldn't it? And it might bring house prices back to something affordable, once the buy to let landlords sell up. Then those first time buyers can buy a house and then they wont need housing benefit and then we can all live happily ever after...except for the
Matthew thomas, London

Unless people are given the skills or jobs to take them off benefits they cannot do it. What will happen is some will steal, some will take drugs/drink some will live on the streets and many end up in hospital or prison. How does that save money?
Graham, Thurso

Michael said the Salmonds problem will be if he wins the referendum and won't have English money.Funny, as a few nonthhs ago the current deficit being - £ 260 million, instead of a surplus of £2.6 billion the previous year was mainly due to technical problems in the Scots oil industry, thus loss of tax revenues. As an economist I know that ( oil revenue apart) Scotland is a net contributor to the UK, and therefore subsidises England.
John Rocks, Southend In Sea, Essex

Michael said the Salmonds problem will be if he wins the referendum and won't have English money.Funny, as a few nonthhs ago the current deficit being - £ 260 million, instead of a surplus of £2.6 billion the previous year was mainly due to technical problems in the Scots oil industry, thus loss of tax revenues. As an economist I know that ( oil revenue apart) Scotland is a net contributor to the UK, and therefore subsidises England.
John Rocks, Southend In Sea, Essex

Unless people are given the skills or jobs to take them off benefits they cannot do it. What will happen is some will steal, some will take drugs/drink some will live on the streets and many end up in hospital. How does that save money?
Graham, Thurso

How can you say "people who are trapped in benefits" as if this is wrong? They are trapped either because they are ill or because THERE ARE TOO FEW |JOBS AVAILABLE!!! How many of you richer people actually KNOW a variety of people on welfare so that you can make an informed comment?
Jane Doggett, speedyjane

I am fed up of seeing those on benefits defended. I know six people n my area on benefits falsely. Driving better cars, having better holidays and spending more money than me. One has three horses! When i see these people sorted out i will trust that those on benefits deserve it.
Neil, Stoke

how about reducing the number of MP's and reduce their pensions and redundancy payouts when they quit as minister etc! or TAX the former PM Tony Blair who made millions but paid very little in tax.
Paul Olford, Leytonstone, London

I would like to complain that there are usually only two politicians from the two main parties on the programme. ( I know there is odd exception ear elections and during the conference season it seems.) This surely seems to perpetuate the notion that there are only two serious parties in GB. This seems particularly inappropriate during this parliament with a coalition government.
Ken Chisholm, Edinburgh

On the Scottish referendum... a simple yes no. No third option involving further devolved powers.. Is this because it would make it increasingly hard not to consider an 'English Assembly.' The UK is 3/4 of the way there... an English assembly would mean further devolved powers from Westminster AND would create a federal Britain.
Mike Sands, Norwich Norfolk


I do wish AN would desist from personal attack on Ed M. you are not exactly an oil painting Andy.Who Ed socialised with as a child was fatuous crap.Portillo used the same word to describe Eds tour de force(he would though).However,you i hope are supposed to be like the barbers pole in JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK Strictly non political.Your past sometimes shows itself Andy playing Devil's Advocate probably requires akeener brain than yours.Lets hope you are equally as arrogant,rude to your ex friends.By de bye is Robinson9ANOTHER tORY SLEEPER) still briefing you.Finally(geek,pinhead,red,union lacky)will I suggest be remembered long afteryou are consigned to the arse end of history.
david mohan, ipswich suffolk

Ed Milliband spoke without notes? You didn't notice the earpiece.
Bill, Lichield, Staffs

Michael Portillo rightly criticised Ed Milliband's "Soviet"-style attitude to taxes. A point that also needs emphasising is the fact that the top (50%) rate of tax does not necessarily apply to all "millionaires". A millionaire is someone with net capital assets of £1m or more. The word does not mean a person with an income of £1m or more. There are many millionaires in this country who are such simply by reason of the value of their homes (particularly in London) but these people are earning nothing like £1m per annum. The Labour trick of referring to "millionaires" is designed to make it appear as if there are far more people caught by the top rate of tax than there really are, thereby making the top tax rate look more "effective" than it really is.
Neil, Winchester, Hants.

I like the programme BUT.
The backdrop shows a purple background with the days of the week slowly moving across.
I used to get irritated with this because some of the days were not spelt using a capital letter.
I expect better standards from a programme like this and I look forward to seeing all of the days of the week spelt correctly using a capital letter at the begging of the word.
Thank you.
Vince Wyre (Irritated)
Vince Wyre, Winchester, UK

I emailed recently re scrunching Mr.Portillo and other up at one end of the red sofa,and last week you changed this so they had much more space and now I see perhaps why you did it. They fidgeted a lot didn't they? I still think it looks daft to have all that empty space at one end so perhaps two chairs? Still the best political show on tv tho. Andrew Marr is very good too, but this is better, thanks to Andrew I think.
Carol Wilson, Worksop, notts

Isn't it about time you looked at the presentation of this programme? Within thirty seconds of opening, blue nun was mentioned. Michael choo choo Portillo within 2 minutes and reference to the interweb later on. These phrases are used every single episode and have been for some time. They have become stale and lack any humour (if there was any to start) there is a constant tone on how low budget the programme is, or attempts made of light sarcasm of how people have reached the higher levels to appear on the programme. This could be made into such a great political programme if a a fresh approach was made.
Nigel Parkes, Birmingham

Michael Portillo has asked why there is such an issue with the fact that David Cameron has been to Eton and Oxford. He then said Tony Blair also went to Eton and Oxford as did Boris. The fact of the matter is that you, Mr Cameron, are smug. Smug, smug, smug. One of the worst things to be, but you naturally are. People hate smug
Kim, Nottingham

I wonder if Michael agrees with me that on television at least Ed Miliband has, at best, zero charisma?
Donald Magnay, Penrith, Cumbria.

Please,please,please could you put an end to the days of the week floating continually behind the presenters - I can't be the only loyal viewer of this programme that finds it highly annoying and its getting to the point of giving me motion sickness.....?!!! No I haven't been drinking too much Blue Nun - so please could we do without this distraction. many thanks for an otherwise great programme!
simone jones, aberystwyth

Will you be changing the colour of your set now that Cadbury have copyrighted the shade of purple that you use in most of it?
Keith Gardner, Bournemouth

The only real candidate for leader of the conservative party is Micheal Portillo!
simon , worcester

Please ask Andrew Neil to STOP saying Michael Choo Choo Portillo at the start of every programme. It wasn't funny the first time and it went past annoying a long time ago.
Also, please get someone on the show from the socialist side that is able to be non-partisan. That was the original idea and it has been lost. While Portillo does well at telling it like it is, the socialists are always incapable of this and are never held to account by the host. It creates a consistent bias that is not as the BBC should be.
Chris, uk

How disgusting that you make such a 'lighthearted'comment about the Jimmy Saville claims.....typical of the old boys club!!!! Disgraceful...were you aware and said nothing??!!
Anne, bexhill

How disgusting that you make such a 'lighthearted'comment about the Jimmy Saville claims.....typical of the old boys club!!!! Disgraceful...were you aware and said nothing??!!
Anne, bexhill

Having done the Lib Dem Conf. and shown they might take off with the expertise and wisdom of our friend Vince Cable and,(or not)the youthful,laid- back exuberence of their leader, what's his name? Also, no doubt on Labour's Conf. their vagueness on democracy and free trade. Surely it needs to be pointed out for the Tory Conf. (if they resort to keep certain votes) that free trade and the progress in and through the E.U. should be achievable. We put money into Africa and India to develop them, why can't we help develop ourselves and the rest of the 180 countries in the world who could be in the market too? I mean we should be at the top of the list for education and skills. We can do anything in the garden if THERE IS SOLID SUPPORT and GOOD PRESENTATION OF OURSELVES (sans hubris). P.S. Can you please expand your show, more time in the evening? You could always use quick Monty Python pop-ups e.g to remind us of the necessary importance of the Blue Nun.
Jan Pomeroy, Ealing, London W5

I accept that many people may find Ed Miliband expounding the fact he went to a Comprehensive School a little boring, I have to say I find Andrew's obvious bigotry against such schools offensive Grow up Andrew
Ray Slamon, Denton Manchester


Your chairmanship A N. using such a shouting down manner, crudely often masks most irritatingly, many of your guests' better comments, although with Janet Daly, that rough handling was more understandable. I think the programme could really work better by allowing only one person to speak at a time.
David Bateman.
David Bateman, Oundle, Northants

With over 90 flood warnings all over the country , people in danger of losing their homes and major roads and railways under feet of water - Where was our Leader last week ?

Flashman was massaging his posh ego by appearing on the Letterman Show .Just typical . Completely out of touch .

The first rule of any Government is the security of its people . Has anyone told Dave or is he too busy promoting ' Brand Dave' ?
Colin Appleby, Sheffield

What dreadful introductory credits. This with Andrew Neil's pathetic communication skills and the disgraced Jaqui Smith means that I will no longer watch this. This show is long past it's sell by date. Can we please have an intelligent, adult politics show with gravitas?
David Wall, Shaftesbury, Dorset

I would just like to say what an excellent program.
sad man on a train Portillo is really good, and that says a lot me being a socialist :)
Ask Andrew to see if John Cruddas would appear on your program, would like to see his new philosophical approach being discussed
jonathan, sheffield

Brilliant, interesting, amusing, but also serious. Was Andrew a bit emotional tho? Why are mr, Portillo and other scrunched up on the settee leaving a large space at the end it looks stupid. Why cannot it be on earlier?
Carol Wilson, Worksop, notts

Michael Portillo, normally a commentator who can be trusted to make sensible comments said this week when trying to justify Mitchell's behaviour against the police "I find it frustrating the increase in the number of people in uniforms telling me what to do". i was very disappointed that Portillo tried to pas this off as an excuse for Mitchell's behaviour.
Alex Wooler, Greenock Renfrewshire

The format of This Week is great, but it really is on too late for a mid-week programme for me. I was a great fan of A Week In Politics, fronted by the late Vincent Hanna and the brilliant Andrew Rawnsley, on Sunday evenings. I think moving This Week to that slot would draw in far more viewers.
Aidan Jones, Sheffield

Loved Michael Portillo's comment about the polite form of 'you' not existing in the English language. I am English, and have lived in Holland for 24 years. It is a great help, especially if you need to talk to a police officer!!!
Diana Davidssin, Hilversum, Netherlands

the plebiceite were the voting classes which were those in the senete oe who put them there, by the way wheres the email for my mug better still the bottle of fortified wine. I have spent most of my life on public transport I dont want to be called a cutomer, I am or they were passengers , if I am within the nhs I am a patient
andy, gt yarmouth

So glad you are back. Missed you all summer. Wonder if you have all been on the Blue Nun tonight?
Jill Mangan, Wantage

Thank heavens for Michael Portillo - we have said allweek that anyone could fly off the handle the way Mitchel did - not great behaviour - but human behaviour, for heaven's sake! Muchmore serious is the police behaviour towards the young girls in Rochdale! Get a life mediamoppets - and I used to be one f them!!!
tricia butterworth, Huntshaw,Nr. Torrington,Devon

Can Andrew stop referring to Vince Cable as Mr Cable. He is Dr Cable, I believe.
Paul Fennell, London

The divine right of Public School educated people thinking that they are superior to the rest of us is based on Hubris and not real ability. Having taught on both side of the educational divide I think there is very little difference between the able on both sides. It is time our politicians were trained to do their jobs, especially the government ministers.
Charles Ogle, New Milton

Dear production team, just wondering why your image output on bbc1 HD always looks so soft - especially on wideshots ? Are the cameras SD because my TV is razor sharp on HD channels and this just isn't. Regards,
Emma Charles.

Looking at this live.
What the hell are you up to .
What are you talking about?
Who is this women in a restuarant?
Brian Casey , Chelmsford, Essex

Agreed with Janey Daley: I gave up Conservative Party Membership when I got tired of being patronised by people who seemed unemployable in any other productive job.
David Mathieson, Epsom, Surrey

much nicer way to interact, not allowed on QT yet another complaint to aunty beeb for that anyway wheres my dp mug I always enter and get it right. Nice to see JS AJ been locked up or what. I dont touch Blue Nun or any other wine unless its been fortified. Did I mention I want a DP mug.
Dare I mention Lettermann
andy, great Yarmouth
THIS WEEK REPLIES: You did metion mugs, but this is TW, not DP, and we don't have mugs for tea, just on the show.

do make sure somewhere to mention that the pompous Andrew Mitchell MP has now been put firmly in his place by a comment in one of the newspapers that his distinctly non-patrician origins were "more fish & chips than fois gras.".....
j.lesley, london

used to like watching the prog,but since it has given credence to jackie smith all credibility has gone so i dont watch anymore,why has she been given the gig?
tj roe, liverpool

Dear This Week, will someone in your office please, I beg you, please tell Andrew Neil that he is as funny as catching crabs on your honeymoon night, the man simply isn't funny! Yet god does he try? Please tell your Director, Editor, Tea lady, that your show is about politics, not open mic night at the local Darby and Joan pub for sad buggers, the man has a face that a boxer dog would turn down, has a body that requires the use of a boomerang when putting his belt on and a pair of ears that belong on a chimp, yet the one good thing about him, funny enough, is that he knows his stuff when it comes to serious matters such as, wait for it, politics! So much so that I would strongly advise the BBC take the man on in the role of an anchorman for a show about, Politics! I get that the BBC is on this strange "let's try to make every show we have funny, that way viewer will tune in" meaning any program the BBC puts on, even programs that are supposed to be serious like say "Watchdog", "This Week", "Daily Politics show" or even the "Liberal Democrats conference" (sorry, That's supposed to be a comedy show) are all tarred with the same lame humour brush, which is fairly annoying when say Watchdog is reporting how an old lady has been swindled out of her life savings by a some scrotum walking around our streets, with the opening line from the Watchdog reporter along the lines of "guess who's not playing bongo this week?" or "it was reported that some old hag repeatedly head butted a nice young man's baseball bat, only joking!" or even "what's old and wrinkly, has a blood waterfall, and staggers in the street? Mary from Oldham after meeting her grandson!" Here's a mad idea, why not employ some adults? Trust me, I know that employing a bunch of snotty ex Oxbridge pals in obviously the in thing at the Beeb but, surely at some point someone within the BBC has to look at the viewing figures, see that the line going down off the chart isn't doing so because someone has turned it upside down for a giggle, and that it's actually the right way up and your viewers have disappeared like a fart in the wind because your old Uni chums know two things about "Funny" Nothing and Fuck all, sack them and employ people like me, I promise that serious programs would go back to being? Serious, funny programs would become for the first time in a long, long time, funny, and I'll do it all for under £100k per year, bargain! P.S. If Mr Neil says "here's Mickell Choo Choo Portilo", or " that's all folks we're off to Annabells" one more time, your going to make a grown man cry, change the record......
Andrew Mitchell, Glasgow


Today I caught up with my favourite news and current affairs program on the BBC iplayer and watched with great interest Simon Jenkins's piece on how he would solve the problem of what he refers to as liquidity. I am 63 years of age and only twice in my lifetime have I heard the solution that Simon put forward. I would add that even before Michael's rebuttal of Simon's proposal, I knew what the answer would be, in fact Simon said it himself and I completely agree that it is somehow abhorrent to the people that would make the decision to print money and just put it in peoples bank account that this would be tacky and tasteless. I would also like to say that I am a lifelong Labour voter but I do like listening to Michael and think that he is a very sensible and thought provoking speaker and would have made a great leader of the Conservative party.
Best wishes,
Ralph Pardoe. Security Officer (Not G4S)
Ralph Pardoe, Coventry, West-Midlands

good show last night wheres the money gone ??? it was very telling when simon jenkins suggested that the government just pay people money instead of letting the banks hoard it such a simple solution,,, but you could see the attitude of the two polls sudenly they wanted to take control over the money michael says we must get something back in return,,,he cant shake off that tory mantle,, and the comonwealth lady she wanted to build houses or something worthy why do they put themselves up for ridicule every time theres an election when they really dont have any solutions to the problems we have they dont even pretend to have solutions any more so why do people vote for them it defies logic in every way so where has all the money gone you ask,,its in the cayman islands ofcourse or maybe its buying weapons for the mexican drug cartels or building planes for the saudi princes, either way we wont see a penny of it cause this system is sadly broken the money is in a unvirtous circle feeding the rich and powerful the institutions simply wont allow it to leak or trickle down to the prols cause they wouldnt know what to do with money if they had any,, its all a bit sad really
paul withall, Rugby warks

what a joy to listen to simon jenkins last night about his idea to float the economy would be to give each person £500 to spend as they wished...also hit the spot when he said that politicians do not trust the people...well done for saying what a lot of people intrinsically believe about politicians.
margo symon, clydebank

Great show as always Andrew, but will someone please tell Oona King that This Week is NOT Newsnight or Question Time. It has developed a very different style of political debate and isn't the programme to drone out the approved "Party Line" parrot fashion. We don't want to hear non-stop Labour party soundbites. Looking forward to your return in September.
Donald, Buckingham

Andrew was absolutely correct when he said the Olympics had come to London, not the UK. This extravagant waste of public money will provide two weeks of junkets and fine dining for Seb Coe and his pals, plus government ministers, including the disgraced Jeremy Hunt. Then it will become a landmark to human folly and naive aspiration. Even the brand sponsorship is a joke - McDonalds (fat food); Cadburys Chocolate (more fat food)); Heineken (liver disease). This is in addition to the humiliating travesty hat is masquerading as security - has any investigation been made into 1) Who awarded G4S the contract knowing their appalling record of incompetence? 2) what was the selection criteria used in the contract tendering process? 3) What attributes clearly proved G4S to be the best of the bidders? I suspect palms were greased and this is what has earned some companies their contract. Is there anything in this country that has not been tainted by the putrid, cancerous corruption prevalent in Westminster?
DerekA, Cheshire

I thought Simon Jenkins was on the nail yesterday evening when he spoke about giving the quantitative easing money to ordinary people. It was amazing how confused the other contributors were, particularly Michael Portillo who did not seem to understand the difference between deficit and inflation. I will try to explain. If the government prints £10 and gives it to someone, the deficit does not go up because that £10 was not borrowed and the government does not have to repay it or pay interest on it. However, that £10 does, in a small way, lower the value of the currency. It does increase inflation. If the recipient of the £10 gives the government a debt in exchange for their gift, like a bond which is a debt, the person is still £10 richer because they are relieved of a debt. As Simon Jenkins said, giving money in exchange for a debt is still giving money for nothing. This is because the debt the person has given in exchange has no positive value to them or to anyone else ! who is in "ownership" of it. If that debt is a debt to the government (a government bond) then the government is saying it is not asking for money back which it originally gave the recipient and which the recipient has presumably spent or invested. If the debt the government pays back is a debt to a third party then the government is basically giving money to that third party instead. In all cases the government is not increasing its own debt, but it is creating inflation. When Michael Portillo spoke about taking something out of the system in exchange as a way of lowering the deficit he was wrong. What he was actually talking about was reducing inflation. We need a bit more basic mathematical understanding if we are going to accept sound but unusual solutions to our problems which some of the more savvy institutions don't want us to know about. Too many people get bored and lazy with these sorts of issues and think that it's OK just to walk away and let someone else sort it all out. If we do that we will have years of austerity ahead of us and it will be our own faults. So well done Simon Jenkins.
Chris, London

Please don't have the #thebowbelle on again. She is a typical failed politician who forgets any socialist principles when offered a seat in The House of Lords and then just regurgitates Party soundbites without any cogent argument. A disastrous guest!
Carol Drummond, Lydney, Glos.

Balance sheets, govt bonds, treasury bonds, adding to the defecit, not adding to the defecit, i'm still none the bloody wiser.I do like the idea of £500 though.
Chris Becker, Guisborough

Help for Simon JeNkins. QE is implemented by a Central Bank exchanging new electronically created money for financial assets. Funds sit on balance sheets of banks until lent out. The phrase Used by Simon Jenkins that we should be giving money to the people rather than business is wide of the market. No money has been 'given' to anyone. When banks balance sheets are once again sound the process will be reversed; Quantitative Tightening. The additional £50B is a loan guarantee scheme. No new money is created or even earmarked. Printing money and giving it to the public, is in effect an increase in public spending the very thing the government is trying to reduce in order to cut the deficit and satisfy the financial markets. Unlike QE it does not involve exchange of assets, is not reversible, will lead to a devalued currency, and cause inflation. Imports would be sucked in leading to increased negative balance of payments. The ratings agencies would downgrade the UK leading to increased borrowing costs. The policy of printing money is used by governments to re-flate deflationary economies and/or when there is no other way to pay its public sector employees; (Zimbabwe and the Weimar Republic).
Roger Evans, Merthyr tydfil, South Wales

Spotlight on Media Misery. Does news really have to be negative or bad to be news? Are we force fed sensationalised drama by creatively challenged programme researchers or do we simply get what we deserve? In all forms of the media we appear to be conditioned by the macabre. Sky News in particular should be renamed The Crime Channel and the more deaths involved they more they milk it. They should be reminded that it is their function to report the news and not to create it. Paxman and his rude colleagues constantly interrupt their guests as they guide them towards a predetermined negative conclusion. Newspapers are no better and even the weekly Soaps compete with each other to shock with dramatised negativity. This negative approach is so depressing and it is helping to drag the mood of the country down by the bootstraps. Surely there are many good things happening in the world? Programme researchers, columnists and TV interviewers please wake up and smell the coffee. You have a shared responsibility to help put the Great back in Britain! Spotlight topic please?
Richard Humphreys, Falmouth Cornwall

Hi writing in to say we love Andrew's show and we are upset now that we have to wait until September to see him again. We always stay up late to watch him. He is the best current affairs entertainment programme that's on TV. We love him.(For Andrew xxxxxxx)
Theresa and Nicola Morton, Glasgow

london is not the greatest city in the world. You southerners are so out of touch with the north. we in the north hate london and would rather be french than a londerner. how come you never have a member of the public on your programme who loves in the real world but have polititions who everyone hate like portilo. get someone like me and I will tell the useless polititions what a bunch of s**t they are but you will not as you are the mouth piece of the Government.
James G chadwick, Southport

Thank you for having Simon Jenkins on your programme 19/7/2012. He and Billy Bragg are singing from the same hymn sheet and are portraying the way out of this financial mess the world is in. It makes me smile when any Tory says "you can't spend your way out of debt;" but isn't that exactly what they are doing? By getting the Bank of England (BoE) to print more money (Quantative Easing) surely that is precisely what they are doing The way they use Quantative Easing (QE) is entirely wrong. The idea is The Bank of England (BoE) prints money, puts it in circulation and the banks should then loan it to businesses enabling them to employ more people and creating growth. But surely growth comes from business selling their goods/services and creating profit? The business will then earn sufficient money to employ a person; that is the way to create growth. An alternative: give everybody above the age of 16 who earns below £80,000 per year £2,000. They will spend the money on bills, rent/mortgage, consumer goods etc. making profit for businesses and thus creating growth. If they put it into a savings account that is doing exactly what the BoE are doing. This would cost about 20 billion pounds but it should be remembered that the BoE has given the banks 375 billion in QE so far. In the long term the Robin Hood Tax must be implemented. A less than half 1p in the pound tax on every transaction involving bonds, derivatives etc. (not in your high street bank) would raise £100 billion per year. While we have a Chancellor who equates the country's budget with that of a household budget saying "in times of austerity we must cut back on our spending" we will have a long, bleak future. The answer to any bank that wants to move to, say, Hong Kong is simple. If they move they will not be allowed to operate in this country. I'm sure you would get agreement on that in the EU. This is the way out of this problem. Too many people, especially up North, are feeling this financial catastrophe. £2000, although not perhaps solving their problem, will take some of the pressure from them.
George Goodger, Ashford/Middlesex

Hi writing in to say we love Andrew's show and we are upset now that we have to wait until September to see him again. We always stay up late to watch him. He is the best current affairs entertainment programme that's on TV. We love him.(For Andrew xxxxxxx)
Theresa and Nicola Morton, Glasgow

london is not the greatest city in the world. You southerners are so out of touch with the north. we in the north hate london and would rather be french than a londerner. how come you never have a member of the public on your programme who loves in the real world but have polititions who everyone hate like portilo. get someone like me and I will tell the useless polititions what a bunch of s**t they are but you will not as you are the mouth piece of the Government.
James G chadwick, Southport

hello, I have been watching the programme and enjoying it very much.
Michael Portillo is so convincing especially since his First Class documentary about Great British Railway Journeys! I have voted Labour for a long time, however the female guest you have on, I am glad I don't know who she is, for me has been the straw that broke this camel's back! Argumentative, no reason for it, I would love to have been there to tell her quite frankly to shut up! What a brilliant idea to give the people money simply to improve the deficit. She bored us all poohless with her propaganda crap about Labour want to give the money to the people; BUT!!!!!!! Here we go again, boring is the polite word. I will not vote Labour again in my life because of her interruptions that were fruitless and worthless. Why on earth was Michael Portillo never Prime Minister is quite literally beyond belief. Kind Regards, (except to you know who I mean)
Deborah O'Leary.

I was disappointed with Oona King's performance tonight. She came across less as a political commentator than a partisan representative of the Labour party, as you'd expect on the Daily Politics or Newsnight. This was particularly evident, and annoying, in the section with Simon Jenkins. She seemed to end up reeling off Labour policies and talking points, rather than discussing what Simon was saying. I guess her behaviour is understandable given she's now in the Lords, but I don't think it fits with the tone of the program set by Michael and Andrew, which is more enjoyable to watch.
Paul Grayson, Milton Keynes

When I were a lad Quantative Easing was known as Currency Devaluation. Why isn`t this made plain to people that anyone with savings will lose money every time this happens. Also why can`t I have the same deal as Bankers who can borrow money from the Government, then use this money to buy Government Bonds which will give a guaranteed rate better than purchased at - Good Times.
Douglas Ward, Penrith Cumbria

It might sound bizarre but the Australian Government gave citizens money to spend as they liked when recession threatened and their ecomony is in an enviable position in comparison with the UK.
Stuart Clarke, Brentwood, Essex


With regards to Barbara Stcherbatcheff's appearance, I'm pleased to see sexism is still alive and well at the BBC! How about next series we have a man on making similar comments about women and see how long he/you last?
P.S. Tried to contact you just after that show, but this page was malfunctioning.
Alan Hearn, Peterborough, Cambs.

Micheal Portillo thinks it's ok for those who have their own homes to be told to sell it to pay for their care in old age.He has probably been able to build up a good savings fund for his families inheritance. But as for me I have never earned more than 18K don't drink excessively, don't smoke but have managed to buy my own home whilst I watch some of those in social housing receive many benefits. My point is why should those who have never looked to the future and have no house to sell be then able to gain from free health care and I would have to pay. There should be a maximun contribution available to all in need of care in their old age(if a person wants to 'go private' by topping up with their own money, so be it. As they say, that's what we pay out taxes for!
Ian Robinson, Sheffield

So, Michael Portillo is "CONTEMPTUOUS" of those who stand to lose an inheritance because of care home fees. Perhaps he would like to share with us his own financial circumstances and those of his high-earning wife as this is an issue that will surely not affect them. Dilnott was, in part, trying to address the unfairness that some people pay nothing whilst others lose everything when they would like to pass something on to their loved ones who may have looked after them for years to their own financial detriment.
sue, london

The clip played of the French President and the Coldstream Guards with the soundtrack "Waterloo" should set the entente cordiale back a few years but it was amusing for us Brits.
Carol Drummond, Lydney, Glos.

The discussion on the elderly,pensions and care homes does not take into account that those of us who have worked and saved all our lives and never lived on credit are now being affected by the very low interest rates that are diminishing our savings, and being blamed for living off the state. I like Gloria Hunniford can think of nothing worse than going into a care home, but I have never earned the sums of money of the members of the panel. The money I set aside for my old age will not be as much as politicians or the panel has. Why did I bother to work and save? It was the way I was brought up. The only thing I bought on credit was my house on a mortgage and saved to furnish and keep it repaired. Now we are being held responsible for the latter generations who have lived on credit and that includes Government ministers and politicians. If I have saved and managed to buy my house why shouldn't I leave it to my family rather than the state? Nobody is addressing the problem that is affecting the savings of many pensioners, and even those still working who are trying to build up enough money for their old age. Having worked all my life I did think I would be able to enjoy my retirement years, go to places and do things I never did while I was working, running a business that employed others and put money into the Treasury's coffers, through tax, N.I. and V.A.T. Maybe I should have lived off the state all my life. I am not rich by any means, I am in my 70's and still work part-time in an endeavour to keep my head above water.
Bridget Fowkes, New Romney

Michael Portillo is wrong to assume every home owner is middle class. We are working class parents who have had seven children. We have not enjoyed lavish holidays or fancy cars and have struggled for many years to purchase our own home. I don't see why we should subsidise spendthrifts who have enjoyed material benefits that we have chosen to go without.
Chris, Enfield./London/Middlx

The discussion on age care was diabolical.....People whom worked all of their lives and payed NI and Tax are expected to pay for their care whilst people whom have never worked in this country, never payed NI or Income Tax get it for free...Come on...How fair is this...Disgusting....I will spend all my savings and sell my house and live of the state.....Easy......
Brian McDonald, Rochdale, Lancashire

The double Albert watch chain dangling from Andrew Neal's lapel gives him the look of a 19th century stationmaster more suited to Michael "Choo-choo" Portillo.
Richard Lynas, Exeter, Devon

Dear Andrew,
I would like to see the H of L reformed, but am uneasy about offering more democracy to an electorate that rarely turns out even for local elections.
I have a proposal - given that the job we require of the Lords is revising legislation and making it workable.
The Lords should be composed from those organisations that hold a Royal Charter, with the electorate drawn from their full members. This will give us the professional expertise we need, builds on structures that are already in place, and avoids Party interference.
Perhaps you could suggest this to some of your guests.
Yours sincerely
Viv Endecott
Viv Endecott, Dorset

Please Andrew, will you discuss why there has to be bishops in The House of Lords because, quite frankly, the reason is lost on me.Thank you.
Carol Drummond, Lydney, Glos.


Glancing down the Comments, it seems most are from Tories. Frankly I was pleased that Alistair Campbell disagreed with Andrew Neil's support for Osborne's unsubstantiated view of the Libor e-mail. It seems to me that there are several ways to interpret this information in a speculative sense, but that a judge-led probe was most likely to show the whole picture on what the Banks have been up to!Perhaps not what a Tory party funded by the City would want! (See Michael Meacher's debate speech.) Pleased to see Portillo agrees with this, but I'm afraid Mr Neil has got to get to grips with the fact that Labour are not the Govt. anymore, and he needs to be asking deeper questions of the current bunch...not living his Tory attack-dog past! Hard for a Tory political presenter to be objective,it seems!!
GJ Holt Durham.
GJ Holt, Durham England

TW is normally stable viewing in our house, but there's no way I'm going to watch the totally discredited catalyst for the Iraq war pontificate. Alastair campbell should never be given a public platform on such a distinguished show. Who next, the architect of the war, Tony Blair!!!
richard baker-howard, west malling

With so many quality 'labour' participants available for This Week such as Alan Johnson, Gisela Stuart, Charles Clarke (what happened to him?) and even Jacqui Smith why oh why do you keep inviting Alistair Campbell back to the sofa?
It is not just that he is irritating, which he is in abundance, it is that he fundamentally wrecks the enjoyment of the show for the viewer. He talks over people repeatedly meaning it is difficult to hear the points being made, distracts other speakers in the point they are making causing them to be lost, jumps in on other people's questions and even interjects over the top of Andrew Neil. It is not even mitigated by virtue of a value added contribution either as frequently he peddles a line of defensive, self serving nonsense. It really is dreadful viewing and boorish behaviour.
The quality of the show drops several notches whenever he participates. With so many excellent choices available to represent the left side of the sofa there is absolutely no need for you to inflict Mr. Campbell on your customers.
Robert Baker, Bracknell

Great show, but grindingly purile script for Andrew. This Week you obviously have borrowed the work-experience GCSE Grade D from News 24 for your captions - the work they manage on News 24 for ticker, captions etc. speaks volumes about our educational standards. What is this new qualification shown for Julian Huppert M.P.? MPhd? Master of Doctor of Philosophy? Standards, dear boy, standards!
Tony Landeg, Aberystwyth

I always enjoy the programme but always find myself annoyed by the poor picture quality compared to others, even on BBCOne HD. There seems to be ghosting on the images.
Michael Smith, Potton, Beds

Cambell: "It's like blaming the Health Minister for Harold Shipmen" Is that not like Bob Diamond and Barclays; or should we expect someone from the BMA to be 'resigned'?
Rich, London

Dear Mr Neill,
Although I enjoy watching This Week it is wrong that Alistair Campbell has again been invited onto the show.
He does nothing to improve our country and has only been involved in public life as a salaried employee. On many occasions serious questions have been raised regarding his integrity particularly with the lies made prior to the Iraq War. Although Mr Campbell may wish to raise his own profile in the media at every opportunity what he has to say is of minimal interest to people across the country away from Wesminster politics.
Please consider inviting people who are more interesting and indeed more honest than the self-serving Mr Campbell.
Hugh Counsell Whitehaven


I look forward to watching This Week but my enjoyment of the program is marred by the use of animated backgrounds. I find the wispy smoke effects and floating days of the week an almost continual distraction to what is being said. Understandably, there has always been an inclination by TV Directors to use the most recent technology to enhance the presentation of programs but I think this should be done in context. I suggest that the animated background screens do nothing to improve the experience of the viewer. On the contrary, they spoil the program. I hope you will take my comments as constructive criticism on an otherwise excellent program.
Graham Wye, Enfield London

Michael's endorsement of the long over-due recognition of Bomber Command was very welcome. Even he failed to mention, 20 years after the Cold War, that Bomber Command opened up the Second Front perhaps two years earlier than D-Day by keeping two million Germans on their Home Front, not on the East Front where 27 MILLION Soviets died.
Alan's thoughts on the N.I. sixteen postman also brought home that whilst the numbers are miniscule to the above, each left a grieving family.
The usual TW travails are minimal compared to the past horrors mentioned.
Paul Sanderson, Sheffield, Yorkshire

This was the queen`s week. Do you not think she should have prevented the Iraq war?
We have been ruled by queens for a great many years. Should we not be called the United Queendom( UQ)?
noel elliott, dunoon/argyll

How can Michael and Alan call for the head of Bob Diamond, when its Ok for M.P's to claim ignorance to whats happening and get away with it?
mark nield, Preston Lancashire


Please get Andrew to enquire if the dropping of the fuel duty increase in August is a cynical attempt to ensure it won't feed through to September's CPI. Doing it January means pension increases will not be affected and save a fortune.
Mario Leonard, Kendal

I'm sure I won't be alone in commenting that Michael Portillo's comments about disabled people were foolish and offensive. Please don't hide behind the idea that This Week creates an atmosphere of relaxed banter. It seems to me that for the BBC to broadcast such remarks unchallenged is a clear breach of its public service remit.
Dr Alun David, London

As a disabled wheelchair user I was offended by comments made by Michael Portillo during the discussion about beauty on Thursday 21st June. He said it wasn't only beautiful people who attended Ascot but that ugly and disabled people are allowed in too. He obviously doesn't think it's possible for someone to be disabled and beautiful. Perhaps if he took the trouble to see the person rather than the 'disability' he would realise that, not only are many disabled people beautiful, but that they actually have brains too! Did anyone else find his comments offensive?
Lorraine Thompson, Wakefield
Lorraine Thompson, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

I was outraged at Michael Portillo's smug arrogance throughout the discussion with Jim Davidson. So Mr Portillo would not take advantage of an HMRC approved scheme to reduce the amount of tax he pays and condemns those that do, Yet he doesn't mind associating with, and earning his salary amidst the most corrupt of society - Politicians. Was Mr Portillo as arrogant and supercilious with his colleagues when they were fiddling their expenses and making spurious claims on tax payers money?! I sincerely doubt it. Jacqui Smith was one of the many offenders in the MP's Expenses Scandal and she's regularly invited onto TW and paid for her appearance - I don't hear Mr Portillo objecting to this. Considering Mr Portillo's career in politics and his association with this regime and its fraud and malpractice he has no right to criticise or judge anyone about their ethics or morals. *I would be interested to know if Andrew Neil employs the service of an Account who advises him on how to reduce his tax bill. Also, is Andrew Neil's home in Southern France not a means of tax avoidance? Care to comment Mr Neil?
DerekA, Cheshire

Well done Michael Portillo for pointing out where the rot really started in the medical profession. It was the previous Labour government that attempted to renegotiate the GP contract, but then caved it when the doctors threatened industrial action. GPs then ended up with a considerably higher salary for a shorter working week. Alan Johnson should have been challenged on this, it was his government that presided over that fiasco.
Donald, Buckingham

Dear Producer
How many times did the question have to get asked by "Jim " about a flat rate of tax for neither resident guests or presenter to answer the question ( or in Andrews case to make sure it was answered ! )
Please take them all to task ...this is a serious political programme ...despite its laudable modern twist.
All the best
Roddy Kohn
Roddy Kohn , Bristol

I see myself as a pretty mainstream conservative and am surprised Mr Portillo does not see the argument for a standard rate of income tax. I work in the public sector and am a basic rate taxpayer, but nevertheless see higher taxation rates for so long an abuse by government of moral obligations that have maximised short-term revenue generation at times when no crisis conditions in justification existed. The 50% rate crossed a line and the reduction to 45% can't turn the clock back - personal practices will have moved on. A flat rate should be taken seriously and I suspect would have more popular support than expected and by re-establishing a credible policy encourage those high earners with a choice to chose to re-engage, thereby netting the maximum possible revenue given what has passed.
Gregor McDonagh, Swindon

I am an old age pensioner , my financial advisor is always looking out for ways that I can increase my investments. Is this dodging tax? I don't think so. Jim (Davidson )is right all should contribute a fair ammount of tax. Jimmy Carr was probably a acting on advice of his financial team at least we got1% from him.The government should concentrate on those that are not paying tax . All that should not be in this country and contribute nothing to this country,of which there must be many.
Pauline Curl, Newhaven

Regarding Jimmy Carr, everyone seems to be confusing moral issues with legal issues. Jimmy did nothing illegal. How you feel about morality here is a personal opinion. Are we going to legislate against people who have affairs whilst married?? Many will feel that it is immoral to do so, but it is not illegal. The two issues should not be confused. Jimmy did what thousands of people do. He simply took advice.
Robin Taylor, Oxford

Re Jimmy Carr why did Mr Camerson not say that owner of M&S who evaded paying £252 million in tax was dishonest and immoral is it because they are friends ? Also were MP,s not immoral on stealing tax payers money for expenses?
Derry livingstone, Musselburgh scotland

I've just watched QT and once more hear public sector pensions being discussed, yet MP pensions appear to be sacrosanct....why is this?
Paul Harris, Southminster, Essex


I really enjoy the show. Re: Immigration
I have worked with many Asian men - wonderful people, hard working etc. But they always select a wife from abroad and have 3 or 4 kids. We are a small island - immigration levels are too high. We can't keep building houses, schools etc. We have to take action now - not when we have a population of 70 or 80 million.
Stephen Murphy, Folkestone, Kent

Disappointed with the biased piece last night regarding immigration and its benefits - I would suggest that Andrew Neal and the Porn MP spend a month living undercover in Tower Hamlets and then come back with some actual knowledge on the subject that has some substance and truth.
Christine Hughes, London

Bit discouraging to see that Andrew N. hasn't overcome the desire to stick knives in Gordon Brown! Wonder if he realises this is a Pavlov's dog, knee jerk reaction engendered by the Murdoch/Tory axis pre-election! Very similar to the personalised attack they did on John Major, but better, as 24 hr news was available...not to mention mikes in cars that don't switch off!! I think that trying to suggest Brown was a liar was a bit unjust, as his evidence on Murdoch was supported by Major!!! Therefore, Murdoch comes over as the "liar" imo!!! Hey, but let's not ruin a good vendetta!? You're not the only one brain washed, Andrew, as Ch. 4...Michael Crick et al...ignored evidence and went down the same line! Very sad to have monocular vision...I would also suggest that the Labour 2003? Act, (you keep quoting!....Tory blue showing, Andrew?), may well have been Blair's payment to Murdoch!?...further suggesting Rupert porkies!? Also, surely the briefings of MPs against each other has little to do with Leveson....? We know they're not nice people! GJH
GJ Holt, Durham England

