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The Glass Box for Olympic Thursday.

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Eddie Mair | 10:59 UK time, Thursday, 21 August 2008

Be your own radio critic! Tell us here, frankly, what you thought of tonight's programme. In the PM office we meet every night at 1800 in this Glass Box:


We talk about the content of the programme and try to give an honest assessment of what worked and what didn't...the things we missed and the places where our ambitions were not met. THIS virtual glass box you are looking at is where you are invited - indeed encouraged - to be your own critic. Comment on our hour by clicking on the comment link. Members of the production team will read the comments, and the editor should comment too. Click on The Glass Box link on the right of the page to read previous entries.


  • 1. At 11:32am on 21 Aug 2008, mygloriousleader wrote:

    A big well done to all at team GB who did so well and won medals.
    An even bigger well done to those who went, took part and were not so lucky.
    Next time...
    Next time...

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  • 2. At 11:34am on 21 Aug 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    I wonder if you'll be covering this story tonight; headline from The Herald:

    "Manchester set to make £700m bid for Glasgow Airport"

    It's going to be fun taking *that* down the M6...

    (Seriously, how on Earth can airports in different parts of the country *compete*? "Don't fly to Heathrow, fly to Manchester (Glasgow)!"

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  • 3. At 11:45am on 21 Aug 2008, CuriousMinds wrote:

    Does anyone at PM know what the "La Machine" thing is in Liverpool?

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  • 4. At 11:50am on 21 Aug 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Okay, so here are the PM Olympic awards:

    Minister-wrestlng: Gold medal, Eddie Mair

    Photoshoot: Gold medal, Hugh the Hack

    Humbug-bashing: Gold medal, Carolyn 'Sequin' Quinn

    Thanks are due to the support teams, notably Roger the Rabbit, Marc Watt Issay, and others too numerous to name, without whom none of this would have been possible.

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  • 5. At 1:09pm on 21 Aug 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    Big S (4) Is the anything you wont do to get a mention on Friday's letters?

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  • 6. At 1:10pm on 21 Aug 2008, U11204129 wrote:


    Yeah, but what about blogger medals?

    Apparently I get the Long and Boring gold, but what about the Oppressively Patronising meddles, the finals in Excessive Self Satisfaction*, the Self Aggrandisement* awards and the Ugly American (All Comers)* gold?

    *And, no BS, I didn't mean you.

    But I thought you might help with the dope tests.

    Some bloggers are clearly on drugs and should get a life time ban from the Moderators.

    We must keep up da House rules.

    And after the tests are back, will any of your golds have to be re-awarded?

    Let's hope not. I'm sure their A samples will all be pure as a Chernobyl spring - if a little radio-active.


    No real bloggers were harmed in this post or in mind during writing.

    'Cos, :-)!, which means its all in fun.:-|, seriously.

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  • 7. At 1:23pm on 21 Aug 2008, Stewart_M wrote:

    Can we swap some Aussie Drought for some of our rain?

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  • 8. At 2:02pm on 21 Aug 2008, U11235707 wrote:

    Oi PM !!!

    Next time you lot get some talking head explaining to us about A-Level standards, ask them this telling question:

    Why did boys do better than girls at A-levels, in all years prior to the mid-eighties?

    If they answer that it is something to do with the lads, then ask them how this change came about?

    If the talking head cannot explain this change, then they have no credibility regarding the future of education.

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  • 9. At 2:54pm on 21 Aug 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    Those Big Sister meddles.

    It's the baton changing we bloggers worry about.

    Mair to Quinn is always dodgy.
    The Beach gets dropped, a Glass Booth shattered.

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  • 10. At 2:55pm on 21 Aug 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    pmleader (9):

    We would've gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for that meddling Big Sister!

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  • 11. At 3:24pm on 21 Aug 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    Goodness, you know what, given that these ARE the run-for-your-money Games, the RESULTS from BEIJING could not be more politically correct.

    Including dropped batons and beaten favourites.

