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The Glass Box for Thursday

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Eddie Mair | 16:40 UK time, Thursday, 7 June 2007

The Glass Box is the place where you can comment on what you heard on PM, interact with other listeners and get responses from the people who make the programme.

Just click on the "comment" link.

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 of your choice: The Beach is a fun place, and there are links to Blog entries with photos, audio and links. And if you want to see us drone on about awards, you can do that too.


  1. At 05:03 PM on 07 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Everything is so organised today - navigation signposts everywhere.

    Will the wireless broadcast live up to the standard of the blog?

  2. At 05:12 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Bedd Gelert wrote:

    OOooh ! Cue 'You could have got a bus through that gap' type cliches. For a millisecond there I thought you were going to sound discombobulated, but like a trooper you stuck with it..

  3. At 05:17 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Saudi Arabia interview:-

    Was I the only one picturing John Fortune? This was a wind-up, surely??


  4. At 05:36 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Nik Johnson wrote:

    Eddie's Plum Lines ?
    Appreciated the analysis of Gordon Brown's Sense of Humour with the excellant Paul Sinha last night. (The face of good satire for the Naughties)
    However, it got me thinking . Has a formal analysis of Eddie Mair's sense of humour ever been attempted?
    Peresonally, I can still remember being reduced to tears by the inciteful interview almost 2 years ago when Mr Mair questioned an experienced gardener about the troublesome problem of Wasps being on your Plums.
    Does any other listeners remember this as I do or are fellow listeners unaware of such stupendous use of the double - entendre?
    Can a record be kept of such examples of " Eddie's Plum Lines"
    Nik Johnson


    Tried the Beach now looking at The Glass Box for comment

  5. At 05:41 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Ed Kirton-Darling wrote:

    Amusing that Tam Dayell, best known for posing questions, is completely unable to answer them.

  6. At 05:42 PM on 07 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    So the current Prime Minister will talk to a dictator who used to be enemy number 1, but he refuses to speak to the democratically elected to the leader of a nation which is a consituent part of the state he leads.

    I'm sure Eddie can correct me here, but Tony hasn't congratulated Alex Salmond on his victory yet, has he?

    Is this petty behaviour worthy of a politician of Tony Blair's supposed stature?

  7. At 05:47 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    So if Toady says it's a great step forward, it must be true?

    He must be looking in the same direction he's speaking from. ;-)

    Disgusted frae Palnackie

    Clever software! n bIt detected the offensive nature of my comment about our esteemed leader speaking from his nether orifice!

  8. At 05:52 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    That idiotic woman: "before '67 this was Syria."


    I hope we're all listening to Jeremy Bowen's superb series, Six Days that Changed the Middle-East:

    Israel doesn't want peace!

  9. At 06:10 PM on 07 Jun 2007, admin annie wrote:

    SSC - beautifully put!

  10. At 06:37 PM on 07 Jun 2007, tony ferney wrote:

    True (8) but then it might be added that Palestine (British mandate style) is still Palestine, only now it's called Israel and has a seat at the UN.

    Plus ça change...

  11. At 06:48 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    SSC and AA,

    You may find this interesting:

    Humour is alive and well north of Hadrian's Wall.

  12. At 06:50 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Rupert Allman wrote:

    OK - about the "Mind The Gap" thing. Apologies -it was horrible. Let me explain about the big-ish hole at 1700. James Robbins was very much our man at the G8 - as with most G8 broadcasters he was on a satellite..the grand plan was to hear from James "live at 5" and it was all well and grand until the line dropped off just a Eddie gives James his cue. Result - large gap on air, editor bangs head on studio desk, Eddie does his very best to pick up and read on. Bugger. Smelly glassbox verdict - keep it simple stupid.

    We liked BAe and Eric's intv with former chief exec Raymond Lygo. ( FiFi - with you all the way on the Bremner, Bird & Fortune thought ). G8 - we banned the phrase deal or no deal and and big Tam was clearly angry and the PM's seeming disregard for what is - and what isn't a devolved matter.

    So far - no complaints about the N word. There's time. And perhaps it is fatigue - but if I am brutually honest I am still struggling to fully understand the liar story. Let's hope I am alone in my confusion. For those who want to know - Peter Donaldson's shirt was very much in keeping with the colour of his beard and today's news stories - a bit grey.