Dear TW,shame my Sky+ could not pick up on sneaky schedule change tonight!14/06.Guess that's what i player is for.However,seeing as how our Jackie was on,maybe it did me a favour.Interactive tv anyone?
Chris Lightfoot, Manchester

Dear Andrew
Your show tonight was a gem and as always made me smile and laugh, keep it up, you are the best on TV.
However, I'm afraid that Panorama owes the people of Ukraine an apology. The programme has cast an unnecessary slur over that nation, cost it revenue and deprived some English supporters of going to an enjoyable event. No incidents, racist or otherwise have happened in Ukraine. Secondly, the leader of the opposition is in jail because she has stolen billions, yes, billions of dollars of public funds. That is why most peole in that country are happy that she is in jail. Why does the biased BBC never mention this. Thirdly, the country is not called "The Ukraine", that is an insult to Ukrainians as it infers that they are still part of the Soviet Union. Why can the BBC not understand that the country is called Ukraine. Fourthly, Ukrainians are not really part of Europe as they require a visa to visit inside the EU. Visas are very diffcult and expensive to get. It is therefore the rest Europe that is being racist to Ukraine by not allowing them within.
Peter Jones, London

Greece could become the China in Europe
Last year I visited the Cordoba area in south Spain I went to look at a factory that manufactures equipment,this area is known to be the furniture manufacturer centre of excellence or should I say it used to be. It seems that the majority of factories have closed why? Because employment costs went to high it is now cheaper to manufacture in Asia and even with the cost of importing the furniture into Europe it's still cheaper . You may wonder why there is 20% unemployment in Spain it is simple the core manufacturing plants that kept the Spainish economy going have gone to Asia. Greece will soon leave the Euro and go bankrupt after this happens it will start up it's own currency which will work out to be valued way below the Euro , Greece could then start manufacturing competitively they have the expertise they have the factories and the ace card they have the location they could get out of the horrible situation they are in quicker than a lot of people think.
David Hennessy, Rathnew Co Wicklow Ireland

Are they Rupee's Puppets
During the mid eighties I lived in east London , in this time I first experienced the big hand of Rupee, he managed to destroy great friendships and separate good families,the way the move to Wapping was carried out was wrong and disgusting no one else would have been allowed do what he did in the way he did it. After Wapping Rupee had found out that he was in control and that the so called people who were in charge were scared of him. This drove him on to become media giant of America, every so often I get really interested in fox news I will go through a phase of watching it every night, I enjoy Bill O'Reilly most of all ,he calls it the way he sees it and that's it. Lately when I go to watch fox news I listen to what they are saying and I think myself how brilliant and smart these broadcasters are, how they can think so fast and reply to answers so quickly but after a little while something else clicks into my mind,are these broadcasters puppets , their boss is good old Rupee and he is the person in control of what is said on fox news, the broadcasters are there because,they do what he tells them to do. According to what I see on tv he has been in control of who is in power in the UK for the last thirty years, the way it seems to be is, before you take on the job of Prime Minister you go and visit him,( is this to get your strings fitted?). The power and control that this one man has is too much, an international law should be passed where one person is only allowed control One tv channel or One radio channel.I guess an invitation to Santorini will be a non runner once this letter is published.
David Nobody Hennessy Wicklow CO Wicklow Ireland

I married my brazilian wife two years ago. I was only 22 and was living with my parents. Under the new restrictions I would not now be living with the love of my life. Why does the government think it is acceptable to punish genuinely hard working people who are not as fortunate as others. My wife is a bi-lingual graduate from a country with a booming economy. Why would we not want that typee of person in our country. With the constant stream of blunders by Gove also adding to my woes this government is encouraging me strongly to abandon ship.
Ben Jones, Flitwick, Bedfordshire

Often enjoy your show including the interplay between Diane Abbott and Michael Portillo but the sight of Jacqui Smith makes me reach for the 'off' switch. The smell of expenses sleaze and all the hypocrisy and denial that went with it, and still goes with it, is still too strong for me to be able to tolerate her in my sitting room. I have not yet joined those who want to end the BBC licence fee but shoving shameless people in my face like this moves me in that direction!
Derry Hannam, Southampton

I have watched This Week for a long time. I have seen a lot of talk about the Eurozone without any suggestion that the problem isn't Greece, Spain or Italy it is the German and French keeping the value of the Euro artificially high. If anyone should leave the Euro to make it a success it should be the Germans.
Kevin Underwood, Sandbach

Have been watching the Leveson enquiry today with some interest(should I get out more?)
Fascinated to hear marked difference of views between BBC(particularly Nick Robinson) and other commentators (Sky News in particular)as to performance of David Cameron.
I have to say that I'm inclined to the Sky view in that he performed with some confidence.
Could it just be that the "hatred" that the BBC clearly have towards anything Murdoch is clouding their judgement?As I understand the situation all Broadcasters must report with impartiality.Didn't see much of it from the BBC today!
b mallett, minehead somerset


I love this week and I know that you look at alot of interesting subject but my partner and I were wondering why the MPs and other ministers pay has not dramaticaly decreased aswell as their expense account been stopped. If we are all in this together and we all need to do our part why will they not take a pay cut or lose their expenses and then live of just there earning like everyone in the country has to. It just seems to most people that the MPs and ministers having both the high pay and expenses is of message? This is just an opinion, But no-one seems to ask them this question.
Sarah Collins, Buckhaven, Fife, Scotland

Alan Davis and Limpwrist Portillo! 25/005/2012
Who dresses them ?
Surely there are monitors, where they can correct their dress as they see fit !
Or, don't they really care ?
Michael Murphy, Aberdeen, Scotland

One of your guests was commenting on TUPE rules being a millstone for businesses. This is Employment protection for Employees at the lower end of the Pay Scale, it would have been nice for this guest to explain the workings of Rolling Contracts and how these are implemented mainly for management grades and the effect these have on Companies.
Douglas Ward
Douglas Ward, Penrith Cumbria

Whilst I love your programe & watch every week, I'm sorry, K Katona is too much. Switched off. Cheers.
John Leebody, Blackpool

Sir Martin Sorrell was not wholly correct with his comments on [UK]employment. Providing a company implements a clear, unambiguous disciplinary procedure which is communicated to, and understood by, all staff then dismissing unsuitable employees is relatively straightforward. The issue lies with sloppy management who do not adhere to the procedures, nor enforces them fairly and equitably. It is possible to make contractual changes under TUPE providing the 'new' business owner can demonstrate there are legitimate, commercial business reasons that dictate the proposed change. However, the essence of TUPE is to preserve employee rights whenever there is a transfer/takeover of business responsibilities and it's vitally important that employees are protected against unscrupulous employers at such times. Jobs will only be created by growth. Only when a company experiences increased demand for its products/services will it consider increasing its headcount. A genuine increase in demand will create jobs in all of the company's sectors: finance, production, marketing, supply chain, etc. Conversely, a lack of demand will result in a reduced workforce. Therefore, it can be expected in a dynamic market to see headcount decrease and increase according to demand. The idea of subsidising jobs, or artificially creating jobs is absolute nonsense and will never work. If there's no demand for the company's goods and/or services then it will not be able to sustain its workforce. Simples! The UK companies needs to increase and improve their production and supply chain facilities and attract more sales [demand]. Get your salesforce out selling and monitor their performance via incentive linked objectives, not comission payments. Less junkets and corporate entertaining and more hard graft on the patch will yield more customers, increase demand and excite growth.
Derek , Cheshire


I have noticed of late that Andrew Neill is advancing a personal view,to which he implies there is no alternative, that if the Coalition government were to relax its austerity programme then the bond market would turn the UK into another Greece. This idea of a bond market bogeyman punishing those who veer from the austerity agenda is incorrect. To give but a few examples from the many, Spain's opening of the austerity tap has produced only higher bond yields, the UK's extra borrowing of £155bn met with no adverse response from the bond market. I would suggest that the programme could take this issue as a topic for a more nuanced discussion (Spotlight).
Alan Myers, Comber

The programme on Thursday 17th seemed to concentrate on wine. It's a pity that Andrew Neil needs a little advice on how to pronounce liebfraumilch and montrachet correctly.
Please give him some help.
Or will it be too difficult for a Scot ?
Bob Milton, Pevensey Bay UK

Been away for last few, but why oh why have Abbott on the show? please don't let the level of debate fall to Question Time levels(it does with Abbott around).Also, I'm not bothered about strong cider, but I am bothered that my 91 year old Mother's 'hot toddie' each night will become unaffordable for her with an increase in per unit tax. It is usually bad law when we penalise the majority when seeking to tackle a small minority; Portillo put the issue but again'question time' Abbott didn't have a clue.
I will go to bed earlier if Abbott remains, she just lowers the level of any debate [ and you know this!]
Bernard Quinn, Wilmslow, Cheshire

Whilst I do enjoy watching This Week and most of its content, it is quite offensive and totally inappropriate that the product Blue Nun is given such prominence on the program. This is the BBC who are not supposed to advertise!! Do I get a refund on my license fee for this.
After the constant 'Bet Fred' farce of the World Snooker I do not see the BBC as advert free. Eurosport did not advertise as much as the BBC during the snooker so I chose to watch it with them.
Steve - Leicester
stephen findlay, leicester

I'm afraid Dianne Abbott unwittingly summed up the huge problem we have in saying, when Michael Portillo was trying to explain why we are not in the same situation as the Eurozone, MPs don't care about bond yields. To paraphrase, I think she was saying they only care about being re-elected, not pulling together, acknowledging what is good & dealing with what is not.
Ian Hale, Farnhham Common, Bucks

As Greece, abandoned by the northern power players, approaches the levels of a failed state, we can be confident that she will not be abandoned by the Russian and Balkan mafia, etc.
james, penrith, cumbria

I cannot watch this program while that racist woman diane abbott is allowed on the television. Disgusting!
Rob, Oldbury West Mids

Oh dear! The ghastly, hypocritical Abbott is back on again. She attacks 'posh' people and independent schools and then sends her child to one. She is always getting cornered and thinks that she can get out of it by simply smiling and laughing. She is dishonest and far too pleased with herself.
On principle I always turn the programme off when she is on.
Please bring back Johnson. He, at least, is honest.
James, Peterborough

Greece exports...I buy from sainsbury greek kalamata olive oil....olives.currants so wits the tosh about Greece doesn't exports Greek restaurants as well
John Procter, Poole

Im sorry Diane has shown her true views .she needs to get past her rasist issues before commenting on other situations, wow what a saleswomen!
Alan Sams, Sutton

Thank goodness Mickey is back from his train jaunt. The Tory bird last week was OK but lacked Mickey's intellectual clout.
David Skinner, Hornchurch, London....(not Essex)

Hey there :)
Great show, as usual.
And Diane is looking hot. As in - Wow, HOT!
Sorry, had a cold shower so I'll continue - this minimum alcohol price. What a load of dung!!
The laws are already in place -
Do not sell alcohol to under 18's.
Do not sell alcohol to anyone that is drunk.
Do not buy alcohol for someone that is drunk.
As licenced premises you have a duty of care to drunks and cannot just throw them out onto the street.
Enforce those laws first and then if there is still a problem it might be an idea do something more - but I need a lot of convincing if the thinking is just pricing out poor people is the solution.
I also worry about the idea of making alcohol too expensive for youngsters to buy with pocket money. I worry because the alternative substances they will buy are most likely much worse than legal alcohol..
Andrew Moss, Doncaster


no more mensch and no more other party hacks either please.
it is the rare combination of honesty and politics that is so refereshing about this week.
sadly but inevitably, political ambition and honesty cannot coexist.
therefore ambitious politicians should be kept well away. we can listen to their nonsense any time!
tim williams, west london

I know that some of the guests in the final segment can be a bit 'gimmicky' from time to time. At least Will Self has some intellectual 'bottom'.
But when Mr Portillo is away, we need someone of a higher caliber than Louise Mensch. No match for the experience or thoughts of Charles Kennedy or Alan Johnson.
PLEASE, IF ONE OF THE REGULARS IS AWAY, PLEASE GET SOMEONE APPROACHING THE CALIBER OF THE ABSENTEE. I am a mainstream Tory myself, and watching her undergraduate-like posturing and spouting was toe-curling. (Not quite as bad as watching Mrs Bercow, but bear enough).
David Sloan, Bratislava, Slovakia

Dear Andrew and the TW team
I enjoyed this week's show which was up to its usual high standard. I thought Agnes Poirier was excellent and I think Alan - 'AJ' - Johnson and Charles Kennedy are always good value. The only let down was Louise Mensch, who appeared to think she was fronting a Conservative Party election broadcast. One of the strengths of TW, in my view, is that you have a good track record of inviting guests on to the show who are capable of showing independent thought. Is there any chance of giving 'AJ' a permanent seat on the pundits' sofa?
M B Ryder, Cambridge

You Andrew Neil are clearly besotted, as you once were wearing a t-shirt and cap, with another rampant goer. But why inflict Mensch on us? With her reworked face and irritating whine she might still be attractive to a wizened old goat like you (the unreciprocated attraction is plain to see on screen), but the thought that this vain self-serving haridan is using you sexually to gain more publicity is sick-making.
allan donaldson, Duns

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Quoting Thomas's good to know Andrew hopefully has "Common Sense"? A rare resource in the ultimately doomed Hobson's choice between austerity and tax & spend/growth through more debt...the debt is too big for either. "The one aim of these financiers is world control by the creation of inextinguishable debt." (Henry Ford) Most erudite economists and politicians don't appear to understand the fundamental problem: over 97% of our money supply is created as debt with interest due on it. "97% owned - Positive Money's director's cut" gives another perspective. Solutions...Iceland's an example we should hear more about in the media; in a short video "Bill Still compares Iceland to Ireland" giving simple, achievable actions to resolve the crisis. It would mean standing up to powerful vested interests of the current banking system benefiting immensely from debt nations are burdened with, yet could start us on a road to real recovery where money is created debt-free by sovereign nations in the people's best interests. This debt-based banking system drives boom & bust and all the terrible sufferings that go with that including the propensity for wars. Heed the warnings of the film The International explaining "the essence of the banking industry".
Noor Khan, London

I love watching This Week, but last night Louise Mensch seemed to get an easy ride when she said that the Rochdale Asian child grooming men were somehow not breaking a certain unamed Islamic sect's rules but was not picked up on. How did she get away with this (twice, I think)? I am not a Muslim, far from it, but how MP Mensch was allowed to raise her uninformed, oversimplified, stance and it wasn't edited out was terrible and offensive. She just came across as a light-weight. It's like saying for example that a part of the Catholic church thinks child abuse is accepted in some encleves.
Dominic Higgins, Waterlooville

After watching the pervious show and the start of this one, when will polotitions stop arguing and look to the future of the nation? To get unemployment for the younger generations off the ground stop raising the age of retirement. Is it cheeper to raise the retirement age proventing jobs for the younger jeneration or putting the younger jeneration on the unemployed? from a dad who's daughter has been through College and now has one more entering (both with nill prosspects. I feel it's about time someone done the sums.
Jim Godwin, Hayling Island

An interesting observation on Parliament after the Queens speech. Blue and Red make Purple. So why is there so much purple on the opposition bench do they want to mix with the Conservatives?
Quinton Hill-Lines, London

Please don't have Louise Mensch on again. She's so stupid, she needs watering.
Sean, Glasgow

Please no more Mrs Mensch (Or Jackie Smith!) - clearly out of her depth with grown ups - if we wanted a Conservative Manifesto we could place one on the settee - invite her back in 20 years!
G PC, Huntingdon, Cambs

Love 'this week' & have watched it faithfully for years but please no more Louise Mensch. None of her comments come across as sincere. Diane, Muchael & the majority of guests always seem to give their honest opinion, irrelevant of party alliances. This is what makes the show so enjoyable while being informative.
Vicky, Glasgow


I think Andrew Neil was completely out of order when he agreed with Michael (and with the government) by saying "[...]if the government would do as Ed Balls wants and borrow even more, the bond markets would take them to the cleaners [...]". Whether or not bonds yields would go up if the UK did not pursue aggressive austerity and instead pushed for growth now and deficit reduction later is a highly politically contested question - not something you would expect to see a supposedly neutral BBC presenter take sides on in such a blatant manner. There are good reasons to believe bond yields are low because growth is low (and not expected to improve), which means there are no good investment prospects, which in turn means investors park their money in government bonds (in other words low bond yields are due to austerity policies). Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence from other countries that retain their own currencies (such as Japan and the US) that bond yields do necessarily not increase with borrowing - it depends on economic circumstances. I will be looking out for Andrew to make a clarifying statement in the next programme. If not I will lodge a complaint.
Steven, Epsom

The vast majority of people in this area find this media/politico circus on the Leverson enquiry to be just another way of force feeding more money into a bloated legal profession with its nose firmly buried in the public trough.We are finally getting cheesed of with the total setup.The peasants may finnally revolt
Zachary Salt, Cleckheaton,West Yorkshire

Michael Portillo was worried that there might have been a pre-election pact between Cameron and Murdoch to the effect that, in return for the support of the Sun, the tories would approve News Internationals takeover of BSkyB.This is not up nto Portillo's usual standard, as,if such a Faustian pact did exist, it beggars belief that Cameron appointed Cable to be the minister who would be responsible for adjudicating on the bid.
Richard Martin, Epsom

Reality check, re shopping and knowing the prices of basics, Sainsburys sell milk in plastic containers by the pint and not the shows it in litres but the packaging is 1 or 2 pints etc. Perhaps DC really can and does shop.
Pip Maughan, Southampton

Why do you persist with the excruciating third slots -- these apparently pop personalities are generally unknown to the 'This Week' audience, and 'This Week' is unknown to their potential audience. It's just an embarrassing waste of time for all concerned.
Andrew's patronising attitude to women is already about as much as I can take -- and I'm a bloke.
Pass the BN
Den O'Dair, Brighton
THIS WEEK REPLIES: That slot is the shortest but often gets the most reaction - good and bad - and often that guest is the most famous of the evening.

Andrew's guest last week, Harry Shearer, listed all the Republican candidates, including those who had dropped out, except one: Ron Paul, who at the time was still in the race. This exclusion seems to me to be a misrepresentation of the facts and a form of censorship. Dr Ron Paul is a courageous politician, who is untouched by the influences of big money and in fact threatens corrupt established interests. This Week is one of my favourite programs but this has really dented the highest regard I used to have for the objectivity of the BBC. Is the BBC now under the influence of the same corrupt powers that Dr Paul fights against? Who's pulling your puppet strings, Andrew?
Chris Stannard, London

The question i would ask whow within the BBC is responsable for DUMING DOWN the rest of the Folks standing for the Lord Mayor of LONDON.
M PORTILLO 26-04-2012 stated last night on This Week about the very same subject.
It is a disgrace and who ever in the BBC allowed this to happen should be called over the Coles. My vote will now go to one of the of the other cadidants that has not had exposure.
Wwe supposed to live in a democracy the BBC Conduct is very UNDEMOCRATIC @very BIASIt.
M PORTILLO has gone up in my estimation for raising this applaling approach to this London Lord Mayor Election.
Butler A H., Hendon London nw4

One of the strengths of your programme is offering a different perspective on the week's events. Unfortunately, Andrew Roberts' contribution was nonsense. It is just ridiculous to argue that newspaper proprietors have no axe to grind and are the fearless champions of the people. His case was so weak that I think it amounted to an insult to the viewers. A struggling 'A' Level student could make a better argument than his. Please add him to your "Not to be invited back" list.
Paul Johnson, Sheffield

I could hardly believe the rubbish spouted by the historian. He seemed unable to see the bigger picture or look at the whole issue of press influence on politicians in any depth or from different angles. I looked him up on Google, his publisher is Harper Collins, which I think is owned by Murdoch and he is in charge of Margaret Thatcher's archive, among other things. Even though his arguments were so simplistic and uninformed, Gisela Stewart still didn't have any arguments against what he said -true to form. What is the point of having her on?
Ann, London

Has anybody else complained about what I consider to be the very annoying background graphics to your programme. I find myself waiting for days of the week to enter or exit the participants ears rather than concentrating on the substance of what is being said. Let's have a plain non-moving background. Please. Cut out the "monday" "tuesday" etc
David Elsom, Rainham Essex

Tonight, in discussing talent amonst the 2010 intake of MPs, Andrew Neil left out the LibDems. The MP for Wells, Tessa Munt is PPS for Vince Cable. Maybe the fact that she had a long and varied career before entering Parliament makes her a better than average MP!
Rosemary Hasler, Wedmore

We are used to interesting insights and humorous perspectives from the guests. Andrew Roberts did not cut the mustard. His piece was just bad bad bad bad superficial propaganda.
Allan Cameron, Sheffield

Supermarket milk comes in 1 pint (568ml)plastic containers at 49p.So perhaps the PM did know what he was talking about.
Alan Thomas, Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

Just watched "Call me Dave's" mate Andrew Roberts give an exquisitely well timed defence of St Rupert of Melbourne's influence or not as he would have us believe on politics in the UK. Strange in light of the Jeremy Hunt issue and the potential fallout for his pal Dave. I thought Andrew Neil gave him a bit of an easy time actually. Roberts like Cameron, Osbourne et al are intensely relaxed about all this alleged influence over politicians because they never lose anyway. They are unlikely to ever be on the sharp end of Rupert's world view so who gives a toss. The same old boys will still be running the show and using/being used by the likes of Murdoch. Mr Roberts fails to acknowledge that the overwhelming view of the printed media is wholly biassed towards the interests of it's owners but then again that falls in line with the type of world Mr Roberts and the rest of his despicable Notting Hill crowd would like to see. In a world with this kind of media landscape democracy is indeed like Noam Chomsky once said "... like watching a sheep and a wolf discussing what they are going to have for dinner." Mind you Dave and chums must be a bit worried to wheel Robets out in their defence. No doubt we'll be seeing Roberts knighted before long. Stirling work old boy!
Nick Rhodes, Nottingham

Your feature of Andrew Roberts' representation of his version of 'The Ladybird Guide' to British Media & Government relations and politics would be better shown in the morning, about 07:30, with Puppets!
Pete, London

This Andrew bloke who is in love with Murdoch has obviously got his head stuck up his backside.
jan majcherczyk, Rugby Warwicks

Hi Andrew, yours is such a fantastic show, when finished I always wish it went on for another half hour. Although I bet you don't as is time for bed...
Thought I may pass on something to you that you may use in your scripts I find so hysterical :-) You could phrase it so it works for you... "Perhaps Jeremy Hunt should change his first name from Jeremy to Isaac!!! :0 But do be careful how you say it on air with his last name!!!
Keep it up - 'tis fabulous xx
Andy Burke, Bournemouth, UK

I was very interested to hear the panel talk briefly about all the exciting talent amongst the new batch of MPs. Sadly I couldn't disagree more. I have an interest in politics as any responsible citizen should but over the years my interest has begun to wane and my political interaction too. Why? Because there are so many MPs now who are simply in it for themselves, for progression up the ranks. They show little inclination to fight for their constituents or answer truthfully the simplest question. Instead all I see is a wave of young, too young, politicians with limited life or business experience either playing to the crowd with simplistic sabre rattling, being deliberately naive with regard to opposition policy and worse of all towing the party line at all costs, whilst refusing to answer questions. As someone who just barely supports the Conservatives I have had huge respect in the past for political figures from all areas of influence, even if I passionately disagreed with them. Names like Tony Benn, Arthur Scargill and Norman Tebbit spring immediately to mind, to name some of the extremes. Lately, whenever I see the news, I see a twenty something person saying very little of any relevance to me. In my opinion this is directly linked to low turnouts at the voting booth. As a result much policy is now driven and championed by hard core lobbyists whose views rarely represent anyones but their own. This is because the average moderate like me feels completely dis-enfranchised and unengaged. Very few MPs are willing to genuinely talk about issues that concern voters, recognize voter's points of view and are certainly unwilling to tell a harsh truth every now and again. And therein lies the biggest problem with the Conservatives right now. It is not bad policies, it's their complete cowardice when it comes to selling them. After the recent budget every single government representative I saw tried to argue that black was white when it was clearly black. Why not just stand up and say 'Look, it isn't popular but this is what we believe.' And the opposition just threw tomatoes and played to the gallery with scaremongering hyperbole. Honestly, I've had about enough. It genuinely feels to me that the vast majority of MPs now are simply there to play the game, climb the ladder and get advancement at any cost. They are a bunch of empty suits. I'd happily throw my vote in with anyone that got into politics to represent people again and dared to have the convictions of their beliefs, backed up by some measure of life experience. Talent? I'd prefer guts, honesty and a passion to drive change based on their beliefs rather than their own personal ambition.
Marten Allen, Newcastle


Nobody seems to be making the point that May was most likely placed in an impossible position. If there was any ambiguity at all over the dates, then she had to act. Otherwise, if an appeal had been lodged, the headlines would have been calling for her head for not arresting Qatada when she had at least a fighting chance of success. Against that, it is being said that she alerted his defence team by issuing the warrant; I think this unlikely - surely they were always going to attempt an appeal as late as possible (they must have known this appeal was available to them). She had two chances of beating the appeal; slim & none. I don't see what else she could have done.
a c young, radwinter essex

You are getting totally negative and pasties, which have no political value, get prime time. You are leaging the media in the effort to destroy representative democracy.
Ian Knight, Market Bosworth

I have a lot of respect for Judge Constance Briscoe and what she has achieved, but what she was saying tonight showed tremendous sloppiness. As a sitting judge and practising barrister, I would have expected her (and all your guests) to have checked the facts on the whole dates fiasco. The ruling was given in calendar months, and as both EU and UK courts for that matter, clearly state (Telegraph published relevant articles), the deadline would then be 23:59:59 (for simplification) on 17 April for the appeal. The extradition could not begin until 00:00:00 on 18 April. Simple. And if there were any doubt--there were warnings coming from Strasbourg on Monday--pick up the phone and clarify it with the EU court. When UK judges issue calendar month procedural deadlines, they are measured the same way, although they usually state the date to avoid confusion. Indeed, if it had been a days-based ruling (only way a leap could come into play), Theresa May would have been right, not wrong, so the leap year explanation makes no sense under any circumstance. Not that any of that precludes any Court (EU or UK) from approving an extension from any party in a dispute, if they feel there is merit.
K Edwards, London

This Week...dumbing down?...eveything's relative. In comparison to nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman illustrating complete misunderstanding of realities of banking in taking issue with Steve Keen's work, This Week is positively enlightening. Krugman actually said: "Now, I'm all for including the banking sector in stories where it's relevant; but why is it so crucial to a story about debt and leverage?" Stunning! In this country the 1844 Bank Charter Act has effectively been sidestepped by electronic banking. Banks now create money from nothing...people used to call that counterfeiting. In comparison to a twelve year old girl examining the 'corrupt Canadian banking system', most definitely. Ron Paul's name was yet again conspicuous by its absence in your discussion on US presidential candidates...this man is the most ideologically consistent, prescient, honest politician who's winning huge support yet with the '2012 election rigged' being robbed by blatant electoral fraud and a complicit media. Dr Paul is a real hope for bringing more peace to the world and addressing fundamental criminality of the monetary system, but established vested interests make too much money to allow him to be president. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas; their goose would be cooked.
Noor Khan, London

Constance Briscoe tells it how it is, don't leave it too long next time!
Andy Bridley, Coventry.

Excellent: Constance Briscoe, who also showed us last time she was on TW how rediculous Ms Abbott was.
Excellent: Harry Shearer, who brightened up the usually dim Spotlight, to show us how rediculous the US elections and many are.
P.S. TW's Coalition always works.
Paul Sanderson, Sheffield

constance brisco tlaks nonsense, im not an abu katada fan far from it. The rule of law should be followed, the government has handeled it badly. I have no sympathy for Theresa May who stops and arrests any muslim scholar/imam from abroad and returns them to their country that she has been told to do by the zionist lobbies.
salim, blackburn

does the E U consult us on people they want to deport so why should we do the same get out of the eu its a waste of time fed up with e u rules
edward shields, scotland

why dont you have normal people on your show instead of having snobs on your show the bbc is as bad as bbc cant wait to split from england and go independent and let the english get what we got in the nineteen eightys with the tories good luck england when we go independent
edward shields, scotland

I am a Tory who has been canvassing for the Party for the local elections. I have knocked on 100s of doors and NOT ONE person has mentioned pasty, granny,caravan or charity taxes. Mycolleagues report similar responses. I think the media(the BBC included)have exagerated the public disquiet about these issues. Dont forget24MILLION people have received a tax cut!! You and the rest of the media seem to have forgotten this or perhaps for different reasons dont wish to give any credit to the coalition.i enyoy the show and like Mr Portillo i like trains!!!!
Bob barnard, Walsall


next time you have a discussion on education would you please explain why you insist on using lower case letters for days of the week on your backdrop. While I am aware that you are past the 9o'clock watershed this is no excuse for incorrect use of capital letters. ALL days of the week are spelt with capital letters. Please stop this lazy trend.
Sue Murray, West Kirby Wirral

hi you all at this week, your programe is great.
the scottish goverment wont give anyone planning permistion to build a house, they take your money knowing that you will be refused!.is there any need for councilers anymore?.
also id like to add, i think independance is a big wast of money & it will never happen!. why?. because there arent any scottish people left!.
im just going to sitt back relax & watch the economy colapse! with a few bottles of the blue nun!. we have loads of money to spend up hear to spend on self builds e,t,c. but the goverment wont give us planning permistion so we cant support the economy. im very confused!.
david robertson, peterhead, aberdeenshire

this show is becoming more childish by the week Andrew is not cut out to be a comedian most of his trying to be funny remarks make him sound and look really foolish and the constant use of reporters acting the fool attempting to put across serious points is for a lot of people a complete turn off. Why have singers and other so called celebrities on the show when they generally have nothing to say which is worth listening to.Michael Portillo speaks a lot of sense as do most of the other regulars the exception being Dianne Abbott so give them more air time.My husband and I always watch the show which used to be good and interesting but now has become so infantile that we end up switching off in disgust.
eleanor mc.alpine, patna ayr scotland

This Week spend so much time on pasties and none on patsies, such as Mohamed Merah, the alleged Toulouse shooter, looks to have been. Merah, according to former head of France's DST intelligence services, Yves Bonnet, was a French informant. Examine the evidence presented by Joe Quinn et al at and I challenge everyone and anyone, after having thoroughly studied all the events of this sorry episode, to present a comprehensive, verifiable case supporting the official versions of events (there are so many of them contradicting each other making this serious issue a farce of reporting/storytelling). Remember an alleged admission of guilt in and of itself is no proof of guilt. Proof comes from facts, of which, in this case, many presented in the mainstream, are spurious.
Noor Khan, London

Love the show. Alan please treat yourself to a new bigger shirt for your next appearance!!! You and Michael make the show, with Andrew, of course.long may you work together.
Rita Isaacs, Cardiff

Dropped in to watch having ignored the programme for several weeks. Lasted 10 minutes or so, then the dreaded mention of Blue Nun, and so changed channel. I will not watch this blatant advertising on a publicly funded channel.
Les Hay, Livingston

Hello Andrew. In view of your plate of pasties and your piece on Osborne in tonight's show (29/30); I have re-worked an old nursery rhyme and it goes like this, "Georgie Porgy puddin' and pasty, screwed the electorate and turned them nasty, when the votes began to decay, Georgie Porgy ran away". Keeps it topical? Feel free to quote it but do give me credit for writing it. David E. Robinson, Banbury, Oxfordshire.
David Robinson, BANBURY

This evening you discussed character building among the poor and deprived and I was surprised that no one mentioned character building among the bankers and hedge fund managers who in fact have created more damage than any street rioters. Is it possible you could raise this on This Week and discuss how to improve the morals and character of the wealthy elite. Best wishes,
Edward, Stourbridge, West Midlands

I was disappointed with the views expressed by Camila Batmanghelidjh in response to the young people involved in the riots. It is always easy to blame politicians but young people and their parents must take responsibility for their actions. The more we defend their behaviour by laying the blame elsewhere the situation will never improve. We are a small organisation supporting young people and parents and our message is clear and concise, all of us have free will and can make choices and the quality of our lives are affected by the choices we make. To suggest that because social services have not helped somebody it affects a childs future behaviour is ridiculous. We advocate that it is essential to help ourselves and not rely on others, this of course requires a work ethic.
Gary Brown MBE, Spilsby Lincolnshire

Camila does need to acknowledge that the breakdown of the family structure is of most concern when talking about children's welfare. A concentration on promoting family life and marriage (man and woman) by government is the best way forward. All the talk of social care structures may be important but as mr portillo says the problem is big now so it is important to focus on the right strategy.
Chris saunders, Hereford

Is it possible that the revenue generated from increased fuel sales this week might have the effect of keeping the uk out of recession? Is this not the real story ?
john mcgee, sittingbourne/kent

The Lady,s words are true. But Mr Portillo Knows the struggles of our government policies are always an up hill struggle to overcome. I hope people will not give up hope and a harmonious solution can be bought to the table quick as there is always a calm before another storm . I,ve never heard The phrase soo much"OMG what,s this world coming to!" and it,s not because of the children ,it,s everything bubbling in the pot effecting everyone in my community. We used to look to government for security now none of us care any more. My security is in GOD
Joy, Birmingham

State party funding cannot work because after the taxpayer has donated a few million per party, what is to stop the next Peter Cruddas seeking further funding and seeking an advantage.
Pete, Slough

I find it incredible that when taking about the rioting and how people in London felt they failed to even mention the Mark Duggen case. Rioting never happened in the 1930's during that depression as was pointed out but then again at that time I'm sure there weren't so many high profile cases of police killing members of the public. We can lie to ourselves forever and watch these terrifying events happen every decade or we can address these real issues of discontent. Forget about officials being nice to the under privileged they have to stop thinking they have have the right to kill them first.
Natasha , London

I'm sorry but Camilla's arguments tonight beggar belief. Both my sister and I suffered from an alcoholic and abusive mother, but neither of us has felt the need to set fire to any building or be part of a riot. It is people like her that allow that kind of behaviour, you have been abused so you can do what you like. If I can manage to control myself, why can't they? They are being self indulgent and selfish, and she is just pandering to them, it is political correctness gone mad. I wonder if she has actually ever suffered from abuse herself, or is this just theory for her.
Tania Turner, Caterham, Surrey

How can labour criticise the Tories for the 45p tax rate when for 13 years they had it they had it at 40p !!!!!! Its unbelievable !
Steve Huish, Surbiton

I am a fan of This Week but it is about time Andrew Neil gave up on his increasingly poor attempts at humourous introductions to the programme. It his reached the stage where sometimes he can barely be understood. He is a hard-hitting presenter/journalist; cheap and corny gags do not become him.
David Collyer, Croscombe Somerset

That is/was not a pasty. Incorrect crimping - shame on your research
Tig, Sheffield

Fuel Crisis. It is my opinion that the governments comments were a deliberate ploy to cause panic buying and blame the potential strikers as George Osborne has already done.
Peter Burton, Luton, Beds

This week Government reaction to a possible fuel dispute saw Minister Francis Maude advise us that to keep "a bit of extra fuel in a jerry can in the garage is a sensible precaution to take". Whilst Downing Street advised us to "draw our own conclusions". I conclude that the Government has offered dangerous advice and raised levels of anxiety for no good reason. They have ramped up the rhetoric rather than looked for solutions. The dispute is about - safety!!! I conclude that Francis "don't panic" Maude is not someone who is fit to be a Government Minster.
Tony Carroll, Coventry

I look forward to the show this evening but truat that the pronouncation of the word 'pasties'(the subject of which will no doubt be mentioned) is made with a long 'a' and not with a short'a' as those who do so north of the Watford Gap - and the Conservative Party ! It is enough to make the population of Cornwall (and Devon) decide to become independent under the black and white banner of St Piran and perhaps wake up the ignorant BBC and the Government! I have already complained to the former! Shall need larger and stronger bottles than Blue Nun!
Patricia David, London


I love programme and manage to stay awake even though I am 83!!! This is a cry for help I have watched most of the political programmes and become more furious when David Cameron and Vince Cable to mention only 2 say that the State Pension has increaed by £5.20 THIS IS NOT TRUE if you have been receiving Pension Credit, in my case it was £6 a week, this has now been halved so the rise in the State Pension becomes £2.50 - really wonderful!! Will not even buy a bottle of Pinot Grigio (don't like Blue Nun) Seriously I would like someone to draw attention to this matter a Minister should do his homework before he opens his mouth. Do they ever ??? Keep the humour coming we all need a laugh!
Joan Murray, Southampton

Enjoyed seeing Owen Jones on TW. Interestingly he mentioned A4E - but didn't mention one Jonty Ollif-Cooper, who seems to be immune from discussion, even though he makes the welfare to work comapny untouchable by virture of his attachment to DC and the Tory party. Noticeably Hannah Barnes never mentioned J-OC on her programme 'The Report' tonight. Am I being paranoid - all three of these people were at Oxford at the same time! OOhhh I have an itchy back......
Gordon Nigel McIntosh, Islington London

Andrew maybe underestimates how many blindly believe anything propagated by the mainstream media no matter how ridiculous, as responses to his faux resignation illustrate, but more are awakening to realities. Things aren't always as they first appear and as intimated in my last comment, if people really want to understand the truth, they should study documented history such as GLADIO and the horror of false flag events. "...such horrifying details about how these children were murdered in cold blood..." Michael Portillo said in his moment of the week, of the French school murders, but This Week will not dare look into the details of this whole case. Joe Quinn has laid out much of it in detail at and how this attack in Toulouse could be used for political ends. Does nobody ask cui bono and not even raise an eyebrow when a headline states 'Sarkozy opens poll lead after France shootings'? Once again, I must doubt that This Week will look into these events without fear or favour. Cicero's speech over 2,000 years ago warned "A nation can survive its fools, even the ambitious, but it cannot survive treason from within...the traitor is the plague."
Noor Khan, London

Dear Andrew Neil
Please see if this argument makes sense. Osborne recently promised in the Budget that the UK would not go back into technical recession. This statement was not qualified in any way. So his reputation is on the line. Technical recession is economic shrinkage in two successive quarters. In Oct-Dec there was 0.3% shrinkage (just revised from -0.2%). So shrinkage in this quarter would mean egg on face, or worse. These are now the last few days of the quarter. The govt is urging motorists to buy their fuel in advance, ostensibly because of the possibility that the tanker drivers may go on strike. So all those fuel purchases would be moved backwards from April to the end of March, ie into the first quarter of 2012, boosting the figures for this quarter. How close are we to economic shrinkage in the first quarter of the year, ie for the second successive quarter? How desperate is the govt getting about its recent promise, failure on which would reopen the debate about the Budget and the economy? How much difference could panic-induced advance buying of road fuels make to the first-quarter figure? I notice that the OECD has just forecast economic shrinkage in the first quarter of 2012 for the UK!
Dave Bradney, Aberystwyth

Owen Jones is glib and talks rubbish. Is he part of the BBC's pink agenda? I'm gald Andrew managed to put him in his place,even though we didn't remove the smug grin. I think the disinformation about the age-related tax allowance has been disgraceful. Osborne has to be blamed for trying to hide it, when there is a clear economic argument for the measures he has taken. I enjoy a free bus pass, a tax-free heating allowance and I see no reason why my personal tax allowance should be any greater than that of someone working their socks off full time. Most pensioners don't pay tax so won't be affected. Will Labour reverse this measure - I think not! Typical labour opportunism totally without principle!
david kidd, bury st edmunds, suffolk

Who is this pipsqueak Owen Jones? He sounds like some angry blogging moron who hasn't got the full grasp of the REAL facts just repeats what everyone else in his little clique of brainless wonders read in the Grauniad! I'm glad he was given such a rough time and challenged by Andrew on the alleged "facts" he spewed out. Why oh why do you keep having idiots like this on the programme? There are plenty of good thinkers out there without having to resort to some juvenile nincompoop!
Alex Fallmuth, London

I retire 2014, My husband retires September. We are amazed at the coverage of the Granny Tax.I will get the State Pension only at the age of 62.My husband will get a works pension.No pensioner receiving the allowance already,no pensioner too poor or too rich looses anything but they will gain £5 a week extra. It is the likes of my husband and I who are affected and we are more than content to pay the same tax as our hard working daughter and her husband, why should we be treated differently? We will automatically be better of by £200 as we will no longer need to purchase N.H.S. Pre Payment Prescriptions and get other benefits others do not get.It is the younger generation we feel sorry for. The raising of the threshold plus the £5 a week extra payment is makes this arguement one of selfishness.I do not care about the 45p tax either.I want a government of any clour red, blue or yellow that does not take the easy route of being popular at the expense of fiscal smartness. That type of politics has caused our problems and I think the voter will see it as a weakness.
dawn jennings, Stoke Golding Warks

I could not believe my ears when I heard Andrew Neil, of all people,and for second time, talking about being "convinced to " - a once laughed and totally wrong at Americanism. He is after all a product of Paisley Grammar School and Glasgow University If he can't set a good example who can! By the way, I heard Jeremy Paxton commit the same howler in his "Empire" presentation.
Roy Grant, NW2 London

Michael said in last nights programme that no pensioner will be worse off following the budget. However, new pensioners from April 2013 will be. I am one of those. I will receive £1300 less allowance on an envisaged income of just over £13000, which equates to me paying six and a half pence in the pound extra tax. Yet those earning over twelve times this figure will be five pence in the pound better off! The Chancellor says pensioners will be getting a minimum £140 shortly, however, with the contributions made during my working life I would be getting this figure anyway. He then talks about this years increase in pension being the largest ever. This is however due to the high level of inflation in 2011, not his largess! This high level of inflation has also eaten away at the savings, made during my working life, for several years, as the levels of interest on offer have been far below the inflation rate. Can Michael please explain how I am therefore better off than the day before the budget? Can he also explain that whilst Chancellors have advisers and discuss their proposals with the Cabinet so many make a complete dogs dinner of it. The Chancellor has already has already had to back track on Child Allowances and unless he backtracks again he will lose a substantial amount of votes at the next election. Whilst the freezing of pensioner's allowance may have some merit, to introduce it on the basis of making tax matters more simple, then introducing a two tier level of tax allowance for pensioners defies belief. Just how simple does he consider the ordinary man in the street to be?
Alan Birchall, Aldridge

I do not know where Mr Neill got his stats from on the 50% tax rate issue. Using data from the Indland Revenue/HMRC Surveys of Personal Income he might like to ponder the following statistics regarding the the top 1% - In 2009/10 they accounted for 14% of taxable income, with an average tax rate of 34% which accounted for 26% of the total income tax take. In 1959 the corresponding ratios were 8.5%, 45% and 34% ( more than 26%). In 2009/10 income tax payers paid on average 18% in income tax and in 1959 only 8%.The corresponding lower percentile points for the top 1% were were £150000 and £3000pa. Owen Jones was correct - in the Golden Age of 1950 to 1973 most of us paid less tax proportionately and the rich were less greedy - the economy grew faster, unemployment was lower as was inflation and regional inequalities were diminishing radidly (another story). We should be looking at what we can learn from that period.
Dr Tom Stark, Portstewart N Ireland

I have just written the following to a forum where somebody else had the same criticism as me about last night's "This Week". I don't suppose you care in the slightest what reasonable people think, only what rabid left wingers or other hard-opinionated people say, as you are the BBC which is institutionally left wing and think that is neutral, but for what it is worth: I am getting sick of This Week, the daily politics, etc. They seem to have adopted a policy of free film crew and air time to any media or other airhead, often abysmally ignorant or very left wing (never right wing, of course) instead of an objective and/or carefully researched piece of analysis of an issue. I turned it off when the young blond bloke (was that Owen?) could not tell the difference between income and assets, or liability to IT and CGT.
C J Nicholas, Haverhill

I think most of your guests talk about pensioners as if they are all illiterate .For someone to comment that pensioners should pay there share and that pensioner have not done to bad out of the budget .Is insulting how many on your program do or will have to live on £7008 pension one of the lowest pensions in Europe
Don Stephens, Aughton Ormskirk Lancashire

I had to laugh at the way Michael Portillo got so arsy about being interupted, he is so rude and constantly interupts other people. Has he ever heard himself on The Moral Maze on radio 4, interupting guests and talking over them? Pot and kettle.
Ann Battle, London

As a regular viewer over the last 20+ years and now in my late late 40's i was intrigued, then captivated by what i assumed was the voice of the youth when owen jones (i had to check the bbc website to find out who he was) performed his opening gambit. Knowledgeable interesting and entertaining! as the young would say please sir can i have some more! To see him then interviewed with arrogance, constant interruption and unskilled attempts to force him into political embarrasment (all of which failed), shocks me! We have someone young, intelligent and humourous here (and ive only seen 5 mins of him),so get Andrew Neil to 'ease up or wise up'. What i mean by that is, treat him as entertaining then let him join in with the joke and stop being a smug bully, treat him as a political voice of a young generation, then give him time to answer your questions. stop the badger baiting of the new voices on the block. you cant make a star unless you let it burn.
david buckley
david buckley, doncaster

can andrew raise the question of the shetlands secceeding from scotland and claiming north sea oil rights. the shetlanders themselves claim to be half viking. they collect and ship most of the oil so have a much better claim than scotland to oil rights.
gareth screen, tredegar
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Andrew did cover this on Tuesday's Daily Politics.