    And the odd swipe at the cult of personality.

    Brilliant anti-racist, redisributive Games.

    Well done me old China!

    For Socialism, the Long March (and la lutta) through the capitalists' institutions continues.

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  • 12. At 3:51pm on 21 Aug 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    That all reminds me of an Enid Blyton title: Mr. Meddle's Muddle.

    But, T-bird, I never get to hear the Friday letters, let alone know if anything of mine is read out. I blog for fun, not for fame. True Olympic spirit, me!

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  • 13. At 4:04pm on 21 Aug 2008, U11204129 wrote:


    I honestly (:-)) thought you blogged to meddle.


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  • 14. At 4:06pm on 21 Aug 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh pmL, you should know better by now ..... :o!

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  • 15. At 4:52pm on 21 Aug 2008, thenicecatlady wrote:

    And the winner is ...... oh no he's dropped the baton in the water!!

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  • 16. At 5:15pm on 21 Aug 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    I wonder if Gary Glitter is hanging around airports to see if Mr Coe will ask him to help with the closing ceremony?

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  • 17. At 5:38pm on 21 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 18. At 5:40pm on 21 Aug 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    Should we shed tears for Cryer?

    The noises she made which got into the public radio domain since 9/11 have sounded to me to be entirely anti-Islamic.

    The forced marriage bill looks like her fig leaf.

    As a piece of legislation I wouldn't have wanted it detailed by her. What is 'forced'?
    Parental pressure? The pressure of a potential spouse whom you said 'Yes' to, but you've changed or you got your feelings wrong in the first place?
    What is 'free'? Refusing to marry to show the flag of freedom when, really, you want to?

    I recall Cryer on crime sounding like a Georgian on Islamic Ossetians.

    Do we have another political dynasty on the way?

    Will her son be asked?

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  • 19. At 5:47pm on 21 Aug 2008, angelicsunday wrote:

    Australian drought ... at last. I've been waiting for months for the BBC to discover it. What happened... did you run out of political speculation at last, so you had to look for some actual news to cover?

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  • 20. At 5:47pm on 21 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    pmL 18, Did Barry die?

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  • 21. At 6:21pm on 21 Aug 2008, Fifi wrote:

    There is one country where the glittery creep would fit in perfectly.

    Begins with B, ends with M.

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  • 22. At 6:55pm on 21 Aug 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Not Birmingham. That's a city. Burm? if you take away the final 'a'?

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  • 23. At 6:57pm on 21 Aug 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Fleming or Walloon?

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  • 24. At 7:16pm on 21 Aug 2008, U11204129 wrote:


    It's ever since they lost Poirot.

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  • 25. At 7:29pm on 21 Aug 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Ohhhh.... bit slow on the uptake this evening...

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  • 26. At 08:33am on 22 Aug 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Fifi: Why do you think that? Do you seriously think that country has a particularly high incidence of paedophiles, based on a couple of high profile cases? There are, I fear, plenty of perverts in our own fair land.

    Remember poor little Sarah Payne.

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  • 27. At 10:07am on 22 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Re my 17, looks like the Chinese censors are now running this blog.

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  • 28. At 11:33am on 22 Aug 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    Dave (27) Give us a clue

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  • 29. At 1:35pm on 22 Aug 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    BS @ 26, with deference, it is possible that Glitter might find the murder of Sarah Payne as horrible, as inexplicable and as perverse as I do.

    I don't at all approve of what GG has been up to all his life but as far as I know he hasn't killed anyone, and also as far as I know nobody has suggested that he was likely to do so or that his desire to have carnal relations with little girls meant that he also had a tendency to lethal violence. I see something of a difference between downloading porn from the internet and paying for sex with children, and abducting and murdering a child, and I think it's quite important to keep it clear that they're not the same thing and that the one does not necessarily lead to the other.

    I know, it looks like a quibble, but isn't it important to draw a distinction between different sorts of sexual behaviour that are (or are regarded as) perverse?

