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OK. Enough sniping about the lack of a newsletter.

Eddie Mair | 15:35 UK time, Wednesday, 4 April 2007

We did SEND it around 1225. This is what it said:


We are standing by for a news conference by the President of Iran. I would type out his name but - well you know I would only copy and paste it.

We'll look at CCTV cameras that shout at you. There is a piece about child sex trafficking in Cambodia which made one of our producers cry when he heard it. You can hear it for yourself on the programme - we will also try to post it on the Blog this afternoon.

Plus: Moira Stuart, Bob Woolmer and Benny Hill. It's not a discussion.

See you on the ice at 5.
Not for sale in Florida.

Eric Ahmadinejad
(yes, I did)"


  1. At 03:40 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Frances O wrote:

    I'm a dinner jacket.

    That's how they say we're supposed to remember it.

    Oh - the mods say this is malicious. I think I've just posted in post-haste

  2. At 03:43 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I, for one, believe you, Eddie.

    But - What did I do that was so wrong on your Mr. Benn thread? I am truly puzzled.

    Nae matter.

  3. At 03:44 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Moira Stuart. Now there's a very good topic, btw.

  4. At 03:44 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    9 threads in a single day, and it's not even 16:00 hrs yet!

    Eddie's catching fire today.


  5. At 03:45 PM on 04 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Crikey! Is that double figures for the number of posts today?

  6. At 03:48 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    Whoops - sorry. The ether has obviously swallowed it up.

  7. At 03:53 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Humph wrote:

    Mr. Mayor. On a day when the blog goes blue and some people find themselves in September did you really expect the newsletter service to work? (I wonder if the comments facility works?)


  8. At 04:16 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Eddie's going for the record - anyone know just what is his current highest number of posts in one day to date? Someone must have counted. No? Shame.

  9. At 04:23 PM on 04 Apr 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    And at least we know its not a localised problem!

  10. At 04:30 PM on 04 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Humph (7) - no, it doesn't.

  11. At 04:46 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    Congradulations on the release of the British Sailors from British Captivity.

  12. At 04:49 PM on 04 Apr 2007, The Reverend Green wrote:


    Starting this week - I'm recording all the gaps/long pauses between the bongs. Dates will be logged along with the accurate time length of the gap/pause. Which I have to say to you are getting worse. I've a special stopwatch you know, it keeps excellent timing, to the nearest micosecond, It's waterproof too. Oh yes! I am preparing a dossier.

  13. At 05:32 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Um, Eric, does that mean that the PM-cam might start pestering you soon?

    There are limits, you know.

    Unfair to future Glorious Leaders of the BBC.

  14. At 06:30 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Lagunatwo wrote:

    I despaired at Eddie's attitude and tone of voice when discussing 'talking CCTV cameras' with our government's Respect Coordinator. This suggested to me he did not approve of this, what is I believe, major advance in discouraging antisocial and also sometimes illegal behavour. Yes of course it would be better if we could have a policeman there instead of a talking camera but we cannot, or will not, afford that. Short of instead having, if only it were possible, a big vacuum cleaner nozzle at each site that could suck the miscreant off and into the nearest police station maybe we shall just have to make do with these new cameras. However, we really need them mounted on every lamp post for them to be most effective. Perhaps mass production to meet such a scale of deployment could make them more affordable and they should certainly still be more affordable than real police and far more effective than street lighting that Eddie seemed to be championing(a blight to our modern lives in itself). These new cameras are surely not designed just for dealing with those who drop litter. from Eddie's interview one would certainly believe that to be so. Can he not see how more effective they may be in also deterring those who flout traffic regulations, vandals, thieves and pick pockets and the rest who have no regard for others. They would also serve as a most effective means of mass communications in the case of, for example, promptly and effectively issuing public warnings of danger or of other emergencies ie "please, is there a doctor in the vicinity of....". Honestly Eddie, whose side are you on? Those who should have the freedom to go about their unlawful and antisocial business or the rest of us, those of us, you too surely Eddie, who would prefer a voice from above from the camera to suggest they consider doing otherwise and that informs them that their behavour has been noticed and that they are being video-recorded.

  15. At 07:00 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Philip wrote:

    Lagunatwo - What tosh !

    Eddie was trying to get to the bottom of this truly dreadful, despicable policy !!

    This is not going to stop crime or antisocial behaviour. Much of the problem stems from the time the Home Office decided to spend most of their budget on CCTV at the expense of having police on the beat.

    This is ridiculous - police deter crime, CCTV just records it WHEN IT HAS HAPPENED and it is a bit too late then, especially if you have been stabbed to death !!

    Lag..you seem to think the presence of these cameras will stop the anti-social. They will not !

    People who accidentally drop litter may be 'talked into' picking it up. People who use foul language and aggressive behaviour will probably do what they do to me when challenged..

    'What you gonna do abaht it..'

    The fact is that far from hoovering up criminals, it will hoover money from other areas of law enforcement !!

    Go on, Eddie, re-double your efforts to expose this trite, specious, fatuous argument for more technology.

    If you want something useful to do over Easter, lag, read Craig Brown's 'The Tony Blair Years' for a more considered view of CCTV, and go and see the EXCELLENT film 'RED ROAD' to see just how vapid the arguments that CCTV prevent crime really are !!!

  16. At 07:24 PM on 04 Apr 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Laguna 2 - I'm with you as far as questioning the wisdom of Eddie's tone this evening talking to Louise Whateverhername is. It was like using a steam hammer to flatten a paper globe. Mind you there is an argument that says anyone who can take the title of 'Respect Co-ordinator' deserves all they get.

    However we do part company further down your post when you say

    'They would also serve as a most effective means of mass communications in the case of, for example, promptly and effectively issuing public warnings of danger or of other emergencies'.