So, Andrew Neil claims to have just thought of the term 'Netiquette'! That's odd, given that Virgina Shea published a modern-day classic book titled "Netiquette" back in 1994 ( ). Only 18 years late there Andrew!
KE, London

Can we get this tax thing into some sort of perspective. The increase in allowance is worth what £300 per year for us lesser mortals but a 5p reduction for one person earning 150k is worth around £7000!!!!!!!
Eric Chatterton, Leeds

Not all taxpayers will be better off with the increase in tax allowances because the vast numbers of low earners on tax credits will lose far more because the tax credits have been reduced by very large amounts. Isn't it time that you had ordinary people appearing on the programme to give a real insight into what it is like in this country at the moment
David Edwards, Dronfield

Watched it since it started way back. Now no longer interested and will not watch again. Bored with Neil and his arrogance. His sneering attitude towards for example the Prime Minister (Call me Dave) and the Chancellor (Boy George) is disrespectful and uncalled for. His guests are generally past failures whose opinions are not worth listening to. Incidently Neil is over exposed on the BBC and personally he turns me right off. Put him out to grass.
regards John Sharpe.
John Sharpe, Whitehaven

Dear Andrew,
Do you remember when I suggested to you at the ST that you should send young squibling Caitlin Moran down to the House of Commons for some irreverent synopsis. No. No.No. I didn;t think you did.
Well now I'm going to give you some more useless advice. Get Sally Bercow on TW or DP for her own viewpoint of events. For we should all like to know. And to gloat over her well formed architecture.
Vernon Moat, Exeter uk
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Sally Bercow has been on This Week twice.

Has RR done away with seat belts?Certainly none were evident for either driver or passenger in to-night's clip.I should take the car back to the dealer and demand a free flagon of Blue Nun while you wait for them to be fitted
Brian Hough, Sheffield

Why were Scottish MPs allowed to vote on the English NHS bill. Did their vote make a difference to the outcome
Ian Gibson, Chorley

Why are you not talking about the granny tax. My 80 year old mother cried.
This will destroy the Tories. How could he do it.
John latty, London
THIS WERK REPLIES: The tax fallout from the Budget (and talk of the Granny Tax) dominated the programme!

who is this silly sod owen?
Shouldn't he be at home in bed before he goes to school tomorrow?
brin mallett, minehead somerset

Owen Jones wasn't wearing a seatbelt whilst the car was moving during his video
Andrew Perez, London

We have just pressed the ""OFF"" button on the TV. We are not going to polute our minds with that socialist drivel.
Jack, Aberdeen

I will not watch the program with that despicable person Alistair Campbell on it. Why the BBC continues to give this totally discredited liar airtime is beyond me and many decent people.
Steve Smith, Middlesbrough

I think it's time we should Privatize the Government. A debate would be great on this subject. I can see the politicians cringing.
Keith Scrimshaw, Stoke on Trent

Glad i occasionally see people on television admitting the received wisdom isn't always the reality...Andrew's mea culpa piece at the start of This Week last week was refreshing...many a true word...
All the events surrounding Mohamed Merah, the suspected al qaeda jihadist gunman, some might see as a failure of the French intelligence services, having the suspect on their radar for years and still these atrocities are committed. Maybe we should try to understand the deep politics of what they are dealing with and by its very nature the public will not hear a lot of what they undertake. It's unbelievable what the secret services can achieve and there must be a great deal of work behind the scenes that we don't hear about by those who might uphold a motto such as 'In silence I preserve freedom.' Let's just hope the white hats can keep the bad guys in check.
It is of interest to note it has been reported that 'Sarkozy opens poll lead after France shootings.' It's sad that the media make the correlation, but worse that it might be true.
Noor Khan, London

After serving 22 years in HMF thinking i would get a pension that would help in my old age i now find that through the CONSLIB AGE stealth TAX IT HAS NOW BEEN REDUCED. And as cons voter i swear i will not vote for them again

A.Neil please address. Still no one is addressing in this conglomerate Britain the fact that the Budget exists for shorter working hours with better pay, a better quality of life and jobs for all. Any government with a modicum of intelligence

should be able to present itself without the contual bashing and victimisation of its people.

How this government lacks proper structure and real soul!
Jan Pomeroy, Ealing W5.

George Osborne claimed today that he does not pay the 50p rate of tax, and would not be benefiting from the cut. There are 3 possibilities to my mind;
i) He is lying and does pay it
ii) He is taking active steps to avoid paying tax, and thus avoid the 50p rate
iii) He is a bit hapless with money if he cannot make £15k (the total needed on top of his ministerial salary to reach 150k), with a 2 million pound house in Notting Hill to rent out, plus a 15% share in a multi-million pound company. If he can't make £15k p/a from those assets, perhaps he should avoid jobs where he has to work with money....Oh dear. Maybe this is why we have a growth crisis?
Claire, Bristol

I am getting sick to the back teeth of hearing Owen Jones speaking on virtually every show on the BBC! I listen to radio 2 radio 4 and enjoy this week, as far as I can see his book came out 6 months ago and he has been given opportunities to promote it nearly every week since! Is he related to someone high up at the organisation? It is the only explanation I can think of for him getting such unremitting exposure.
Great show by the way, sadly one of my highlights of the week.
James Naughton , Bolton

As a pensioner who has always worked and saved I now watch my savings dwindling with the very low interest rates. We are accused of being the generation that caused financial problems, but we never thought we were owed a living by the state, we saved for our homes and its contents and our retirement, in the hope that we when we did retire we would be able to do many of things we couldn't afford the time or the money for when we younger. I lived through the three day week, trying to run a business, and the cuts that came by following successive Governments. Yes the 1960's were good and most of us didn't need Harold Macmillan to tell us we had never had it so good. I can't afford holidays, go the theatre, struggle to keep my home in good repair and my car on the road as I live in a rural area. I have never been in debt or purchased on credit, except for the mortgage on my home. I do not have a private pension. The majority of MP's or broadcasters cannot understand what it is like to live on a state pension while watching your savings disappear. This week's budget has done nothing for the likes of myself as reported by the representative from SAGA on BBC on Wednesday. It's our savings that banks and Government use for investment in businesses and house purchase. I do hope this budget will be remembered for what it has done to those who are already pensioners and future pensioners. I was disappointed in Michael Portillo's remarks about the pensions.
Bridget Fowkes, New Romney, Kent.


If, as he stated on last night's programme, Mr Neil is leaving that show, may I thank him for making it such an unmissable one? Although I have to ask my machine to record it as it is too late - and I have given up Blue Nun for Lent- it was a programme which started my Fridays. I wish him every success with his new Sunday slot and, of course, the Daily Politics "must". A sincere and humble "Thank you"
Patricia Dunworth.
THISWEEK REPLIES: You may well be seeing Andrew next Thursday night.

Having only just got over those surreal 80s Dynasty graphics, Mr Neil really set the cat amongst the pigeons. Is this true? I like TW's tongue in cheek style.
Ben Pearson, Hackney

Yeee hah!
That was a good one tonight (15th March). (Although the beginning of the programme was spoilt by the appearance of that twerp with the bald head and glasses at the beginning, waiting at the aiport for David Cameron to arrive in Washington, causing the "Meryl Streep at the Oscars" comment to rise to my lips, "Oh God, not him/her again)", a later appearance by the ever-courageous Bonny Greer, no less, and the little banter at the end by that genius, Alan Johnson, cheered me up. (The purveyors of joylessness couldn't take that one away from you, could they, Alan, because you were too quick!) And did I hear Andrew Neill saying that maybe it looked like Obama was going to win the US elections? Crikey! What an admission to come from him! Oh Happy Day... (and may that day come to pass). Thanks to all for a great programme. I now feel much cheered up.
Yours sincerely
Sally Phillips
Sally, London

Great show, as always. Would like to see some different guests at times - Caroline Lucas or Frank Field, for instance - but enjoy Alan Johnson and Michael Portillo. By the way, can you please answer this: Why is there no comments page for Question Time like there used to be? There is no facility for leaving your comments about the programme at all. I used to enjoy reading what others thought about an episode of QT. Thank you.
Stephen Parry, Birmingham
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Sorry, we cant answer for QT, but it does have its own website and twitter who may be able to help?

On tonight's programme Lord Dannatt was at pains to say "British soldiers have not given their lives so Afghan girls can go to school" yet on wrapping up he stated "We should remember that British soldiers gave their lives so that the Afghan people can have a better life"; he obviously doesn't then regard enabling Afghan girls to receive an education as being part of that better life.....
C MacDonald, London

why do u not have guests that do not follow the normal bbc left wing bias.i as a normal british national would welcome someone who is not amongst the left wing idiots.i would like to put my views on air but this would not happen because the bbc is only interested in their views and not their viewers.
paul mcdonald, birmingham

When is the BBC finally going to realise that a growing majority of people watching your articles concerning Afghanistan know the real reason we invaded the country. It makes a mockery of the BBC, the hosts and the politicians, all of whom are living with the delusion that the Internet cannot inform the public considerably better than they. And trust me, when the growing number of people become a majority (as they recently have in New York) there are going to be serious repercussions for the mainstream media and all who work within it. Especially the BBC that has singularly failed over the last 10+ years to address, investigate and seek the truth regarding the events of 911.
Richard Cook, Birmingham

I was surprised that no one intervened at General Dannet's belief that it is for the people of Afghanistan to choose their future. How can they possibly 'choose' when faced with the ever present intimdation of the Taliban who force their beliefs on the population at the end of a gun?
Graham Dennis, London W11

ive noticed that a non biased corporation as the hatred for one conservative party. i believe someones money has been cut. try suffering the poverty of living on a council estate when you earn over 9.00 an hour, and my family earn less than me if they can get a job. before you blame this goverment remember that there isn't a government in this country which thinks about the common people. career more than patriot. the bbc is alike.
lee walsh, rochdale

Is Andrew Neil leaving presenting the show??
Martin marello, Inverness

One Reuters' link states 'Western forces kill 16 civilians in Afghanistan', many witnesses stating it was a group of US soldiers, drunk and laughing; widespread subsequent reports, a solitary traumatic brain-injured 'rogue' US soldier.
And the west, in its infinite wisdom, wants to bring civilisation, democracy and the best of values to Afghanistan which is painted as some backward savage society. Yes, there are issues in every country but we can't impose values on another nation's people. The problem is our own worldviews are warped and we are unable to see clearly. A video 'Ron Paul - Imagine', a speech he made puts people in the shoes of many Afghans.
This is not a war, it is an occupation with no consistent, quantifiable, justifiable aim on any basis of universal human values.
The media continues to propagate clear propaganda as 'Syria Danny' who claims to have been shot once or twice depending on the interview, a magic bullet hits him in one side and out his back on the other side without damage to his spine or internal organs. Of Kony 2012, Jason Russell, its producer says, "It's literally the best piece of PROPAGANDA we've ever made."
Oh, what a tangled web...
Noor Khan, London


please don't insult our intelligence by having Peter Stringfellow on as a guest again. It cheapens what is otherwise usually an excellent programme.
john allen, canterbury

I listened to Peter Stringfellow bemoaning having to pay the fifty pence tax and the fact that he would like to employ more people if he hadn't to pay it . Well Peter why don't you just pay yourself £149 thousand a year and use the rest to employ people . Simply ! . Call me cynical but I suspect employing more people is not really what he wants to do with the money .
Phil, Barnsley

Dear sir (Mr Andrew Neil)
I'm just surprised yesterday in your esteemed program this week that you said about the possibility of negotiation with taliban and you said we are talking to them in Doha- Qatar ???,and you said there are diffrences between AlQaida and Taliban.i know you are a clever journalist ,why you didn't ask you self why the terrorist taliban who sponsered AlQaida alwayes accept the negociation to be in Qatar , not because the prince of Qatar like to solve the problem but they like to help their taliban.
rassul moafa, london

Re Diane Abbot's re-appearance on the programme;
The BBC's double-standards are sickening. Carol Thatcher made a comment about golliwogs in private and was never seen again. Diane Abbot made a racist comment, in public, about white people and she's back in the twinkling of an eye
Keep her on and you've lost a former avid viewer.
Mervyn Jackson, elper, Derbyshire

i was surprised that diana abbot was invited back to be on this week after her recent racist remarks
alistair rea, tewkesbury

I absolutely do not understand why Peter Stringfellow was invited to share his opinion on this week's current affairs as this man makes his money from the sex trade and from exploiting women.
He claims to work hard for his money but I do not believe that encouraging young women to rub their naked bodies on strangers whilst their clients overpay for drinks can be considered working at all.
This is not the type of person that I believe should be invited to air his views on any political show on the BBC.
I feel completely disgusted and outraged that I and other viewers should have to listen to this perverted and revolting man on a political debate show.
This may be acceptable on other channels where uneducated fools and "celebrities" are given credence. I, however, expected so very much more from the BBC.
Many thanks.
Tara, Birmingham, UK

I don't qualify for 50p tax nor inheritance tax but on death my personal pension will be taxed @ 55%!! . How penal is that!! I agree with Peter Stringfellowp
Geoff Coulter, Belfast

Welcome back Dianne Abbott you are the most acceptable labour face just get rid of that plastic public schoolboy current leader
Ainslie Miller, Marbella, Spain

Why on earth let Diane Abbott once again show her mindless ignorance and get paid for it. That she said that Jamaican people love the Queen more than British people is absolute nonsense - where is her research - and is she under-estimating the popularity of the Queen in this country? I think so.
Susan Alexander, Surrey, KT8

very annoyed to see racist diane abott back on the coach,she rolls her eyes,she talks over other guests,she is very arrogant,andrew neil said the other week basically she was sacked and would not be on the couch again.also mentioning her racist remarks.the programme has been much better without her..hope she is not on again,thank you.paul
Paul Minett, herefordshire

THRILLED to have dear Dianne back. PLEASE keep her!!
Susan Scott, EDdinburgh, Scotland

How can you allow Andrew Neil to get away with his phrase "the dastardly Iranians" on his show tonight. This is not a nursery playground.
If a man of his calibre can consider using a phrase like that it shows him to be fickle and incapable of having the responsibility of presenting what should be an impartial topical show. Firstly he has tarred all Iranians wiht the same brush and secondly he has shown the BBC to care not a jot about public diplomacy and race relations. And you wonder why people want to nuke us! SHAME ON YOU....
Tara Barker, London

Why does the BBC and Andrew Neil a journalist who postures as a man of integrity lie about P. Stringfellow's business. He does not run night clubs he runs stripclubs. It is interesting to know that Stringfellow is a friend of Conservatives. A. Neil says he will be following P. Stringfellow to his club for a drink. Why does the BBC give Stringfellow a platform can they not even find a real nightclub owner.
Just nauseating, switching off.
Andy, London

just see diane abbot on tis week bad as bbc paying jaquie smith ....turned off already
mac, brighton

Great to see Diane and lovely new hairstyle.
Love this programme my favourite of the week BUT Peter Stringfellow!!
Elaine M, Edinburgh

Why is it alright to have a black racist on i.e. [Diane Abbot] Who next week.Nick Griffin.In the interest of fairness.Think this is a disgrace.
Keith Davis, Slough

andrew neil intro tonight. trying to be funny. crap script. wrong attitude. absolute shite. how does he get on our screen. he came across 'what a wanker'
phil, macclesfield

I really must protest at the people paid (I assume) by the BBC to appear on this programme. Firstly, Jacqui Smith (former MP) now being paid by the taxpayer again!!! Secondly, Diane Abbott, she who spouted racist comments, which if a white person had said would have been in court for racist behaviour. Can't imagine them having John Terry on here, because he is charged with racism but he is white!!!!
Reverse racism is rife in this country, thanks to the woolly headed liberals.
Justin Grenham, Gillingham, Kent

As a big fan of TW, I have to say it hasn't been the same since Diane put ambition before duty and left a hard-to-fill seat on the Porticouch. So we more than pleased to have her just for ourselves at the Hackney Premiere of "A Man's Story". Throw in the infinitely presentable, black enterprise model Ozwald Boateng and the no less dashing David Lammy, Tottenham MP and key ally in the electoral race, and the trick was done. Boateng/ Lammy vs. Neil/ Portillo. The choice wasn't hard. Poor loyalty display but great eye for good company. Diane is a politician after all. Michael and Andrew will once again have to drown their sorrows in that terrible German Blau Wein in the company of their own flabby, crumpled, middle-aged selves.
cedric, London

Just noticed the government has put 1700 disabled people on the dole by shutting remploy factories, this will probably end up costing more than it saves, while letting the chancers who run rings round the system will still get away with it.
Is there no cliff the coalition will not march over no hole they will not stop digging deeper?
Having seen those dud's from those rating agencies and their abject performance, how long will it be before dave gives at least one a job?
Steve Blanchard
before the select committee
stephen blanchard, garston herts

Andrew, Sir, love your programme and ignore sleep depravation for its sake. But, please get rid of Jacqui Smith and Diane Abbott once and for good. They are both towing their party line blindly, have nothing enlightening to say and do not brighten the midnight screens in any way. Total waste of space on your sofa, and yet there are so many clever, bright and interesting women in politics. Please.
Teresa, london


I have been a big fan for years, and look forward to Thursday nights. PLEASE stop having Jacquie Smith on as a guest. She lowers the tone of the show. Andrew and Michael deserve better. I lift my G&T to them. Sorry no Blue Nun.
rita isaacs, Cardiff

With all the serious issues of the day being explored on This Week one that has escaped any questioning is why Micheal Portillo never carries even a small bag with him when he stays at various hotels during his railway journeys - he only carries a copy of Bradshaw which for all we know is hollowed out to contain a toothbrush (or very small undies!).
I am assuming that he learned this trick by flying regularly on Ryannair but nevertheless we need to know how he does it - it is obsessing us!
Laurence Bennett, Newport Shropshire

I was just wondering if you would be able to direct me to/supply me with the This Week Drinking Game rules. I did try to have google but couldn't find anything
Thanks in advance
Liam King, Aberdeenshire

I very much enjoy 'This Week' but want to scream every time Andrew Neil says the word 'Scottish' which he pronounces as a cross between 'Scoddish' and 'Scorrish'. He sounds like a sports commentator.
Thea Rae, Ayr

I thought this week's show was excellent. I feel Alan Johnson offers a lot of added value as one of your 'sofa pundits'. I am pleased you reverted to having an extra guest for the middle of the programme slot when you are looking back at political developments in the last week. I think the extra guest works well on this slot. I also like your commitment to having a variety of strands of opinion on the programme. I did think Michael Portillo seemed unusually quiet, however - he and Alan J get the most out of each other when they do a bit of sparring. Well done to Andrew and the team for consistently producing one of the most watchable programmes on the BBC schedules.
Matthew Ryder, Cambridge

IF Former MP George Galloway reckons the UK should consider sharing the Falkland Islands to improve its relations with Latin American countries, THEN why doesn't he also suggest that the Argentine should consider sharing the south of Argentina including - but not restricted to - Isla de los Estados + Tierra Del Fuego + the state of Santa Cruz/Patagonia with the UK? Given that Argentina has barred British ships from calling at Argentine ports, this may be an excellent first step to have military bases and concomitant trading places established in South America, for the reassurance and military protection of the long established Falkland Islanders!
Don Stickland, Headington, Oxford

RIPOSTE to the BBC "THIS WEEK" comment by Andrew Niel RE: "The Daily Telegraph" letter titled "Cut the 50p tax rate to help boost business and encourage entrepreneurs":
How do these distinguished people at and from the top get to make the statement of:
QUOTE The [50p marginal rate] tax, which is in effect a 58p tax after national insurance is taken into account ... ENDQUOTE ?
IF top marginal IT rate is … 50%, and
IF employee NI rate is …… 2%, which
TOTALS to ........................ 52%, doesn't it? [i.e. 52p in the pound!]
IF their tax sums are wrong, THEN how can we trust the veracity of their opinions?
Is the answer just: "Special Pleading" ??
Brgds - Don Stickland
Don Stickland, Headington, Oxford

I have just been stimulated by another great fix of late night intervention. Michael Portillo and Andrew Neil are the Wyatt Earp/Doc Holliday; Lennon/McCartney; Hale/Pace of political chat and have cured my insomnia, Thanks. Just another example of unbeatable BBC TV others can only admire, and i am eternally grateful.
Chris Becker, Guisborough

Good to see havana smoking,Castro loving surrender monkey Galloway is still spouting revolutuion gibberish
dave clegg, liverpool

Michael Portillo mentioned he was impressed by Sir Paul Nurse and his Dimbleby lecture. It seems so sad that Science could be adding to Climate change by allowing "Science Cities" to expand onto Green Belt!!Green Belt that never needed an energy source other than the Sun to photosynthesise absorbing co2 giving off water and oxygen.All buildings do is add to energy usage.Add to more traffic. York uni could have built its new expansion, Science City on the tear drop site near the Railway.All students etc could have used the trains michael!!!!! Just hope all this expansion does not flood all Alan Johnsons friends in Hull!!!When the water runs-off down the river Ouse.
S Hawkswell, York

Does George Galloway even understand what handing over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands means? Argentina's claim of sovereignty lies on the spurious basis of the fact that Spain administered the Falkland Islands from Argentina when they ruled what is current day Argentina. Argentina doesn't just want sovereignty of the Falklands, but also South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the British Antarctic Territory and the reason Argentina claims sovereignty to those is because the UK administered those territories from the Falkland Islands, which Argentina sees as giving them tyhe right of sovereignty of those territories.
Stephen, St. Ives, Cornwall

If a bloke walks down the street and a mugger asks for his wallet, does George think that the bloke should just lay down and give it to him?
David burden, Ashford, Kent

maybe in 30 yearsc falklands will be English as britain is in question by people like Galloway
mark powell, whitby north yorkshire

Great programme, however, when you feature Abi Titmuss and that idiot Scotish MP surely it may be time to review who you have on the programme. No Q mark there, more a statement. Get a grip.
bernard birbeck, Whitehaven

As a Scot I am disgusted by the attitude displayed by George Galloway. He Is, always has been and will continue to be a traitor to the interests of Great Britain. It is time that Special Branch had a close look at this moron as, by his own admittance, he has always come out on the side of any country opposed to the UK. He is a total disgrace and should be removed from the political scene p[ermanently.
Mike, Livingston West Lothian

As much as I agree with Alan Johnson that the Falklands should remain British, twice he said we remember blood was spilled in 83, the Falklands war took place in 1982! know your subject Alan
Duncan Bustin, Horncastle Lincolnshire

Will someone please inform Alan Johnston that the Falklands War was 1982 and not 1983!!!!
P---- off soldier!!!
Rob Crowther, Leeds

The war was 82 tell your CWu rep to get it right postie idiot
Scott Marshall, Cov

If the BBC wants to be taken seriously about impartiality, it must have Nick Griffin on if they have George Galloway on.
His ridiculous views that the Faulklanders should be thrown to the wolves, sums up Galloway and his overblown ego. A sure fire hit for the BBC would be a debate, chaired by Andrew Neil, between Nick Griffin and George Galloway. The BBC's hand- wringing, politically correct attitude has long since worn out its welcome.
l. horvath, chesterfield, derbyshire

WRT the Falklands, as discussed on the show, has anyone thought of splitting ownership of the islands. They exist in two major pieces. Why not give Argentina the West ward facing island while UK retains the Eastern half. The Eastern half has Stanley and the greater part of the British loving islanders. Could such an idea remove all the tensions if accepted?
Les Carpenter, Watford

George galloway is not real yet again, was iraq not enough, now its the falklands. If he feels so strongly for these countries why doesnt he sod off and live in one of them instead of coming up with such crap, the falklands is sovereign to us and should remain so
gary taylor, nantwich

Argentina was kept sweet before the war because we bought so much Argetinian Beef, even all the Corned Beef was Argentinaia. Defuse most wars by trading with the other side.
Alan Greenwood, Epsom

George Galloway supports anyone except Anyone who is British. The Falkland Islanders are British and want to remain so. Despite what he says he is not well known as anti war, he is better known as being anti anything that will get him publicity.
Noreen, Perth


I watched open-mouthed last week as four smug baby-boomers comprehensively trashed an entire generation of young people, who apparently won't get up in the morning and don't want to work. I kept waiting for the joke at the end of it but seemingly you were all in earnest. I find it very worrying how completely out of touch you and your guests are and I wonder if you actually know any young people. When my own sons were students they had to commute to their universities in Edinburgh and Dundee from Kirkcaldy, because student accomodation was so expensive, which meant they were getting up long before dawn. You of course got everything free and didn't have to worry about student loans and massive debts. After graduating with a 2.1 in Economics and Politics from Edinburgh my eldest son could not get a job and was even made redundant from his student job, which was working in Woolworths. I only hope that you didn't push any already depressed young people over the edge with your ill informed attitudes. I would be obliged if you could inform Michael Portillo that the McDonald's in Kirkcaldy High Street closed its doors permanently a couple of months ago. I think it's really about time that you all woke up to what is actually going on in the country. You ought to apologise to the vast majority of youngsters, most of whom are desperate for work of any sort.
Katrina Stephen, Kirkcaldy, Fife.

Hi Andrew love the show,with reguards Michael Portillo,i feel his views on foreign affairs and finance are excellant,although not my party.I feel if he could be as open and honnest as he is on your show.Then we need him back in Parliament,what do you think Andrew Neil.
kind reguard Andrew
Andrew Marsden, Middlesbrough

Can we make it obligatory for all media outlets to play the clip from last week's programme of Michael Portillo (explaining how bankers in Germany do not get the salaries & bonuses they get in the U.K., nor do they come rushing to the U.K. to try and get these jobs) everytime someone from a bank says, as though it were an incontrovertible fact, that they have to offer these huge inducements to get the best people.
Tricia Bodenham, Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire

Health Bill England
How much time will a GP spend searching and organising further care for a patient. this time will reduce the time available to treat other patients and result in delays in seeing a GP.
How much will a GP receive for carrying out this additional work.
How many extra GPs will have to be employed to make up the time devoted to organising /providing this additional care.
Mckenzie Gibson, Cambuslang S Lanarkshire

It was very interesting to watch the debate concerning youth unemployment and work experience with Michel Roux Jr, Michael Portillo and Jackie. However, it would be a useful contrast if the programme could show interviews with business owners and companies that have outsourced their manufacturing and production jobs overseas. I remember seeing a BBC documentary recently about a suit company that had moved its manufacturing to China. Maybe an alternative perspective would be a good idea?
J Kingsbury, Southampton, UK

I watched last night's This week and Mr Michel Roux Jr. In the clip, he was in the kitchen and dipped a plate in the sink full of detergent lather and took the plate out without rinsing the lather and the chemicals in the detergent. He then just dried it and to be honest it was disgusting. This is unhygienic and I have seen similar scenes like this from the so-called experts on television. It is time they are given some basic lessons on kitchen hygiene. Once the dishes are immersed in washing up liquid, why are they not rinsed with water to remove the lather and chemicals? Just wiping the dishes with cloth would not rinse off the chemicals.
Shylaja Muringoor, London

Michel Roux Jr has misrepresented young people and other workers by saying they just want to sit on benefits and want it all on a plate. Did he work for no pay when doing his apprenticeship? He doesnt say but I guess not. No one should be expected to work for nothing. What a joke...!
Darren Brooks, Shrewsbury

Andrew--for goodness sake--will you please point out to these politicians,particually the sosicialist ones that there are thousands and thousands of jobs out there.Why is the total for those in employment always increasing? Why is unemployment not a problem for all the incommers to this wonderfull country? Ram the message home.Education education education.And part of that is turn up on time today tomorrow the next day next week and the week after that.That's all they've got to do and all the rest will follow.Why can't anyone understand that.
John Simcock, Ubley Bristol

So, Jacqui Smith was disgraced as a Home Secretary, kicked out by her electors and got the tax payer to pay for her husbands porn! Her reward......a cushy number at the expence of the licence fee payer! Why don't you get someone with credability on your show or is she a friend of the producer????
Alex Matthews, Hull

I saw your programme last night and was particularly interested in the feature with Michel Roux Jr. This guy was an inspiration and bang on with his comments. He should be in a DVD with one or two other well known employers and this DVD should be sent to every school and college in the country and marked mandatory viewing. As a recently retired Employment Advisor,I have worked for many years with a wide range of people who have been looking for work, on a range of employment initiatives, and I must say that their is a lot of discrimination about against young people. There is no good and bad, they are all lumped together and labelled as not employable. Some are not, but a lot are , and with the right support would be fine, given a chance. In my experience, many of them come out of school or college with little or no sense of direction, and low aspirations. Michel Roux was a breath of fresh air, and his message needs to be relayed to young people before they find themselves looking for work.
Len thomas
Len Thomas, Sutton in Ashfield Nottinghamshire

Why does TW encourage viewers to comment on the shows when it has no intention of taking heed of these comments? I refer, of course, to Jacqui Smith being invited onto the show, again! So, Michel Roux Jr encourages and supports young people accepting unpaid work experience. Nobody works for free, especially the celebrities, MP's and business professionals who demand their excessively lavish salaries and bonuses. Does Andrews Neil, Michael Portillo, etc work for free? So why should young people be expected to do so? The employers who are exploiting these young people [Tesco, Matalan, Roux Jr, etc] are making very healthy profits courtesy of this free labour. If these employers genuinely have need to employ the services of these young people, then pay them a fair wage with a permanent job. The concept of 'work experience' fails because without a permanent, paid job in which to hone and develop the learnt knowledge/skills t they will soon be forgotten ... 'use them or lose them'. Genuine, long-term employment is not realised via these silly government schemes but by true business growth: when the demand for a companies products/services exceeds capacity then the employer will need to recruit people in order to satisfy this demand. This is when people will experience full, rewarding employment.
Derek, Cheshire

Disgraced M/s J. Smith, fed by our licence fee, is on so frequently I have to resort to the FFwd. I am suffering from RSI, if it goes on much longer I will have to resort to the OFF button. There are tens of left of centre alternatives?!
Paul Sanderson, Sheffield Yorkshire

Of all the people sharing the sofa with Michael Portillo, Jaquie Smith is by far the weakest. Even Diane Abbott is preferable!Alan Johnson is probably best followed by John Reid. Michael is a shining example of how to give a balanced answer whilst holding to his views and principles. Smith is too keen on trying to score party political points which is not the point of this programme. I also felt that if you have Kevin McGuire, you will always get a one-eyed view when what the programme should be is a balanced review of the week's political activity.
david kidd, bury st edmunds, suffolk

After listening to your programme tonight on unemployment/employment, i would like to point out that there is the brighter side on being on benefits like me, in my case over an 8 year period, ive raised £5700.00 for Children with Cerebral Palsey which i do voluntry meaning that i dont get paid for it, now if i was in employment, i wouldnt have raised a penney of the £5700.00 ive raised for Children with Cerebral Palsey because i just wouldnt have the time to do so, Also what wasnt addressed on your show on unemployment is that also a high percentage of unemployed, especially the youth side because of their upbringings have also got Criminal Records & i bet the Chef on your show wouldnt be prepared to give a 2nd chance to someone with a Criminal Record & that is also whats getting in the way between Unemployment & employment & there are alot of people out there whove got a criminal past that would love a Job more than anyone & if we got that side of society back into work, there would be LESS crime on the streets
Mark Merrett, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan

All the talk tonight in "This Week" and "Question time" was about young people doing work placements and they have the choice of saying "No" or "Yes" and still retaining there benefits if they said "No". Last year I was refered to "Working links" from the job centre and I had to attend MWRA (mandatory work related activity!. I had no choice! If I didnt I would of been sanctioned, and we were reminded that every single day whilst on it! Now im on the work programme. which seems to be going the same way. Its not working, why bring in private companies?. All I want is a honest job that pays a honest wage. I understand Penzance has employment issues, but the money motivated staff dont seem to get that!. MUST HIT TARGETS. Regards Lee Cuthbert.
Lee Cuthbert, Penzance, Cornwall

Jackie Smith would be the best sucsesssor to ed
Ian Colin Lawrie, hersuit

Dear Mr. Neil,
Why do you allow your excellent programme to be tainted by the presence on the bench of a person like Jacki Smith who personified the MPs expense scandal more than most of the other culprits. I switched off your programme when I saw this person next to Mikel Portillo.
Wolfgang Pietrek, Bramley Surrey

placements are a good idea when there used right.. this would be placements with a chance of a job at the end of the placements... the problem is most company's take on people for the 2 months, then give them the boot at the end to take on fresh people... that makes the experience worth little to nothing after the placement... any interviews after a placement ask why you didn't get the job at the end of the placement.
John, Rotherham

As a regular viewer of your programme, I find it incomprehensible that you find it suitable to use the former Home Secretary, Jaqui Smith, as one of your regular panalists.
George Reid, North Ayrshire

Youth unemployed is a major concern, as a perspective employer to prospect of employing someone is quite worrying. I have taken the risk to setting up my own firm which is a risk to my personal financial security including our home and my children's education. When I look at employing someone I face 13,8 NIC + 3 nest pension, costs of a new work terminal, accountancy costs, training costs etc. Once I have done all that if I employee a youngster I could face sick pay, maternity and paternity pay. Any of these could see the business fold in the early days. And even-though I take all the financial risk the government takes 40% of my income if I survive. Why risk employing someone of any age let alone someone below 25 who might become a parent in the early years of my business.
Pieter burger, Exeter

just watched Kevin Maguire ranting on in fancy dress for 5 mins pure party political bile
no balance whatso ever
is this now the policy of the BBc
Steve Hodgson, Bristol

I am really starting to get anti teenager!!!! I am a male aged 48 with an Honours degree in management and have been unemployed for 2 years!!! I have over 30 years work experience and have yet to get a job offer. What experience can a youth offer any employer over me other than a promise of a £2,000 start up?
Paul Duncan, Uckfield, East Sussex

What about lap dancing and prostitution can i take pride in that?
Hey lets build the pyramids that is tesco's
And just how many politicians and tv production staff would seriously work for 1.50 an hour get a grip and live in the real world .
lee bryant, leebryant

work experiance, all wrong, we've had lots of these at our work, cant get experiance due to not able to work machinery etc, so all they could do was sweep up. doesnt work, they way of saying thingsd are working. !!!!
keith, hull

What people do not realize that in a lot of cases small businesses will not take on work experience because in a lot of cases the training in even basic tasks cost your staff time to train them and is not economically viable
T Barton , Liverpool

I am watching your programme at the moment, and can only applaud Michael Roux jnr. I run a public House / Restaurant and all young employees who start washing up and cleaning have gone on to have extremely successful careers in all manner of fields. They were prepared to get their hands dirty and learnt humility and an understanding of how a business works - from its roots and those at the bottom are as important as those at the top.
Elizabeth Scowen, Crowell, Oxfordshire

