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The Glass Box for Thursday and related matters

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Eddie Mair | 16:32 UK time, Thursday, 17 May 2007

It's been a bit of a day, what with one thing and another. Tomorrow I will post more often, not least because I will be on a journey and I can take you with me. If you'd like to listen again to our Matthew Parris interview - it's just below this posting.

We spent much of the day trying to get someone from the BBC to come to the wicket in response to widespread criticism on the Matthew thread about "excessive" media coverage of the story in Portugal. We tried and failed.

As for what's in tonight's programme, well, THIS is the place where you can comment on what you heard , interact with other listeners and get responses from the people who make the programme. This is proving to be a useful tool for us, and we hope, for you.

Just click on the "comment" link.

Don't worry either if you didn't catch the whole programme, or were busy doing other things and not giving us your full attention. If there was something that "caught your ear" we want to hear about it.

The Glass Box is named after the booth outside the PM studio where we all discuss the programme at 18.00 every weeknight. We try to be honest and constructive. Sometimes there is criticism, and the criticised get a chance to explain themselves.

The people who make PM will read the comments posted, and will sometimes respond. Unless it's Roger Sawyer editing. He's completely hopeless.

Please feel free to post your thoughts. There is a link to previous Glass Boxes on the right.

Also on the right, you'll find lots of other links you might like. The Furrowed Brow for example is the venue where you can start talking about anything serious: The Beach is a fun place, and there are links to Blog entries with photos, audio and links.


  1. At 04:45 PM on 17 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Eddie, oh, Eddie, oh Eddie....what a sorry state of affairs. I pay my direct debit and still no Newsletter.....!!

  2. At 04:47 PM on 17 May 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Oh Eddie - how sweet - 'take you with me'....will pay attention tonight and post something useful, I have been slack in my GBing.

  3. At 04:52 PM on 17 May 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Oooohh, where are we going, Eddie? Will we back in time for my Friday night take-away?!

  4. At 05:03 PM on 17 May 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    I see Mr Dimbleby has shuned another NORTH venue tomorrow ;-)

  5. At 05:14 PM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Oh you are actually listening to the programme tonight then witchi - makes a change ;-)

    Wasn't the Blair and Bush bit a tear jerker?

  6. At 05:17 PM on 17 May 2007, Bloomdido Bad-de-Grasse wrote:

    You've got a fan club, Ed? Ever thought of forming a boy-band? You, Peter D, John H and James N? i can see it all now.....

  7. At 05:19 PM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Yes Stewart .. Whitby :-) I hope Eddie takes a couple of pics for us -- it's a lovely town that I know quite well.


    Eddie Mair chairs this week's Any Questions?, which comes from Caedman School in Whitby, North Yorkshire

    The panel will include:

    Rt Hon MICHAEL MEACHER MP: Former Labour Minister

    SAYEEDA WARSI: Vice Chair of the Conservative party

    WILL HUTTON: Chief Executive of the Work Foundation

    GP TAYLOR: Author

  8. At 05:20 PM on 17 May 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    DI (1) if we could be sure it would work we'd send one!

  9. At 05:25 PM on 17 May 2007, Sadie Gray wrote:

    Oooh, Eddie, what was all that about with Quentin?

  10. At 05:26 PM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    DI #( 1)

    I can provide you with one from Friday 18th May 2006 if it helps?



    Do you know where your passport is? You're being urged to check. Well, not just you, but everyone who has one. Figures are out revealing how many go AWOL, and there are concerns we could all be cloned. Or something.

    Also in the programme, we'll have a closer look at what the EU is being asked to do to solve Spain's immigration "crisis". We've our eye on the case of the 57 year old woman given an ASBO for being "at war" with at least 15 individuals or organisations as she ran a "rampaging campaign of hatred and pure evil" in a tiny Pennine hamlet. Also: licensing laws, talking monkeys, and, we hope, an important update on the piano found on Ben Nevis.

    One other thought - after the Da Vinci code got a mauling from critics, we're wondering whether YOU listen to critics. Do they help guide you towards (and away from) what to watch/read/listen to? We've already had an email from a listener describing how he doesn't listen to a word they say. We're planning an item. Any thoughts?

    Best wishes,

    Eric Hanks

  11. At 05:27 PM on 17 May 2007, Karen wrote:

    Eddie (7)

    It's not the Russians to blame is it?

  12. At 05:28 PM on 17 May 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    Eddie (7) I think that also almost answers Bloomdido etc at (6)!

  13. At 05:33 PM on 17 May 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    Jonnie - Blair/Bush - for a very small second I genuinely thought that the commentary was not going to end with "....and then they were gone" but "....and then they embraced/kissed"!

  14. At 05:33 PM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Folic acid in bread

    Flouride in water

    I *really* don't want it -- what's the benefit for me?

    Do I need to go organic now?

  15. At 05:40 PM on 17 May 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    So, a day after we hear that men taking multivitamins every day face an increased risk of cancer, the FSA propses... adding vitamins to bread.