  13. At 06:58 PM on 07 Jun 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Eddie, I know it was nice to wrap things up with a list of 'deals' but you're too intelligent, as are your listeners, to think that we got anything like the 'real deal' from that twittering idiot who was talking about his company's business in saudi Arabia.

    Fifi's right, the whole thing was presided over in spirit by Bird and Fortune. It's not the bribe I mind so much, but the pure bl***y hypocrisy of it all. If they paid bribes why on earth can't they just come clean and say so, and then we can judge for ourselves whether keeping UK jobs and a good working relationship with Saudi Arabia was worth it. He might even find that some people are quite happy about it.

  14. At 07:07 PM on 07 Jun 2007, jez wrote:

    saudi arms deal....

    how is it that these people can pretend to be morally irreproachable when they have sold billions of pounds worth of weapons of mass destruction to a family run dictatorship counting osama ben laden amoung other world renouned terrorists in their number?

  15. At 07:21 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Niels Rump wrote:

    Re: Use of the term "Nigger:


    I do agree the word "nigger" is (in most circumstances) inappropriate and ought not to be used.

    One exception is when a news magazine reports about the use of the word "Nigger". To call it the N word is not very helpful to those who have not followed the original story. It took me a while to realise what the story was all about. Surely in reporting it cannot be inaptopriate - if used with care.


  16. At 07:50 PM on 07 Jun 2007, colin mackenzie wrote:

    Interesting that even Jack McConell felt obliged to by upset by Tony Blair upsetting Alex Salmond. Now there's a turn coat for the books.

  17. At 08:12 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


  18. At 08:17 PM on 07 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Admin Annie (9):

    You're very kind, especially as I obviously didn't proofread that post before I submitted it!

  19. At 08:53 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Jan wrote:

    Ed (8) states that Israel doesn't want peace. The six day war was started by the surrounding Arab countries on Yom Kippur when most of the Jewish population of Israel were attending synagogues. Gosh Ed you've been brainwashed, If I were you I would change channels for a while the BBC is renowned for it's anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. Do a bit of research and you will see that anti-Semitism is alive and kicking.

    You see, during the holocaust 6 million Jews lost their lives (that is why it is known as the holocaust) because they did not have the means to defend themselves. Should Israel sit on it's knees and allow itself to be destroyed simply because that's what Arab's historically want. I don't think so. You need a bit of education.

  20. At 09:00 PM on 07 Jun 2007, anth wrote:

    Various, but including Colin (16),

    The perceived line, at least down South, was that a SNP government in Edinburgh would pick fights with Westminster, so as to enhance a pro independence view at the next Scottish elections.

    So well done TB for giving Salmond his first chance without even having to try.

    While I missed some of it, Tam D's interview was a good choice, but it was not as good as I'd hoped given his past performance.

    By the way, Rupert (12) "big Tam" also refers to Sir Sean Connery. Not sure that particular term has ever been used for Tam Dalyall. And could you highlight you were the PM ed for the day, not for me or other regulars, but for newbies?

  21. At 11:17 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh Eddie and Rupert, please oh please oh please oh PLEASE can you stop bringing Big Brother onto the airwaves? And - again - it was on the issue of racism. Was it in the spirit of irony that you linked these with yet another story you had carried not so long ago, namely, the appropriateness or otherwise of using the N word?


    [And this, as you'll well know, from a very big fan of the PM programme.]

  22. At 12:17 AM on 08 Jun 2007, colin mackenzie wrote:

    Anthony, I'm not sure how much you saw down south but it was very funny BBC1 Tv showing the Conservatives, Lib Dems AND Scottish Labour all complaining about TB's actions. SNP could hardly have asked for a better cannon fodder. Never thought i would live that long...

  23. At 12:59 AM on 08 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Jan (19),

    "The six day war was started by the surrounding Arab countries on Yom Kippur"

    I'm afraid you're a wee bit confused. The Yom Kippur war lasted for 3 weeks, and started on October 6, 1973 and ended on October 22 on the Syrian front and on October 26 on the Egyptian front.

    The six day war was started by Israel in a 'pre-emptive' sneak attack which caught the Egyptian airforce on the ground.