Jacqui id spot on with her analysis. As a "precarios worker" providing free labour for companies for over two years since graduation, I have more experience than some of those who are on the payroll.
That, "extra rung on the ladder" is criminally illusive to the young. Even a nominal wage would be an improvement.
Sam, Manchester

The comment,during the discussion regarding the Government Work Experience Programme, that even if the job training is not in the line of the first choice of the trainee it is valuable to them ignores the fact that, when they eventually manage to apply for something they want to do employers tend to disregard any experience gained in other fields. In fact, some employers will hold against the candidate the fact that the candidate has not simply remained focused on one area. I think that it is employers who need to change more than those seeking work.
Veronica O'Donohue, Littlehampton, Sussex

Interest about your programme and work experience. Both my children were on the old fashioned YTS and one came out with a trade and has now gone on and done diploma in engineering. Daughter did office work and then got a full time job with a very good manufacturing company and she has now obtained her diploma
christeen, Montrose Angus

There is a huge difference between WANTING worki experience and being forced into it.
Only those who want experience should benefit from it.
Those who only want benefits should be shunned.
Chris murray, Newcastle upon tyne

Did your chef guest get paid when he was washing dishes??
Martin Davison, Chesterfield

Inappropriate thate the completely discredited Jackie Smith should be appearing on the show and probably being paid for her ineptitude and lack of morals. I will not watch the programme when this immoral individualis present.
Michael Devln, Glasgow

Andrew Neil is undoubtedly the most astute interviewer on TV or radio today. But Andrew cut out the funnies. You are not comedien. I record your programme and fast forward till we get to the proper stuff
Hugh Thompson, Newcastle upon Tyne

i would just like to ask the panel, would they work for nothing as the government are asking the jsa's to do. all these schemes have had different names but the same thing in common - slave labour.
also would they be able to live/survive on benefits
jenifer shore, worcester/worcestershire

More Rawnsley (and Letts) please, their humour perspicacity and humour are appreciated. Also the Jersualem - a lovely pint in my experience.
Gareth Davies, Northfield, Birmingham


Better than usual this week so I will, will, will be watching your programme in the future. However, I do agree with many here that Ms Chakrbarti shouldn't be given air time for her out of touch views. As for Quatada, wasn't the solution presented in the show, that he entered here illegally and therefore on those grounds couldn't we deport him back ?
Graeme, London

As ever, Ms Chakrabarti argues coherently and persuasively. I was surprised, however, when she introduced race into the discussion - and it did her no favours whatever. You hit another weakness which plainly unsettled her when you rightly pointed out that she adds up Qatada's "human rights" and finds them equal to the sum total of those of 60 million others - whose right it is not to be plotted against by him. You should however have pressed her on Alan Johnson's crucial point - that the compelling evidence against Qatada cannot be used in open court for security reasons - which is why his case cannot proceed as she suggested. She blustered rather weakly on this but needed to be pinned down on the point of principal - does she accept that there are cases when evidence cannot be made generally available in this way? I rather think she does not - and this needs to be exposed for, at best, the astonishingly naivete it represents or at worst, her unacceptable disingenuineness.
Philip Brooksby, Penarth, Vale of Glam

Shapi is wrong to think Abu is so unpopular because of his race. It's because he want's to harm those whose country he chose to enter illegally and cause harm. Human rights are questionable when such a person has such damaging intent to others. He is unwelcome here. Wake up and look for another cause please.
Sue Perrott, sevenoaks/kent

The film of Andrew Rawnsley at the Jerusalem Taverne in Clerkenwell was absolutely brilliant. Whoever created it is a filmic genius equivalent to Ken Russell. The attention to detail was stupendous. Please bring us more pieces of this hugely impressive quality.
John Lowe, DORCHESTER Dorset

Thank god you have removed that Hackney hypocrite,i refer to the public education/private debacle. Wellcome to the pink couch.Welcome to Alan the postman Signed. A socialist.I understand her ladyship has been promoted within the ranks,of her party, god help the working class.GREAT SHOW .
michael, london

I enjoy Andrews programme,but very cross when people like CHAM??start making it racist.I feel its a person whos evil and hes cost us a lot of money.Still is. Why should we worry what happens to him in Jordan, he has done acts that have hurt others/.He desearves what he gets sooner the better and dont spend more money on him. I would like more money. Worked till 74yrs/. Brought up a disabled son. Have been ill since my son was born.However i ve worked through and never had a penny from the state.Dont get any thanks for not being a benifit scrounger. Scared about what they are doing to Health Service.Keep up the good work. Hazel.
Hazel Bassi, Rayleigh Essex ss6

I tried to take out some audio cds of Hard Times today for my son, and was told by Lambeth Libraries that it was unsuitable material for lending on a child's ticket
Vanessa, london

I loathe Dickens but why no recognition of that MUCH more important date ( and much more contemporary) this week of that accession of our fantastic and great Queen , poor love, who found that she had become Queen on her honeymoon, after the death of her much loved Father. And when we separate up here I want Princess Anne as Queen of Scotland!
Susan McCurrach Edinburgh

Thank you for you feature with the lead of Liberty tonight. There may be only 7% in opinion poles who agree with her stance in the discussed case, however, i agree with her that there should be fair trials in the UK and not behind the scenes 'justice'. Here Here to Ms Shakribati, and to Michael Portillo too for agreeing with this point ~ that Michael Portillo ... who would have thought that ex-Thatcherite had so much descency in him - not to mention a really enjoyable programme on great railway journeys with his Bradshaws. Tootle-pip!
ps i haven't watched This Week in AGES - what's happened to Diane Abbott?
julia hartshorn, Belvedere, Kent

Qatadar arrived here on a forged passport. How in God's name does that earn him the right of protection by this country ? He forfeits any rights that we enjoy by that simple fact . Chakrabarty avoided Neil's question about our rights not to be blown up against his to stay here , and it is her public utterances that encourage terrorists to get here, doesn't matter how , and once they get here , they're safe.
Deport Qatadar now - end of story
Tony W, cardiff

Love both DP and TW
please can you get this answeed for me
Abul Hamsza cannot be deported to Jordan - so can we deport him to any other arab counry that will have him and his muslim polemic and family or is this the only possible country in the world that he can be safe in?
Mervyn Waldron, Paignton/Devon

why do you and other bbc programs regularly keep having Shami Chakrabarti from liberty on your shows?
liberty is a far left liberal group who argues many points supporting terrorists rights etc that hardly anyone in the country agrees with and yet she/liberty are on your programs every few months. in contrast no-one with the opposite equivalent right-wing views are ever on bbc programs so i dont know why liberty manage to keep getting on the bbc again and again.
(ps. i do not need a detailed response to this email but it would be useful if my message could be passed on to the program makers).
tim waltham, herne bay

Shami Chakrabarti is hopelessly out of touch; why does the BBC keep inviting her to promote her unrepresentative views?
Jon BW, Leicester

We are offended by Shami's rascist comment. Our streets, schools and hospitals are full of "foreigners". We are a welcoming, forgiving nation and she is accusing us of xenophobia because of one illegal criminal. England football captains have been sacked for less.
Lynda Paulding, Great Dunmow

Re Tonight's show- Out punning Tim Vine's best joke of the year :
I need trepanning like I need a hole in the head.
Tim Douglas, London

I'd like to know if the guys think that the Falklands will happen again?.....bareing in mind other places need our military presents as well!!
Lee, Penzance, Cornwall

Why are you giving Shami Chakrabarti a prime time slot exporting her views if they only represent 7% of the general public's opinion. The case to have this man executed for treason probably commands backing from over 7% of the population, yet views such as this would never have a chance of being represented on This week. Far left views which command tiny representation are greatly overrepresented on this week and the BBC alike.
Sam, London

Chakrabati speaks the truth . Keep your believes . Iam of a different faith .We have the same passion.
christina graham, Glasgow

Shapi really angers me, the assumption yhat the view to deport abu katada apologies for the likely mis spellings, is that she is sooo wrong. Worse still she holds a daily mail view of the british public. It is not about where you are born it is however, absolutely about what you bring to the table. If this is hate, violence incitement, extreme religious views then yes you need to leave. Shapi is a highly intelligent person, this is clear but don't pander to the cheap seats - play to the audience who is more educated than you think
Andrew, Cumbria

Why is Andrew wearing the same shirt he wore last week? I know we are in austere and pay freeze times, but i think Andrew can afford a change in shirt on a weekly basis.
Joseph Odewole, Oxfordshire

Why on earth does Shami Chakrabarti continue to get wide coverage on BBC television? I suppose being controversial she makes 'good television' but she is not at all representative of general feelings in the country.
Tim Cullis, London

This is a perfect example of the country has gone mad, are you kidding me!!! Human rights for this guy, your guest backing him up, people, people, why can we voice what we really think!!!! Get that twat out of the country!! , Infact kill the horrible cult forming freak of human nature!!!!! Can I be a guest on your show!!! Please!!!! Say what we think? Why can't we do that anymore, this country is a joke!!!
Stef, Manchester

Why oh why is Shami arguing the case for a man who openly admits to hating the UK and its people. Why should we pay for a man like this to stay here?
Mark Graham, Shoreham

I rarely write to TV programmes or Newspapers but I just thought I would say that as a regular viewer of This Week for the last ten years that i really like seeing Alan johnson on the show. I was never convinced by Dianne Abbott. I also like when you have artists such as Charlotte Gainsbourg on. I realise that sometime it makes for awkward TV but I still like it.
Many thanks
John Walker,

why cant Abu hamza and his colleagues be tried for Treason?
richard nicholl, London UK

Why do you give the pious and sancimonous self-appointed guardian of the nation Smarmy so much air time to peddle her nonsense?
Eat dirt and choke on it Chakrabarti.
John Chessun, Leeds, England

Tim Vine won joke of the year last year, in 2011. Not this year, 2012.
Karen, Edinburgh

Sorry i had to miss last weeks show because I have an unbreakable rule that Alistair Campbell is never allowed to show his smug face knowingly on my TV. Can I just say that Anfrew Neil is THE best political interviewer there is,I always try and catch him on This Week and the Politics Show.
Stuart Pickles, Huddersfield,West Yorkshire

On today's "Pointless" 100 people were asked to name member's of the Cabinet. 9 cabinet members scored 0 (zero). Only 9 knew William Hague was a member of the cabinet, the same for Theresa May. 47 knew that David Cameron was a member of the Cabinet while over 6o knew Nick Clegg was. I am sure Andrew Neill will be able to make a witty use of this information.
Frank Liddell, Orpington

As a regular viewer of This Week, I am saddened and fed up that you should bring Shami Chakrabarti supporting the case why this renegade extremist should be kept in the UK. It is time the media tried to present the case for the alternative option! We don't need some more sanctimonious lecture from Shami and her ilk! I thought This Week did think out of the box instead of this cliched approach!
Vibhaker Baxi, London NW4

Shami Chakrabarti is an irritating and interfering woman, the British Judicial system is corrupt and completely out of touch with real life. Abu Quatada must be deported a.s.a.p...AND Andrew, stop scraping the bottom of the barrel!
Ivan Anthony, London


I used to be an avid fan of Thursday's 'This Week', but I've now stopped watching it. The banter and excellent vibes between Diane Abbott and Michael Portillo was unbelievable and totally worth watching. unfortunately she has gone and Portillo is a total waste without her and all you seem to do now is bring on Labour hasbeens (the ex postman and Smith) - now the programme is total rubbish. What a shame!!!!
Bring back Diane, whatever the cost, and I'll start watching again, but for now, beddy byes.
David Stevens, Leeds

If you had a "photograph of the week" in addition to the "moment of the week" it would surely be that published in Sunday's "Scotland on Sunday" of Alex Salmond with fixed, rictus grin over clenched teeth, shaking hands with a young English rugby player holding the Calcutta Cup. All of the northern rugby pundits, and the Dear Leader's advisors I suspect, had expected the Scottish lions to roar rampant through the inexperienced English pack, but sport is a fickle mistress and it was not to be. Not only did Scotland loose the game, but Alex lost his triumphalist photo opportunity, as the young Englishmen send him homewards to Bute House - to think again... perhaps an omen of things to come? It IS a dish best served cold, you know!
David Fiddimore, Edinburgh

Are you going to discuss the rcent surge in share prices since Christmas. Up 87 Billion in value , The rich are still out there, If we want a fairer society that sort of money would pay off a good chunk of the defecit which the tories and others keep on about. I think we are being taken for a ride !!
Spencer Salmons, Leigh on Sea

I recently wrote to you asking why Andrew Neil referred to the clock on the Houses of Parliament as 'Big Ben'. I noticed in last week's programme he made reference to, I presume, my query and referred to me as a 'Sado'. Just before Christmas I did a quiz and one of the questions was ' How many hands are there on Big Ben? All the thickos answered eight, but people with some modicum of intelligence said none. I presume from this, Andrew Neil is a thicko. Why does he still refer to it as Big Ben? Or is it that he really is thick and doesn't know what it is called? May I suggest he looks it up on Google, or better still have the word 'Thicko' tattooed on his forehead.
David Stevens
David Stevens, Leeds

Dear Andrew,
Some guests, particularly politicians, who refuse to answer your questions, deserve to be interupted, One of your guests this week Gillian Tett always has important things to say, and no doubt had important things to say on your programme, but was stopped at least three times by yourself from completing her sentences.
I will forgive you for your poor mathematical skills on the programme (2 February)- a quarter of 65 is not 12 or 13!
David Jones,

I always enjoy This Week but had to switch off last night as I was so distracted by the moving graphics of the days of the week going one way and some sort of jellyfish moving around as well; and not just from one screen but one large plus a couple of smaller ones. Then there was the glass table where you could see the reflection of the graphics plus the guests. It really is too busy. What is wrong with a plain background, I wonder. I started to get a headache and switched off.
Chris Rodwell, Camberley, Surrey

I, too, am fed up with the 'call me Dave' line. Not because of disrespect, as argued by someone earlier, but because nobody DOES call him Dave - whereas the other 2 leaders rejoice in being called 'Ed' and 'Nick'. So how about'Call me Ed'when referring to Miliband ? A bit funnier if you stop and think about it.
Simon, Cambridge

Me and my partner watch your programme most weeks and are not sure why Michael Portillo has to sit in the middle of the sofa, almost sitting on the other persons knee. As with his politics Michael seems to be ever moving to the right much to the discomfort of who ever he is sharing the sofa with.
Lorna, Manchester

While it is understandable that the opposition should be making hay, and Alistair Campbell is muddying the water, Andrew Neil is being either disingenuous or demonstrating a short memory on the matter of the European "veto". When the PM went to the European summit before Christmas, the plan was to agree an overall approach to the Euro crisis amongst the 27. Despite signalling in advance what the UK required if it was to agree to such a deal (potentially a treaty or treaty amendment), the others would not accept the UK conditions, red lines etc, and accordingly, the PM vetoed that deal, i.e. he refused to let it go forward, and it didn't go forward. Along with the UK, three other countries were unsure whether to agree to it, and eventually, one, the Czech Republic, stayed on the sidelines with us. It is true that the others have gone ahead with an agreement of their own, but that is not the agreement that was first postulated as it does not include the UK (or CZ), and the PM took a lot of flack from France and Germany for refusing to take part. In no way, therefore, can his veto be denied, except by those suffering delusions or loss of memory. Separate to this, the PM originally said he would not allow the 25 to use European institutions to police their subordinate agreement. He has now relented on that, seemingly in part owing to legal advice that our opposition was not well founded. That is a U turn, but it does not mean he withdrew his veto, despite the cat-calling across the chamber. Had it meant that, then we would now be part of the agreement, and we are not. End of story. Nor was this an opt-out, as Andrew suggested. We have an opt-out to parts of Maastricht, but we are a signatory to it, quite unlike this case. However you look at it, a veto is the right word, as we killed that Europe-wide agreement stone dead. That said, I was disappointed that Michael Portillo, who is usually very clear-thinking on these things, was not able to make a better defence of the position, and I hope these comments will be put in front of him too, to help him do better next time he is asked. As I value both Andrew and Michael as among the best of their respective classes, it was disappointing to see them both fall into this trap, however well-prepared by the opposition.
Jeremy Smith, Tenterden, Kent

Once again I am writing to express dismay that you have invited that idiot Campbell (A) onto This Week. He has nothing to offer in terms of political comment and the BBC should not pander to his ego. He is yesterdays (Blairs) man.
Chris Gartside, Carnforth

give us more alistar campbell, micheal portillo. engaging debate and slightly funny. they have chemistry.
amir hindocha, coventry

RBS - It was wrong to Witch-hunt Mr Hester over the bonus, as the fault lay with the person that negotiated his contract on our behalf. That person should have been stripped of his/her pension.That said, Mr Hester did not do a proper CEO job, as the first thing a discerning knowledgeable CEO should have done, should have been the total closure of the RBS Defined Benefits Pension Scheme - the deficit also having to be cleared before any bonuses were paid.
peter f amott, wokingham

This Week tonight - disgusted that the three blokes (NOT gentlemen) kept interupting Gillian Tett and preventing her finishing her point, she had valuable information to enlighten us about what is going on in the States both historically and in the present which may well be pertient to what happens here. How rude of all three of them particularly Mr Portillo (I am really surprised that he is culpable in this matter too) as his education should have taught him better. Come on Andrew - behave yourself and keep the others in line.
Sheridan Formoso, Bristol

I'm getting a bit sick of the bankers still being let off the hook. Even with all this talk of them getting bonuses stopped and loss of knighthoods etc. what about the rest of us? Nobody ever talks about the damage they have done to the rest of the economy. I work in the building industry. This sector of the economy has been flat-lining for three years now! There a huge numbers of construction professionals out of work and with no growth how are they ever going to get back in? Bonuses? Why does anybody deserve a bonus for just doing a job? There are plenty of architects, engineers, contractors, surveyors, technicians, suppliers, fitters etc. - skilled experienced professionals who just want a job!!!
How about a temporary Harold Wilson type taxation of high-flying bankers and overpayed footballers for a start, and use this money to help stimulate the building industry?
We are living in a situation that was created by Thatcher and Reagan that led to Del-boy activities in the financial services sector. This was due to crazy relaxation of regulations which just led to unmitigated greed and lack of principle. The banks do not serve this country. They are guilty of economic treason in my view. They are a law unto themselves and serving only themselves (with our money)!!!
Howard Johnston, Wirral


After watching question time was very disappointed that the CAP of £26,000 was not even touched on but oversea,s investment? Aid seemed to be the highlight WHY when clearly we have our own aid on discussionn that should be more of a highlight and influence
yours, Confused
Laughton Tompkins, Northamptonshire

Only last night, Paxman outed Ed Lester for his tax avoidance.
Isn't Jeremy in receipt of public money? After all I pay his wages through my licence fee. Yet his "tax efficient" package avoids income tax, national insurance contributions and is APPROVED by your very public corporation. Hypocrisy? Arrogance? Oh yes it is. While we're told that paying tradesmen in cash is stealing from hospitals?
love the program, very best regards,
Michael Dullaghan
(Ex Royal Corps of Signals and life long taxpayer)
Michael Dullaghan, Bristol
THIS WEEK REPLIES: We are on for 45 mins a week and don't have a slot for reading out letters on air.

Looking forward to This Week's guest, Gillian Tett, who offers intelligent insights into banking. The system is not only corrupt but also corrupting. Many working within banking and politics viscerally understand deep flaws, yet cannot change them, becoming cogs in the machine. Both spheres attract to the top those who most should not be there; in banking the voraciously greedy, in politics the power-hungry, leading to systems inevitably not serving interests of society. Mental health problems are surely linked; how's a politician or banker to be so circumspect as to realise sociopathic tendencies developing in themselves; even if they do, to harness those predispositions? CND-supporting Tony Blair is a good example of an individual altered by power, results of whose actions led to hundreds of thousands of deaths ( not a value judgment on his government's policies, just facts of outcomes resulting from his decisions). President Eisenhower warned of dangers of the military-industrial complex; increasingly in the West we are becoming war economies, wars feeding our debt-based ponzi-scheme banking system. Acts, horrific to any sane individual, are engineered on massive scales and justified with more and more transparent lies. Wake up people and take back the asylum from those needing help.
Noor Khan, London

With great regret I shall NOT be watching tonight as I usually do. The words 'Honesty' and Alastair Campbell are a complete oxymoron to me. How he has the nerve to keep pontificating on all things political after his heinous lies and half truths over the Iraq War is disgusting. How the Beeb,keep wasting license payers money on this creep is even more despicable.
Mo, Tyldesley

Dear Andrew Neil,
I have wagered my entire student loan on the possibility that you will say, 'mmmm Red Leicester' in the manner of Homer Simpson on tonight's show.
Please do not disappoint.
Yours sincerely, Wild man.
wild man, hull, east yorks.

Me and my partner watch your programme most weeks and are not sure why Michael Portillo has to sit in the middle of the sofa, almost sitting on the other persons knee. As with his politics Michael seems to be ever moving to the right much to the discomfort of who ever he is sharing the sofa with.
Lorna, Manchester

Andrew, Andrew, Andrew; I'm surprised at you (though not at AC)! I am no fan of Cameron but the idea that the veto has somehow evaporated is absurd. Team GB will not be bound by the terms of this Agreement, at all. Had he not vetoed the plan in December, we would have been. Simple. The change is solely that we have accepted that the "agree-ers" will use EU institutions to administer their folly. Let us consider the nature of the EU. We are dealing with people who are so blind to their own failings and those of this ridiculous edifice, that they genuinely do not see why they cannot use the institutions. It could easily be argued then, that whatever Cameron had said, they would continue to do so anyway. Can you imagine the outcry if he had stood up to them - GB standing in the way of the salvation of the Euro? What would he have gained? Would he have tried to enforce the (genuine) legal case against, "while Rome burned" (when of course it will, anyway)? We know thatthe rest of the EU would have heaped opprobrium upon the UK. So his decision was an acceptable political expedient. We will not be bound by any Agreement - and I say "Any" for I believe that, in the comfort of their own "homes", many a leader and parliament will upon reading the fine print of this silly thing, reflect and consider that, whilst the Agreement is absolutely marvellous, it is not quite right for [insert name of country] at this particular moment in history.
Philip Brooksby, Penarth, Vale of Glam

found the show a threesome...self indulgent and a backtrack to the early 1990's called 'lip service'. Thought guests had true value to add to the programme - rather than the be'atchin between the threesome. Not convinced you are producing a programme to reflect 'this week'and more importantly the views of your guests.
CATH, Cheshire

I am a regular watcher of the programme but I have to say that after tonight, i will probably never watch it again. What a load of absolute garbage.
The thing that worries me the most is that there were so many parts of the programme that were dreadful - you really have lowered yourselves to be nothing better than a tabloid gossip column rather than an informed political programme.
The reasons I say this are several:
1, I thought (obviously wrongly) that Michael Portillo is an informed political and social commentator. However, when a discussion on mental health comes up he shows his deep ignorance on the subject and personifies the persona of a completely backward opinion on mental health. It was disgusting what he said that "Ronald Reagan was not allowed to be president" when he was sufferer of alzheimers was a ludicrous comment and displayed Michaels complete ignorance of mental health issues, which is an ill-informed opinion and reflection that many of us (as a sufferer myself) are trying to change.
2, The consistent reference to "call me Dave" etc is wearing very thin now. Please have the respect to call politicians with their correct names. The public are struggling to respect politicians and are generally led by the media, and you have a responsibility to lead the basic respect for people rather than mock them. Genuine criticism is welcome but cheap shots like this are cowardly and unfunny.
I am not sure if dumbing down is a general policy of the BBC but it seems that This Week is leading that charge. It is wholly disappointing and a waste of time on the TV for waht used to be a decent political programme.
I would welcome your repsonse and opinions on the above.
Mark Robinson, Maidenhead

With reference to the mental health problems discussion on your programme, I would like to say that government have change their attitudes when they use their doctors to take an assessment. I had a very bad problem which I developed after death of my husband. I was a professional research chemist and worked for Novartis in the same field for making new drugs. I knew I was not ready for work when had interviewed and asked silly questions to find out if I was fit for the work. I have worked 18 years of my life in science field and felt so angry about all that. I know that some people play games but it always genuine people who are suffering from mental health problem also has to suffer from government's policy. I still see my consultant at Mile End hospital in East l
Prafula Copp, London
Mental health and depression are such a stigma that in politics it's easier to come out as gay.
Sue Goddard , Stalybridge

Dear Sir/Madam,
During tonights programme 02/02/2012 the discussion regarding the return of shares valued at £963,000 by RBS chief Stephen Hester, and had he been bullied.( he has agreed to forego this payment.)
However these facts put into perspective, the unmentioned monies in tonights 'snap shot' he is due to receive:
£3.3 million has been put aside for the coming year
Under a long term plan he could receive a further £4,5 million of shares in 2015.
He has also received around £35 million during his 4 years in his role at RBS.
Source of this information Daily Express Monday 30 January 2012.
My heart bleeds for this overpaid fat cat, based on the prediction in the Daily Express, by 2015 he will have received about 50 Million in total, oh we 'live' in this country my wife and i on less than 10 k for the whole year, we have retired, and yes I am a little disillusioned,
this once great country has bred many fat cats, and I fear for the youger generation, how are they to get started and prosper, the rich get richer, ad nausium, last summer,s riots, although I do not condone what happened, it may be a warning of the pent up anger felt by many of the younger people in the country.
Anthony Porritt, Bridlington

Good piece on Depression in public life. Was the choice of Nick Drake as background music to Alistair's comments deliberate. After all, the man died after years of mental health issues on an overdose of antidepressants.
Oh, and as to politicians hiding physical ailments, most americans were unaware that FDR was in a wheelchair for most of his presidency or that JFK wore a back brace and used crutches
Pippa Musgrave, Shrewsbury

Does Alistair Campbell ever wonder what he done for the mental health of the people of Iraq? I wager he had zero concern when he and Blair were cooking the books to justify the savage and brutal invasion of that country. He still couldn't give a damn about those people so it's not that that's depressing him. Yes, ask him, I'd like an answer. james banville, woking, surrey, GU21

Could someone at the BBC actually remember that Alistair Campbell is only a has been journalist and never was part of any government because NO ONE ever voted for him. I for one am tired of his contributions across a range of programmes especially those where elected politicians appear and he is there as if he was an ex MP. No one ever voted for him
william nelson, Co Antrim

Did I just hear a former Tory minister state that 'We are at the mercy of the markets' ? I always thought that we were a constitutional democracy.
mike finnigan, st helens

I repeatedly hear that we are all to blame for the financial mess we find ourselves in. Sorry, not everyone. Some of us have always been sensible with our finances and can justifiably feel aggrieved at how the consequences of others peoples actions are affecting us now. I have only had two major debts in my life when I bought my house and when I have bought cars. Even then I only borrowed on the basis that I could pay the loan back - within my income.Had I not been able to, I would not have taken on the debt. I have never paid interest on a credit card I have never expected to own 'stuff' that I didnot need if I did not have the money to buy it. As a result I was one of the last people I know to have a Tv, a computer etc etc. I have cut my coat according to my cloth and to be honest see no reason why governments and banks should not do the same.
D Patterson, Morpeth Northumberland

Michael Portillo showed some great insight this week when he described the furore over the EU veto or non veto as being a sideshow. The fact that we are outside the eurozone and therefore still masters of our own destiny is far more important than some petty points scoring over semantics. I also think that in spite of having a strong disregard for Alastir Cameron, he too was right in talking about the irrelevance of Fred Goodwin's knighthood. The bankers do need a change of attitude and bonuses should reflect performance. However we do not want politicians of whatever colour to start telling business what it is allowed to pay it's employees. If a banker earns one million it's portrayed as obscene - what about professional footballers? Miliband won't go down that road, because he is a populist with a complete lack of principle.
david kidd, bury st edmunds, suffolk

What kind of "pacifist" is Portillo?
In this night's programme, Portillo showed the very europeo-centrist he is!!!
Starting with "his great moment of this week" celebrating his trully imperialist and coloniatist soul; and, ending with his proud of being a Spaniard. Probably it is the same thing for him. The millions of Spanish People who protested in streets against the war in Irak feel, sure, very ashamed by Portillo. And, what about the millions who were beneficied by the donations of argentinian food during the Spanish Guerra Civil? Ah! and do not forget that Argentina was named after argenta -which means silver- which enriched the Spanish and European Crowns ...
It seems, to me and others, that Portillo is the kind of "pacifists" who believe in peace supported by war and explotation overseas, as Andrew Neil does. Am I right?
What a week for all this conservatives...,je, je ...
Your programme was really funny this week and relevant with the bold sujestion of prosecution against the individuals who are responsable for the economical damage against the Bristish People and the UK. Well done!!
Time will come ...
Freddy, South Yorkshire

I happen to catch sight of David Cameron looking rattled this week. He didn't allay my suspicion that although he came away from university with a good degree, he didn't really learn much. David Camerons rant at those opposite, that they were responsible for 'Boom and Bust', shows both his ignorance and his barefaced cheek. In that, despite their other shortcomings, the last Labour Government presided over one of the most stable economic periods of the recent history. Whereas preceding Conservative Governments were in office during a lengthy period of 'Boom and Bust'. I had a mortgage during the 'Boom and Bust', the forgetful Conservatives presided over, and was crippled by double digit interest payments and frozen wages. But to be fair, why would David Cameron remember these times, his privileged background would have 'cushioned' him from the reality the majority lived through. It's unbelievable that he (or anyone), is allowed to stand there in Parliament and deceive the gullible, who take him at his word. As an unemployed person I'm getting to see that we really aren't, 'All in it together' despite the constant drone that we are. As someone out of work, I can claim mileage for my trip to the hospital to see a consultant. I am reimbursed at 12p per mile (I recently worked out my actual mileage cost, on fuel alone, it was 21.5p), yet an MP is reimbursed at 40p per mile for the first 10,000 miles before the rate drops. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for any help, but I do wish Mr Cameron and co would stop peddling their lies. I believe that all those who represent others in public office, such as elected officials, should be above reproach, more so than those outside the public sector. So the punishment for those in public office who abuse their position or the trust of the nation should be so severe, as to deter others. In the private sector, such wrongdoing more often ends in dismissal, no salary and poor chances for future employment. Not so in the Houses of Parliament, a Minister was recently stripped of his department and sent to the backbenches, where he has to survive on an MPs £65,758 salary.
Is this really a deterrent, I don't think so. Maybe a Parliamentary firing squad would be more appropriate...
I'm quite happy for you to publish this.
Paul Harris, Southminster, Essex


This month's Mojo (the music magazine) has a 1976 advert for Blue Nun on page 37
Charlie Cook, alderley edge, cheshire

Can you please invite Theodore Dalrymple (aka Dr Anthony Daniels) to give a commentary piece on welfare dependency? Or even the Euro crisis?

He has written a brilliant article about the Greek and Irish deficits:
David Fawcett, Bristol, UK

I eagerly anticipated Diane Abbott's appearance on the show on 19 January 2012 in view of her recent 'foot in mouth' moments. Her 'no show' has prompted some classic barbed comments from Mr. Neil, but still no sign of her. Clearly, she is avoiding This Week (where she would be rightly and properly grilled) but she has no problem turning up on Newsnight, to explain her latest faux pas regarding the abortion counselling group. Obviously not under New Labour 'House Arrest' then so why not?
Ian D Parker, Southport/Lancashire

Re Alain de Botton's piece about taxes. A way to reduce paying taxes would be to lower wages. Is anybody really worth more than, let's say £2,000 pounds a week?
Robert Edwards, London

Dear sirs
Is it possible that the show could be put on a little earlier? 11.35pm is very late and whilst recording it is obviously an option, you then don't get to participate via facebook or twitter, which can be very enjoyable. How about putting it on earlier on say BBC3 or BBC4 at say 9.30 and then repeating at the normal time?
Kind regards
James Driver, Hope Valley, Derbyshire

Hi This Week.
Thank you for an excellent programme last night - as always.
The Alain De Botton slot was interesting but the music you played as a background was fantastic!
Can you please let me know the band and where it can be found.
Yes I know what you're thinking but the music was great!
Richard Smaldon
Richard Smaldon, North Molton. Devon

Alain De Botton reminded me of Tony Hancock in The Blood Donor, when Hancock wanted a badge to show what a saintly person he was for giving blood. Also, he seems to think that the rich give and everybody else receives but we all benefit from taxation. For instance, Eton, along with all the other private schools, has charitable status, so we all subsidise them.
Ann, London

The nausea inducing back-drop reminder that any given week is made up of Monday, Tuesday etc is patronising at best yet still cannot disguise the Muppett Show pastiche of Alan Johnson (Waldorf) and Michael Portillo (Staedtler). Furthermore, Andrew Neil's hairline looks equally ridiculous on BBC1 and HD which leads me to believe that there is another lie the fee paying public are being sold.
Jerome Blake, Greenwich (where time means something)

I enjoy This Week and try to watch every week but having Mehdi Hasan, a man who considers all non-muslims animals, and is clearly seen to say so on youtube, is beyond the pale.
Can you please tell me why this is acceptable?
Richard Evans, Herts

By all means let's us see where taxes are distributed
Prime example will be fuel and road taxes, might make people aware of just how much. Contribution people make to the economy just because the need transport to get to work, buses do not always allow them to get to work
T c thompson, York

As a taxman I would like to thank those in power for cutting our staff numbers by 40%, for not allowing my standard of living to match those that I deal with on a daily basis and for penalising colleagues for not living close to major cities by closing hundreds of offices. Notwithstanding these inflicted hardships I will still be polite and civil to those that I deal with. It would be appreciated if those taxpayers showed equal respect!!!
Lawrence Patterson, lawrence221

Reference pie charts:
Had none of them noticed that The Guardian produces a double page pie chart showing the distribution of government income and expenditure every year.
RCWhiting, Stilton,Cambs

'Gidders'! - that made me giggle Andrew . From another Old Grammarian.
Lesley Chudley, Exeter, Devon

If the government wants us to be happier about paying tax, it should give us more say in how it is spent. The spending on IT projects is obscene. It is well-known in IT circles that most of them are deliverable to a much higher standard at much lower rates - but it is nigh-on impossible to talk to anyone until long after the contract is signed with one of the Usual Suspects...
Vic, Southampton, Hants.

Is the olympic athletes accommodation going to be used for social housing?
Pat Broome, Nottinghamshire

If there was an Olympic medal for talking and achieving nothing up guys would win platinum, better than gold. Lots of talk and no action. On the other hand mm no medal at all. Stop talking and do something if you think you can. Or are you as impotent as you look.
Paul booth, Telford


A comment regarding the question set for a referendum on Scottish Independence in 2014: The question that will be posed to the Scottish people is: "Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?". This is a very clever way of asking people whether they believe independence to be a good thing, and in the social, economic, and political interests of Scotland. If we were to replace the words "agree that" and "should" with the word "want", to read "Do you want Scotland to be an independent country", this cuts through any idealism and puts in the minds of people the practical nature of independence, i.e. how it might effect their business. Asking people if they want an independent country also leaves open the idea of believing that Scotland should be an independent country if they were to vote no on this occasion. Thus, leaving open the idea of voting yes in the future should things align more in favor of Scotland's practical situation. When people decide to vote yes or no to the question that will be asked, if they were to vote no, in the minds of the voters they are essentially erasing from their mind any idea or notion of an independent Scotland; the "should be" element that draws together an ideal or better situation for independence. Thus, by posing the question this way, Alex Salmond is firstly playing along with Westminster's requirements to pose only a single question (thus seeming reasonable), and looking to bring on board more Yes voters. Those who would say No to a question of whether they wanted Scotland to be an independent country (at this particular time, under these circumstances), may well vote yes to a question on the very idea of Scotland being an independent country. Given that current data (as illustrated in the Economist) shows that roughly 30 per cent want an independent Scotland, this question, timed to coincide with the various pomp and pageantry in 2014, would no doubt make the decision a lot closer than is apparent at present, by making people decide whether they value the very notion of an independent Scotland.
Kind Regards,
Michael James Willcocks
PhD Student / University of Manchester
Michael James Willcocks, Warrington, Cheshire

Imagine my horror, dismay when going on to the Iplayer to watch, what was once my favourite programme, that again you had the disgraced Smith on once again. Is there no other Labour politician who is capable of appearing? You seem to perversely enjoy putting Smith on to anoy tax payers who saw the House slap her on the wrist while she walked away with zillions of my taxes!I have complained about your use of Smith on numerous occasions and am just given waffle why you continue to squander my tv tax on her! Get real and use someone who the public will see as a reasonable representative of Labour.

Danny Alexander said on monday something like: "Katie Price's tweets on the economy have more creditability than Labour's policies." Who is Katie price and any chance you can get her on This Week to give us her insights? Thank you.
Robert Smith, Sutton, Surrey

Good afternoon. Is it possible Andrew and his tv crew could include a feature on the 'Married Woman's Reduced Stamp'. In a time of high profile pension issues, this one has been totally ignored by all governments, including the current duo. It is rather a controversial area and I believe one too complicated for any Government to solve, so perhaps Andrew could have a try. I would like to be a guest on your programme to discuss my gripe; well, actually, it is more of a mission as I am one the affected millions. Not sure Michael Portillo would enjoy disucssing this one though as his Government also ignored the issue. I see it as rather a hot potato, but one which is still in the oven! I want to bring it out so perhaps Andrew could get his knife and fork ready!
June Richards, Godalming, Surrey.

I appreciate Diane Abbott's non appearance necessitated a swift change of personnel, but Jacqui Smith is simply not acceptable. One's heart sinks whenever she appears. It is not her apology to the House of Commons, wretched and insincere though that was, that should disbar her. It is her complete lack of any intelligent analysis to the programme. So trite and vacuous is her contribution, Mr Portillo seems either too polite or too embarrassed to challenge her. To give one example from the most recent programme: Her comments on Gordon Brown's leadership qualities as Chancellor were laughable and merely reflect her obsequious views of New Labour. One of the strengths of the programme is that there is a more nuanced and intelligent critic of the political landscape. In comparison Mr Portillo is a strong performer as he both praises and censures Tory politicians. Usually I find Mr O'Neill's banter both witty and relevant. However if Jacqui Smith does continue to appear, it would at least lessen the disappointment if Mr O'Neill could refrain from his puerile allusions to Mr Smith's viewing habits. Amusing though this might have been, it has now become rather trite and tiresome. If one is looking for someone to fill the spare slot on the sofa, can I suggest Kate Hoey? Not only would this restore the gender balance of the original program, it would also ensure that a proper conservative perspective is represented.
Simon Kingsley, Hackney/London

As you seem determined to continue giving air-time - and further public money - to that smug, self-satisfied Jaqui Smith (19 January) I would like to refer you to Richard Littlejohn's column in the Daily Mail dated 10 January last.
Next time she appears on the programme, as she undoubtedy will, despite her disgraceful antecedents, I suggest that Andrew Neil be required to put to her the 14 or so questions that Richard Littlejohn would like the opportunity to do.
She wouldn't look so smug and self-satisfied then!
David Watson, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Lord West did not say whether he included himself in that category of super-beings who are born leaders. And nobody asked him the question. He did say, however, that he only has to raise his eyebrow for someone to do his bidding. He may have been brave in the Falklands ( I don't know the story), but his comment on this occasion was fatuous, and his self-perception delusional; a common occurrence, in my experience, among people who consider themselves to have leadership or managerial qualities. It is certainly true that, as mentioned, good "leaders" rely on the experience and knowledge of "their people" (as they arrogantly call them), but that makes them, by definition, "followers". Many of the "cock-ups" in the organisational and financial sectors of the country in the current era emanate from the inefficiency of so-called leaders and managers, and the unaccountability they have acquired through the modern propagation of the management and leadership skills cult/myth.