    Oh yes, Big Brother is not only watching you and telling off the anti social, he is sat there ready and waiting to give you orders too.

    Ever read 1984? or seen V for Vendetta? possibly not if you think that this sort of mass communication facility is actually a GOOD thing.

  17. At 07:26 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Marra wrote:

    I agree with Lagunatwo's comment regarding Eddie's attitiude and tone when talking to the Respect Coordinator. I am sure most people would agree that such measures are not ideal and that extra police on the streets would be nice. The cameras are simply a measure to assist with the discouragement of antisocial behaviour. Perhaps the world is heading towards a Big Brother situation where our every move is monitored, but we are turning in to such a Nanny state where individuals no longer accept responsibilty for their own actions and instead blame everyone else, so it is hardly surprising that certain elements of Society need to be told not to drop litter, or be told not to act antisocially. The comment of "telling fat people not to eat crisps" was particularly ridiculous. When did eating crisps become offesnive, illegal or antisocial behaviour, unless they throw the packet on the floor rather than in the bin of course.....

  18. At 07:59 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Lagunatwo (14) CCTV did not prevent thieves from distracting my mother in a supermarket and stealing her purse from a zipped-up shopping bag. Every detail was on camera, but sadly the two perpetrators didn't leave their names and addresses before leaving the store, so what good was it? Don't forget that there has to be a human being operating these cameras and watching events, and that person only has one pair of eyes.

  19. At 08:13 PM on 04 Apr 2007, madmary wrote:

    CCTV does not prevent crime. It might deter people from conducting illicit affairs in public but I have seen enough court evidence of very very nasty crimes being committed to know that the presence of cameras is not and never will be a deterent.

    The cameras don't even seem to discourage police officers acting illegally and they know where the cameras are!

    They are good for detection and they are good in assisting defendants occasionally to "prove" that they didn't do what they are accused of doing.

    Adding voice commands to these cameras will not stop those determined to commit serious offences. It might make folk think twice about discarding their rubbish, but what if the person doesn't obey? What if the drug dealer doesn't respond to "STOP DEALING THE DRUGS NOW... STEP AWAY FROM THE DRUG DEALER"?

    And you know it occurs to me that we could reduce crime and the criminal justice budget by just having snipers positioned so that if people don't obey the command and insist on being recorded then ... bam!

    Why not? What's to stop that leap in imagination.

    Eddie was absolutely correct in his approach. This is a hammer to crack a walnut. And a very dangerous hammer it is too!

    Mary (rant over, feelings running high!)

  20. At 08:55 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Humph wrote:

    Madmary (19) I would agree with the whole of your post except

    This is a hammer to crack a walnut.

    Personally I would say that it is a hammer to crack an apostrophe. As you say, CCTV does not prevent crime. If someone does not care enough for where they are to not drop litter (or commit any other kind of crime) then hearing a dismembered voice is hardly likely to change their mind. This is the wrong tool to spend so much money to do a different job.


  21. At 09:34 PM on 04 Apr 2007, madmary wrote:

    The problem with the voice from afar is that it belongs in a shame culture and we don't have one of those.

    Eddie's best point this evening was the bit about what sort of society we have got that we have to be shouted at by disembodied voices!


  22. At 10:22 PM on 04 Apr 2007, RJD wrote:

    Madmary - Hello. Great to see you back again and bringing a bit of sense to the blog.

    I agree with everything you say - I just wish that Eddie had found a better way to conduct the interview and question the efficacy of the "talking" CCTV. I thought for a moment that I was listening to the worst parts of "Today".

  23. At 10:23 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Perhaps it was just a case of postmodernist irony after all.

  24. At 10:37 PM on 04 Apr 2007, whisht wrote:

    madmary - good to hear you again (and making a good point too!)

    Didn't hear the programme, but talking CCTV cameras is a dumb expensive idea. Its like a "candid camera" sketch... and about as funny.

    Telling kids not to drop litter got me a mouthful and I was there! Witha disembodied voice it'll just be more ridiculous. You don't teach respect this way - you teach disrespect (as the kids feel they're getting picked on again as they never here it shout at an adult).

    And adults will feel all the "Big Brother" feelings that (rightly or wrongly) get associated with this surveillance culture.

    And real criminals..?

    heck, maybe the idea is to also have an extremely bright lamp that bursts into light on these omnipotent eyes, a deep booming voice with Blair hoping for Damascene moments on the streets...

  25. At 12:06 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Eddie's going into overdrive just to show the wonderful Sony people how fabby this frog is.

    No! As if.

    He's just full of great thoughts and ideas and knows he can share them with like-minded people.

    Know what? Us lot could take over the world. If we could be faffed.

  26. At 08:36 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    No need for me to say much at all. A lot of people on the 'Hilary Benn' thread have been berating Eddie for his attitude in the Casey interview.

    I agree with everything that you've said here. I'd take it a step further and regard it as the thin end of a wedge which would permit official intervention in every corner of your life, even in your own home.

    1984 by stealth.


  27. At 09:55 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Belinda wrote:

    I found it a very good programme last night - the Cambodia segment was excellent and thought-provoking, and the Benny Hill bit offered light albeit bizarre relief (how you make a story out of a US station dropping a 30-year-old UK comedy from their schedule, and then make it vaguely interesting is an art-form).

    As for the Louise Casey interview. I must admit that I turned it down but that was simply due to my own dislike of Humphrysing. I'm not saying it was the wrong approach or attitude to take with this - obviously the scheme is completely ridiculous and an utter waste of valuable money - but my ears begin to bleed when people are talking over one another aggressively. Resources permitting, I do wonder whether Eddie moderating a discussion between Louise Swift plus a naysayer (plenty of them about) would have been more effective. At least to my delicate little ears.

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