    During the Holocaust six million Jews were killed by Europeans. The natives of Palestine had nothing tom do with it. in late 1947, before the British mandate ended, proto-Israeli terrorists had driven 400,000 Palestinian natives from their homes and lands and destroyed their villages.

    By the end of the Israeli "war of independence" some 750,000 to 900,000 natives had thus been dispossessed and displaced and they and their descendents remain refugees in camps to this day, almost sixty years later.

    It is you who should learn a little history. I already know too much to sleep easily. Those who are so worried lest we forget or deny the Holocaust should stop forgetting and denying al Nakba.


  24. At 07:53 AM on 08 Jun 2007, Jan wrote:

    Ed (23) Being Jewish I am well aware of the history. I also know the damage a comment such as "Israel doesn't want peace" can do. In my horror at seeing this comment I made one mistake.

    You confuse my points. During the holocause in Europe Jewish people were murdered because they did not have the means to defend themselves. Israel has never started a war (pre-emptive does not imply aggression but defence) or used it's nuclear capability even in the face of intense provocation. Eventhough, from the inception of the State of Israel Arabs vowed to destroy it.

    On the 6th June 07 I read an article in the Telegraph titled "Time to confront the Muslim conspiracists" I explains fully the distored mindset of hatred some Muslims have for both Israel and America. Indeed, he describes the mindset which has prevented progress being made to stop the suffering you refer to in Palestine. The trouble with Anti Semitism is that people have historically used facts to support their hatred regardless of of their religious background.

  25. At 07:58 AM on 08 Jun 2007, Jan wrote:

    Ed (23). I refer to your comment "Israel doesn't want peace" I mistakenly wrote "Israel doesn't want war". That's what you get for rushing emails.

  26. At 09:18 AM on 08 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    I agree with Jan (19). I also read the article written by human rights lawyer Zia Rahman. "Time to confront the Muslim Conspiracists" in the Daily Telegraph. It gives an excellent insight into hatred towards Israel and America by a percentage of British Muslims. The teaching of Anti-western, anti-American and anti-semitic teaching in Muslim countries is also well documented.

  27. At 01:57 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Paul (26),

    "The teaching of Anti-western, anti-American and anti-semitic teaching in Muslim countries is also well documented."

    As is the removal from all official maps of every sign of the Palestinian villages destroyed in the "War of Independence" by the Israeli authorities.

    Where do you think all the Palestinian refugees came from? Over 400,000 were displaced and dispossessed by proto-Israeli terrorists before the end of the British Mandate, and it had grown to over 750,000 by the end of the "War of Independence" - more than the total Jewish population in 1946!

    Don't try to teach me history.
    Btw, I'm not anti-Semitic, but I'm sure anti-Zionist.
    Friday June 08, 2007 at 13:59:46 GMT

  28. At 02:10 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I suppose one too many links to the truth constipates the system. Oh well....

  29. At 02:29 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    I seem to have constipated the system, so I'll assume you are interested enough in balance to search out full addresses:
    Gush Shalom (see #28)
    and, just one link to over 300 wise and prescient Jews.
    Friday June 08, 2007 at 14:30:49 GMT
    And pre-emptive means 'defensive' does it? Ask the Iraqis.

  30. At 02:47 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Jan wrote:

    Ed (29) I think being anti anything shows a reluctance to view things in a balanced way. Whatever you argue and I do not want to get into that. What I find horrifying is your assertion that "Israel doesn't want peace" That is a downright lie. It has struggled for it's survival since it was formed. Yes, the situation as it currently stands is for all to see. I refer you to the article written by Zia Haider Rahman titled "Time to confront the Muslim conspiracists" because it demonstrates a mindset which will not allow progress in Palestine.

    It is fashionable to blame Israel and America and of course the Jewish conspiracy for all the wrongs in that region. I am sure that most ordinary Palestinians and Israelis simply wish to live in peace. If you read the article I mention you might gain some insight that is, if you want to. Anti-semitism is on the increase and I always challenge it in whatever form it takes.

  31. At 03:45 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Jan (30),

    The phrase wasn't mine. It was the title of a piece in Haaretz to which my link pointed

    As I said, actions speak louder than words. Do a search for the "Roadmap to Peace" and note the Israeli "reservations" if you still believe Israel wants peace.