Abbot on the run 19th Jan show.
Has she become too toxic for Labour to let her appear? On 11th Jan R.T. Today did a report on the British police and the summer riots. I was so disgusted listening to her comments I recorded the programme to be able to repeat her words. "One of the things that caused it was policing. The way the police talk to them, the abuse of stop and search and a sense that the police are institutionally against young urban people and prob ably institutionally racist as well" I certainly do not remember her saying this on British T.V.Quite shameful for a Britsh m.p.
love to Andrew from his Stoke Golding groupee
Dawn Jennings, Stoke Golding Warks

Lots of comments are rejected as they do not include a name and town as we require
No point sending anonymous comments - or signing yourself 'disgruntled voter' or 'Ths Week viewer' etc - we won't do anything with them
Other comments are just too long - keep to under 200 words
We will print comments which support or criticise the show - but not those with bad language or libellous comments
We give priority to views about issues covered by This Week - if your comment is about another show, contact them instead
We don't promote facebook groups and online petitions etc

For the first time in all the years I've been watching, I too was both disappointed in, and ashamed of, all three of you last night as you responded to Francesca Martinez's eloquent, moving and vibrant defence of disabled people's rights and (puny) benefits: even the normally compassionate and sensible Michael Portillo kept flogging the dead 'you've never had it so good' horse. Even if that were remotely true, disabled people are just about to lose 'it' again. It's been suggested that David Cameron is happy to pursue this particular line because he believes that, regardless of cross-party opposition to the move on DLA and the protests of people involved, the nation agrees with him that disabled people (like those unable to find work in these times of mass redundancies and recession) are a nuisance and an unwarranted drag on the public purse. The 75% increase in disability hate crimes bears this out, sadly: red-top readers (apart from those with a disabled family member or friend) may well take such a callous and ignorant view. (And I know full well how hard the application forms are, and how gruelling the assessment process: I used to have to help my daughter with both. We sweated blood to get the little she was allowed: now, no doubt, even that would have been at risk.) Andrew, Michael, Jacqui Smith: be very, very grateful that you don't have to work as hard just to get through each day as people with physical and mental disabilities do. With their benefits cut, many of them will no longer be able to work: then no doubt fingers will be pointed and 'See, I told you so' trumpeted. I've already written to Cameron and my MP in the strongest terms, protesting this disastrous targetting of the disabled and letting bankers and CEOs off the hook. In Francesca, the disabled have a beautiful, talented, highly intelligent, witty - and courteous - spokeswoman: why were you not listening? For shame!
Val Gaize, Studley, Warwickshire

PLEASE No expenses cheats, no racists on TW.
Why do you persist?! - I may contract RSI by the excessive use of the Fast Forward button.
The time and money given to M/s Smith could have been allocated to a more thorough discussion on the current status of the disabled and similar vulnerable citizens?
Paul Sanderson, Sheffield

I am disabled and while I was glad to see Francesca Martinez's VT tonight,I am really disappointed her message was lost! Andrew failed to stress her point-that DISABLED PEOPLE ARE TOO ILL TO WASTE OUR ENERGY to fight for their basic right to the benefit they need to live on!! We shouldn't have to 'exert this right' which Jackie thinks we are lucky to be able to do.
Our need hasn't changed,we didn't cause the economic crises so why are we suffering cuts?
I love Michael Portillo,however I am VERY disappointed to hear that he,like most politicians,thinks there are people on DLA who don't need it and his very strange idea that govt put people on this benefit to cut unemployment figures??!!! I wish politicians would READ dla forms and see how difficult they are to complete.I,like other disabled people had trouble obtaining this benefit-I know many eligible turned down (just because it is so hard to claim) if they can persevere, eventually they get it.I'm at a loss to know HOW people who scam manage to get it and give the disabled a bad name,but they are few as Francesca said.
Mrs Kennedy, coleraine.n.i.

andrew on one of your programs will you take a look at the changes coming in in april to the loacal housing allowance as in my opinion this pollicy could be the katalist of more riots and discontent as the changes effect all the poor not just the scrougers but the low payed the disabled the young the old if you take the changes to the benefit in this area if you take a 2bed house cthe lowest prices are around £400 per mounth but in april the changes would only pay £300 were dose the other £100 come from as the poor unemployed and disabled have no chance of finding it so as landlords still have morgages or buisness loans to pay they will be foced to make people homeless but as loacal authoritys have no vacant house were do they go and in are area the council house are around the same price anyway we live in the real would we arnt in london and if you take the roof away from people then ther will be riots and it wont be of the landlords making you only have to look at shelter web site to see this cost cutting will not work and will only screw peoples lives up for no reason is this a a way of the goverment getting there own back as they got cought out fiddling there housing allowances they will regret it in the longrun as they will pay the price in so many ways
graham akerman, halifax west yorkshire

Too much talking, the same as your program talk talk same as politicians talk talk. They tell us want we want to hear. They tell us they kill animals fairly, fairly? What does that mean. Kill, kill, kill, that is to eat what you need or not?
Paul Booth, Admaston

I liked your program., . I understand both sides,I have been ,still am on both sides but I know more about the side where money is going down the drain its to easy to get a sick note,then 6 months later yor benifit goes up ! ?? I wish you could help me understand, Alex
alex brusby, hull

I am outraged at "This Week " tonight. The condescension towards the disabled does take no end. I am deeply disappointed in the team. "oh yeah, what a blessing that we do not have the view of our grandgrandparents anymore." I wanted to smash my TV set.
Christina Maria Klein-Bissett,

I was shocked to hear Michael Portillo repeat the lie that people were "put on Incapacity Benefit, to shrink the unemployment figures," and not be challenged about it by Andrew Neil. No-one was "put on Incapacity Benefit" they had to fight tooth and nail to get on it, to the point 1/2 a million current IB claimants had to go to tribunal to get the benefit. Andrew Neil has been sent the background to this with references several times, so he can't use the excuse he did not know.
Tony Dean, The Lizard, Cornwall

Well Done Miss Martinez.
You brought tears to the eyes of someone fairly cynical like me.
Shame on Cameron and Osbourne, look to the elite bankers for the your pound of flesh to pay for their mistakes.
Paul Newbould, Wibsey, Bradford

Are David camerons remarks to Denise skinner in the house of commons ageist and aragant ?
Mike henthorn, Ashton-under-lyne Lancashire

It makes me very sad that one of the first things David Cameron said when he initially came to the fore was that he was not in the business of slagging everyone off but was all about politics, and yet we now hear him doing exactly what he said he never would.
Having said that, Ed Milliband should stop and listen to himself sometimes - he feels compelled to argue and oppose everything said across the floor from him just for the sake of it, whether it makes sense or not. He's making a laughing stock of himself.
I do wonder if anyone has considered the possibility of doing politics in Westminster????
Carol Beecher, March, Cambridgeshire

Does the Millipede's U-turn show that Ed Balls influence is growing? Surely Labour is doomed to defeat at the next election with Miliband in charge. But will Balls weild the knife in time?
Reverend Richard, Glasgow

Talk talk, talk talk, where is the do do. Too much talk talk as she said etc etc even though Adrew admits he talk talks and many times he says he is not clear!
Paul Booth, Admaston/telford

Why does This Week and more generally the BBC continually invite Jacqui Smith at the license payers expense when she has taken over £116,000 from then tax payer as an allowance for her home in Redditch by stating that she lived at her sisters home in London. It sticks in my craw that my taxes (TV license Fee) is still feeding her.
Alastair Taylor, Great Missenden, Bucks

I am mesmerized by Michael Portillo's turquoise shirt. (19/1/12)
I don't usually listen to what he says but the shirt drew me in!!!
I suspect that he has had colour analysis....... and is dressing to his season.... (spring?)
How much more interesting it would be if other politicians ditched the bland and engaged us by having us guess their colour personality!
Dawn Willman, Knott End

I do hope that having consumed the Blue Nun, Andrew topped his meal off with a good dessert wine - a nice bottle of Liebfraumilch......
Mary Shelley, Brookwood, Surrey

I liked your intro. Having a go at the boy wonder, Gove. Ever since his missus (It's weird she looks like a mature person) did a hatchet job in the Times on your programme on education, I wondered when you would be able to have a go. (I may have missed something you may have said in some earlier programme)
Brian Lavery, Oakham Rutland

I watch the prog every week. tonight Neil so offended me with his ridicule of a royal yought Ive turned off. it was unbalanced and uncalled for. Tell him to watch Question time and give a pro yought person like the editor the oppertunity to say it is not for the Windsors it is for the country. I hope the BBc send him back to Scotland when they leave us.
Peter Michels, Kendal

Once again I am offend by your employment of Mrs J.Smith and in common with many others have switched the programme off.
Michael Allsop, Royston, South Yorkshire

Why ( as is often the case ) is this excellent programme on BBC HD but not
In HD Format.
Mike Renwick, Bampton

Just seen that you have Jacqui Smith on your This Week programme tonight. I for one will not watch or listen to a woman who defrauded the public out of tens of thousands of pound (wasn't it £81,000?) by falsely claiming a room at her sister's house was her primary residence.
I think it is entirely wrong that the BBC employs/contracts such a woman.
Michael Viney, Henley On Thames

I am white and have been a London Taxi Driver for over 25 years and I had the displeasure of picking up Dianne Abbott several years ago with her son and Ms Abbott's son's child minder. I can only speak from my personal experience, but Ms Abbott was rude and obnoxious, so much for Labour Party Ideals . I have never discriminated against any black person in my working or personal life but I for one would not pick her up again
Christopher Long, London

Why has the set and studio changed? The colours clashed and were awful last week...It didn't look like Millbank - the studio you've used for years...? What has happened to the old set? To the eye it looks far less cosy and intimate - very open.
Mark Ganderton, Norwich, Norfolk

Both This Week and Question Time mentioned Argentina's renewed demands for the Falkland Islands. The government claims that the right of self-determination is a key issue in its support for the islanders. On Question Time the panel agreed this was essential and the politicians said supporting self-determination was a matter of principle. They were proud that Britain stood by it. hat hypocrisy and cant. I would have loved to ask what no-one else did: where is the right to self-determination for the Diego Garcian islanders and what happened to the British Government's principle in this case? From Labour Government in the 1970s, through Conservative, Labour and now Coalition Government, the British have conspired in not only crushing self-determination but in perpetrating crimes against humanity. The Diego Garcians were forced off their homeland (a British Colony like the Falklands), leaving their homes and most of their belongings; even their dogs and cats (almost 1,000 pets) were rounded up and gassed, using the exhaust fumes from American military vehicles. The Diego Garcians were treated horrendously and have suffered over the last 40 years. The procedure was secretly described as cleansing and sanitizing by some British government agents there. Our governments have repeatedly lied (such as claiming no-one lived there) and connived with the U.S. to cover up the truth. The whole sleazy deal with the U.S. was concealed from parliament and the U.S Congress. In 2000, the islanders won a historic victory in the high court, which ruled their expulsion illegal. The Blair Government lied and blustered about this, until it invoked the archaic royal prerogative (the same powers used 40 years ago to expel the islanders) in order to crush the 2000 judgment - this involved the Queen in a secret meeting with officials; this certainly questions who and what the Queen represents. A notorious, corrupt court case in 2003, in which the judge was virtually an extension of government, denied the islanders compensation and treated them disgracefully. No government minister will discuss it, and some even deny the issue exists. It is a shameful example of the true nature of our government - oppression, violence, abuse, callousness, lies, cover-up and denial. It proves that the concern for self-determination in the Falklands is just a pretence. The real issue is about oil and fishing rights. It is time some light was shed on this iniquity. Andrew Neil and the BBC should expose it and embarrass the culprits.
Stan Evans, Alfreton, Derbyshire


I was so relieved that Diane Abbottwas not sacked by Ed Miliband after her recent racist gaffe - why? because then she might be on This Week every week which would be a big turn off (literally!) for us. I was horrified that she is to be on next week's show - who at the BBC thinks that is a good idea? It is so much better with all the other guests joining the excellent Michael Portillo - especially as he isn't required to sit on top of them as he has, seemingly, to do when Ms Abbott is on the sofa.That all looks very strange!
Diane's inane rambling comments, rolling eyes heavenwards, constant interruptions and finger pointing/waving is irritating beyond belief. Why is she chosen to be on the show when there are so many more interesting and intelligent MPs about?
Can Andrew Neil ask her if it was a cynical ploy on her part to have her hair braided for her interview on Newsnight following the Stephen Lawrence trial and convictions? Was she trying to bond with Mrs Lawrence? It was so obvious when her hair is normally straightened/smoothed for TV & media interviews. Please don't ask her back on a regular basis!!
Vivien Roach, West Wickham, Kent

If Michael Portillo made the racist comments that Diane Abbot has, would we ever see him again on the sofa? I think not. It's time she left the programme for good.
Mervyn Jackson, Belper, Derbyshire

Trevor Young, Ramsbury, Wiltshire

entertaining show this week but did I hear Miss Abbott is back next week ? Blastation!! looks like an early bedtime.
j. h. smith, bodmin,cornwall

Finally, a convincing argument for Scottish independence! Hardeep Singh Koli will go back home. I'd vote for that.
Kathy, Hampshire

Further to my comment yesterday, well done: back on track, so to speak.
David Harkness
David Harkness, Nortleach

I could not believe the stupidity of HARDEEP SINGH KOHLI appearing in the short as the haggis and neeps, whisky drinking true Scot last night . It got worse when he proved himself to have no real basis for his supposed enthusiasm to rush back across the border as soon as the Separation takes place. Full marks to ANDREW , even though there is no doubt where he would stand, for not mucking about and asking the straightforward questions . The squirming away by HSK denying that he had declared that he was for the break and the thinness of a substance of response was the final straw. Scottish Labour don't need Alistair Darling to face up to Mr Salmond . More Hardeep Singh Kohli please !!!!
Graham Laird , Blantyre - Glasgow

Red Ed not only has no hat but he also has no boots, and in fact is walking about in his underpants. He comes across as a 2nd rate actor trying to play a leading role. He attempts the dramatic and power speech to fire up the troops but sounds more like some sitcom joke. My verdict is that he is a dead man walking. I agree with others about the poultry train item in the show which came across as a sad meeting of the local train spotters wetting their pants about the good old days of steam, than a decent discussion about the pointlessness of the whole project.
Graeme, Hounslow, Middlesex

A disgrace that your programme waffled on about railways and did not discuss in detail about the welfare reform bill. The bill will mean the most vulnerable will have to pay for the mistakes of the bankers. They are the tories friends. So as usual the ordinary person will pay for the mistakes of the bankers. Cameron is just a puppet of the bankers.
Michael Gribben, Ballygawley

I enjoy your programme and have been watching for many years.
I would like to make a couple of suggestions that I think would improve the programme:-
1. Make Alan Johnson a permanent contributor - I think he is the best of your rotating contributors.
2. On the question of 'BBC balance', get a larger sofa and make Charles Kennedy a permanent contributor.
David Symons.
david Symons, Birmingham

During this evening's discussion on Scottish Independence Michael Portillo praised the current Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore MP.
The guest on the show, Hardeep Singh Kohli (whose contribution was pretty pathetic all round) then said something like "What are the Lib Dems doing about this - nothing as usual."
Nobody pointed out that Mr Moore is a Lib Dem!
Richard Carden, Denton, Norfolk

nice to see people who could afford to use hs2 ,whos houses wont be affected,say yes
mark, tamworth staffs

As a member of parliment, Diane Abbot should always remember that her comments will be under scrutiny so should always have evidence to back herself. Although her statment seems like an attack I don't believe that she meant in to be racially motivated; it appears that she spoke to a personal level that many of us in my community identify with.
I too am from a Jamaican background and have to partly agree with Diane's statement regarding taxi drivers. Many times I have been left standing in the cold because many taxi drivers refuse to cross the river towards Brixton, and if they do I have to pay upfront. A few years ago in Caladonian Road, North London, myself and other party goes could not get black taxis home or to take me to Brixton.
It's obvious she was ranting and that's all it was. HGowever, she should think about what she says, how she says in and in what format!
Natalie Joseph , Brixton, South London

The way that the SNP are talking it's like they're already independent.
The union has 4 major entities, the equality of these is a different debate, However if the scottish majority wish to leave the union that is fine i'll shake thier hand and wish them all the best in the future, but the scottish majority cannot start to demand extra powers while remaining in the union, that has not been offered by the other three partners. If they wish to have more powers they will have to choose to leave the union with all the problems that come with it, i.e. Prisoners, Diplomats, Road Maintenance, Defence, how will these be paid for? just a small emample
Tommy, an unrepresented Englishman
An unrepresented English Man....Tommy
From Devon
Tommy Wilkinson, Braunton Devon

1) The SNP made it clear in their SUCCESSFUL election campaign that a referendum on independence would be help towards the end of thei time in office, so there was no mystery about timing, and they were not forced to pick a date.
2) The wealth from North Sea Oil far outweighs the subsidies that Scotland receives as part of the UK, and Londoners receive more than Scots do in terms of subsidy.
I hope Portillo keeps up the nonsense about Scotland being subsidised by England, and continues to treat Scots as "infanitilised" (sic). That sort of rubbish will increase SNP popularity and help hugely to increase the vote for independence.
Bill Craw, Pradelles-en-Val, France

Once again 'This Week' treats the issue of scottish independence as a joke. Once again it brings an individual, in this case a comedian, who is not best placed to argue the case for independence on to the show to be marginalised by politicians who are from anti-independence parties. Indeed the programmes host, Andrew Neil, who has always been a staunch unionist, never even manages to pretend he is neutral on the subject. The programme like other BBC broadcasts e.g the the preceeding 'Question Time' is an affront to the principles of neutrality which the BBC claims to cherish.
Derek Halton, Falkirk

You talk talk talk. Perhaps the system should be changed to talk talk, decide decide, then do do,then ensure ensure or modify modify to a separate branch. It might just work when compared to these plonked. Perhaps they need guidance but have the ability
Paul Booth, Telford

Andrew, Re: Scotland Referendum - just think Scottish expression - slowly slowly catch the monkey, Salmond had to establish credibility as being able to govern, achieved. Now has to persuade that Scotland can survive as an independent country - the next two years to achieve that or blame Westminster if not - simples
Craig Simpson, Glasgow Scotland

Micheal P is wrong Scotland gives more money to westminster than it gets back, where is England going to get this money when it stops and spent in Scotland only.
Graeme Watt, Invernes

Re Scottish Independance. 'Always keep a hold on Nurse, for fear of finding something worse'. Especially if 3 alternatives on offer.
Anna Berent, London, England

Why bring on a scruffy man wearing a turbin to represent Scotland. The man appears a fool and can't make any point with no proper argument. Switched off , you are obssesed with televising ethnic minorities and ruining programs in your effort.
Iain Clarke, Kirkcaldy

insufferably patronising attitude of some! The scottish people deserve to choose what and when? Why cannot the english, Welsh and n. Irish have a referendum to decide whether we want these whingers as part of the UK? Where's MY democracy.
Independance for Mercia I say.
Where does it all end?
cj, staffs

Mr. Portilo...where do you come from ! U know nothing about Scots...
p j grinner, lancs

If the settled will of the Scottish people is 'No' will the SDP & Hardeep accept this and not ask again?
Perry, Nottingham

Mr. Johnson ....where do you come from ! U know nothing about Scots...
p j grinner, lancs

Re: Hardeep Singh Kohli. Lunch and a bottle of whisky; nice to see the license fee isn't being wasted.
Zorba Eisenhower, Seldom, Wilts

Waste of time.....
p j grinner, lancs

I strongly believe that all women who have had pip implants deserve whatever medical intervention required to ensure their full health however private companies should be fully liable for any costs in cases they have put in the implants. This is evidence of how privatisation of the health service will go proving that when private company directors are set to lose the taxpayer will carry the burden
Phil, Liverpool

after a debate on who and when the scottish referendum should be l was perplexed when the scottish labour vanguard newspaper led with the story,expelled.. for dressing as a girl
hugh ferns, greenock

For Michael Portillo.
Hi Michael, I have a great deal of admiration and respect for you ... BUT come on the Pink coat on Great British railways, Hmm, are you making a statement or just simply advertising
PLEASE accept this as the joke it is intended
Gerald Habershon
Gerald Habershon, Sheffield

So do you think 3 Unionists and a comedian is balanced coverage of the Independence issue/debate. Why are you scared to have an SNP voice?
Andrew Neil demonstrated in his blundering interview with John Swinney this afternoon that he is more interested in his own opinions than asking questions. BBC credibility on the line...
Andrew Anderson, Edinburgh

Sick of hearing from Alex Salmond & the SNP about Scottish independence. If Scotland want to leave the Union, then go, who cares. How about a referendum for English independence? Leave us, Wales & Northern Ireland to get on with it and best of luck with the Euro.
Keith Scott, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

Let's hope you do better to-ngith than that truly awful performance before Christmas: largely puerile nonsense and a waste of quite a lot of resources.
David Harkness, Northleach, Glos

Welcome back. Hope we have someone of stature to partner Michael Portillo Tonight. I await with wee dram at the ready!
Colin Vaughan, London

Friday (6 Jan 2012) was Epiphany, the traditional day to celebrate the visit of the Magi. It was also exactly one-third of the way through this Parliament (20 months to the day since 6 May 2010). So we are officially in the mid-term of this Parliament. Perhaps This Week could combine the two with a visit of 'Three Wise Men' (dressed as kings, of course), sharing the gifts of their wisdom for the government and opposition entering the mid-term. Kevin Macguire and Quentin Letts would look good as kings (though Macguire might not be so comfortable in royal garb!). The third 'king' should provide a contrast. Maybe Mark Mardell could be persuaded to don royal robes to give his insights from across the Atlantic on Republican hopefuls and on whether Obama might be expected to see them off.
Anthony Thacker, Hinckley, Leics

I hope you will have the good sense to dispense with Diane Abbott's services afer her obvious racist comments. The fact that she attempted to change the context and avoid a real apology makes it all the worse.
Greg Hayes, London

Scottish independence is not a simple matter of continuing devolution. And this argument in the constitutional arrangement of the various nations in and of these Islands is one of many strands. Firstly, there is something deeply disturbing in Mr Salmond's ambitions for the Scots - a jingoism that seems to reek of a want of personal revenge against a supposed foe, of age old injustices that hark back to a medieval Scotland rather than the modern. So much so that it worryingly resonates, to my mind, with the raison d'être of the IRA during the troubles in Northern Ireland the 1970`s which played up the rumbling hatreds of the past. However there are no troops on the streets of Scottish Cities that can be used by the SNP rather they use the fact that Scots sons and daughters are being sent out to fight English wars and use this instead in their rally against State of Great Britain. Secondly, Scotland is a vital piece of Britain, a component part of the body of nations that make up our State and to partition Scots from the English, Irish and the Welsh is to dismember that body. Worse because Scotland is not simply an arm and a leg that can be severed and the body survive that loss through adaptation with a pronounced limp, but rather it is so closely connected with us all that it is a part of its` heart and mind and soul of what is the British people and to tear that out and set it apart is to diminish the parts and pieces that would be left Scotland included. This interconnectedness is our greatest achievement and made by the people of these Islands alone in their small but meaningful ways. And the best example I know of is a telling of my own family history. My Grandfather was educated in Scotland, in Motherwell, but was born in Liverpool to parents that were in contrast from Lancashire and the Isle of Mann. Later they all came to Wales to find work in Port Talbot, another steel town, arriving all dressed in their best tartan, and settled and happily married in Wales. And yet after all those years away my grandfather`s fondest memories, and that of his siblings, were of their time spent playing on the Shields Road opposite the Dalzell Estate where they lived. What this shows is telling, for me, of what being British means - we are a family of nations closely linked not only by Royal Marriages and Acts of Parliaments, and not simply by politics and economic ties but a mesh of social and cultural ties that bind us all. These small but vital connections are a fundamental reason why the British Isles are British, our strength together has kept us rich and safe, an envy of other less happy nations and nationalities who have come to these Islands and prospered, again to our lasting benefit - the British people. This is not 1701 or 1707 where the borders and boundaries of nation-state's were so clearly defined and where seemingly Mr Salmond`s mindset resides. Now Scotland, indeed Britain, is part of something bigger than his small ambitions can compass and I hope the Scots will see that to in the years to come when they decide on whatever question(s) is put to them. And I am sure none of these will contain PARTITION which is a an ugly word that has caused much ugliness the World over when used by the British in the past, but that is probably why it is not being used even if that is what is meant by the glamorous call for Scottish Independence.
Kevin Jones, Port Talbot


Having endured one morning too many of the disgraceful left wing bias dished up by the BBC Today programme, I promised myself that never again would I renew my TV licence.
Oh how foolish I now feel.
The rave scene at the end of last week's show was possibly the greatest moment of my life. Having watched it well over a dozen times, I have gone through countless emotional states: joy, regret and sexual envy. To the point that I now believe that Neil, Portillo et al were in fact trying to convey something quite profound, subtle and sensitive. I am renewing my TV licence and shall do so for the rest of my life.
Charles Forrest, London

Lets get one thing straight about G. Brown keeping us out of the Euro. He didn't do it because of some astute insight about it, we should never credit the numb skull with that, he did it because the selfish prig saw it was going to take power away from his grubby little hands. It was just a happy coincidence that it turned out the way it did, and seem to put the little rug rat in a good light. Nice to see Diane back on the show. L.O.L. NOT !!!!
Graeme, Hounslow, Middle.

Diane Abbott is a good advertisement for why she and her friends on the left don't have any answers to today's domestic and international woes. When she's rested for a while and then wheeled out for the Christmas special it becomes apparent that her brand of politics is the last thing this country needs. She's entertaining on the quiz and the comedy aspects of the programme, but serious debate ? !!
Mark Michaelsberg, London

I find Diane Abbott really irritating. Her contributions are poor when compared with, say, Alan Johnson who tries to be objective, rather than always trying to score party political points. To his credit, Michael Portillo also always seems to give a balanced view. The fact that Diane is always to give unquestioning support to Ed Miliband may demonstrate commendable loyalty but it doesn't really enhance the debate. Downturn Abbey was stupid and puerile and not worthy of your usually excellent programme. The same must be said of the choice of question-master! Who on earth asked Johnny Robinson to take part in a semi-serious political programme? Ridiculous!
david kidd, bury st edmunds, suffolk

I have got used to Andrew Neil being rude to MPs on other programmes but does he REALLY have to do Scotland down ? I am NOT a nationalist but I love my country. If Mr Neil spent a bit more time in his home COUNTRY he would fine we are very much at peace with ourselves here which is down to Alex Salmond and the SNP government and long may it continue !!
Patricia Gibb, Perth

Welcome back Diane ! The sofa chemistry is back - Diane and Michael just perfect - fantastic - best programme of the week ! It is why I pay my licence fee.
wilma , London

Does Mr Neil consider it 'clever' to refer to the Prime Minister as 'Call me Dave', and the Deputy Prime Minister as 'Clegg over'? I ask because the constant drip-drip-drip of low level derisive comments from Mr Neil and other such pundits has the inevitable effect of reducing respect for men who are doing an exceedingly difficult job. Later, when there is a very low turn-out for a General Election, Mr Neil will wail about public apathy. But after years of repeated mildly derisive insults levelled at Mr Cameron and other politicians, who are all portrayed as incompetents of shallow intellect compared to the pundits doing the insulting, it should be no surprise that voters lack confidence in political leaders. Mr Neil complains about modern society having a lack of respect - but can't show any respect himself.
Colin, Leeds West Yorkshire

Nice one tonight - a good farewell to the year. A pleasure seeing the old double act back together, and thanks for having Chuckie back on. 'Downturn Abbey' has been the best TV fixture of the year. See you in 2012, muckers.
Mathew, London/Aberdeen

looking forward to this week but oh dear what a let down. DOWNTURN ABBEY was utter rubbish and as for the quiz where did you find the questionaire. the discussion between your guest's is of the usual quality and it is nice to see Dianne.
bill mclean, theydon bois

Neil has surpassed himself. He has the nerve to mock someone who tells poor jokes in a dull faltering fashion. This is precisely what he does for an whole hour every week. When is someone (producer?) going to tell him just how painful it is to listen to him?
RCWhiting, Stilton,Cambs.

I thought "This Week" was a serious programme until I switched on to see Johnny Robinson on it !! Talk about dumbing down !!
John Johnstoone, Edinburgh, Scotland

I always enjoy This Week and I like the way Andrew is so 'tongue in cheek', but I dislike the continual Ed Milliband bashing. This also happened on the Daily Politics show on Wednesday. When I see Mr Cameron I see arrogance and nastiness in action when I see Mr Milliband I see confidence, honesty and a man who cares about Britain.
Heather, Lancashire

I have to make strong representation against Andrew Neil's comment about Scotland being !the land of the blind" This is an offensive remark both ethically and politically and should not go unnoticed. Despite the fact that he appears to be a Scot by birth, this could also be considered as a racial comment against the proud people of Scotland
Harry Munro, Ayr

Did any of the 'this Week' team see the house of commons debate on UK's relationship with the EU? (Wed. 13 December) It deserves a clip on the programme It was almost impossible to follow the case being made by Emma Reynolds due to the almost non-stop 'voice-over' by her colleague Douglas Alexander sitting next to her. He appeared far more interested in his own comments to members opposite and only appeared to briefly pay attention when his own name was mentioned. He even got his mobile phone out and started 'texting'. If he found the debate so unworthy of his attention that it was more amusing to distract the viewers, how can we be expected to take hime seriously? I had thought this was a serious issue. Apparently not.
Dale Greig
Dale Greig, Paisley, Renfrewshire

might i suggest, in these times of economic woe and complexity, that you have a lucid economist on the show on thursday? louise cooper, perhaps.
i look forward.
stephen goldsack, london


I enjoy This Week, mainly because of comment by Mr Portillo which is informed and incisive. His commentary on the present situation in Europe on last week's programme was informative and gave more insight than any of the printed media. In my opinion he is the best PM we never had.
Richard Smedley, Newark

From history it is clear that French(napolean) and Germans(WW I & II) had euoropean domination ambition. It has always been foiled by UK. Now they have joined hands - Franco-german state of europe is being formed. This is not military but economic. will UK be ready when the time comes again?
Appa Basu, Basildon

I attend a number of meetings of The Bruges Group where our speakers come from both sides of the divide. eg Daniel Hannan and Kate Hoey, interspersed with journalists such as Peter Oborne. It is frequently mentioned that there are a number of Eurosceptics on the Labour side, particularly with the new members coming in at the last Election. This is never brought out by the harder hitting interviewers such as Andrew Neil or Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight. We just hear about the 80-120 Tory backbench rebels. Is the information I have been given all that wrong?
Graham Stevens, London

Does Mr Cameron's "veto" mean I won't be able to get spare parts for my Audi in future?
Will the Mini factories be nationalised? Will trains now be built at Derby instead of by Seimens in Germany? Or will nothing actually change?
Meanwhile, Europe's debt mountain continues to rise. Spending is out of control. The Euro countries really should do something.
Rich Hill, London

Hi Andrew & Co
I have watched your show for years. I am of average intelligence. I like to keep up this politics etc but don't understand much. Nor do we I can hear you saying Andrew If I was famous & invited on your infamous sofa opposite you, Diane & David I would ask." Why make old people work longer who have paid into the system for over 40 years & more to save on paying them a pension when over a million youngsters are on the dole who have not paid in a penny? So many other advantages to this!! And David I wish you were Prime Minister & I am a Liberal!!
Deborah Farrell, Woodford, Essex

I thought MP's comment about any EU referendum for Britain was spot on and has finally got past the 'emperors new clothes' approach of others. The whole issue of the EU is portrayed as a battle between a minority of little Englanders and a majority of EU federalists. my view is that, for all of the reasons given by MP (and probably more) we are not, cannot and will not have the same mentality as the mainland Europeans, and unlike some of the poorer countries flocking to join, we are an established, credible economy able to determine it's own future, whilst cherrypicking the best opportunities offered by trade with the EU. We can work with the EU without being part of it.
ian harris, Yelverton

Fantastic show, as ever. Great discussion, and just the right balance of fact and fun!
And loved the dancing at the end! Michael Portillo's face was priceless!
Well done on another brilliant program.
James, London

Yet another long discussion on Europe with not a mention of our multi-billion annual contribution for the privilege of membership of this shambles.
Peter Dickinson, Accrington Lancashire

Andrew, Michael and Diana,
Merry Christmas from Fuzhou in the People's Republic of China where Friday mornings are not the same without 'This Week' and a bottle of imported Blue Nun . We all enjoyed the joke about the Sichaunese Pandas sponging off the British taxpayer - indeed John Humphreys' recent programme about welfare was viewed by many Chinese as a comedy in the style of The Office. I write, however, because of the widespread disappointment that met Andrew's failure to reference Blue Nun is the show broadcast on 8th Dec. 2011 - an apology would be appreciated Andrew by your growing Chinese fan club.
James Dollimore , Fuzhou, China

Re: European Union
When Michael Portillo speaks of the British people's inherent euro-scepticism he is no doubt broadly correct but nonetheless let it still be said that there surely remain at least some British people who actually continue to be proud of the European Union for all it's faults, and even dare to abhor this country's persistent tendency towards isolationism when it comes to all things European as well as the dreadfully anti-European attitude of certain sections of the media never mind many Tory MP's.I fear too that the anti-European rhetoric is becoming so overriding that any pro-European voice is simply being drowned out and things are being said in a very sweeping way that fail to consider all the facts. For example, is the working time directive such a bad thing - personally, I think it is a pretty modest piece of legislation. Further, for all that leaving the Euro would allow Greece, for example, to devalue please do not suggest as I fear your programme does that everything in the garden would be wonderful for Greece. At the very least properly analyse both the pros and cons. In addition, is it really in Europe's interests (in which I include the UK) to go back to 27 different currencies and in the course of doing so probably abandon or undermine the single market? Again at least properly analyse both the pros and cons - after all I suggest that your devoted late night listeners are up for it!
James Walker, Canterbury Kent

As a regular viewer of the programme, I feel that I cannot be the only one to find it objectionable that, with regularity, it gives air time to Jacqui Smith - a woman who brought shame on one of the great Offices of State. She should be in prison, not being paid by the BBC for appearing on your programme.
David Watson, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

I thought the discussion on last night's show about Britain's relationship with Europe, and about the Eurozone crisis, was top notch. Tim Montgomerie's introductory piece was concise and to the point. I'd been thinking that over the last couple of shows there was a bit too much waffle and banter (Michael P, as ever, excepted), but things seemed back on track last night. Oh, and by the way, let's see a bit more of Charles Clarke. He too can cut to the nub of an issue.
Andrew Page
Andrew Page, Reigate, Surrey

Just a quick email to big up Andrew Neil. Always makes me laugh with his anecdotes but was on top form yesterday (8/12/2011).
Merry Xmas
Dele Rufus, London

I would just like to congratulate the This Week team for being the only source of political debate that I can find anywhere in the media that seems to talk about the issues in a non sensationalist manner, free from the political straight jacket of collective responsibilitity. More common sense from across the political spectrum here than anywhere else. I may be sad but I find it one of the most enjoyable programmes of the week. Thank God for i-player though!
Francis, SWINDON

I enjoy listening to this programme and look forward to the next one...its good to hear politics spoken in the peoples language so we can all understand it..If you want my view of the common market we should be OUT..and never should have gone in in the first i hope you will be able to help me.. I play my local church organ and would like to know the carol tune that you were playing in one of the items, in last nights programme...thanks
Peter Tucker, Bristol

How many times do viewers have to express their annoyance/outrage before the disgraced and not-very-good Ms J Smith no longer receives part of our licence fee. There are tens/hundreds of left of centre alternatives. A random person off the street would be better?
Peter Murray, Penistone, Yorkshire

I find this show to be a consistently adult, witty, entertaining and informative show, which Andrew Nield "chairs with consummate skill and panache.
Regarding the 'quote' attributed to Boris Johnson, by Michael Portillo, about the "cancer and the patient", I find it highly reminiscent of a quip made by the popular Danish pianist / comedian Victor Borge, of the 60's, who said, during one of his anecdotes, ..."the operation was a success, but, the patient died!"
I trust you will pass this on to Mr Nield, for his wider distribution...
With thanks,
Ralph Fraser
Ralph Fraser, Manchester, UK

so everyone in britain does'nt quite have its heart into the european idea {michael portillo } its been sweet since whenever it was we joined what with trade and everything,but now the going gets rough we all want to queasy back to little britain with those wretchered mean spirited tory european sceptics
dave fox, cardiff

Had become used to switching off when we got to the "Spotlight" non-entity Z-lister recruited from one of Andrew's more boring nights in Annabel's. And then, Andi Osho! Wow! Intelligent, relevant and photogenic. Suspect her contributions could extend beyond OTT Olympics cermonies. But do hope she doesn't encourage MP, AN and political guest to throw shapes from their sofa/chair. Pur-leeze.
Geoff Williams, Orpington

Dear This Week
I have just watched your Euro-crisis report and discussion tonight 9th/12/11, with complete disbelief.
Firstly I am amazed how your reporter seem's to sumarise that the Euro-group, EU and Euro currency should be left to disolve or emplode.
Secondly the audasity to insist the UK and Mr Camron should make demands on the EU governors and political leaders.
Basically the lack of government control, UK regulation and taxation on banking here in the UK, has after all been a very major contributor to the 'Global recession'.
Now that the damage has been done, Mr Camron and your panel seem to insist on protecting banking transactions (no transaction tax), protecting the currancy and derivitives movements here in the UK.
I do believe it called having ''your cake and eating it''.. when will our leaders face up to their responsibilities and admit poor government policy and regulation on banking.
Just where is the accouintability ?
Why are we looking to Europe, insisting we must be considered and not held accountable for the disaster we are approaching. Where is the rational?
Your disgrunteled viewer.
Mr Neville, London

Britain's best strategy in Europe is not to be seen to campaign negatively against the EU. Instead, we need to be proposing a more positive alternative. I believe this best alternative lies with re-joining EFTA with Norway and Switzerland and setting out a vision for a less intrusive European project which other EU countries can be persuaded to join.
Paul M, Belfast

It seems only the British are determined to see an apocalypse in the Euro situation. Maybe others have a vision and are determined to see it through. Try this from the Weymouth Bible, "For the present we see things as if in a mirror, and are puzzled; but then we shall see them face to face. For the present the knowledge I gain is imperfect; but then I shall know fully...
B. Lavery, Oakham Rutland

I absolutely laughed my socks off at the end of this weeks show! Great ending. "This week" has made my week.
Kindest Regards
John Hollis
john, edinburgh

Haha, loved the little joke about the band underworld ad the reference to trainspotting etc... Personally I think Sunshine the movie had the best orchestrally supported soundtrack in part arranged by underworld and therefore look forward to what they have to contribute to 2012. ;)
Sam, Oxford

Michael Portillo says that one of the main things with the problem over the euro is that if there was some sort of referendum in the UK that the British public would say No to the euro. This i feel is Not the case i am a young Man who grow up under a conservative government who managed to cause so much pain and suffering financially to my family, i grew up on a council estate and struggled however i was a committed to achieving more and have served in the armed forces in N Ireland and Afghanistan i then became a foster carer for children and young adults at the age of 22 to help them achieve more in their lives. so i have given you some back round on myself i say that Michael Portillo is so wrong i know for the over all prosperity of the UK we need to be linked to europe as the world is a global market and we need to have the abilities to have a strong access into what europe is doing the biggest thing and issues that i have is the little things like we are told we need to do certain things to ensure health and safety and the well-being and human rights of prisoners yet you go to places like spain and see their health and safety on building sites Etc
matthew bell, Worksop Nottinghamshire

People are always wondering why the general public are against the police force. From a personal point of view, its not because I thing they do a bad job, it's because when you are in a position where you you have to deal with the police force, if you are ever negative towards their behaviour, they immediately threaten you with arrest due to a public order act. That gives them carte blanche to act how they want until enough people complain and then you end with with a national enquiry. Otherwise you end up talking to yourself.
Peter England, London

I, and like-minded voters, knew that this would be the result of the Euro creation and made our concerns for the loss of sterling known. This is what saved us from this peril. Government under Blair and Brown, and to some extent Cameron, have merely worsened it by investing in the Euro. Brown did nothing but avoid uproar from the public; he did not save us from this. Also the extra money spent on the olympics when we're supposed to be cutting like a pack of barbers and the elderly are having reduced winter payments is not just wrong, it is putrescent. Cameron should hang his head in shame.
Andy Burgess, Accrington, Lancs

How can we trust these "childish" IDIOTS to run the country when all they do is throw IMMATURE insults back and forth to each other.Is that what running the country is all about?Hold the Fred Goodwins to account for the mess of the country and not the less fortunate or vulnerable!!!!
Graham, Hayes,Middlesex

