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Our archive Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 16:41 GMT
February 2001
Click on any of the links below to read what The World at One said about the main issues of the day.


Wednesday, 28 February

Thirteen people have been killed in a high-speed train crash near Selby in North Yorkshire. Seventy people have been injured, some seriously.

The collision is thought to have been caused by a car and trailer which slid onto the track from a motorway bridge. The 0445 GNER train from Newcastle to London hit the car and then hit a freight train coming from the opposite direction.


Tuesday, 27 February

As efforts to contain foot-and-mouth disease continue, we look at the wider social and political consequences of the crisis.

Sporting events across the UK have been hit and the public are being warned to stay away from farmed areas. But how far should preventative action go?

The postponement of the Countryside Alliance march gives the government some breathing space - but could the crisis affect the timing of the expected general election?


Monday, 26 February

Two new cases of foot-and-mouth have been confirmed in Devon and Wiltshire. We have the latest from South West England.

And as Nick Brown prepares to meet his European counterparts in Brussels, we hear from Germany about why one state has already started burning cattle imported from the UK.


Friday, 23 February

A prison warder locks a door
Labour has been criticised for failing to address the causes of crime

Advance details of the government's ten-year crime plan, due to be announced on Monday, have been published in several newspapers.

The crime plan itself appears to pre-empt a government commissioned review of the Criminal Court system which is being undertaken by Lord Auld, who has not yet reported. Is the government acting before the report because a looming election requires it to be "tough on crime"?

The proposals include plans to imprison more criminals - the World at One debated whether prison is the best way of dealing with crime.


Thursday, 22 February

Sign warning of foot and mouth disease outbreak
Foot and mouth disease has now struck at twelve locations

A huge operation is being undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture to limit the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, which has reappeared in Britain for the first time in twenty years.

The European Commission has banned all exports of British livestock, meat and dairy products.

The World at One discussed the implications of the disease for the farming industry and spoke to the Agriculture Minister Nick Brown, who told the programme that all possible precautions were being taken to exterminate the virus.


Wednesday, 16 February

A doctor examines a patient
Consultants have joined doctors in protesting against new contracts
As the Department of Health proposes that newly-qualified consultants should work exclusively for the NHS for up to seven years - in return for higher starting salaries - we speak to the Health Secretary Alan Milburn.

Also, Lord Irvine refuses to apologise to the House of Lords for asking Labour-supporting lawyers to contribute to party coffers.

 Click here to listen to Lord Irvine's defence

The Tory leader in the Lords, Lord Strathclyde, tells the World at One that the issue is not resolved:

 Lord Strathclyde: "He must clearly resign"


Tuesday, 20 February

Iraq's northern and southern no-fly zones
Critics of last Friday's bombing of Iraq by British and American warplanes say Foreign Office ministers disclosed plans to relax sanctions only 24 hours before the attack.

So was the bombing carried out without the full knowledge of the Foreign Office?

And what of the wider international move for what are called 'smart sanctions' - designed to hurt Iraq's leadership rather than the people, and increase trade.

Also, competition between the Daily Express and the Daily Mail is developing into a circulation war of unusual savagery:

 The Guardian's media editor, Roy Greenslade


Monday, 19 February

The Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine
Lord Irvine is no stranger to controversy
The Conservatives say the Lord Chancellor should resign over the letter he sent to lawyers attending a Labour party fund raising dinner.

We speak to Tory party chairman Michael Ancram who says it raises some very serious questions about Lord Irvine's position - and constitutional law experts who argue that the office of the Lord Chancellor should be abolished.

Also, as the Arab world and UN Security Council members criticise attacks by British and US warplanes on Iraq, we assess how far the two countries are isolated on the issue.

We speak to Claudia Roth, President of the Human Rights Committee in the German Parliament:

  "I have doubts that bombing Baghdad is the best way to get rid of a dictator"


Friday, 16 February

George Brown
Labour insist their economic policies are good for business
As Tony Blair hosts a breakfast for leading industrialists at Chequers, a leading US business magazine suggests some entrepreneurs have had difficulty doing business in the UK.

Meanwhile Gordon Brown defends Labour's pro-business credentials by citing research which says the UK provides one of the best environments in the world for new and high-growth companies.

So which of these pictures is accurate? We speak to both sides of the argument, and the British Chambers of Commerce.


Thursday, 15 February

Tony Blair and John Prescott
The announcement has caused the government some embarrassment
The government has announced that the Legacy consortium has lost its preferred bidder status for the Millennium Dome, and bidding is to be thrown open to other buyers.

Legacy can continue to negotiate, but could now face a new challenge, perhaps from Pierres-Yves Gerbeau - who has indicated he wants to put together a rival bid.

We speak to Mr Gerbeau, 'Dome minister' Lord Falconer and Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Andrew Lansley.