    I believe the majority of Israeli people probably do want peace, but no Israeli government since the beginning has been willing to do what is needed for peace, and every day there are bricks being laid for new illegal settlements....

    Do read the Gush Shalom booklet linked above (#28). It lays out the problems very well. I have read earlier Rahman pieces, but he shows only one side. There is much anti-Arab teaching happening in Israeli schools as I type. Official maps don't show the 'green line' - check for yourself.

    Israel has indeed 'struggled for survival since it was formed', but it was formed by the violent displacement and dispossession of a largely innocent native civilian population, and nothing can erase that fact. It was a great and tragic mistake to expect the natives of Palestine to atone for the sins of Europeans.

    Please also read the contrived and gerrymandered resolution 181 (partition with economic union) and recognise that it was never implemented, in part because the proto-Israeli terrorists (Irgun, etc) extended themselves well outside the proposed boundaries long before the Mandate ended. (Plan Dalet refers, see mideastweb.org). It was also refused by all nations in the region (Surprise, surprise!) but passed by a majority including the guilt-ridden Europeans and their client states. Britain abstained, knowing it was an absurd idea.

    The total Jewish population in 1947 was some 608,230 out of 1,845,560, predominately urban (only in a majority in Telaviv/Jaffa & Haifa) and the partition could only be rigged to give a 55% majority in the 'Jewish State' by excluding an Arab enclave in Jaffa.

    Nothing can erase these historical facts.

    Pray for wisdom from some as-yet-to-be-found Israeli government. There can be no peace while Israel denies her responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians.

    In sadness,

  32. At 04:01 PM on 08 Jun 2007, chair-man-5 wrote:

    If you talk about the George Galloway charity being criticised today by the charity commission (as in Today this morning), the following strikes me.......

    If the charity was criticised for taking money illegally derived from the Iraq Oil for Food Programme and then recycled it back to needy children in Iraq, what is wrong with that? It strikes me as being much better than not taking it......

  33. At 05:22 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Jan (@19), you wrote:

    'You see, during the holocaust 6 million Jews lost their lives (that is why it is known as the holocaust) ...'

    You seem to know about these things, so you may be able to explain something that has puzzled me all my life.

    A holocaust is destruction specifically by FIRE. I do not understand, and have never understood, why killing even as many as six million people by means other than fire is known as 'The Holocaust'. As far as I have been able to find out, fire was almost never employed in this appalling slaughter.

    You say. above, that it was because six million were killed that it is called The Holocaust, but that really isn't an explanation. Do you know the reason for it having been given that particular name, by any chance? Or come to that, does Ed?

  34. At 07:26 PM on 08 Jun 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Chris - the definition of holocaust is from the Greek: "holos" (completely) and "kaustos" (burned sacrificial offering
    I suspect it was used for the Nazi extermination program because the bodies were burned after gassing.


    Ed - you are aware aren't you that the oldest anti Semite trick in the book is to declare yourself not 'anti-Semitic' but 'anti-Zionist'. This is a long tradition going back several hundred years. It may well be in your case that you truly are only anti-Zionist, but if this is so for the purpose of clarification perhaps you should refer to yourself as anti the jews having Israel as their own state.

  35. At 07:44 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Jan, Paul, and all,

    The study of the Palestinian situation has become a bit obsessive for me, having moved from automatically siding with the embattled Holocaust survivors against the nasty intolerant Arabs ( I read Exodus in my High School days) towards a position in which I find myself recognising the incredible injustice done to the Palestinians, who had dominated the area, more or less peacefully, for more than a thousand years....

    I still am outraged that most of us in the "West" continue to 'pass by on the other side' (re: Good Samaritan parable), or simply to call down 'a curse on both their houses'. After all, it was we Europeans who so persecuted the Jews that the idea of Zionism took root in the first place.

    The evolution of Zionism into its Revisionist phase, demanding 'transfer' and/or the formation of a Jewish State was fed further by Nazi (and other) activities in Europe, and the Palestinians, who had nothing to do with the Holocaust, have borne the brunt of the outcome.

    Many papers and historical documents covering the entire period from Balfour (and before) to the present are available through mideastweb.org, and make for careful reading. In particular, a pretty balanced history of Zionism and its various strands:
    assembled by Ami Isseroff, who described himself to me as "New Jersey Redneck in Spirit; ethnic Palestinian Jew" in response to my "WASP (ethnically only) American living in Scotland".

