Just returned from BBC Television Centre. First time I've been into BBC HQ for 25 years. Last time it was as a guest of Martyn Lewis, when I actually sat alongside him as he fronted the 9.00 News. This time I was reviewing tomorrow's newspapers on News 24. Didn't see anyone famous around looking, well, famous as they do - probably because I was on at 11.20.
My top issue was the speculation about Lord Browne's report on university tuition fees, which we're expecting tomorrow. It seems to be accepted that he's going to recommend that the cap on tuition fees be lifted in England, and assumed that this will lead to a substantial increase in fees. I couldn't comment on this in any definite way, because I've not seen the report. What I'm almost more interested in is how the Coalition partners manage an issue where there seems to be genuine policy disagreement. Before the General Election the Liberal Democrats were strongly opposed to allowing tuition fees to be raised. Clearly, the financial 'black hole' facing the Coalition Government is even worse than expected, and we are having to make reductions way beyond what any of us expected, or like - but its still a difficult issue for Nick Clegg's party. It seems that a simple 'graduate tax' has already been abandoned. The debate will be about whether some form of 'progressive' element can be incorporated (such as differential interest rates on outstanding loans), to satisfy Lib Dem Ministers. Whatever, I reckon this coming week will feature much discussion about the Browne Report, and the Government's response to it - and we'll learn a bit about the Coalition.
Second article I chose was the Indy story about the 33 Chilean miners, who have been trapped 700 metres below ground for 66 days. The international story that is going to dominate the coming weeks will be the hauling of these men up through a narrow pipe, from their dungeon deep down in the bowels of the earth up to the surface. They are going to become 33 world-wide celebrities. There could be 33 books and 33 films, and 333 TV shows about them. Each of these men could become even bigger celebrities than Lembit Opik - and never have to work again. Until now this amazing story has been one of tension and fear. Today's article in the Independent is one of red-nosed joy and celebrity. A sign of things to come.
I also chose the Mail story about the collapse of the Iraqi trial. What a tragedy this is for the families of the six young men who were killed seven years ago by a murderous mob of human animals. It must be very difficult to accept that no-one will be held accountable for their brutal deaths. The BBC's Chris asked me whether there was a case for not recognising Iraq's right to conduct such trials. I understand why he asks this, and a lot of other people will do so. My response was that we must continue to help Iraq establish its own system of justice, difficult as that process will inevitably be.
And I did manage to get in a mention of Dai Greene, who today won Wales' first gold at the Commonwealth Games. Well done Dai. What an amazing year he's had. Really enjoyed the programme. I can see why Iain Dale enjoys doing this sort of thing. Hope I'm asked again.