I almost always watch and enjoy This Week. However, I ALWAYS switch off immediately I learn that Jacqui Smith or Hazel Blears are on the show - I feel nauseous just looking at theae two after their performances during the expenses debacle.
SHAME ON YOU,BBC, for just letting them through the studio door!
james gray, Redcar, Cleveland, England

I have a two seater sofa in my cottage. When I have guests I find that, quite conventionally, one person sits at one end, and one person at the other end. It is a total mystery to me as to why Mr Portillo sits IN THE MIDDLE, right up tight against the guest on his right. It looks odd, it is odd, and it leaves a large gap on the left of the sofa. Why does he do this? Do his fellow guests (particularly the excellent Alan Johnson) not feel strange with this oh so up tight and highly vertical seating arrangement? Tell Portillo to move to the left (ah! is that the problem, does he want to occupy the centre ground in his later years?. I enjoy your programme apart from this irritation, but if I may add another critiscism, do please talk to the screen without making it so obvious you are reading from the autocue. A bit of spontaneity and some ad libbing are surely not beyond your talents.
Peter Leney, Banbury

I am English man that manages both an English based and German based businesses. Please ask all the experts that seem to think it would be better if Europe binned the Euro how will the markets deal with the national currencies of Italy, Spain, Potugal, Ireland, Greece because they will still have toxic debt and will still fail to get a AAA rating. That means you are converting a 1.4 trillion Euro debt for Italy into another exchange rate. French Banks are heavily invested in Italy and UK banks are heavily invested in France. I suggest your so called experts need to go back to the school of basic Economics.
Rick Tyler, nordikcamping

can "this week" please debate the issue regarding employment agencies, business in the uk pay for example £12.50 per hour to recruitment agents to supply labour, the employment agencies then advertise the vacancies in jobcentres at the expense of the taxpayer and pass on £6.50 per hour, leaving the worker not enough what the law say's you can live on, and is then subsidised by the taxpayer through tax credits back up to £8.50 per hour, this costs the british taxpayer around £15 billion per year, it creates inequality in the workplace and is stopping hard earned money going to families who need it, not greedy employment agents, this issue needs debating.
michael conlon, maltby

Michael Portillo was spot on highlighting the context and importance of the explosions in Iran. History warns us, as Major General Smedley Butler, who exposed the planned White House coup before a 1934 Congressional committee, stated, 'war is a racket.' Everyone who cherishes democracy should read this short work. Radio 4's Mike Thomson made an excellent Document programme, 'The Whitehouse Coup.' A clip from the film 'The International' 'The essence of the banking industry' explains the terrible reality. Manipulation of debt is enslaving people and it is no small coincidence that the banking 'crisis' and increasing military interventions are occurring simultaneously. Iran has its own independent banking system, meaning no Western debt-driven recession; Iraq and Libya used to, their plans to sell their oil in Euros and gold dinars respectively may have sealed their fate. Libya's was replaced before Gaddafi was even caught. The Institute for Policy Studies 2000 study showed that 51 of the top 100 economic entities are corporations. Their power has grown since and is in danger of over-riding countries' interests. Remember the false claim of Iraq's WMD's...we must not be railroaded into another war of aggression. If we do not learn, it could be disastrous.
Noor Khan, London

Question for all the experts on international trade who come on your show:
Britain builds Toyotas, Nissans, Hondas, etc. in the UK, but a lot of parts are imported from Japan. Say £4000 per car is imported. This attracts import duty and VAT of, say £1000, which is collected by the UK government. We export a lot of the cars to France, Germany and other EU countries within a duty and tax free area, called a Customs Union.
Would it not be a good idea to abandon any kind of need to deal with these EU countries in a friendly and responsible way, but still expect them to buy our cars free of any additional duty and taxes? Oh, and the British government wants to keep the £1000 import duty and have no need to compete on a level playing field with other European countries in terms of Health and Safety, exploitation of workers by unscrupulous bosses and other progressive policies !
It's a win win game for Britain and a damn good idea if you are a narrow minded little Englander with no understanding of international trade.
Answers on a postcard, attention Mr Barossa, Brussels
Michael Rich
PS Was anyone else involved in exporting at the time of EFTA? Remember all the hassle of declaring what proportions of the exported goods were not made in Britain? It was an administrative nightmare!
Michael Rich, Nottingham


As always, Michael Portillo makes thoughtful, comments. He listens to others on the show so intently. I cannot understand why he gave up front line politics as he would have made an outstanding Prime Minister, as I have commented before. I'm concerned at the many complaints about Michael's comments regarding teachers' pensions and, hopefully, he will explain or apologise on next week's show. It's not like him to get anything wrong, so it will be interesting to discover how he arrived at the figures mentioned. I am certain of his integrity. I look forward every week to hearing his views.
Rosemary Morrison, Formerly Glasgow, Scotland - now Northend, Henley on Thames

On last night's programme I heard Michael Portillo quote the case of a teacher earning £37,000 and retiring with a pension of £26,000. This has to be wrong. The teachers' pension scheme currently gives half the retiring salary for payments over 40 years. Very few teachers complete 40 years service so very few even get half the retirement salary. Portillo should check his facts properly. Or is he simply following David Cameron in talking about some hypothetical teacher in 30 years time who will have paid vastly more into the system and got to retire much later.
Paula Casson, Leicester

Although a 'Labour' person myself, I've always respected the views put forward by Michael Portillo, and felt he was basically honest(especially now he's ex-in-government). I was therefore shocked to hear Michael, on last Thursday's programme, stating that 'Teachers go on strike at the drop of a hat', and that a teacher on £37,000 pa will get a pension of £25,000 pa. As a highly successful headteacher, I know that the staff I have the privilege to work with are incredibly dedicated, immensely hardworking, and care about the children they teach above all else. On the rare occasions that they may take strike action, it is not so much about their own conditions, but about their concerns for the future of teaching (ie; being able to recruit and retain the high quality teachers we continue to need in the future, when Government actions are working against this). Then, and only if they manage to last out 40 years in the profession (and not many do), the pension contributions they have made will be sufficient for them to retire on a half salary (and half of £37,000 is never £25,000 Michael). It greatly saddens me that, from now on, I'm going to have to think that everything Michael says on 'this Week' could be thought of as nothing more than another dose of political lies and deception.
Peter GORDON, Hastings, East Sussex

I thought that Michael let Billy Bragg have what was coming to him last night. Michael is a gem, a real oracle, don't ever lose him or your show will go to pot. You and Mr Portillo are a great combination. And yes Andrew, your greatest moment was your interview with Diane "no comment" Abbot.
Peter jones, London

I like this show but never watch it live. I find Neil's attempts at humour horrendously cringemaking. It was only mildly amusing the first time he reffered to Blue Nun and the constant repetition is infuriating - why has no-one told him he is just not funny ( I think I can guess actually). The debates are always good and Neil asks the right questions and keeps the whole thing going smoothly but woe-betide any participant who gives the slightest critical comment or makes a joke at Neil's expence - his nasty side becomes very apparent. Portillo and Abbot are always good value. I fast forwatd through everything except the debates. Portillo could almost pass for a worthy socialist rather than an evil Tory. His summaries of most situations are spot on. Johnson is also very good but Portillo and Abbot seemed the perfect match.
Mark, Hitchin Herts

This issue that many publuc sector workers have is not with having to work longer, that is something that is inevitable. The issue is that NONE of the extra money paid by workers will go into the public sector pension pot at all, it is all going to pay off the deficit. Public sector workers are being scapegoated for the failings of the financial sector, who remain untackled by the coalition.
Al, Cheltenham

I've just heard M Portillo say that a teacher who earned £37,000 would retire on a pension of £25,000. How dare he? This teacher would retire on, after 40 yrs, half of £37,000, clearly not the figure he claimed. Also he just said that teachers strike at the drop of a hat! Where does he get this from? Please ensure your guests are better informed or brought to book for their total inaccuracies.
David Prothero, Harpenden Herts

Isn't it a waste of hypocrital breath by Michael Portillo to criticise Civil Servants when Members of Parliament HAVE ENSURED that they have a pay rise and a wonderful pension plan.
They have been very quiet about their pay and pension arrangements whilst being very critical of others who have invested years of contributions into their retirement.
Charles Brickley, Bristol, England

good god, this programme is awful - jodie marsh? glad i'm usually asleep
mia vrachimis, brighton

For the biggest strike in ages: I didn't notice it. Kept the TV off and, miracle, no visible strike!
Paul Squire, Sussex

Why does this man Bragg think that public sector (cost-centre) employees have contributed anything to a pension fund? They are paid by the real workers that comprise the private sector, without whome they would have no job let alone pension. There are far too many people paid far too much money, to do non-jobs in the UK. Britains' structural debt exists largely because of these un-productive 'public sector' employees. Lets get our population back to work in a competitive environment and stop paying people who have no idea what it means to contribute to the economy.
Tim, Cobham

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In this week's programme, Michael repeated the misinformation found in the Daily Mail about teachers' pay and pensions when he said that a teacher earning £37000 near the end of his/her career could expect to retire on a pension of £25000. This is absolute nonsense and Michael owes the teaching profession an apology for misleading the public about both their pay and pensions. The teachers' pension scheme pays 1/80 of final salary for every year in service; therefore, given that most teachers are well into their twenties by the time they have qualified, this means that when they reach 60, the earliest age at which they can normally access their pension, they will have accumulated about 37/80 of their final salary, which, incidentally, is currently £34200, not £37000, for an unpromoted teacher in Scotland, where I live. Thus, the pension would be under £16000, a far cry from the £25000 suggested by Michael (and The Daily Mail). The maximum number of qualifying years for pension purposes is 45 but to achieve that, a teacher would have to work until he/she was nearly 70 years of age and even then could only expect a pension of £19000! Ignore The Daily Mail's fairytales, stick to the facts and stop misleading the public,Michael!!!
Ian Mackellar, Newtonhill, Stonehaven, Kincardineshire

I find Michael Portillo's comment that 'teachers strike at the drop of a hat' highly offensive. This is a cheap, inaccurate and thoughtless comment which does not become him. Teachers do a very challenging job trying to ensure our young people are engaged and have a stake in this society which he should welcome, given the recent riots and obvious disenfranchisement of many. We are simply fighting for the right to a dignified retirement and what we were promised. We can ill-afford to lose the pay deducted on strike days. It's a pity that Michael, with his privileged life-style and income has become so removed from reality and forgotten his roots, i.e. the grass-roots activists and survivors of the Spanish civil war, who spoke up for social injustice.
Maggie O'Brien, London

I thought Gisela was great tonight. 'A voice of down to earth common sense'. far better than Diana abbotts opinions. Michael Portillo's brilliant observations are well complimented here , and I am sure she could well develop a strong act together with Michael if helped.
matthew olley, london

Has the This Week lost the contact details of guests who may be able to pose a point of view that challenges Portillo,Johnson,Smith etc who believe Capitalism works.
Robert Pender, Lichfield Staffs

Has no one got on to the fact that Ed Milliband said to David Cammeron " I'm not attacking the dinner lady ... who earns in a week what the chanecellor spends on his annual skiing holiday" surely a low paid worker earning say £800-1000 a month would mean the chancellor would pay £200-250 for his holiday. If this (being pitched at the highest level) is true can you tell me where I can book such a skiing holiday >
Phil Ainsley, Luton

Ed Milliband said a cleaner makes "in a week what the chancellor spends on his annual ski holiday". Where does Mr Osborne book such extraordinarily cheap holidays?
James Toal, Dunfermline

In comparing the average Public Sector Salaries with Private Sector salaries the statement that the public is now better than the private sector whilst correct needs to take into account a major change. The change is that lower paid workers such as refuse staff, street cleansing staff, park keepers, cleaners, carers and others all traditionally lower paid are now no longer in the public sector but have been contracted out to the private sector. Therefore the comparisons being made are distorted.
Brian Spencer, Twickenham

Michael's statement that a teacher retiring on £37,500 would get a pension of £25,000+ is incorrect. To get 2/3 of your final salary only applies to those working 40 years and starting after 2007. Prior to that date the scheme is an 80th scheme, hence his figure of £25,000+ is too high. It goes to the core of the breakdown, facts are out of the window and negotiations clearly are not happening with any sense of respect. As a teacher who started in 1979 with 6 months to run on a 25 yr endowment policy hope that either politicians, bankers and union leaders have real morality is failing.
andy penney, weymouth, dorset

Good Evening,
Michael has just said that a teacher on £37,500 would retire on £25,000. If that teacher had worked for 40 years then they would retire on a maximum pension of £18,750. The misinformation is quite unacceptable and hopefully will be corrected.
Graeme Bowen
Graeme Bowen, Cowes Isle of Wight

Where did Michael Portillo get his facts that a teacher retiring on £37,000 will get a pension of £25,000? I am a teacher and when I have worked for 20 years and retire on about £36,000, I will receive a pension of about £8,500! I do not think this is a gold plated pension!
Sue Benson, Norwich

How is it possible that we are asked to take someone seriously that has such a physical self image problem?
Peter, London

I just wanted to let you know that you are putting out a wonderful show. I watch it all the time. The thingh I have to thank you for is this: before I started watching you show I hated politics. I thought the subject was boring and much worse. However, I have been following your show for anout 8 or 10 weeks now and I am totally glued to it. It has awoken an interest in politics that must have been deep within me. I love how your show clearly enjoys the lighter side of politics and yet deals directly with the serious issues. I really like how you put the hard questions to the guests on your show. I like how you do not allow them to weasle out of the I want to say a big thank you to you for getting me interested and involved.
PS I also love the DAILY POLITICS SHOW as well. Well Done to youfor putting out such good programs
Jonathan Boardman, Bolton, Greater Manchester

No, not again! Why would anyone care what Billy Bragg thinks about anything?
Michael Roberts, Burnley, Lancashire

Michael Portillo's comments about teacher pensions are wrong - or certainly don't apply to my partner. He stated teachers earning £37,000 will retire with a pension of £25,000. This may apply in London, but not elsewhere. My partner doesn't earn that amount and if she lasts until retirement age - it's a big if - she will receive around £16,000. That's with an accrued service of forty years. She may well be made redundant next summer and, if that's the case, will qualify for a pension of around £10,000 at retirement age. Not exactly gilt-edged is it? How much did Fred Goodwin get as a pay out and pension? How can the Tories bang on about the public sector pensions being untenable when they have done nothing to regulate the banks and bankers, are still allowing bonuses, and have sold off Northern Rock at a huge loss to the tax payer? I also work in the public sector (and my pension has already been slashed by my employer). I didn't have an option when I got my job. I HAD to sign up for the pension scheme as did most other public sector workers. We can't be held responsible for all the ills of a mis-managed economy, or blamed for Cameron's confrontational stance. The Tories seem to be using a campaign of misinformation to drive a wedge between the wider public and public sector workers. Hitler's precept of "If you tell the people often enough - no matter if what you tell them is false - they will eventually believe it" seems to be the tack of the Tories here. I'm afraid I wouldn't trust Cameron or his Liberal Democrat collaborators as far as I could throw them.
John Neesom, Dundee


There was almost concensus last week with the view that it is for shareholders to take the issue of executive salaries in hand - as someone who is appalled by any salary more than a few times greater than that of the average hard worker I would like to see this work. However the few savings I have, in ISAs etc. give someone else the chance to vote - another overpaid financier with a bloc of shares enabling him to support his cronies on my behalf. What a farce it all is - a bit like the unions, strikes and labour. andrew collier (ex head, once known to michael p...)
andrew collier, porthcawl, mid.glam

Dear Andrew and the team
Thank you for another excellent show that included some high class debate covering a range of opinions. For me, this week's show confirmed that the Alan Johnson and Michael Portillo combination on the pundits' sofa is just right, although I can understand some people's concern about a lack of gender balance. I thought all your guests were excellent value and I am pleased you are back in the familar, old studio. In recent weeks you haven't had an extra guest for the 'middle of the programme' discussion looking back at the past week and I think you lose some extra bite by doing this. Will you be able to go back to having the extra guest for this slot, or is this part of the BBC cut backs? Keep up the good work.
Matthew Ryder, Cambridge

The furore over executive pay needs to be brought into perspective. This topic was discussed on the programme [Question Time] preceding This Week where Justin King's salary was scrutinised. The imbecilic audience analogy was to compare Justin King's job worth with that of a bricklayer/nurse/fireman/etc ??? It's time the UK's population woke up to the fact that so many of them are incapable of assuming the responsibility shouldered by top executives, like Justin King, or accepting the pressure, sacrifice and demands such a senior role dictates. The top executives earning high salaries have put their professional career first, their private family life second. They work in excess of 70 hours per week, 24/7 and quality private time is a rare commodity. How many of the UK's bleating population would make such sacrifices? How many of them have the intellectual capability to be CEO of a prestigious organisation? Most UK workers want a cushy, 9-5 occupation with no weekend work, or a job with flexible working hours that revolves around their child care and family needs. Generally, the UK's workforce is feckless, lazy and lacking the ambition, commitment and drive to succeed. So stop bleating and begrudging success to the coterie of professional, top executives who have made a success of their life - and are earning a handsome salary for doing so.
Derek, Cheshire

I've barely missed an episode since it started airing, a good show with occasional revelations. Alan Johnson is perfect for the role. All I ask is that some politics outside of the bubble is explored, as the village love in and inner circle collusion of course makes a good soap, but it needs to be held to account or face being irrelevant. Andrew's occasional smug political point scoring is also foul, this is the bbc not sky.
daniel, london

Having just listened to Andrew Neil being told that shareholders are not doing their job by allowing massive remuneration packages, can I inform him of correspondence I have had with UKFI. I asked UKFI why, as a company set up to look after the interests of the tax payer, they voted in favour of the remuneration package at the last a.g.m. of RBS. I was informed that they voted in favour of what some people might consider to be a high renumeration package because that is what other companies are paying, to retain talented staff and to look after the interests of the tax payer. This to a bank that is loosing money. What other action can the tax payer (shareholder) take when this is the attitude of UKFI set up to look after the tax payers shares?
J. Crichton, Loanhead

"Shareholders and non executive directors influence on salaries of company directors."
Not one person mentioned [Thurs 25th show] that most shareholders do not get a proportionate vote on this matter. Small shareholders get votes in proportion to their company holdings. So do investment managers on the very large number of shares they hold in their fund's portfolios - they are in the same "old boy network" as the company directors - and that's the main reason they don't have any influence - because they don't want to.
BRIAN STALLEY, plymouth devon

Blaming shareholders for the high executive pay is a cop out. Andrew is quite right when he says the big institutions which usually own large proportions of the shares are all in same club, scratching each others' backs.
Barclay's chief executive receives a huge salary plus bonuses based on their profits, yet the dividend paid out to shareholders and the share price is a fraction of what is was just a few years ago.
Brenda, Driffield, UK

Again I am very sad an horrified about the way that your programme portraited last night some decent people who where molested by the gutter press, your own friends and collegues did it; you journlists are all the same: loosers, ugly and always protecting each other. Your are scum.You think that you are untouchable but everybody hates you.
zoila lothian, london

I enjoy your show and have watched it for a long while...
...but why do you not have any commentators that earn less than £100k?
It makes your program shallow and unrealistic.
Derry Hincks, Grantham

Ms Horlicks was good value on the show tonight though I totally disagree with her argument. When you thank her please point out that her position is based on the fallacious assumption that there is a causal connection between the behaviour of Chief Executives and the performance of their companies, good or bad, a link that research has so far been unable to prove.
Mick Beeby
Mick Beeby, bristol

Re: the argument about comedians swearing and the host mentioning that comedians from the 60's and 70's not relying on swearing to get them a laugh. No they relied on racist terms and humour which is deemed completely unacceptable on our screens now. I'm thinking along the lines of the ever so not hysterically funny jim davidson, bernard manning and alf garnett (technically a character but still a regular on our screens then. I'd much rather hear swearing on tv/in real life than ANY racist term that was oh so acceptable back then.
Theresa Green, Derbys

Alan Johnson is the coolest politician in Westminster...and I do not & never have voted labour! Let's have him on the programme permanently. Considering that he's an MP, he talks sense.
James Vance, Limoges, France

Eahc week I wonder why Michael has to sit so close to the guest on his sofa. It almost looks like they are cuddling up together. Why cannot he give the guest a little bit of space and move down a bit. I am watching now and can see him almost squashing Alan Johnson. Give Alan some space.
David Savage, Bromley, Kent

Nicola Horlick says some people deserve more pay than others.As she is incapable of pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with mortar for 10 hours a day for 40 years she is worth no more than the minimum wage which what people who do this are paid.
D.R.Garvey, Bush Bank Herefordshire

I have just watched with a complex mix of interest and disillusionment at the debate on the growing and scandalous pay of executive directors. I have recently returned from, arguably, the poorest country in the world, motivated by humanitarian concern. Burundi's innocent population earn less than 0.01% of these FTSE-100 bosses. Irrespective of the West's recent economic woes there can be no justification for this gross disparity in wealth. Can we create a little more awareness of the huge numbers of these unfortunate people? If we must intellectualise this argument can we, again, create a debate on those international institutions that govern aid, trade and development in Africa and Central Asia?
David J McBride, Edinburgh, U.K.

Why do the presenters allow Labour politicians to prend that they did not create the current National debt. The National debt was over £600 Billion prior to the crisis starting. The crisis is so bad in the UK as the government was already overspent at the time of the crisis leaving no money to invest for stimulating the economy
Christopher Brace, Perpignan France

What has happened to the set? Last week it was so much better than the set this week which has reverted to the
john wright, manchester
THIS WEEK REPLIES: We moved out for one week to allow some work in our usual studio.

Your discussion on high pay differentials was unable to find an answer to the problem but there is one model that seems to work very well: the partnership, mutual society or cooperative of which The John Lewis Partnership is a good example. All employees in this very successful company are shareholders and vote on pay, including pay for the Chief Executive,
Peter Kent, Wantage, Oxfordshire

Re Nincola Horlicks:- Taxpayers bailed out the banks, so taxpayer's are SHAREHOLDERS. Where are my share certificates?! These would enable me to exercise my democratic rights and exert some control over these companies.
The non issuance by the Government(s) is a conspiracy to defraud. i.e. deny us our rights as shareholders to control the companies we own. Hence "OCCUPY".
SUE HALL, London

Why is it that the government have cut back on green policies and yet they have the audacity to increase departure tax by another £40 so plus £248 which it was to £298 pond.Why should we pay this when all that money just goes into the coffers and disappears.Yet nobody is taking them to task over this.Why should i have to pay to leave my own country for a holiday.
KEITH ANGUS, brainree

For goodness sake, which prat decides to blast the stupid music at ridiculously high levels, the some dickbrain screaming at high levels? Some of us have family members asleep at this time of night. Do I have to change channels to get away from crass behaviour?
Keith Hallam, Torrox Costa, Spain

Dear Sir
I like your idea of the high pay increases being taxed at 50% After all this is what happens to pensioners.
If they are lucky to have saved enough to have a pension of more than £24K they are taxed at 50% on this amount Denis
Denis, Troon

What has happened to last week's massive stride forward in set design? This week we are back to out of focus long shots, crappy graphics etc.
Please sort it out!
Ralph, King's Lynn, Norfolk

re Nicola Horlicks comment on Barclays doing so well....
If RBS hadn't stolen ABN AMRO from under their noses then Barclays would be where RBS are now....a large amount of luck that Sir Fred was around!
tony, London

Sorry that Michael thinks that old age should be hidden away or denied.
Peter Barjonas, Latheronwheel, Caithness

Nicola Horlick may be paid more than the rest of the population, maybe even earn it, BUT to say some are worth more is just plain wrong and oh so arrogant!! A man or woman's worth is not measured by their bank balance. Her comments have just made me dislike her oh so much.
M Bishop, Southampton

the real reason the government do not do anything about the rising fuel costs ie petrol or domestic power is because the higher the price the more tax% they get
lindsay crichton, dundee

the real reason the government do not do anything about the rising fuel costs ie petrol or domestic power is because the higher the price the more tax% they get
lindsay crichton, dundee

Andrew hasn't written on his blog in nearly a month! Maybe you could tackle this topic, Andrew..."the money junkies." I would spell it out, but I'm mindful of what Oscar Wilde said: "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." So with that in mind perhaps you and the This Week team could ponder Robin Williams' (money junkies) video with Charlie Rose a couple of years back:
Why is nobody mentioning green shoots of recovery nowadays? Does any reasonable person honestly think Germany should bankrupt itself to these inextinguishable debts only to delay the inevitable collapse of our current usurious ponzi-scheme of a banking system. Visit "positive money's" website and learn the insane reality.
Noor Khan, London


Michael Portillo's comment about Hitler was factually wrong. Andrew Neil did not correct him.
Hitler came to power because he had a para-military force in the streets, the SA, because other MPs voted him authoritarian powers, because he took the powers of the President without an election, because of a crisis caused by defeat in War for a country which previously had been militarily successful.
Michael Portillo's views on electoral systems were not balanced by John Reid, who may even agree with them. There was no third, fourth or fifth view.
R. Underhill, Matfield, Kent

Whilst watching last week I did not like it when Andrew stopped John Reid from speaking saying that it was not an open university programme. Like many I watch to try to learn.
Jenny Roberts, Warrington

I've just got a bottle of Blue Nun from my local Co-Op - yes the real thing - and am about to settle down to watch the programme on iPlayer. I can't believe anyone stays up that late to watch it 'live'.
It cost over a fiver (breaking my budget in these straitened times) and comes in a disturbingly sea green bottle with a flat bottom, usually a sure sign of lack of pedigree. They can't sell many of them, (an indicator of This Week's popularity, no doubt) as the check out girl remarked she'd never seen blue wine before. I tried to explain, the 70s and all that -which was the last time the stuff passed my lips - but lost her.
So after all that, I hope the programme will be worth it. And if I've got a hangover come Saturday morning I'll hold Andrew Neil to blame.
stephen moore, hove

Hilary Devey is an impressive businesswoman, but there was one adjective missing from the list of qualities responsible for her success. I've no doubt she's determined, hard working, tenacious and so on, but she must also have been lucky. This matters, because not everyone with her positive qualities enjoys her level of success. (I think it's unusual for very successful people to acknowledge the role of luck - Bill Gates is a notable exception.)
Jon Wainwright, London

Dan Snow initiated one of the most interesting, informative debates I've watched on TW for many a long while, so why did Andrew Neil have to become churlish and end this discussion so abruptly? Is it because Dan Snow's erudite opinion eclipsed his own? It was most unbecoming of A.N. to abort the discussion in such a surly manner. The time allocated to Hilary Devey should have been immediately re-allocated to this debate. After all, who wants to hear Hilary Devey wittering on, in her 'reet northern accent', about how she became a success. Who cares?!
Michael's shirt was one of his best yet. I suspect he wears Ralph Lauren shirts which serves to enhance his 'shabby chic' persona adding credibility to his opinions, viewpoint and stature. His style and presentation is so much more 'in-touch' with viewers than Andrew's staid, dowdy business look, which surely alienates him from his audience. Time for Andrew to undergo a make-over?
Derek, Cheshire

I really enjoy the program, there is information and the enjoyable banter between you all. I like to think I am a young 62 year old. I do try to keep up with Politics. I was interested in the differences between Spain, Italy and our type of Democracy, I agree it was heading toward Open University this week as Andrew said but it was quite interesting. Love the show and could not find you on Facebook by the Way.
Regards Maureen
Maureen Mellish, Watton-At-Stone- Hertford Hertfordshire

The loud green shirt worn by Michael Portillo on This Week last night took over the show.
It dominated the screen, reflected and tinted his hair green; even shone its luminous green hue onto the faces of Andrew and his other guests.
Can't you exert some influence over the dress code of guests? The shirt challenged the show - and won.
I had to switch off after 20 minutes, feeling nauseous, although with the current trend of shock tv, you'll probably encourage him to wear more outrageous shirts in future programmes to invite controversy.
Thinking about it, that's probably what happened last night…
Terry Yarker, Ingleby Barwick, Stockton on Tees

John Reid - STAY AWAY from 'This Week'. What a condescending little creep! Thinks he knows it all. Keep him off! Stick with the likes of Alan Johnson.
Mathew, London/Aberdeen

Excellent level of debate this week! The canny Lord John Reid definitely deserves another airing if Celtic can spare him & the BBC can afford his fee! And to hear two intelligent, seasoned euro-sceptics picking over the imploding innards of the E-zone had all the spine-tingling ghastliness of an epic horror story. But Andrew must try to be less grumpy when his distinguished guests get all the quiz answers right. After all, it only happens once in a blue moon!
Peter Boa, Glasgow

No females waiting in the wings to lead a political party in the future? I think Caroline Lucas would remind you that she's there already. Also Nicola Sturgeon springs to mind!

Dear Andrew,
Have any of you read Bust by Matthew Lynn?
The Euro has created economic stresses that cannot be dealt with by increased borrrowing.
Break up is inevitable, and the longer it is delayed the costlier it becomes.
The Bond Markets are merely responding to the Politicians, and as long as they do not face facts, the Interest Rates will rise.
Ireland, Spain, Greece and Italy no longer have viable economies, and the German Economy should have a stronger currency. The problem with the Euro is trying to force disparate Economies together with no safety valves to rebalance their currencies.
Anthony Beaumont, Lewes, Sussex

it's hard to take John Reids 'nice old ladies'
'You're ok!'' Grannies with bombs next eh? comment seriously.........
and who told Michael Portillo that that 'kermit green' was a good look? Very 'draining no? reflects bad to. Has he fell out with 'the wardrobe dept?'
Andrew McMeekin, Glasgow

I was surprised that none of your guests - or A Neill - on tonight's show's discussion of democracy in Italy identified the more, democratic, candidate for Italian PM. Ditto Greece.
T Kennet
Thoby Kennet, London

I'm afraid that Andrew Neill's witicisms (private jokes?) are over the head of most of us. And his whispered witicisms are definitely beyond the grasp of the country's 6 million plus hard of hearing. Speak up, old chap, and make it plainer.
Hugh, Lancaster

It's long past time This Week and the Daily Politics moved into one of the BBC's 'proper' new news studios.
Please please keep the new studio and the more professional look and feel that comes with it :)
Mike Halsey, Sheffield

Why sell a bank at the bottom of the cycle?
can you find out for me as I am in sales and am confused as for 36 years I have tried to sell at the top of the market cycle.
Great show Andrew how long before you are banned from BBC?
Phil Dougan, Sunderland Tyne and Wear

Andrews out burst that easten europeons are good for the country taking work in caffee's, hotels ect and saying that British people don't want to do these jobs talking to nick last week. This is what rich politicians and broadcasters don't get, I said five years ago that the poles are not just undermining wages in the building trade but taking all the school leavers and students jobs, it is no coincidence that there is now a million youth unemployment and this well not end until mass imergration is stopped.
Lee barnett, High peak

"The lamps are going out all over Europe."
Heed Daniel Hannan MEP's warning in this speech to the European Parliament.
It is prescient he echoes words attributed to British Foreign Secretary Edward Grey on the eve of World War I.
As the once respected fourth estate, don't be a tool of corporatism that's enslaving the people, do your jobs. If you still can't see the bigger picture, watch the lamps are going out all over Europe again and this time listen to what he's telling you. Your world-view is limiting you from seeing the truth. Face it!
The 1929/30's Great Depression only ended with WWII. Then most did not want to face the rise of Hitler. We are now entering another depression and already the money junkies are warmongering. Before it's too late, do your jobs...inform people of the truth. There is another way to avert the worst of the suffering otherwise to come, but it means radically changing the banking system.
The banking elites are replacing democratically elected leaders with eurocratic apparatchiks.
"The one aim of these financiers is world control by the creation of inextinguishable debts." Henry Ford
Noor Khan, London

Don't know whether you lot bunk off early so I might be talking to the cleaner but anyway, I hope that the make-up of the new Italian cabinet, comprising, as it does, not a single elected politician, is a suitably scary and ominous development worthy of discussion by the Keeper of the Blue Nun, Mainsewer Portaloo and whomsoever you have in from the dark side, tonight. Lots of love xx
Philip Brooksby, Penarth, Vale of Glam

As the most sensible programme on Tv, could you please discuss the possibility that the current Euro Crisis is actually a plot by the city? Germany? or other parties to de-stabilise (stop) the Euro or possibly the whole EU, instead of a goverenment doing it. I'm not a conspiricy theorist but it is all very convienient for the "get out the EU" lot. Whatever Michael Portillo Say's I will believe.
john rossetti, Iver Bucks

A very witty, but exceptionally politically incisive show. Keep it up Andrew & Team
The latest Chancellor "Hat Trick" to sell part of Northern Rock should raise Andrews' eyebrows.
We tax-payers have been asked to foot the (so far) £700m loss against the banking business, which may/may not be mitigated to a £400m loss.
Why hasn't the balance sheet been declared, to show how profiatble this part of the business is compared to the lame-duck portion the taxpayer is still retaining !.
Branson & his team are not mugs - they'll only buy into making a profit.
Nitey nite ..... don't let the Chancellor's evil weevil bite.
Steve Giles, Scunthorpe

I have no doubt you are very busy in this time of turmoil. Having expressed my concerns recently about Democratic accountability and the media's lack of concern about what is happening now in Europe I wish to raise the issue again. It was good to see the subject get at lease a mention last week.
Where are the voices calling for a halt to the trashing of democracy? I am disgusted that our prime Minister is sitting back happy that 2 so called technocrats have replaced democratically appointed PM's.
The whole reason the euro is in trouble is because it was a construct based not on what democratically accountable representatives have asked for but what bureaucrats have dictated they have.
We still have the extraordinarily naive saying the Euro will survive and that we should join it once its through this crisis. Only if we want to accelerate toward war with Germany. Germany dominates Europe, the biggest reason we should not be aliened just so that we are free to manoeuvre our own way, and not at the behest of Germany. Just take a look at the state France is in.
And still our Government blames the Euro for our poor performance. No Mr Cameron, our poor performance is because you have done nothing in 18 months to reduce our costs, to improve our competitiveness. All you have done is listen to your friends in the City, which is only a fraction of the answer.
Peter Geany, Stroud

The government's £1.4bn skills training scheme, intended to ameliorate youth unemployment, has seen a near 900% increase in the number of apprenticeships begun by those aged 60 and over.
This is merely subsidising the private sectors staff training costs and is typical of the coalitions duplicity and hypocrisy.comments please.
David Fallis, Ealing,London UK

Phone Hacking and snooping its not right or is it.What the commons select comity are investigating news international for is going on all the time. The DWP is employing privet investigators to snoop on benefit claimants.And the said investigators use phone hacking, video surveillance, computer hacking, checking bank accounts, and savings accounts,intercepting mail, entrapment, and posing as postmen or people from utility companies. The claimant is assumed guilty until they are proven innocent.Hypocrisy one law for the MPs and tough shit for the rest.Dont do as I do do as I say.What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.This would make a good topic for the show. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU !! 1984.
Francis Dooley, Kirkby Merseyside UK

I am 41 & watch your show regularly. Can I say someone like Hilary Devy is too old & is a very rare breed.
Even at my advanced years when my friends & I joined firms in the early 1990's most of my women friends were told not to wear trousers or trouser suits, particularly those in audit or law firms, indeed probably anywhere client facing. Even 5 years later this had gone. Although that doesn;t mean that a friend who worked with traders in the late 90's didn't have them all telling her not to wear the "Vamp" shade of Channel nail polish because it was too unfeminine.
The women who were late 30's,40+ when I joined were very much the Margaret Thatcher model & while I love what Margaret Thatcher did for the UK who brand of "feminism" seemed to be very much I want to be the only woman in a senior position. She was hardly loved by the feminist sister hood for helping other women in parliament. I think part of this is personality, but it is also part of the generation she grew up.
I used to believe the line that positive discrimination was bad, but actually people tend to pick individuals who are like them. An HBR article (I think) talked about the power of 3. Badly paraphrased, one woman on a board, you are the token woman, 2 it is still unusual, 3 you are just part of the natural scheme or things. It is the same lower down the chain.
Men in their later 40's & early 50's who had probably never thought much about women's issues suddenly had to think about how the system they had never questioned would impact their daughter. My half sister is 9 years younger than me & even there there is a huge difference in experience & expectation.
Don't give me Elle MacPherson or Hilary Devy, give me someone under 45 who is at a reasonably senior level in the corporate world & believe me they do exist I have friends who are partners in law firms, MD's in Private Equity firms & part of senior management in Companies. Don't give me fashion, PR, HR or politics. That said someone like Justine Greenfield or Louise Mensch strike me as much more useful women in the political world to discuss this a Teresa May or Caroline Flint. Even Yvette Cooper who is certainly competent doesn't win prizes when she has so obviously done the "Stand by Her Man" Routine. I know there are new Labour women in the 2010 electoral cohort I just can't remember their names.
So next time you raise this issue under 45 & in Business, mind you if she is any good, she probably won't be able to comment!
Samantha Pearce, Hilary Devy (we have a 200 word limit, longer letters are cut, not used, ot put to the bottom of the list)


We now have a Facebook page where comments go up more quickly and you can add them directly to the film or the interview you wish to comment on:


Love the show - but can anyone explain why Michael Portillo always seems to be sitting towards the middle of a two-and-a-half seater settee? Does he just like getting close, whoever his fellow guest of the week is?
Delia Koczwara , Prestwich, Manchester.

One aspect of the immigration debate that Nick Ferrari and others often omit is the dwindling of wild and open spaces in our country. There are still wild places in the northern and western fringes of Britain, but south-east England is a concrete nightmare. I for one need the sense of space and light and solitude and freedom that only landscapes empty of human habitation and industry can provide.
Duncan Fraser, Perth

I watched the repeat on the Politics channel this evening and have to agree with the comment Alan Johnson made regarding changes to immigration 'practices' in the last few years of the Labour Government:
As I've said before - on the Newsnight "From the Editors" site - Phil Woolas went about making some very positive moves to restrict immigration, most of the worthwhile ones that the Dim Cons are now repeatedly trying to take - and getting - credit for.
But as Mr Woolas pointed out in a post election (published) interview .... the press did not want to listen!
Perhaps they had another agenda? Are we are now paying the price!
Deity Dave WILL get the immigration figures down to 'tens of thousands' by May 2015 but what he will 'forget' to point out is that it will be .....
25 lots of tens of thousands!
PS Love the script humour of the links! Who's the 'guilty' party?
PPS Please note some of us specifically choose not to use 'Titter' or 'Facile-book', so please keep the e-mail site!
J Aperson, Milton Keynes

Michael Portillo raised the fact that foreigners (aliens) entering the Republic of Ireland are free to cross land and sea borders into the UK without passport control. The reason for this is: The British Nationality Act 1948 recognised dual nationality in Eire/Ireland: British subject and citizen of Eire. Persons in Northern Ireland became citizens of the UK. When the Irish state quit the commonwealth becoming the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom - the Irish Act 1949 - deemed it not to be a foreign country. Its citizens could not be aliens in UK law. In 1971, Ireland and Great Britain for the purpose of passport controls, become a common travel area. There does not appear to be an equivalent provision in Irish law.
W W Morrison, Bangor, Co Down

if the goverment leant money say 10 per cent of a property to 1st time buyers at bank of england rates and allowed for 90 per cent mortgages this would stimulate the economy and allow benfit to our youth evry billon leant would create 10 billion in property sales with little cost
alan balchin, calpe spain

I am not involved in politics but always vote Tory,on this week 10.11.11 Andrew Neil mislead the viewers when he said the Tory party had promised to bring down immigration to 10,000 he knows very well this did not include people from the EU,the question is why did he fib.
Royston., Kidderminster

Regarding immigration, it seems to have been forgotten over the last 50 years or so that there is an indigenous population in England called the English, and on the odd occasions that they've been given a chance to speak they have made it obvious that they didn't want to be inundated with millions of foreigners.
Now, it seems, the English are told if you don't like it then lump it.
Roger White, Louth, Lincs.