    I missed the start of the topic, but hopefully Eddie pointed out what a farce this is.

  16. At 05:45 PM on 17 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Right on, Izzy!

  17. At 05:53 PM on 17 May 2007, Bloomdido Bad-de-Grasse wrote:

    Different country
    Different party
    Different time

    Joy Division I can recommend to you all!


  18. At 05:54 PM on 17 May 2007, Elaine Kirkham, Co-Chair RAGE Staffordshire wrote:

    Thank you for your clear and concise coverage this evening of our campaign against care home closures in Staffordshire. I would just add two things to Matt Cole's insightful reporting: the campaign is also fighting the proposed closures of all of the multipurpose day centres and day services by Staffordshire County Council; AND the legal challenge continues...we are back in court on 4th July for an Open Court Hearing. More than 200 service-users, relatives and carers have advised us they wish to attend the court hearing in London on that date!
    Please contact the RAGE Staffordshire website for more information regarding this issue.
    Elaine Kirkham, Co-Chair RAGE Staffordshire.

  19. At 06:00 PM on 17 May 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    Folic acid - I didn't hear the whole article, but I did hear about it earlier today.

    If the figures quoted earlier (I think it was on Today) of the number of babies/pregnancies who suffer from this are correct, I find it very hard to believe the FSA can justify medicating the whole nation.

    It is very sad for the sufferers, but surely there is a better way of resolving the problem. Wholescale medication strikes me as lacking in imagination, somewhat.

    We should not forget the problems that added Folic acid may have in the elderly - apparently hiding aenemia.

    Jonnie, apparently it won't be added to wholemeal flour.

  20. At 06:15 PM on 17 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Elaine (18),

    If you put a link to the website in your post (or in the website field of your details (click my name above), we'll all easily get there.

  21. At 06:16 PM on 17 May 2007, Rachel wrote:

    What a varied mix we had today. I liked the piece on Staffs Care Homes - it is really good to take a local issue and focus on it in depth occasionally. (Minor grumble though about the necessity of email pinging sounds and telephone ringing - does it really make it a better listen?)

    Interesting the hear the dinosaurs of the Left still arguing after all these years. I read some mutterings about dirty tricks between McDonnell and Meacher in the Grauniad today - gave me a lovely warm feeling of nostalgia.

    The Joy Division thing was went right over my head, but I'm sure those who know about these things enjoyed it.

    And Quentin Cooper?! What was that all about?

  22. At 06:20 PM on 17 May 2007, Mike wrote:

    I seem to remember Rush Limbaugh being interviewed by Peter White (I think). Limbaugh said that if they found a cure for baldness, there'd be a cure for deafness (at least, the kind he has). Maybe worth asking an expert if that's in the offing too. It's a part of the aging process I'm rather more worried about...

  23. At 06:21 PM on 17 May 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    SSCat, Its been documented for a while the the Antioxidant vitamins increase cancer risk in smokers. Benefits of taking probably still outweigh the risks.

    As for hair loss. There is a drug called latanaprost (a prostaglandin) used for glaucoma treatment. Its an eye drop. A side effect can be a good set of eye lashes. Why not try this on the dying (but as pointed out not dead) follicles.

  24. At 06:24 PM on 17 May 2007, Karen wrote:

    Really glad that you did a follow-up on the chap in Gaza.

    The folic acid thing is really looking at women who are trying to conceive or in the first trimester of pregnancy. Why treat 60m of us? Is this proof that the Gov't strategy (they've undoubtedly got one to cover this) isn't working?

    Certain vitamin manufacturers and wholesalers do manage to market their wares very cleverly to the elderly and I have seen a number of cases where quite severe anaemia has been masked by "self medication" with multivitamins. They are a vulnerable group too but often overlooked. There has to be a reasonable way of meeting the needs of everyone and not fortifying my bread with folic acid I don't need.

  25. At 06:37 PM on 17 May 2007, Rupert Allman wrote:

    Did you spot the deliberate mistake? There was a missing Estonian. Eric recovered well, but it was caused by a production meltdown moment. Or, as Denis Norden would say, cock up for short.

    Otherwise, if I'm honest, there wasn't much news about. There was an earnest, but in the end futile attempt, to bring you something clever/interesting on the embryo story - but we ended up confusing ourselves even further. Some strong reaction on the Labour Left, Folic Acid and Tony & George at the White House. Oh, and we were very pleased to find Ibrahim in Gaza in one piece and - for a change - not being shot at. Happy Birthday Alan.

  26. At 06:50 PM on 17 May 2007, Brian V Peck wrote:

    According to the Guardian today (17th May 2007)
    the great Charles Darwin was not too inpressed with the Tories in 1832 because of 'their cold hearts'...whats's changed we could ask....But surely a man who wrote Where there's Greed several years ago(GB) - would not want to go down in history in the same mode in this epoch, would he?