Plus: Another embarrassing computer failure in the public service - a 77m Immigration Service computer system - has finally been scrapped.
 Immigration Minister Barbara Roche explains why


Wednesday, 14 February

Sir Ken Jackson
The AEEU's Sir Ken Jackson negotiated the jobs deal - not the government
News that laid off Corus workers will be able to immediately find employment with a telecoms company has been widely welcomed.

But the surprise announcement is hard to square with government complaints that Corus refused to disclose their closure plans to ministers.

We speak to the general manager of the firm, EXI Telecom, and the general secretary of the engineering union (AEEU), Sir Ken Jackson - who negotiated the deal with Corus over many months.


Tuesday, 13 February

Rolls-Royce logo
Rolls-Royce: The government says taxpayers will get a commercial return on their money

The government is to invest 250m on Rolls Royce aircraft engine manufacture, safeguarding 7,000 jobs at factories in the UK.

The government claims that the money will represent good value for the taxpayer since they expect a return on the investment when new engines are developed.

On the World at One, Sir Ken Jackson of the AEEU welcomes the news, but journalist Peter Koenig says problems may emerge if its industrial policy is inconsistent.


Monday, 12 February

School pupils
Labour says it wants to improve 'bog standard' comprehensive schools

The government has launched a five year plan for improving secondary schools - with plans for more religious and half of the secondary schools in England and Wales to become specialist schools.

The wife of the architect of the comprehensive system, Susan Crosland, told the programme that change was a good thing.

But is this a u-turn on Labour's promise that there would be no more selection?


Friday, 9 February

mad cow
Critics say no-one has been blamed over the handling of the BSE crisis

The government published its report on Lord Phillips' inquiry into the handling of the BSE crisis.

The Phillips recommendation that individual civil servants or politicians should not be singled out for censure was accepted. In addition, the government claimed that most of the problems highlighted in the Phillips inquiry have been dealt with - notably by the setting up of the Food Standards Agency.

The World at One spoke to Agriculture Minister Nick Brown about whether the lessons of the BSE crisis have really been learned.

Also: Peter Mandelson gave his first broadcast interview since his resignation as Northern Ireland Secretary to BBC Radio Cleveland.

 Click here to listen to the full interview


Thursday, 8 February

William and Ffion Hague
The Hagues: Tories appeal to more conservative voters

At the launch of the fifth annual "Marriage Week", William Hague pledged his support for the institution of marriage and promised that a Conservative government would seek to promote marriage as the basis of family life.

Are the Conservatives copying Republican family values?

The government, on the other hand, seeks to promote "family life" rather than marriage - tax breaks have been targeted on couples with children rather than the married.

Are they afraid to set an ideal standard for the family?

The World at One talked to Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Andrew Lansley and Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling.


Wednesday, 7 February

Rolling a joint
Over half of all people surveyed favour decriminalising cannabis

The government issued its response to the landmark Police Foundation inquiry on drugs policy - 315 days after the report was published.

Chaired by Dame Ruth Runciman, the report said penalties for possession of cannabis did more harm than the drug itself, and called for a clearer distinction between penalties for possession of hard and soft drugs.

As the Home Office threw out 24 of the committee's main recommendations, the World at One spoke to Dame Runciman, and asked why the government rejected the report's findings out of hand.


Tuesday, 6 February

Jack Straw
Straw: Wants to be seen tough on illegal immigrants

The Home Secretary Jack Straw today announced further measures to tighten up illegal immigration into the UK.

One idea is for refugees to apply from designated 'safe' countries such as Pakistan - where they would remain until asylum in the EU is granted.

But if refugees are forced to find sanctuary as near as possible to their original homes - or to seek asylum at their first port of call - would anyone be able to legally flee to Britain?


Monday, 5 February

baby
Families are increasingly being wooed in the run up to the election

The government announced the Child Tax Credit, which will give extra money to lower income families.

The World at One explained the changes and spoke to Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling.

Claiming the move was cumbersome and would not reduce child poverty, the Tories countered with a promise to reduce tax on savings.


Friday, 2 February

classroom
Teachers are getting above-inflation pay rises
Teachers in England and Wales are to get a general pay rise of at least 3.7% this year.

But will this be enough to solve the current teacher shortage?

We heard from a school head struggling to fill vacant posts, a union boss who said this will not settle the pay issue and put their complaints to Education Secretary David Blunkett.

Plus, the deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and the new London Underground chief Bob Kiley achieved a breakthrough in their disagreement on how to fund badly-needed investment in the tube.


Thursday, 1 February

Llanwern
Thousands of jobs are threatened at Llanwern
The UK's biggest steel-maker has announced it is to axe more than six thousand jobs at plants across the country.

The decision by Corus has been condemned by unions and MPs as arrogant and as selling British jobs cheaply. Did Corus have any choice?

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