Watching on iplayer and just had to replay Andrew's slip-up; interesting to see that whoever produced the subtitles changed it to "chatter"!
Brenda, Driffield, Yorkshire

Alan Johnson makes a great contribution to the show.Good intelligent balanced debate, with a sense of humour.
Patricia Jackson, patricia.jackson

Legacy A Harold Wilson Quote - when asked what he thought he would be most remembered for - The Open University--probably very accurate.
Andrews mention of the TWATASPHERE also very accurate .
Alan obviously agreed look at the background laughter.
David Harvey, greenford

Hi, would you please tell that rather conceited and arrogant Andrew Neil to stop belittling the British Tradesmen. I personally, started my five year apprenticeship in decorating at the age of fifteen. I could then and still can paint a door or wall to a monitored reflection quality of 98% using household paint.
In 1986 I attended a government-training course where kids were getting what can only be described as a 12 week city and guild in the art of decorating. I laughed because the standard at which they were qualifying was actually the level where I would have begun preparing the suface for my qualification.
As for these highly skilled Polish and Eastern European tradesmen that are not only taking our jobs and driving down our tradesmen's wages. In my professional opinion, they are nothing more than cheapskate toshers who have no idea of what real tradesmen's pride and sill in their work is.
As far as British tradesmen not being willing to work for the same wages as the eastern Europeans. That is hogwash, British people are not only not willing but under our overcrowding laws not allowed to live in overcrowded conditions such as Poles living 8 to 10 people to a room and sleeping on beds on a rotation system.
I would suggest that this rather stupid man goes to the Consumer Defence League 'British Politics' forum and actually learns something about what is going on in this country.
Stephan Toth , Westminster

Does Nick Ferrari do not remember that not so long ago, in 2004, Poles along with other eastern Europeans were welcomed in the U.K. by the british employers with open hands. We have only taken jobs that british people were not prepared to do. It is not our fault that thousands of people capable of employment sits at home and claims benefits. Even today these people are in many cases not prepared to work. Has Nick Ferrari forgotten that European societies are getting older. And Britain needs young people from Eastern Europe and other parts of the world to pay taxes and National Insurance contribution. Lets imagine scenario, if all of us Poles returned tomorrow to our country, all the hotels, coffee shops, fast food chains,cleaning businesses would not be able to function and many would have to close down. A friend of mine, dentist from Swindon wanted to renovate his surgery. The quotes from the local builders were between £40k to £50k. But a Polish builder won the contract as his quote was £18k. We leave in free market, if a British person is allowed to buy a cheap house in Bulgaria than on the other hand the Bulgarian citizen should be entitled to work in the U.K. If Nick Ferrari does not understand this than maybe he should not run the radio show. History is repeating itself. In 1930's in Germany, society had a problem with Jews. And they did sort them out by killing millions of people.
Tomasz, Reading, Berkshire

I'd just like to point out that the section on your program about britain being over populated,.
did not compare us with other countries in terms of density per km.
japan for instance a very successful first world nation has a density of 336.9 per sq km in comparison with the u.k and northern ireland which is just 248.9 per sq km
Dean Joseph, Brentwood Essex

Nice comment from Michael P about the concerns about undesirables routing via the Republic of Ireland. Guess what! We've had the same reverse immigration problem from the UK - from mainland to Northern Ireland for 10 years - imagine learning that!
John Gallen, Dublin, Ireland

excellent show as always - but could michael check is "huge-er" a real word
steve anderson, glasgow scotland

Population: If child benefit is capped at 2 children a lot of families will not have 3, 4 or more children, and fewere children less of the earths resources are used - Whats not to like?
Paul Johnstone, Sudbury Suffolk

Having just travelled by car to and from the Republic of Ireland I can assure Michael Portillo that, as a family we had to show our passports leaving and returning to this country. I agree that the Republic/Norther Ireland border is porous.
Robert Read, Reigate

your final guests, david guest, become even more silly.
i find the last bit of the programme so embarassing that i turn off now.
PLEASE...up the quality of the final guests...
Kevin Law, Dundee

Hi, I was watching the television programme This Week tonight and was outraged by Andrew Neil blatantly advertising the frozen food company 'Iceland'. His repeated comment 'A double-decker pepperoni pizza from Iceland's' was not a personal comment or flight of fancy because from his stare one could see that he was obviously reading it from a prompter board.
The BBC is funded by the license fee payers on the understanding that it is a public service and not a commercial company. As such in the past any form of advertisements or promotions were prohibited and strictly controlled.
Stephan Toth, Westminster


I thought your usual high standards lapsed notably with the coverage of the Occupy movement, last week (Nov 3) in particular. To keep on stereotyping the people there as posh idlers, as Andrew Neil has been doing, is lazy and fails to grasp that concerns about corporate and, in particular, banking greed is a very popular sentiment nowadays with a resonance that goes way beyond the camp itself. Michael Portillo's point questioning why the people were occupying the space at St Paul's revealed a surprising lack of insight on his part too - the political process has proved unable to meaningfully engage with these issues, hence people are making a statement outside of the system. This is the defining issue of the moment and I do hope This Week can rise to the occasion and deal with it in a more nuanced, considered way in future.
Mel Cullijnan, london

The financial analyst, Louise Cooper of BGC, was fantastic: fluent, always to the point, highly incisive, with down-to-earth frankness and entertaining/illuminating straight turns of phrase sprinkled in - PLEASE invite her back...
David Nelson, Edinburgh

I commend Diane Louise Jordan for her humanity; my previous comment was made prior to her broadcast. I still insist This Week address fundamental issues of that post, i.e. fractional reserve banking, money created out of nothing, interest charged yet not created within the money supply. Now deck chairs are rearranged on the Titanic and still people are delusional that there's a solution within the current framework. It will sink! Get back to sound money, take the creation of money away from private banks(legalised counterfeiting and fraud), address the question of interest, stop speculations on markets where profits are privatised and losses socialised, at very least split up the banking system so that people's salaries, mortgages, pensions and savings are somewhat protected from the excesses of gambling traders. Beware the possible solutions such as a centralised European/World Bank empowering banking system controllers even more...a cynic might look at the current situation questioning whether it wasn't engineered to be this way?! Alas, too many mainstream media want to avoid speaking on fundamental issues. Upton Sinclair knew: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
aude sapere
Noor Khan, London

Is this what I am paying my licence fee for - to watch Nancy Dell'Ollio contribute absolutely nothing to the programme. Could someone enlighten me as to why she was there and also what the BBC paid her? She is awful!
P Williams, West Midlands

Last Nights Show raised So Many Question's. Why did they have Nancy 'I just want to make a difference' Dall'lio On? (A difference to Who & How?) What does this Woman do? Still clearly Michael was left speechless by her,probably for the best after his bout of Irritation,the final Question, Why didn't we get 'our Diane' On with Nancy, doubt she would have given her an easy time, but @ least I finally agree with his selection policy, dumping the 1st WAG was the right decision
David Craddock, Birmingham

A thought I haven't seen elsewhere.
Germany will support Greece etc., as long as the monies gained by having a currency considerably cheaper than if she still had (undoubtedly) much higher valued mark. Her goods would have been very much more expensive, with her balance of payments, with the 'old' very strong mark.
Could Greece etc. be said to have 'subsidised' Germany?!
Peter Murray, Penistone, Yorkshire

Still no apology for the joking about the Gadafi murder i see. Moral compass well and truly lost for the This week program. Happy redundancy to all involved
chris jones, Cardiff,Wales

Why has nobody mentioned that in 2002 the Fleming banking family paid £10m to have the inside of StPauls cleaned. Also, this week a fire chief received a £700,000 pay off in the public sector. However, if he had been a banker he would have been hounded.
Peter Jones, London

Lots of comments are rejected as they do not include a name and town as we require
No point sending anonymous comments - or signing yourself 'disgruntled voter' or 'Ths Week viewer' etc - we won't do anything with them
Other comments are just too long - keep to under 200 words
We will print comments which support or criticise the show - but not those with bad language or libellous comments
We give priority to views about issues covered by This Week - if your comment is about another show, contact them instead
We don't promote facebook groups and online petitions etc
Correspondents who send many comments will probably one see one published per show

I thought Michael Portillo's comments about the anti capitalist campaigners camping outside St Pauls, on last weeks show, were very shallow and not worthy of an intelligent political programme. His complaint that the campaigners are ruining for others the enjoyment of a public space, not only missed the rather important point about the crisis of global capitalism but also reminded me of George Young's quote about how homeless people were the one's "you step over when you come out of the opera". Protest is not meant to be neat or tidy. If Portillo enjoys the use of public spaces in London, as I do, why doesn't he direct his invective at Boris Johnson instead, whose policy on controlling the reduction of road and construction works in central London, is useless, if he has one at all. Has Portillo noticed the awful bomb site like mess of Leicester Square, Russell Square, Tottenham Court Road, and parts of Piccadilly? Tourists may be fascinated by the protesters outside St Pauls, but they are probably less impressed by the state of central London.
Oliver Heard
oliver heard, London

Great show as usual, glad that motivation was put under the spotlight. This is a show well worth staying up for. However, when are you going to have Caroline Lucas joining Michael Portillo on the sofa? It'd be great to get a "green perspective" on issues.
Stephen Parry, Birmingham, West Midlands

Just watched Protillo and Campbell on This Week with Andrew Neil. Posted on the This Week Facebook page: "Michael Portillo's remarks about his 'irritation' regarding the St. Paul's protesters being interviewed by journalists, and their being thus 'elevated' through their concerns being aired on TV is curious. Why should Portillo feel 'irritated' about ordinary people being able to have a tiny bit ...of airtime to express their views when he himself, for much of his life has been in the privileged position of being given those opportunities as a matter of course? Does he resent 'ordinary people' who do not have such an advantage from being given for a very brief moment in their lives, a means to promote their views? Michael Portillo, I think it would be worth your while examining your prejudices about this."
dianne aslett, Bournville, Birmingham

The young woman Louise ( didnt catch her surname) who covered the St. Paul's - protester story really sparkled..very intelligent, and had moral force without being pompous... made Portillo look tired and stuffy. I can't understand why Nancy Dell Olio was invited as she is an empty vessel and deeply boring. All best wishes, Aimee
aimee birnbaum, london

lived here 9 years supermarket and restaurants still give bill in euros and passatas why
john brindley, tenerife

Michael Portillo's remarks about his 'irritation' regarding the St. Paul's protesters being interviewed by journalists, and their being thus 'elevated' through their concerns being aired on TV is curious. Why should Portillo feel 'irritated' about ordinary people being able to have a tiny bit of airtime to express their views when he himself, for much of his life has been in the privileged position of being given those opportunities as a matter of course? Does he resent 'ordinary people' who do not have such an advantage from being given for a very brief moment in their lives, a means to promote their views? Michael Portillo, I think it would be worth your while examining our prejudices about this.
Dianne Aslett, Bournville, Birmingham

why does the producer of this week take a really interesting programme - and spoil it with silly guests like nancy dell'olio.
as graham norton said to her last week, 'what do you actually do?'
Kevin Law, Minster, Kent

Is Michael Portillo correct when he says that there is now a start to coutries leaving the euro? I have always thought the euro had no chance and if that happened why cant we get rid of the European Union as well and stay with the original common market as originally accepted. I can see no problems to going back to that status. Most countries would save bilions by not having to pay monies to the EU.
Andrew Ritchie, Peterhead Aberdeenshire

campbell [the dodgy dossier] on this week i was wondering when he would turn again, it's bad enough when the other dodgy ms smith on,what the this week team are thinking when we the viewer have to sit and listen to them, there's nothing that comes out of there mouths that worth listening to,i stop watching months ago, because of the tribal people from the labour party, useless any way [13 years and look at the mess] they have left, made the mistake having a look tonight never again
norman aston, pease pottage

Greece made a big mistake joining the euro, the British people have shunned this move time and time again, what is happening now globaly in the financal world shows how vunerably we all are too a single currency, lets all go back too our own currencies, we can still be part of Europe and trade together without all these problems.
Peter Banning, Daventry, Northants.

A Union of National Disunity
I find it difficult to believe that the unions are calling a Public Services strike.
Not only did they finance the destructive & incompetent Gordon Brown Labour government which wrecked the
UK government finances. But they abandoned the working classes when they became unemployed and skint. Going for a nice little earner touching up the middle class Public Servants for their contributions. Such complete moral treachery. People around Europe are demonstrating because they have no work, no money and no pensions. UK Public Servants go on strike when they have jobs and pensions.... How mad is that? It makes me wonder if they are all closet Marxists just trying to wreck Britain to create anarchy so they can create a Marxist State out of the chaos. Or dreaming of bringing down the Conservative government and putting Ed the puppet in Downing Street. Like a lot of people I like to think that I still have some moral working class integrity. But I don't know what happened to the union barrons.. We all used to belong to unions but no longer is it a cause for the people to follow.. They seem to exist in a different reality to everyone else. Maybe they're just rich kids now.
Vernon Moat Exeter

Think your guests tonight missed the point when they said that the protest outside St Pauls had lost its direction because of the disagreement with the church. In fact because of the resignations and disagreements with the church it has been given even more publicity than it anticipated - which leads to more discussion and even more media coverage.
Edna Crosbie, Newport. Isle of Wight

Michael Portillo may find the tent camp unsightly, but St Paul himself was a tent maker and may have viewed the protest as a thing of beauty.
Mike Conner, London W11

Miss Jordan quotes Christian Values. Have the protesters these values. The church should stay out of politics . the archbishop is not an accountant . He should be putting the job of bringing people back to their faith at the top of his to do list. Jesus threw the money lenders out of the temple quoting you have made my house a den of thieves, Archbishop go back to leading your flock !!! The flock is falling by the wayside. leave the politics to others.
sue youdim, bournemouth

This is the lefties with the help off TV left wing reporters, giving a few hundred people a voice that is not warranted, your guest said that all have a right to protest this is not true, can you imagine that this was English Defence league who are always kettled. No this is a biased TV reporting that have put St Pauls into a very difficult position, typical left.
Natasha Gardener, London

The show regarding St Pauls and the protesters had some discussion with regard the church's initial response and it's attitude to the protestors and a confusion with the way the issue has been handled in a manner appropraite with the christian principals. I would suggest that St Pauls Cathedral is hardly a house of god and is a probably a monument more to architectural splendour in its construction, and of War and Empire in it's interior decor and as such is quite a good focus for a demonstration against capitalism.
Ernie, chester

I can just about put up with Nancy Dell'olio, but Alastair Campbell .... again. I resent my licence fee going into his pocket.
Brenda, Driffield, Yorkshire

Hinge & Bracket on the sofa!
do me a favour
Portillo says the St Paul's protesters have been " elevated". Michael, here is the news. Mainstream politics is over, you are are over!
Bob Dixon, london

I agreed with Michael and Peter Hitchens on the previous programme why are we giving these protesters so much respect when these people have no idea of how the economy is run, they do not speak for any group except themselves, they have no right to camp indefinately in a public square.
B Pooley, St Austell Cornwall

I cannot believe that a Christian can come along onto your show and move democracy easily to the side to suit her needs. As a christian of what denomination we do not know,the lady on your programme should be reminded she is firmly in the minority in our democratic society. there is a reason for that.Democracy.
David Johnstone, caddymaj

to comment on what Jesus would do is wrong. Jesus is not a political figure. His message was to show us the way to god not to argue amongst ourselves on the political agenda. I agree with Michael a few protesters have been given rights that the general public have been denied. Christians want leadership in their faith.
sue youdim, bournemouth

Alastair Campbell = me turning off. We don't need any more sight of that odious self-obsessed tosser thanks.
Richard Evans, Welwyn Garden City

What poor jokes about Sir Jimmy. OUT OF ORDER! You just lost a viewer. The guy is only just gone cold and your reference to "Jim Will Fix It" is very BAD taste.
Not that that will bother you too much.
I just amazed that Mr. N agreed to the out of taste storyboard.

The government took 70 million from Scottish Bus Group pension now we are told we have not made enough provision.
J Robertson, Hebden Bridge

As a hard working nurse who has worked in the Nhs for past 18 years I do not benefit from the ten year deal as I only 35! I have had no pay rise due to pay freeze over past few years which I accept! The pension is the one benefit the Nhs offered me! The government should honour our written agreement! Changes should be made to future pensions and not Ones we have currently! I vote to strike to reflect this!
Lynn warnock, Carfin lanarkshire

You are talking about pensions but how much as MPS pensions been reduced,NOTHING you keep expecting the tax payer to accept reductions but you sit there smug knowing whatever happens you are never affected.
Robert Naylor, geoffnaylor56

The Greeks should be allowed their referendum. IT IS GOOD that all countries want to work towards a Positive New Euro Union (and I agree with Mr. Hutton). If the Greeks do not want to be held to account by GERMAN AUSTERITY and instead want to develop their own SUNNY FRUITS and MULTI-STRUCTURED SOLAR POWER CELLS on their own area instead of being put to a debt not even costed by themselves (i.e. we know who costed the debts). Then the Greeks should be allowed their rights to discuss and develop. There are by the way, lots and lots of jobs going in ALL COUNTRIES. As Mr Gates pointed out it is who is dictating the valuing and costing which is wrong and therefore the tax should be levied on the Super Rich. P.S. If you have 2 Males on the sofa (Mr Johnson) then you should always have female guests! Better still, isn't there a vacancy for a Sunday Show now,replacing News Corp?
jan pomeroy, London W5

Will This Week be providing another sop for the Occupy movement without addressing some fundamental questions it knows it should be asking? Diversionary tactics will not make the very real problems go away. Explain in simple and genuine terms the fractional reserve system, that over 97% of the money supply is debt, that money is mostly created out of nothing with interest charged on it, yet the value of the interest is not created in the money supply, the significance of this fact, the current system is set up to fail, etc. Emperors new clothes...everyone who has studied it can see but few in the mainstream speak.
Recently a video where "Minister Farrakhan blasts media and reporters" tells some home truths to journalists:
An interesting article in Positive Money entitled "We used to have debt-free money" is a start, as is the video "Money as debt".
Does This Week dare post this and more importantly actually honestly address these issues with integrity?
Noor Khan, London
THIS WEEK REPLIES: We don't allow embedded links in the comments page - but print all letters that have a name and town, less than 200 words, and are relevant to the show, but we edit letters for bad language and legal issues.

I really enjoy your programme every week. However I must take you and your guests to task this week for showing serious signs of being brainwashed.
"What would Jesus do"? was the banner outside St.Pauls.You all then suggested he would be there with the protesters.
This ignores a cardinal fact. There is not a scintilla of evidence anywhere that Jesus ever existed. Now don't get upset. Look at the facts.We can't live our lives on stories fed to us as children and then reiterated at school, on the radio, and then by the Church.which have no basis in fact. You can't put any reliance on the Gospels which were not written until about 4 generations after his supposed death.Are we to believe that every word, every story, every conversation in the Gospels were committed to memory by 4 or 5 generations? This man who was said to be creating teachings,healing and miracles assumedly for a period of about 3 years, and was then purportedly crucified,yet was not mentioned by any local contemporary writers? No one bothered to write his life story for more than 100 years. Nazareth did not exist in his time except as a burial ground for a nearby town.It wasn't mentioned on a map until about 400 AD. Joseph and Mary are said to have walked to Bethlehem in order to be regisrered for the Census. This was a walk taking a week over rugged bandit-ridden country with Mary who was heavily pregnant. Three things wrong with this account. The first Census was not held until about 8AD, and Joseph would be required to register where he had property, which was not in Bethlehem. Thirdly wives were not required to register, so why would he take her on such a hazardous journey? It was to fulfill a prophesy that the story had to be concocted. The supposed writers of the 4 Gospels were in fact at best semi-literate, and the Gospels were first written down in Greek long after they had gone. Where did the Greek scholars come upon these supposed hearsay accounts?
Why this myth will be sustained is that no serious criticim of the Church is permitted, particularly on the BBC.
With best wishes,
John Ivens, Malta (edited, we have a 200-word limit)

I'd just like to register my strong agreement with Michael Portillo on the question of fraternisation between the Occupy protesters and BBC journalists.
The proper order of things is for the nexus between media and political folk, characterised by overlapping family and social ties, to remain unsullied by the direct involvement of people out on the streets (you know the ones I mean - running around out there, loose, and occupying our public spaces in a way unbefitting of "the public"); or, as in this case, having the temerity to set up camp outside St Paul's, almost as if they believed that their self-serving complaints about the gathering crisis of the global political economy is something that the church, rather than just the BBC, should take some sort of interest in.
If BBC employees - or, for that matter, MPs - should have the misfortune to encounter a tawdry member of the "public" as they go about their respective duties, I firmly agree with Michael that only the haughtiest tone should be used towards them. Whatever pearls of supposed wisdom their should drop from their unschooled, potato-crisp-stained mouths should be treated, in the traditional manner, simply as sociological "data", vox-pop style (and to provide advance warning to those of quality of any wider social rebellion), rather than as a fully thought-out opinion. We all know that they haven't had the proper training for producing opinions of any real value - and they certainly don't enjoy the social connections fully to appreciate the implications of whatever whimsical notions may have been fostered in their overheated imaginations by Polly Toynbee or the writings of the late Mohandas Gandhi (just to take two cases of persons of calibre miseducated into betraying the class o!f their peers). It's good to hear Michael speaking out on this point explicitly. Regrettably, the principle that he enunciates seems usually to function only tacitly within the corridors of the media and government. Good on him (if you'll excuse the demotic) to recognise the ever-present threat represented by the great mass of the unanointed. If we don't hold this line firmly, they'll be all over our precious institutions - such as the BBC, the Church of England, and the very Palace of Westminster itself; and the first step towards such a deplorable outcome (mark my words!) is the use of first names and demonstrations of "chumminess" between the mass of humanity beyond the portcullis and their undoubted betters!
Yours, in gratitude and relief,
Charles Peyton, London (SE22)
THIS WEEK REPLIES: As you acknowledge, we have a 200-word limit - longer letters are either cut back, not used or put to the bottom of the page. An even longer draft of this was also sent (but not used)


I have been watching This Week for the last 18 months. In my opinion it is by far the most enjoyable and entertaining politics show on telvision. This is down to Andrew Neil presenting. Not only is he more amusing than most stand up comedians, but also his political analysis is succinct and defining.
P.S. House residents and guests are also top quality!
Phil Goater, Bournemouth

Hi - I'm sitting in an hotel room in Poland sipping a glass of "mniszka niebieski", (that's Polish for Blue Nun, in case you're wondering), and thinking about why we are not hearing any good news about the state of the economy? I know that the current bad situation is news and that we should all be worried, (especially if the down-turn begins to affect Michael's ability to purchase shirts from the more avant garde or is that blind fashion designers), but, I'm beginning to wonder whether hearing some good news, for a change, might begin to build some confidence?
This Week is a great show and one of the few places where you can hear political views from politicians free from the restrictions imposed by their parties. Long may it continue!!
Kind regards,
Ian Dobbs
Ian Dobbs, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

After Will Huttons impressive commentary on the state of the euro on last weeks show,could you not invite him back so that he could shed further light on the prospect of a Greek Referendum?
Charles Wilkinson, Stockbridge Hampshire

In response to your reply regarding my comments about your amoral jovial depiction of the gadafi murder;
"Andrew spoke about those images, our coverage and the reaction on last thursday's programme, which is still available on iplayer"
- you and i and hundreds of thousands of your viewers know this not to be true; what your follow up item discussed was the vague notion of freedom of speech and the need for eliminating an over emphasis on political correctness,things i'm sure most people would agree with.
However unfortunately you failed to address the morally vacuous clip you aired which showed gadafi being murdered by mob rule,accompanied by an upbeat pop song ,together with jovial sneering and joking by the usually entertaining Andrew Neill. A lack of any balanced moral input by Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott was sadly no big suprise. As i have explained you need to apologise for this item and the moral bankruptcy shown by this piece on the 'This week' programme on 20.10.2011 - a smokescreen of a discussion on free speech and political correctness is wholly irrelevant. If you fail to do this your programe will certainly lose any credence it had before
chris jones, Cardiff,Wales

Your viewers are expecting a full apology about your amoral closing credit piece on gadafis televised murder on 20.10.2011. Your serious lack of judgement and thus far lack of accountability is being held up to account by us-the licence fee payers
chris jones, Cardiff,Wales
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Andrew spoke about those images, our coverage and the reaction, on last Thursday's programme, which is still avalable on iPlayer.

To Richard Marriott who said: "Micahel Portillo, made an interesting observation. He said, that the view on the Continent is completely the reverse of the view in this country. This crisis in the Eurozone has made them more determined than ever to make the Euro work..."
I believe in all things EU there is a powerful division in Continental Europe between the elite - who are the people Michael Portillo would have been talking to - and the rest. Just as there has been in this country.
I believe they would unite to see the UK as troublemakers but when the elite do things like writing a Constitution or bailing out Greece, the rest do not like it. I believe Michael Portillo should make that clear, because he probably realises it.
Clive Hill, Milton Keynes, UK

Why do you keep having Mr Chip on his Shoulder Kevin Maguire on the programme. He seems to think that Labour represents the Working class. Doesn't he know what Geoff Hoon, Jacqui Smith, Tony Blair and Peter Mandleson are doing at the moment. Making a fortune!!
Peter Jones, London

At about 1:30 into the debate on the Will Hutton film, Will Hutton says (not verbatim) 'it permits the ECB to buy bonds from nations in trouble'. Andrew Neil did not correct that. That is a crucial mistake. The Brussels Agreement permits the EFSF to buy bonds. Although Mario Draghi may want to, the German government has specifically not allowed the ECB to buy bonds. The ECB's bond buying - which is of dubious legality - should end when the EFSF comes into being. The critical difference between the two is that the EFSF is cash limited whereas the ECB can theoretically print infinite money.
This is built in to the ruling of the German Constitutional Court and the Bundestag's decisions. That ruling says that whenever German money is spent, at least the budget committee of the Bundestag must look at and vote on it. That would include the ECB buying bonds because some of the liability for those bonds would fall on Germany. The Bundestag has agreed to German liability of 211 bn euros in the EFSF and not one cent more.
This is critically important because it shows that the Germans are expressly not interested in a transfer union. Polls show something like 70% of Germans do not want to support what they see as feckless southern EU nations. That one claim from Hutton suggests that the Germans do want a transfer union. It is fundamentally wrong and the program did not correct it. He also said that the Germans would do 'anything' to make the euro succeed. That remains to be seen. So far, their enthusiasm has strict cash limits.
Clive Hill, Milton Keynes, UK

I hadn't realised I was a "self-appointed minority" till last night's programme. I thought I was merely commenting, as your website invites me to do, on a programme which I usually enjoy watching but which shocked me with the closing titles last week. In general I can tolerate the programme's occasional flights into silliness and somewhat heavy-handed humour but this seemed to me to be of a different order.
I appreciate the fact that you took viewers' opinions seriously and even made an item out of them, but comments about Daily Mail readers and other patronising remarks did lead me to wonder who really is the self-appointed minority here?
Pat Collis
Pat Collis, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Dear Andrew and the team
You have maintained your usual high standards in the current series and I thought this week's show was particularly good. I enjoyed listening to your very interesting mix of guests and feel very strongly that the Michael Portillo and Alan Johnson combination on the pundits' sofa works well. I also thought Will Hutton's contribution was 'top drawer' - thought provoking, erudite and carefully considered. In a week when there seems to have been a lot of EU bashing, well done to 'This Week' for having a guest who is prepared to buck this trend in an intereting way. I also think your Lib Dem guest was good value, although I did also enjoy hearing her fellow Lib Dem Ollie Grender in previous series.
Matthew Ryder, St Neots, Cambridgeshire

Love the programme, watch it every week, diverse, informed and intelligent - so surprised to see the thermal imaging of tents at St Pauls go unquestioned, when your own footage clearly shows the lower bodies of passers by DISAPPEAR as they walk amongst the tents - meaning that the thermal imaging cameras cannot in reality see inside the tents. Is there any way you could point this out next week? I'd hate to think of the programme unquestioningly following the herd and being unthinking.
Audrey Ladocki, Sunny Margate, Kent

This Week makes compelling viewing. Andrew Neil is a chink of hilarity in a dark hole of politics, egos and self interest. Neil's Citizen Smith package on 20th October was a stunner.
Thanks a million for all the fun.
Amanda Cole, Bristol

Congratulations on an excellent show Thurs 27 October. McGuire's piece was superb and the Johnson/Portillo combination really works (so no further need for Jacquie Smith....ever!).
Will Hutton was having a laugh, not sure he should be loose on national TV with such bizarre views, but well done to you and Michael for repudiating his Euro nonsense,
Best Regards
Peter Wells, Nuneaton, Warwickshire

Micahel Portillo, made an interesting observation. He said, that the view on the Continent is completely the reverse of the view in this country. This crisis in the Eurozone has made them more determined than ever to make the Euro work. They just don't communicate on the same terms as the British and they don't recognise the force of the British argument that the Euro is a horrible mess.
It is an odd feature. Given the havoc the Euro has wrought on the economies of Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and Ireland, I would have expected to see protests demanding a withdrawl from the Euro, for mass campaign against the Euro, for anti-Euro political parties to spring up. But it hasn't happened.
Can't the rioters in Greece, the 40% of youths unemployed in Spain and the Irish workers taking pay cuts see the truth of it? The reason for their pain is the Euro!
Richard Marriott, Kidderminster, Worcestershire

It is sad that Andrew should misrepresent the Occupy movement so badly and none of your panelists address the very real and important issues it embodies, but rather This Week resorts to ridicule as a diversionary tactic. Charlie Rose conducted an informative discussion with Amy Goodman and Chris Hedges examining the Occupy movement, I would urge anyone truly wishing to find out what it is about to look up. It's not a recession, it's a robbery, aided and abetted by our pliant politicians and the corporate mainstream media. Canon Dr Giles Fraser of St Paul's Cathedral who resigned over plans to forcibly evict peaceful Occupy London protestors shows us all virtues of courage, integrity and humanity. Find your conscience This Week.
Noor Khan, London

The way you dealt with Gadafis death on 20.10.11 by showing images of his death at the end of the programe acomponied by a upbeat pop song, joking and sneering was incredibly stupid and out of touch. Not to mention morally bankrupt. You tried to hide your mistake by discussing it and the notion of free speech and political correctness on this weeks programe. This had nothing to do with those things or about what Gadafi was as a person;this was about the way and context in which it was shown on the 'This week' programe.
The producers of this programme as well as Andrew O'Neill have three choices; either resign,get sacked or make a full public apology and admit that they were in the wrong and denounce the whole programme. And even if they do resign or get sacked they should still apologise. The moral bankruptcy shown was as bad as the cowardice shown in not properly dealing with the mistake on the show shown this week. Your viewers expect a full apology or a sacking; the viewers trust in your judgement has already been diminished
chris jones, Cardiff,Wales

I love your program and watch it avidly whenever I can. However, during the euro crisis discussions there is a great lack of intellectual rigour from all the contributors. Nobody dares To mention why the euro is in crisis. Spanish press covers in depth the issues of town hall/council indebtedness due to fraud/failure to collect taxes. We have a Europe divided not just by a Geographic N/S devide but by standards of corruption
John Hart, Nairn, Highland Region, Scotland

I agree with Alan Johnson that it's bizarre to show a "snuff" movie (Gaddafi) on the BBC only because everyone else is, because otherwise we'd be showing "political correctness" ...
I don't grieve for Gaddafi and his cronies, but seeing this flounting of Geneva conventions by the "good guys" first sickened me , then made me wonder at a murderer for his own cause being replaced by murderers for another cause. and endorsed by our own governments.
Going back to the media point, would the BBC on the same basis and with today's technology, have broadcast live & up close footage of the Kennedys" killings? Or are they complicit in rejoicing in the most garish way over the death of someone perceived as "our enemy" ? Medieval.
steve bennett, london

I love your program and watch it avidly whenever I can.
However, during the euro crisis discussions there is a great lack of intellectual rigour from all the contributors. Nobody dares To mention why the euro is in crisis. Spanish press covers in depth the issues of town hall/council indebtedness due to fraud/failure to collect taxes. We have a Europe divided not just by a Geographic N/S devide but by standards of corruption
John Hart, Nairn, Highland Region, Scotland

congratulations - it must have taken some effort, but you managed to produce a politics show that didnt once address the central point of the week -
whether or not the public should be allowed to decide if the UK remains a member of the EU.
you talked round it. and a few passing remarks were made. but not once were the panel allowed to comment on whether the UK public should be allowed a voice on EU membership.
so as i said - well done, it must have been difficult - but you managed it somehow.
Kevin Law, Minster, Sheppey

Richard bacon, breath of fresh air.
More please.
Chris murray, Newcastle

Nevermind europe.
What effect scotland devolution on england.
Chris murray, Newcaatle

What a disappointment This Week is becoming. Will Hutton allowed to spout the most preposterous, almost delusional trip without question. Kevin bloody MacGuire yet again allowed to cover the week in parliament - why is the caption "Daily Mirror" when the man spends at least 2 hours a week on BBC TV and radio?.
Finally, Alan Johnson. Whenever I see him I'm reminded of that poem by Stevie Smith, "Not waving but drowning". Please, drag the poor fellow out and give him a mug of cocoa.
Richard Evans, Welwyn Garden City

I notice Michael always takes a centre seat on the sofa. Does this represent his political views? Can he move further to the left? Mmmmm.
G Graham, Leeds West Yorkshire

Does not Will Hutton realise that what made the once Great Britain GREAT was the ability to alone and conquer all?
Chris Bartlett, London

Totally disagree with Will Hutton.George Soros has it right Eurozone is a flawed model without any members having fiscal unity.Crisis will re-occur sooner than later.
emarshall, Edinburgh,Midlothian

Did your reviewer Mr Hutton fail geography - he referred to us as part of 'Our Continent Europe'. Which part of our ISLAND nation is part of 'continental' Europe ?
Graham Freeman, Northampton

Is Will Hutton completely bonkers?
Yes, he is.
What is he doing on a high-brow programme such as yours?
Entertainment value, I suppose (and a chance for Portillo to utter more pearls of wisdom).
Kind regards,
Philip Rogers

What would happen to the cost of 'Blue Nun' if we were to leave the EU...? eeeks.. Outside the EU zone would mean import duty.. GULP !
Andrzej Fryzicki, London - SW15

I keep looking for an apology for the closing part of the edition broadcast on 20 October. I too, was horrified to see the grotesque footage of Colonel Gaddafi's final moments while Andrew Neil mocked and music was played. He was a tyrant, but he should have been brought to justice. And I felt ashamed by the way his death was portrayed on This Week.
D Williams, Esher, Surrey
THIS WEEK: Andrew spoke about those closing titles - and the reaction - on last night's programmes.


I always thought Andrew was joking when he talked about the illiterates who write to This Week, but having just read this week's comments the low standard of literacy and high level of outrage makes me wonder if they are truly representative of your audience. Either the audience has dumbed down or too many are still hung over from the Blue Nun! Anyway just wanted to say how great it was to see Diane back with Michael, touching his leg to make a point! Keep up the good work Andrew!Cheers all
Julie Hayward, Southampton
THIS WEEK REPLIES: You should see the ones we don't print!

I found the end credits to Thursday's show horrific. Putting someone's final moments - no matter who they might be - to music, introduced by a light-hearted was outrageously tasteless. How could anyone find this funny? Showing those images with no warning to anyone watching demonstrated a lack of respect for the viewers.
Sophie, London

I was dismayed by the jovial way that Col Gaddafi's death was used as closing credits on the This Week programme, 20/10/2011, accompanied by Adam Ant's singing a "jolly ditty". Regardless of the politics relating to Libya, I felt it was extremely jeering and uncouth. Given that I am forced to pay a licence fee, I am very unhappy that anything I contribute to is used to trivialise the death of another person, let alone show grizzly images of the scene in a trite and gloating way. I hope more consideration will be given to such matters in the future.
M Fitzgerald, Bolton UK

May I add my comments to those of Pat Collis. Much as I love This Week, I was dissappinted at the tone of the end credits last night. It was tasteless to use the footage of some of the last moments of Gadaffi's life almost as entertainment. Whatever anyone's views on a person and in this case the rightness or wrongness of their death it belittles society to show footage of this nature in this way. I had no objection to it being shown on the news but no-ones death should be trivialised and the sort of brutality shown, while understandable in the circumstances should not be condoned.
Cathy Linacre, London

I see Andrew Neil is still advertising Blue Nun wine on the programme!
Isn't this against BBC policy?
Why can't he be non specific and just say 'wine' or something like that?
I have complained about this before, so please don't reply with the 'stock' answer. I'd rather have no answer than the rubbish you sent to me last time.
Les Hay, Livingston

What a difference.
Diane and Mikchael back together again.
with Andrew ofcourse.
A winning combination worth staying up for.
Norman, Plymouth Devon

What a disgrace to show those scenes of the baying mob executing Gaddafi. You are little more than barbarians.
Keith Houghton, Manchester

I thought it was a really good programme tonight and it held my interest all the way through - it doesn't every week! But I thought the juxtaposition over the end titles of the pictures of Colonel Gaddaffi injured/dying/dead with quite racy pop music was completely inappropriate. During the day these pictures when shown on the news were accompanied by warnings that some viewers might be upset by them. I'm not sure how much respect one should give to a dead dictator but this presentation struck me as a piece of showing-off by someone on the production team, and reminded me of the shock I felt even as a child seeing newspaper pictures of Mussolini and his girlfriend dead, and hung upside-down in an Italian town towards the end of the 2nd World War. I appreciate this must have been a last-minute addition but still think someone senior should have had second thoughts about ending the programme this way.
Pat Collis, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Regards job seekers + benefits the reason why there are millions of polish and other eastern block immigrants working in this country is because they can earn 6 x more in the UK than they can in their native countries, this begs the question obviously these countries have moved their unemployed over to the UK to become employed why isn't there the opportunities back in there own country. There is also a knock on affect with housing in the UK.