    Brian V Peck

  27. At 07:00 PM on 17 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    jonnie thanks..appreciated..

    why have I got this picture of balding men with mice glued onto the heads?

    will they have to use guinea pigs if they want long hair?

    can they substitute and use rabbits, or would that be a 'hare'piece?

    I think the public has a right to know...!

  28. At 07:24 PM on 17 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Robert @ 24..

    ..oh well, some u wins, some u lose, its swings and r'bouts, its the ups and downs....perhaps you all need a spell in the sun...say Cannes?

  29. At 07:49 PM on 17 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re Rupert :-

    He handled it very well - everyone noticed but -- well -- we were just too polite. Personally at the time I presumed it was all Roger Sawyers fault ;-)

  30. At 07:55 PM on 17 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    re 28..whoops, got mit silly hat on tonight.

    I meant Robert @ 25, its just these mice keep slipping down and I cant se he kuyboarg progerly..

    ..cor that Eddie Mare, 'es a larf, 'ad 'im in the back of me cab once. Thow shalt take me up North he says, can't i say, not insured beyond Stevenage....we still larf at that one down at the ol' rank we does.

  31. At 08:06 PM on 17 May 2007, anth wrote:

    Rupert #25,

    I did spot that missing "link", but forgot about it as I was nominally working at the time. Then you reminded me about it.

    Jonnie #14,

    Interesting point about whether organic bread would have to contain Folic acid. I don't recall that question being asked during the programme, but I was nominally working. There is a arguement for that, as the target group of the population are frequently keen on organic produce etc, especially if they are trying to have children; but then it's an additive, and the bread would not count as organic?

  32. At 08:11 PM on 17 May 2007, Annasee wrote:

    Rupert - we noticed the Estonian silence in our kitchen but, (I hesitate to say this) I thought perhaps it was Eddie's fault & he'd read his script in the wrong order. How lacking in faith must I be, to doubt the man with the mind like a steel trap, and how noble of you to own up!

  33. At 08:13 PM on 17 May 2007, anth wrote:

    Having just seen an entry by Big Sister in the petition, it's an odd justaposition of having items today on:

    Folic acid
    the follically challenged

    Or is it only me?

  34. At 11:11 PM on 17 May 2007, suzeemoon wrote:

    Post-offices anyone?
    I HATE it when something becomes a loss rather than a cost. If post-offices are worth having, like public transport, bin-emptying and other services they will cost. If they are purely businesses, then of course that wouldn't apply. I happen to think my mother being able to collect her pension from somewhere in reasonable reach is a public service issue not a market one. I'm curious to know about other country's post-offices in terms of services, role and cost. Is subsidising the services we need from post-offices considered worthwhile elsewhere or merely seen as a 'loss'?

  35. At 12:05 AM on 18 May 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    anth - see my point about wholemeal flour.

  36. At 12:42 AM on 18 May 2007, anth wrote:

    Izzy #35,

    Maybe I'm missing something, but cannot see what you refer to for "organic white" bread etc., as sold by some supermarkets. Wholemeal, and that discussion, I can see, but my comments remain relivent.

  37. At 12:50 AM on 18 May 2007, lurker wrote:

    Post Offices:

    Locally, I'm to suffer the loss of a crown post office *and* the nearby sub-post office. The main reason is the gov. removing so many services away from the post office, e.g. TV licences.

    In my opinion, they should either support the current network, or kill the whole thing off now.

    In arguement for the latter, the post office appears to be supported by junk mail that no-one wants, while failing to deliver real post that is sent (and is costing me a fortune in cancelling cheques "lost in the post").

  38. At 08:57 AM on 18 May 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Jonnie - yes I did listen so ner-ner-ner-ner-neeeerrr to you!

    As for the programme itself. Good mix; missed the first section (as ever) but on reflection that may have been a good thing.

    Think the folate story was a bit something and nothing. So they have agreed its a good thing but not how to do it and no gentle hectoring by Mr Mair can extract information that doesn't exist. I was more perplexed about the statistics that the spokesperson quoted - birth defects reduced and no risk in cancer. Was cancer expected to rise?? Does folate have some kind of benefit for cancer sufferers? It seemed an odd thing to mention.

    Very interesting ti hear from both Gaza and Israel; glad Ibrahim is ok. It leant a new slant to things especially listening to the piece on Today this morning.

    Right - have done my proper froggerly stuff, am off to play on the beach.

  39. At 09:04 AM on 18 May 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    PS thought the science guy was great (sorry, but he's been added to the list of names I can't remember and didn't have cahnce to write down!!)

  40. At 10:44 AM on 18 May 2007, Fiona wrote:

    Sorry Eddie, didn't hear much at all last night - was at the hairdressers. Did try and listen on my mobile with my little earphone thingies but its quite hard to when someone keeps spinning you round, painting your hair and wrapping it in tinfoil.......

    Will be back on listening duties tonight I promise!

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