    Chris (33),

    In practice, The Holocaust (note capital letters) has come to refer specifically to the genocidal 'final solution' of the Nazis and their helpers in the period leading up to and including WWII.

    It's pointless to worry further about the etymology of the word. It was like a fire which swept through Jewish communities in Germany, Poland, Austria and elsewhere, and first truly showed its nature in November 1938 with Krystallnacht (9/10 Nov. '38 - search), when thousands of homes and Jewish businesses had their shopfronts bashed in with bricks and sledgehammers and virtually all Synagogues were destroyed, many burned out. It got its name, "The Night of Broken Glass" for the obvious reason. Over a hundred were killed and thousands of men were arrested and sent to camps and the Jews were required to pay for the damage and sign over their insurance. The image of an old man made to clean up the broken glass with a toothbrush is an enduring one.

    This must never be forgotten, but it had nothing to do with the native Palestinians, whose Nakba (catastrophe) must not be denied either.

    I and the public know
    What all schoolchildren learn,
    Those to whom evil is done
    Do Evil in return.

    W.H. AUDEN, "September 1, 1939"
    (from cactus48.com)

    Enough for now.

  36. At 09:03 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Push! (Ed does have some background information, but it seems to promote frogstipation)

  37. At 09:55 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Jan wrote:

    Chris (33) Sometimes a word becomes part of the language becuase of what it represents. I don't think the literal meaning of holocaust matters, because people understand what it means and the implications of it for all the people who experienced it.

    I would say that the use of gas chambers and ovens to exterminate and dispose of the remains fits the description of holocaust.

  38. At 09:59 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Jan wrote:

    Ed obviously we are both anti-zionist my reason being that I do not agree with Theodore Herzl when he claimed that a Jewish state would cure anti-semitism. As Zia Rahman states the notion of the "American Israeli bogeyman" is alive and kicking. Just listen to the BBC which obviously you do.

  39. At 10:34 PM on 08 Jun 2007, Christopher Thoday wrote:

    Why is it that government computer failures get so little attention in the media? Unlike the "quality newspaper" that I read, the BBC does at least report them - but not in a way that would help to get them put right.

    Tonight the unnamed spokesman for an anonymous software company was allowed to blame the users who complained about the system crashing.

    A professional software engineer would never blame the users for faults in the system but would take steps to put the faults right.

    It is unfortunate that the governmemnt pays absurd sums to largely unqualified consutants and gives repeat contracts to companies responsible to previous failures.

  40. At 02:18 AM on 09 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Jan (38),

    How wrong could Herzl be, eh? And how right those 300 American Jews in 1919!

    Admin Annie (34), Point taken, but I am in fact anti-Zionist and not at all anti-Semitic. "Some of my best friends are...." ;-)

    Of course, "it's the oldest Zionist trick in the world to accuse anyone criticising Zionism of being anti-Semitic..." e,g, Mark Regev tonight. That man does his cause no favours.


  41. At 09:50 AM on 09 Jun 2007, Les Cartwright wrote:

    Just a thought. After all the bleating I hear about carbon foot prints and emission targets etc. the ads on tv about car engines.. turning lights off, washing at 30 degrees and leaving oily stains in your clothes. And whatever else is being thrown up in the frenzied show of concern....what is the government going to do about the usual burnings of November every year when there are tons of rubbish burned most of which is toxic and an untold tonnage of rockets and other explosives fired into the air.

  42. At 01:30 PM on 10 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And one more.

  43. At 02:35 PM on 19 Jun 2007, Brian Christley wrote:

    Geoff Hoon says we will not get a referendum on what is decided at the EU summit because John Major never gave us one.
    I can’t recall Blair admitting that John Major still controls his agenda.

  44. At 06:29 PM on 16 Aug 2007, PIPPA JOHNSON wrote:

    I hate your SOUNDS OF SUMMER....the one tonight
    sounded like someone sitting
    in a subway train....you said
    it had something to do with
    Scarborough....but how did it
    relate to summer....????

  45. At 08:01 AM on 21 Nov 2007, Martyn wrote:

    Looks like the Chancellors disks have turned up!


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