I enjoy the programme and usually respect the comments of all involved.
But the sort of smug - we know all - attitude saying there will not be a referendum on the EU in this parliament was exactly the attitude towards the public that we all really dislike.
Cameron is ducking the issue but it will haunt him.
You lot also don't seem to get the public opinion.
Shame on the Paisley man.
John Ball, Richmond

"Ridicule is nothing to be scared of"
Lime Candy, Birmingham, UK

Ive not worked for over 10 years mostly become of my disablity but want would really help is if a jobs say we will pay £X how do you findout how much the goverment will take.
I know what my rent is I can find out my council tax and weekly/monthly bills.
but even if you goto a job centre and ask this job pays me £x how much I will be left with?
It would be great if it was still poss take the risk on trying for a job and if then being able to return to the same benefit level if the risk doesnt work out. But no you now you cant. Is the goverment now going to sink and sink from trying to get a job when they arnt any their citizan smith which public school did he goto?
paul bitmead, southall

Re:THIS WEEK. Get people back to work.
What work ?
Wehave 10 mil. unemployed,(incl.all on various Benefits),and there are half a mil. vacancies, (mostly part-time on min. wage) !
So, how you gonna do it ?
20 people changing one light bulb ???
Victor, Leeds

I can't believe what I'm heariing on your show tonight, a condoning of an extra judicial killing when gaddafi could of been taken alive. These opinions coming from two experienced MP's - there really is no hope for any of us if that is the best we have to offer! Everybody is entitlied to a fair trial, no matter how difficult it may be to prosecute - that is the whole idea! I am completely speachless!
richard lindsay, perth, scotland

I was born and bred in Warwickshire. My mother 90years still lives in Kenilworth. She was given a fairly large sum of money to vacate a council house and move into a warden controlled complex. She is now comfortable,her heating bills are reduced and there is always somebody there to keep a caring (not interfering) eye on her. If Warwickshire county council can do this why cannot other councils? I know I moved away but it was before my mother became in need of a little supervision. It seems to me that this is a good economical way of frreeing up council houses for younger people. Debate ?????
Yours with thanks
Lesley Shaw.
Lesley Shaw, Beziers France

the reason the british are not being employed is because employment agencies can exploit foreign nationals for example the uk business gives £12.50 p/h to the employment agent to supply labour, the agent then sets on foreign nationals and pass on £6.50 p/h pocketing the money and leaving the british taxpayer to top up the low paid worker with tax credits around 1/2 billion per week
michael conlon, maltby

The complete dumbing down of your programme is becoming ridiculous is this intentional?
Anthony Hannan, Bristol, Bristol

Fairy is clueless. Typical big wig. £26 return on the train to london. On advance ticket unlike her turn up and pay
David jones, Doncaster

I understand the show is comment and analysis but i have rarely seen such an attack on the unemployed by such ill-informed and prejudiced people as I have just watched.
The Fairy Jobmother assertions - 25% of unemployed don't want to work, 2 million immigrants get jobs why haven't local people, food stamps, majority of people in council houses are unemployed...
And it was not challenged AT ALL.
There are many unemployed people who would love to be given a chance to go on TV and say what they think about people making money off their backs.
Liam Sean McKnight, Edinburgh

I have to say that Michael Portillo has absolutely no idea about real life. Margaret Thatcher was never poor and just a grocers daughter. She had no idea of people working hard for a living. If she had she would never have consigned miners who are probably the hardest working people in the world to the dole queue and unfortunately you have no real socialist to present the opposite argument because Diane Abbot has no real experience of working people.
David Edwards, Dronfield

Nothing wrong with having to travel 90 minutes to work as long as MPs have to travel the same distance before getting second house allowances.
Mel, Wigan Lancs

Dear This Week,
We have to express our deepest concern at Andrew Neil's comments on the so called 'death; of Gaddafi in Libya. To compare it to a 'snuff' killing was trite, glib and extremely inhumane. To add to this insult, we felt that Michael Portiallo's support of "he was pleased that Gaddafi was dead" only added and increased to this inhumane 'news article'. Surely, This Week should always demonstrate a democratic, evenly balanced viewpoint. If this is not to be the case, we (after many, many year) will no longer watch or indeed support the efforts of this programme!!
Tracey Nicholl, East Kilbride, Glasgow

Great to see Diane and Michael together again! They really make a fine double act. Hope you can keep them onboard. Refreshing to balance their different perspectives. Well Done I'll be watching again in the hope they stay with THIS WEEK.
M. Johnson, London, UK

Dear Andrew
You are right; very soon, the Euro is about to go pop. When it does, it will signal the 'endgame' for nothing less than Civilisation itself. The fundamental problem is that Civilisation, ultimately, is a grand experiment that, unfortunately, doesn't work. It's about to fail. Once the financial tsunami has exploded in Europe it will hasten to the US, where it will strike in December 2012, when the dollar will collapse. Every global currency will then follow in 'domino' line and matters will conclude in World War Three. Sorry to be the party-pooper but I'm afraid that's the way the cookie crumbles. You will know that it's all gone pearshaped when California hits the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. We're right back on RMS Titanic and she's about to go down - all over again; only, this time round it's RMS Civilisation. I have known all about this for an awful long time, and I wrote out my analysis in a treatise called The Seventh Seal: A Mystery Play. You may know that there were seven seals broken in the Book of Revelation. We are, right now, inside the Narrative of the Seventh; it's the equivalent of the thirteenth chapter of Revelation. I am looking for a publisher for my treatise, so if you think you can help, hey, fill yer boots! The people need to be warned before the collapse; it means that nobody on planet earth is currently working on a project more important than mine, so I guess that confers some kind of priority in the queue. Should you like to take a gander at my little amuse bouche then give me a suitable e-mail address and I'll post it to you as a download. At 90 pages it's a quick read - around the same size as Animal Farm (but far more significant). If you want me to give you the details of the Great Countdown to The End then I'll be only too happy to come over there to your little Holy of Holies in Westminster and be grilled in the comfy chair by the Spanish Inquisition. I'm not sure that Adam Ant can be of any help to us on this occasion.
John Temple Finnigan, London


Dear This week,
I´m and avid fan of your program and have a suggestion which would fill the hole left behind by Abbot´s absence: Bring on Maurice Glasman to the couch as a permanent commentator to contrast to Portillo. Both men are completetly different, have opposing political vews and are very eloquent! It would be brilliant. Please please please do this!
Chris Moye, Kingston

Allow the audience to speak !
Controversial or otherwise !#
Dimmbleby is history !

Watching This week, last night, I was impressed that Michael Portillo made the comment that politics are about People. It would be good to ask politicians if they still believe that. I am so frustrated by all the parties now as I have seen them decline in their attitude to this concept.
It would actually be helpful if Politicians saw themselves as servant leaders and not officers that do not care.
Could we see a documentary written by Portillo that compared politicians attitudes to the people and their own self interest
Keith White, Greenhithe Kent

Hi im a regular viewer of This Week and have been since it started, i enjoy it for its humour, the informative discussions on the weeks events and thought provoking opinions from the regulars.
Im writing to say please keep Alan Johnson on the show as a regular because it gives the show a better balance.
Its nice to have someone from the left who is the equal of Portillo, there have been some lightweights sat next to Portillo and as much as i respect Mr Portillo it is annoying to watch the show when his points of view aren't disputed by the person sat next to him, which happens a lot with other stand ins, and it is also nice to see that Portillo has respect for Johnson which also isnt the case for a lot of stand ins.
So please keep him on the show!
Tom Michaelson, Liverpool

wow wyclif - listen up all polititians, to an experienced polititian like wyclif? Example of how far detatched a celeb can get when believing own hype, especialy ironic since his pontificating was telling polititians how to keep in touch. Classic cringing tv
Stephen Jones, Wrexham

so where was sir humphrey appleton, either they were asleep or they or they were being bullied. We see the civil service as being impartial, but I fear they they are now more political than the politians
diane stead, portsmouth

your experts say the puplic could get invovled in goverment if thay want to change things one new mp with revolutionery view that the puplic should have more say than puttin a cross in a box once every four years is not true democracy and it is foolish to beleave it is. most mps are strangeling true democracy
robert brooks, london

Alan johnson is clearly the most uneducated man to hold a senior cabinet position. He is so pleased to be where he is - clearly a man promoted beyond his abilities. Bring back Diane
Richard, Twickenham

the time has come we need radical change-its simply time to say enough is enough-the poor can surely pay no more -surely its a disgrace to see the biggest growth industry is now foodbanks in our cities to feed the poor-including now-the working poor-unless we stop greed once and for all we head for real disaster-time is running out and i mean for the greedy not global warming
tony hudson, coventry

With regard to wyclef talking about politics....
You should feature/cover British hip hop artists such as 'Lowkey', 'Dubbledge', 'Chester P', 'Braintax', and 'Foreign Beggars'. Some deep lyrical content. Lowkey is banned on uk radio!?
Darius, Sussex

I have always wished to know why, Michael Portillo and the other presenter ( whoever it is) have to sit so close to each other on the sofa!? It looks as if they 'fancy' each other! Michael used to sit very close to Dianne Abbott! , the sofa is big enough for them to sit further apart , you wouldn't sit that close to anyone unless you were a couple! It looks all wrong! WHY?
Angela Brockway, Kidderminster Worcestershire

Why does Michael Portillo sit in the middle of the sofa, squashing Alan Johnnson against one end and leaving a big gap on the other side?
Nicholas Pope, Chelmsford, Essex

You have just committed a serious error - through Portillo and Neill - saying that the NHS is doing badly compared to the rest of the world
We. do. not. want. a privatised. system.
Do not misinform people or attempt to manipulate people with unbalanced information! How dare you.. I thought the BBC was above this.
Teresa Liddell, anais (edited, we do not print external links)


Actually, David Cameron has a degree in PPE, so in literal terms he only has one-third of an economics degree!
Brenda, Scarborough

Last night's programme was one of the best ever and I was truly AMAZED at the way in which Michael Portillo and John Prescott got along so well and made many good and cogent points without ducking behind their respective party barriers. I cannot remember when I have listened with such empathy to opposing politicians - both seeing the wider picture and expressing their views sincerely. VERY WELL DONE!
Alfred Penderel Bright, Harrogate, North Yorkshire,

Michael Portillo was the best of a pretty poor show, and I'm surprised that Adam Boulton allowed himself to become involved in that ridiculous cat pantomime. he usually has something intelligent to say and doesn't need stupid theatricals to help him. Prescott was inept, and I really wish Andrew would tell his script-writers to stop using the 'Call me Dave' gag, everytime Andrew refers to the Prime Minister.
david kidd, bury st edmunds, suffolk

Andrew Neil & Rachel Johnson were so patronisingly offensive when discussing how women know the cost of food,fuel, council tax, etc., inferring that men do not have a clue about such worldly matters. Well, Andrew may have people who fetch and carry for him, but we are not all privileged with such a cossetted lifestyle. I have raised my daughter single-handedly since she was 13 whilst holding a senior position, managing to run the home and care for my daughter. I do know the cost of food, fuel, rates and all other household expenses,including the cost of a school uniform. So, Andrew, please do not tar all men with the same brush. Some of us can hold a professional job, run a household and raise children without needing any assistance from a woman.
DerekA, Cheshire

I was pleased to see John Prescott on TW but Michael`s comments about Steve Jobs annoyed me. After putting with Boris` sister I turned off because I suspected we were going to get more of the deification of Steve Jobs. I`ve avoided news progs, online news sites as I`m totally sick of the OTT reaction to his death. He made a lot of money from selling overpriced & overrated products to the gullible who fall for the evangelical hype surrounding Apple. He hasn`t affected my life. I don`t have any Apple products, I was forced to use iTunes to download a Sports Relief comedy video as iTunes had the rights. Since then I`ve received e-mails from Apple (name stolen from The Beatles) about the new evangelical opening of a new store but I have to wait to find out the date. When opening their stores the gullible queue for hours then the staff work them up into a frenzy prior to letting them into the store. It`s like a cult. I`m not part of it. I`m not saying this to speak ill of the dead, but because of `The Gullible followers of the cult`. It is sick. I`m sorry that Steve Jobs died at 55 from cancer, but I would sorry about anyone dying. His death, to me, is no different to the death of anyone else who made no difference to my life. My father died from cancer in 1988, HE made a big difference to my life. Seeing people overreacting to the death of someone they never knew demeans the feelings that I felt when my dear father died.I still think of my late father everyday. I have never felt so alone as when my father died.
Tara B, Marlow, Bucks England

I just have to pick Andrew N about his comment that there are no proper debates with votes at any of the party conferences. Perhaps he was not paying attention at Lib Dem conference, but one of the only rows was about the fact that we were NOT allowed a vote on the debate about the NHS! We hold our democratic decision making very dear and for many Lib Dems the removal of the sovereignty of Conference in policy making would be the final straw!!!
All the best
Linda Jack
(Lib Dem and member of Federal Policy and Federal Conference Committees)
Linda Jack, Luton

john prescot on your show, yawn, yawn, yawn, Zzzzzzzzzz.
james malone, london

The lady you had on your programme last night,Boris Johnstons sister,whose first name I didn't catch,sought to blame Mr Cameron for losing the votes of,as she described them,the C2s.What kind of world does this woman,sorry,lady,live in.Complaining about it costing a hundred Pounds to fill her petrol tank, rather cuts the ground from under her own feet.This is more than one of her C2s has,to spend on the weekly shop for a family of four for a week.Her brother although not of the working class, does at least understand their aspirations, and gets out there and tries to make some of them at least, a reality. Even to the extent of drawing amusing comments from the Press concerning his attitude and behavior.He doesn't try to hide from the comments, he actually joins in the fun, and instead of looking silly, brings admiration as a man, and as someone to laugh with, not at. He is a vote winner.His sister with her know it all attitude, and her tendency to refer to people as though they are cyphers in some wartime code,now there is someone, who would turn those C2s away from voting Conservative.I find her to be, now what were those phrases,oh yes,"arrogant,over priveleged, and out of touch.
john mason, Liverpool

What has happened to Jon Cruddas? A rare being - a politician who seems normal despite a considerable intellect - who always seems to talk sense, unlike many others who appear (eg Jacqui Smith). Why has he not been on for so long?
Tim Driscoll, Yateley, Hampshire.

" Say old girl why don't you go on TW, as a FRATERNAL favour, and rattle Cameron's cage"
"Perhaps, but just remember I'm brighter than you and could be mayor if I wasn't a woman, and had to meet the sort of people I don't meet at the Lady"
WELCOME BACK TW, as ever a good program; and Rachel J had many good points
Paul Sanderson, Sheffield

I hope the likes of John Prescott and the despicable Alistaire Campbell are not paid by the BBC for their appearances.
richard davis, bristol

Last nights show with Rachael Johnson just seemed like an advert for The Lady magazine. How was this possible? Was a deal done with Rachael Johnson that the magazine would get such huge exposure if she appeared on the show.
Paul Cox, Manchester

What Rachel Johnson said about Cameron being out of touch with the lady voter is true of all politicians for all voters. Very few have ever had a real job or know what it is like for the person in the street. As they are not in touch with their voters at all they fail on the Big Society side and on relating with the voters concerns, and therefore they have no chance of representing and working for the voter's benefit. This leaves them as being totally fake about the electorate's position and therefore self serving for their own careers and futures. No wonder we don't trust them and feel disillusioned about the whole political arena.
Graeme, Hounslow, Middle.

Why oh why do we have to see Prescott again?
I would guess that he was paid-what a complete waste of our licence fee funds
Please never oh never invite him back
Wayne Wilson, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

Why does Michael Portillo sit in the middle of the settee every week while his co-guest has to squash in beside him. Alan Johnson last week looked ridiculously uncomfortable. tonight I am not sure how John Prescott managed it.
gina rotherford, edinburgh

£100??? What car does she drive????
Lime Candy, Birmingham, UK

Can ou stop John Prescott scratching his eye in boredom and teach him to listen, oh and ask him to move further away from whatisname on the sofa...
Amanda Neimer, Eccles, Kent, UK

Cat gate? Don't be silly....more like cat flap..
Amanda Neimer, Eccles, Kent, UK

How long does the bbc & this week etc and other uk media trash think it can keep pretending that OCCUPY WALL STREET is'nt happening?
Could it be that when this all really kicks off everywhere Neil and other media parasites should start thinking about heading for the hills, because that'll be the only place they'll be safe? For a little while.
Kenneth, Glasgow
THIS WEEK REPLIES: We had a film and debate last week on the the global economic problems as Alvin Hall claimed British people showed little interest.

Well done This Week! A report on women's views on politics by Rachel Johnson who is partially introduced as Boris Johnson's sister! Further words fail me!
Jenny Davis, Cleethorpes

I thought the gag that Andrew Neil made about Oxford wanting their economics degree back from Cameron so fab I had to share it on facebook.
Andrea Rowswell, Basingstoke

Just watching the show and comments concerning women and the coalition. Half a million women aged 57 and 58 years old will never ever vote for either party again unless they sort out the mess whereby they have accelerated our retirement age by four years without sufficient time to make alternative plans!
Sue Anderson, Wakefield

I cannot believe that you allow Boris Johnsons sister to deliver the comments on Camerons view of women when Boris wants to go foe senior role in Goverment can only assume that you are biased
Shay Devine, charmouth dorset
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Rachel Johnson praised David Cameron's speech but some of her other comments were critical of the party.

You had a piece with the woman from the Lady publication speaking about what was wrong with the Conservatives and all the way through was music. Why? It really added nothing after the first ten seconds and actually made it very hard to hear what she was saying.
Jim, Derby

Prescott???? I'm off to bed.
Simon Anthony, oxfordanthonys

Quantative easing...printing money out of thin effect, this is DEVALUATION...why is it not called what it is? Fancy words to fool the masses. Claimed aims to boost spending; it will have the opposite effect...when price inflation hits most people more and more, as this QE2 will effect, they'll tighten their belts more and in real terms spend less of their devalued currency. Financial traders may well benefit, but the average person will be hurt by it. Realisation that the system is not working for the people is increasing, even old-Etonians like Charles Moore have started to see the truth The much maligned trader, Alessio Rastani, was too honest to be believed. OccupyWallStreet is growing for good reason. Be on the right side of history and help change things for the better. Listen to Congressman Dennis Kucinich . We need more of his like in the UK. I hope Andrew, Michael and the This Week team will find the courage to address this topic with candour and clarity.
Noor Khan, London

Dear Andrew Michael and Diane
Thank you for your continued good work.
Incensed by the BBC "News" tonight I dashed off the enclosed to The Guardian, but still being infuriated I thought I would allow your good selves the opportunity to dissect this latest penetration into prejudice that increasingly rages through England, especially since the summer riot. Thanks for your time. Mike:- As far as I know it is prejudicial and illegal to expect people to define racial background as mixed race, it was prevalent and the cause of much trouble in South America in the 1960s, so expecting people to tell an unofficial report that they are mixed race is possibly criminal persecution and the BBC News was definitely illegal in its presentation.
We have no reason to dig into our history it is what we do as UK English citizens that matters not that our parents may have or not done according to illegal TV practice spying.
Anyway the behaviour of UK Conservative TV toward other people is well represented by Cameron and Clarke's behaviour toward women politicians.
Persistent, invasive and debilitating. MD Stagg BSc Wales Hydrology soils Geology UCW 1969 MSc Senior Lecturer 1978
Michael Dennis Stagg, Portishead Somerset

I have been a watcher of this week for many years now - I love the programme. Andrew Neil is the funniest man on TV and Portillo and the sucession of labour (and lib dem) folk you invite are delightful. But i will noit be watching tonight. Prescott is beyond the pail and the attempt by the BBC to rehabilitate him is deeply offensive. His main job in government as Deputy PM (would believe) was it seems to mediate between what we now know is the corrupt Blair and the dysfunctional Brown. But of course he did terrible damage in his own right - wasting £500mn on useless fire stations for one. This Week is about subtlelty, intellience, a certain self awareness and wit. Having Prescott on the prgramme is like taking the magic of Blue Nun and mixing it with pure unadulterated shit.
I am serious. Don't ever soil your programme with this man ever again. You demean yourself.
Andrew Richardson.

Andrew, can you please ask John Prescott tonight who is responsible for the fire & rescue centres £500million now scrapped!? the NHS IT project 12billion now scrapped!? MOD cockups the list of which is goes on & on!? My point is, Who in there right mind will ever trust an incompetent labour government with our hard earned taxes again??? And even now they have shadow chancellor Ed Balls 2nd incharge to Brown during the fiasco!!!
Regards Gary
Gary , London

So what's new pussycat!!...The Party Conferences have been rather dull this year but oh so beautifully staged managed. Apart from Kenny putting his hush puppies in it again. And I'm sick of this ' we are all in this together ' we are not...Many of us over the years have been extremely careful with our finances, thrifty to say the least so we are not drowning in a sea of debt I stick two fingers up to the sods that got the country in this mess and they can sort it.
Debbie Munday, Pontypool


Michael Portillo summed up the euro crisis neatly when he said we were bailing out the bankers (not Greese) and the eurozone politicians. I would like to hear where he thinks this will lead. Far from throwing the money-lenders out of the temple or even bailing them out, it seems we are putting them in charge of the temple. Will they now strip its assets? I think the global economic crisis is just beginning!
Dale Greig, Paisley, Renfrewshire

The constant criticism week against Ed Milliband in the press being a " friend of the unions " is a misrepresentation of the facts regarding the relationship between the Labour Party and tTrade Unions , the press wont GIVE UP until either David Milliband or better still STEVEMILLERBAND ! ! is running the labour party , if Ed is " RED ED " then so has every leader from Keir Hardie to Harold Wilson right through NEW LABOUR to where we are now . Tony Blair tricked people into believing that Labour Party had partied company with the unions just to win votes , he may have torn up Clause 4 but but the basic relationship between labour and the unions is EXACTLY the same now politically AND financially as when the trade unions formed the Labour Party circa 1900 , 110 years ago !! Ed Milliband may not be the most dynamic leader in the world but it time the press got off its back not that other labour MPs are actually lining up for the job , who wants a job with enormous pressure , constant barracking and criticism by the press and media for LESS money in a year than some professional footballers earn in a WEEK !!

Comments by Michael on the EU: Dead right! MPs always recite the mantra "50% of our trade is with the EU". What's the use of that as we take 50% (more I suspect) of their stuff? Let's have some hard details, i.e. how protectionist it is against our old trading partners; how the EU subsidies are a gravy train for some; how can stuff be sold profitably from UK when it no longer actually belongs to the UK, given that i everything worthwhile seems to have been taken over by a foreign power?
June Gibson, London

I was very interested to hear the contribution on bullying. People think that only youngsters get bullied, I was bullied as a consultant gynaecologist to the point of considering suicide. Bullying is too prevalent to be ignored!
Derek McLintock FRCOG, St Albans, Herts, UK

What fantastically patronising comments from Alvin Hall! Save for the next opportunity, what opportunity? What on earth does he think we are all trying to do? There is absolutely nothing left at the end of the month, and this is not because we are squandering money on luxuries, but because as dutiful citizens we are paying our mortgages and bills , and making sure our children are provided with the life skills that will hopefully make them productive citizens. Heaven help those with even less.Please treat the educated public with some respect and dignity, wake up and smell the stench of frustration and disappointment from the hardworking dutiful majority
Ms S Cheale, basildon essex

Welcome back. J. Smith should get nowhere near the studio, she and several others ( Blears for example ) are a total disgrace. That fake cockney fiddle player is living in a parallel universe. Mirror socialist boy is no actor.
Other than that, despite AN's terrible attempts at humour, very good !
Bill R, Preston. Lancs.

I was disappointed though not surprised that the trader Mr Rastani's views were mentioned and then quickly dismissed so quickly; it seems to me that Mr Rastani is one of the few to speak the truth lately on the BBC; such a pity that there's so little truth on the BBC, and so much on Russia Today and Infowars etc.
Pete Baldwin, Kidlington/Oxfordshire

When will the financial gurus admit that until ALL Private and Public Sector Defined Benefit Pension Schemes are totally closed to NEW and EXISTING Members, neither the UK, nor Europe nor the USA will be able to recover financially. All of those with vested interests perpetuate the myth that such schemes are affordable, but the truth is that they have been flawed since outset, because they try to support tangible benefits with intangible stockmarket linked assets. Dave Prentiss understands this - hence his salary sacrifice to boost his own pension by 31% - paid for by union subs. Bankers milk future profitability using such schemes, not just the public sector.
Peter F Amott, wokingham, berkshire, england

This is more a question than a comment. If the countries of Europe changed to the euro with no great problems why cant they change back now instead of waiting for a few countries to default? Then maybe we can totally scrap the European Union and all get on with each other as before
Andrew Ritchie, Peterhead Aberdeenshire

Does Michael Portillo have to hog the middle of the sofa? Move over!
Alison Johnston, Edinburgh

Andrew, Blue Nun is actually quite a tasty wine IMO, is your constant reference to it because you see it as a symbol of the proletariat? Do you think that you have increased or decreased the sales of this product?
Bob, Ellesmere Port

PLEASE stop the infantile humour and present a proper show for adults at this hour.
jim gillanders, edinburgh

Give that starchy old Tory Portillo the boot, he needs to feel the rubber.
Otherwise great show.
steve, Essex

Is there someone updating your web site? Clicked the link to watch the 'in chapters' option and am taken all the way back to your last program in July which, incidently, is also incomplete with many chapters missing. Please update all so that I may continue to watch your excellent programe. Also, any chance of perhaps adding This Week and/or newsnight on a daily basis to your international sites such as BBC Knowledge or World News or even come up with another Politics option for the expat community. I have already converted many aussie and yanky friends into watching this show so am sure there is a market out there. All the best, MJ.
Michael Jordan, Hong Kong
THIS WEEK REPLIES: The archive page is updated this week - we have only had one show since July. We do not offer the full show there, just the selected highlights.

I am fed up of seeing all the "frustrated thespians" political journalists prancing around every week in all manner of unnecessary venues. Can't we just have a straight forward, interesting programme? I obviously cheered too soon when Mark Mardell left!!!!!
Evelyn Briggs, Ottery St. Mary, Devon

Welcome back! TW is my favourite programme of the week. Why on earth it isn't repeated the next day on BBC2 at an earlier time, I will never know. It is the most accessible political programme of the week in my opinion!
I don't drink now, but I may take up Blue Nun just to get me through Jaqui Smith! Blimey! We 'was robbed, guv' by many of these wheeling dealing politicians to some degree or other. Please invite reputable politicians! Thank goodness it's Alan Johnson!
Anyway, I'm chipper that you're back!
Alan Cordiner, Millom, Cumbria
THIS WEEK REPLIES: This Week is repeated at 6pm on Friday on BBC Parliament - channel 81 on Freeview.

Please please please can you fix it for me to see the closing singing of the Labour party Conference.
I thought it was one of the funniest things I have seen all year, and I thought it was a great homage to the late great David Croft. Even he could not have written it any better.
I am not sure if was the pathetic singing of the crowd, the crowd with the limp flags being waved or the lack of the words being known by the labour leadership, that I find the most funniest.
Thank you for broadcasting it. In these dark times , we all need a little laughter.
Rob Swift, Nottingham
THIS WEEK REPLIES: Hope you enjoyed it!

When will the financial gurus admit that until ALL Private and Public Sector Defined Benefit Pension Schemes are totally closed to NEW and EXISTING Members, neither the UK, nor Europe nor the USA will be able to recover financially. All of those with vested interests perpetuate the myth that such schemes are affordable, but the truth is that they have been flawed since outset, because they try to support tangible benefits with intangible stockmarket linked assets. Dave Prentiss understands this - hence his salary sacrifice to boost his own pension by 31% - paid for by union subs. Bankers milk future profitability using such schemes, not just the public sector.
Peter F Amott aerobenefits limited


I switch off as soon as the name of Ms Smith is mentioned, so keep in touch by reading comments.
Nigel Kennedy has always seemed to be more on Fullers earth, than this one.
Why do you think the Irish "travellers" are all in p.c. old England... Because, I'm told by an Irish friend, the Irish wouldn't put up with them and gave them the push.
I.B. Edinburgh.
I. E. Baugh, Edinburgh Scotland.

The disgraced Jacqui Smith invited onto the show again??? I'm sure TW do this deliberately to wind up its viewers. Banish her!
The feature on 'Travellers' [surely this is an oxymoron] elicited no sympathy from me. The opinion I, and many others, have regarding these people is generated by the 'Travellers' themselves and experience of having them live in one's community. They invade peaceful communities whereupon they are antagonistic towards the residents; they leave filth & mess wherever they stay; refuse to conform with society's laws; evade paying tax and make no attempt to integrate and contribute positively to society in general. So why should they have any rights? They are a feral faction of society by their own actions and lifestyle choice. To invite Nigel Kennedy, who is one sandwich short of a picnic, onto the show to espouse his fatuous pro-traveller opinions was bordering on an insult.
Derek, Cheshire

Don't think I would ever say this but I actually agree with Jacquline Smith that the issue with Dale farm and the travellers is nothing to do with racism. Although they own the land, they do not have planning permission to build on part of the plot. I have to abide by the planning laws of this country and so should they.
Julie, Norwich, Norfolk

Should the producers not have taken the dark coloured liquid away from Nigel Kennedy on leaving the "green room" It seems to have had a very debilitating impact on his mental and speech functions.Perhapsmore mixer and less spirit the next time.Cheers for now!
Brian Robinson, Bangor Co. Down

Great to have the show back. As always I found it interesting, informative and very fair in terms of the range of guests. Having Charles Kennedy as a regular is important to keep the balance.
Keep up the good work and please mention a certain Doctor, 12 term congressman & now 3 time Presidential candidate when you next mention Republican conttenders for the next election.
Ron Paul 2012
Tommy, Hertfordshire

I was so looking forward to seeing the return of This Week. Unfortunately, Jacqui Smith was on the show AGAIN! Why is the BBC constantly giving her airtime and licence-fee money to appear on various BBC programmes? The electorate have spoken by voting her out - no more Jacqui Smith PLEASE. Off to bed early now with my bottle of Blue Nun.
Carmela Amaddio, Addlestone, Surrey

Why do your guests and regulars, keep referring to the term racism, in the context of the travellers? Every one in the studio during the debate, was white and so are the travellers. It is impossible to be racist! The travellers may be a different ethnic group, but they are not a different race. I'm afraid your politicians are way behind the times and haven't shaken of their left wing PC conditioning.
Simon, London

It was a cynical ploy to allow Nigel Kennedy to plug his new C.D. by him purporting to believe that the eviction of the Irish travellers is racism akin to the past treatment of Australian aborigines. Please do not allow this 'champagne socialist' to spoil your program with such verbal diarrhoea in future.
J.Prestor, Havering, Essex

Dear This Week,
I just wanted to say that I always enjoy watching the show.
It is always interesting, and humourous.
I think that Andrew Neil is a very good host [I think he is head and shoulders above the likes of Jeremy Paxman - plus he's got a sense of humour !] The content is always varied, some good, some bad. They seem to give all sorts of people a chance when it comes to the input.
Some do well, some make themselves look twits, but that is life after all.
I like the 'open' nature of the show.
Behind the humour, they do actually dip into some weighty issues, but in a very human way.
Congratulations !
Well done.
Colin Bell, London

Once again you were using disgraced ex Home Secretary Jacqueline Smith on your programme last evening. I immediately switched off.
There must be many politicians who were not exposed as greedy in the MPs' expenses scandal whom you could use and who are far more interesting and knowledgeable than Ms Smith anyway. She should be barred from the airwaves.
Chris Willson, London

I desperately want to support the traveller commnity and I highly respect their principles beliefs and traditons. but when it gets to a point of settling down and building a base or home. . . I find the conflict!. . The fact that Im a single mother with 2 children who works full time whose total wage in the times that we are in is taken by tax on my wages, rent , energy bills and council taxes. (They dont pay this!!) leaves me with no spare cash for basic things like school meals(my children are on pack ups because its cheaper) trips with school and general payments to keep my family going I find it difficult!( I have no other income or payments and Im gfetting more and more in debt!). I want my children to apreciate and respect me for what I do for them but also want them to respect people that live in other ways to us.. Its accepting equaliy and diversity!.. . Its my job to set an example. . . And nothing in life is handed on a plate . . They have to work hard for everything they get. . . But it gets hard when the people that work to survive on their own and try so hard with traditional values and principples seem to suffer!!. . I want to support them. . .But why am I penilised! . . Sorry to moan but times are tough. . . Sarah x
Sarah Lovatt, leeds

Dear Show,, Firstly i have been watching the show with great enjoyment for many years, and it has always been the show that sets me up for Friday and the weekend..
However, since Diane Abbot has left, i am left really upset that the show is employing Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears and repetitively. Both of these politicians were exposed as showing bad ethics due to misleading the general public with their clear misuse of expenses.. As a result, i dont believe that tax payers should continue to a> see them on political debate programmes, when they have broken the trust of the general public, and b> that tv licence payers should be allowing them more money for appearing on the BBC..
I sincerely hope that you take my points seriously, and not discount them, but show some consideration to the general public,, and the outrage that many of us still feel from the politicians that seemed to get away with bad behaviour...
Best Regards
Simon Stringfellow, Southampton

Why dont you have a guest slot from the public, instead of recycling the same old ex politicians with dodgy pasts. I think a slot would be benficial, that included people from outside of the echelons of the main politians. Politics in the media is controlled by those who are in power or were in power, but politics belongs to the people in everyday life.
I for one, would be willing to attend your programme, to give the electorate a voice in th emedia. There is no point in recycling the same old story from ex and discredited politicians.
Colin Gorton, St Helens, Merseyside

OMG! Andrew Neil has found Harry Potter's glasses and is triumphantly waving them about in public. Maybe he'll do all of us a favour and make those incompetent politicians and "their" debt disappear? Who knows?
Robert Reynolds, Harrogate

Great Programme.
I'm a traveller. I have a motorhome. I pay my Council Tax, Income Tax, Tax on my Pension etc.
In fact I love travelling. This summer I travelled to the North East of England, the Highlands of Scotland, the Lake District, York, Chester, Blackpool then back to Swansea. I'm a member of the Caravan Club.
People who travel, travel. As with Certificated Locations with the Caravan Club you may only spend a limited number of nights in one location. The squatters in Essex are not travellers. Most of the people are from Eire, not part of the British Isles. Our politicians are trying to be too politically correct and I might be a NIMBY but I'm also a NITBY (Not In Their Back Yard). The law is the law. I've just had a speeding ticket after 30 years of driving. It was my fault, I broke the law and must accept the penalty. This is what living in a law abiding democracy is about. If life is better in Eire, then perhaps they should go back.
Best wishes to you all.
Pat Robinson
Pat Robinson, Swansea

This isn't to do with being racist. People don't want travellers around them because they will nick anything and everything they can get their hands on. They just cannot help it. They steal peoples loved animals, they treat animals abominably. They leave a mess wherever they go and expect others to pick up the bill for the clean up. In the US where they aren't so ruled by EU human Rights laws, communities are warned by the police when travellers are coming their way. I don't care at all if folks want to live in caravans, it's not that at all. Vanessa Redgrave and Nigel Kennedy have a romantic idea about them. The protestors look like they just love to protest. For a start, there are Irish travellers and Gypsies and to me they are different. It is the Irish travellers that have no respect for people who aren't travellers, they haven't any respect for their own women or daughters either. Now our local authorities don't have to find more sites and force them upon us. We already have a lot of them around this area. They're a horrible bunch and if they are travellers then how come they don't travel? Why are they here? cos they can live of the rich pickings that us lot can provide. Wish they'd travel away from around here.
marta falco ainley, Cinderford, Gloucestershire.

I think Nigel Kennedy should stick to playing the fiddle, he has little idea of the implications surrounding Dale Farm.
Bill mclean, Theydon Bois

totally unacceptable that the completely discredited & amoral former Home Secretary should appear on tonights programme. There must be other potential guests with higher moral standards than this failed politician.
Michael, glasgow

Please bring Charlie Kennedy back more often. He's a gem. You're a gem yourself, Andrew, and keep pitching, but don't hide this man! Drag him out more often!
Anne Lawrence, Glasow

Nigel Kennedy, why? Sorry but he's not exactly the full shilling. Then we've got BBC favourite and star of the Mirror Kevin Maguire. Sorry but I see no reason why he's on so often, the Mirror isn't exactly replete with politics and with a ciculation lower than the Metro is it really a major dailly newspaper anymore? Finally, to add insult to injury, Jacqui Smith. I don't need to say anything here I hope, presumably this was a contractual agreement as part of the deal for her "Jacqui does porn" series on the radio. It's about time you got regular bod on to replace Diane, she isn't the one.
Richard Evans, Hatfield, Herts.

I think its degusting how you all spoke about travellers on this week your all talking about the traveller community like you know what its like to be one. but u dont im a travelling girl and I been brought up the right respectful way. u have no right to judge us and have an option of us until you know us u all look down your nose at us but in a matter of fact you would never be as clean as us ,never be as close community as us people like you give us a bad name
charlotte, dorest

How dare AN mock Sarah Teather's,admittedly rather weak,attempts at humour.
Every week those of us who are keen to watch a decent politics show have to cringe in embarrassment as he imagines he is Eddie Izzard.
Please tell him he is pathetic.
RCWhiting, Stilton Cambridgeshire

Absolutely brilliant Nigel Kennedy, defending the human rights of the Travelers in Dale Farm. His talent and sensibility which he displays abundantly in his music is just a reflection of his admirable humanity, which all the others in the programme lacked. Politicians and Media People come from a planet we can do without.
Bravo Nigel Kennedy!!!!Ederlezi
Stella, London

I was very disappointed on the discussion about Dale Farm and the evictions of Traveller families.
The three politicians were united in blaming theTravellers. Nigel Kennedy did a good job intrying to present a more tolerant and humane view. But I think it is wrong that a representative from the Travellers was not invited on to the programme to speak on behalf of the Travellers and to challenge the three politicians who united to attack the Travellers. Surely the Travellers should be given air time to speak for themselves, and challenge the politicians. Please could a future programme allow a representative from the Travellers on to speak?
Pat Mullady, preston lancashire

I think Nigel Kennedy who I respect for his talent should try running a motor dealership with travelers urinating and defacting in your doorways and stealing your customer coffee,tea, milk,sugar and toilet rolls. Live it before you comment I don't hate I post commentof my experiences!!!
David Douglas, Edinburgh

I cannot believe no-one on your panel, including you Andrew, wanted to discuss the News Corp scandal!!
George Nugent, Glasgow

I think it's a valid point that after ten years of residence, 'travellers' will have to find a new ethnic description for themselves. 'Tinkers', perhaps?
Terence Staines, Ilfracombe, Devon

Missed you. Thank God you're back!
Mary Ward, Essex

Nigel Kennedy, what an absolute pillock. He was practically incoherent and seemed clearly drunk. A hugely bad move having him on, please sort it out!!!!!!!
simon Green, yorkshire

Are English Travellers allowed to go to Ireland and get away with building on their green land? Spoil land with their vans leaving rubbish even using open land for their toilet in front of houses facing the land? Would the Irish pay for damage and waste like the English have to. I doubt it very much.
Frances Fox, Peterborough

Having looked forward to This Week I'm confronted by those two third rate failures Snith and Kennedy, not worth watching. Re the non travelling travellers, I expect to be able to erect whatever I wish on my land without recourse to plannning from now on, what J Smith should be referring to is "Different non cultures."
Jan Bee, whitby yorkshire

Jackie Smith???? Are you raving mad,,, she isn't qualified to speak on anything.
I'll turn you off and go to bed thanks. I expect a Labour person on, but God bless us, surely you could find one with a modicum of intelligence. She is a teacher for goodness sake. She could hardly tie a shoe lace.
It is an insult to put her on.
You are mental, yes admit it, you are.
Simon Scott, Preston Lancashire

Before Jacqui Smith opens her mouth, how can you possibly defend giving air time to this self-serving oxygen thief?
Andrew Kirkpatrick, Peterborough

You MUST remind politicos, that Andrew represents ME.
If they avoid the question, or get stroppy, they offend ME.
Andrew is in effect in parentis locus. Please remind the politicos, they are invited into my sitting room, and I amd REPRESENTED, by Andrew, so please dear MP stop ducking the question, you look very very silly.
Simon Scott, Preston Lancashire

I thought Mr Neil questioned Vince Cable very well about internships, but let him off the hook when he was obviously struggling, keep nailing these people down when double standards exist.
ian, Barnsley

Please tell Kevin McGuire to try and speak normally in his TW appearances. That stupid exxagerated accent he pretends to have for his VT bits is irritating.
Cliff Harris, Chippenham UK

Welcome back!
However ....rather torn this week (no pun intended) as much as I would love to see Michael Portillo and Kevin Maguire, the thought of having to look at and listen to the unrepentent and awful Jacqui Smith means that I might have to drink the whole bottle of Blue Nun by the time you air so that I can avoid her. Cheers!
Philippa Levey, London

It was a cynical ploy to allow Nigel Kennedy to plug his new C.D. by him purporting to believe that the eviction of the Irish travellers is racism akin to the past treatment of Australian aborigines. Please do not allow this 'champagne socialist' to spoil your program with such verbal diarrhoea in future.
J.Prestor, Havering, Essex

Good to see you back. I have been suffering from 'Withdrawl Symtoms' all Summer. Just make sure we don't have a visitation from the Speaker's Wife. She is no good for my Blood Pressure, and you can read that anyway you like.
Colin Vaughan, Barnet Herts

My comment which im sure will be the subject of discussion in your programme is the criticism of public sector trade unions who are currently defending millions of public sector workers against job losses , redundancies and changes to their pensions forcing them to work longer , pay larger contributions as well as the " pension pot " being reduced each year , public sector workers are an easy target for the govt who have little control over the private sector and the unions have a moral obligation to defend their fee paying members , otherwise why are they there ? . I also believe the govt have a hidden agenda to introduce further " anti trade union laws " as the Tories were doing in the 1990s particularly with regard to strike action and would have done so had they not lost the election in 1997 . So far , there has only been ONE DAY of strike action compared to the mass demonstrations in France , Spain and Greece etc but patience is wearing thin , the unions do not want to strike , they simply want to negotiate a fair deal for their members but the govt doesn,t want to talk . Also why are the press and media 100 % biased in favour of the govt and/or employers and continually give bad press to the unions who are simply doing their job just as the NUJ are doing with a similiar dispute going on over pensions in broadcasting ?? the word " hypocrisy " springs to mind
peter fay , AYR

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