    If we don't, there is the risk we will get the sort of blanket-condemnation all-tarred-with-the-same-brush thinking that leads for example to public perception (having decided that homosexuality is an obnoxious perversion, for reasons that may or may not be as obscure to everyone here as they are to me) going the 'all homosexuals are predatory therefore all homosexuals prey on children' route, which is clearly not true and clearly may be horribly dangerous for the majority of homosexuals who are not even slightly paedophile in their preferences.

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  • 30. At 3:09pm on 22 Aug 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Chris: The argument is more with Fifi's possible assertion that Belgium is a good place for paedophiles (if I've understood her reference correctly). Belgium has become notorious because of high profile stories about children being abducted for sex, some of whom have been killed in the process. That is why I mentioned Sarah Payne - not because I would, for one moment, suspect GG of being capable of a similar crime. I'm not sure that we have the right, in this country. to throw eggs at Belgium, or even Austria, in a generalised way because of certain notorious cases. Our own record is not good. Human failing doesn't respect borders.

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  • 31. At 3:42pm on 22 Aug 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Fifi @ 21, did you mean something quite different from what seems to have been assumed? I took your post as being a joke rather than anything more.

    Big Sister @ 30, Yes, I agree with you that seriously throwing eggs at Belgium because of two or three notorious cases would be pretty silly really. I was just reacting against the thing that seems already to have started, that because GG downloaded porn he is Evil, Evil, Evil and capable of any hideous crime that anyone can think of.

    I keep being reminded of the way that anyone homosexual was open to victimisation and blackmail and 'outing' and being destroyed, until quite recently (and indeed still may be, if the press decide to make it so); these days the same sort of blackmail might well be used against a different group of people, and I can see someone innocent of anything but 'thought-crime' being targeted and driven to suicide, and it worries me really rather a lot. Certainly an unsupported accusation of 'sexually innappropriate behaviour' made by a fifteen-year-old girl against a male teacher seems to be enough to wreck his career. It's like a witch-hunt.

    Come to think of it, since 'everyone knows' that Christians I mean sorry Satanists sacrifice living babies in their rites, and 'everyone knows' that witches/pagans are all Satanists, maybe that's not the right phrase, or altogether too apposite, I'm not sure which.

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  • 32. At 3:54pm on 22 Aug 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Yes, Chris, I can see where you're coming from, although there is a huge difference between homosexuality and paedophilia, as I know you'll acknowledge. Not least because there is the aspect of consent.

    It is extremely disturbing that certain men 'get off' on the thought of little girls, or even young girls. I've know a few victims over my lifetime, and know how profound the effects of such abuse can be upon them, and it is a lifetime sentence as far as they are concerned.

    Unfortunately, it isn't a perversion that is limited to particular cultures, as far as I'm aware.

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  • 33. At 4:00pm on 22 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Tbird 28,
    Paul Gadd.

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  • 34. At 4:01pm on 22 Aug 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Tbird 28, Chinese gymnasts.

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  • 35. At 4:51pm on 22 Aug 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Big Sister @ 32, I agree entirely that the cases are not the same (unless it's a paedophile homosexual rapist, I suppose). It's always the danger of labelling and then not looking at individual cases that seems to me to be a risk: whether what's being tied on as a label is 'homosexual' or 'paedophile' or 'satanist', there is more to a person than that label, and probably more to the offence if any as well, and certainly degrees of each state that are not the same one and another. As you know, I wasn't suggesting that you were indulging in such pigeonholing; I was just feeling edgy about how easy it is to go from a position of 'I know someone who was hurt by this' or 'this is clearly bad' to one of 'because I know this is bad, therefore anything other than utter condemnation of it is bad as well'.

    Incidentally, I would say that liking little girls in a sexual way is a life sentence for the person feeling it, too. Being preoccupied with the unattainable (or what ought to be unattainable) must be a dire state to be in. It does sound to me like a sample of Hades, and with no prospect of reprieve. Even worse if because the climate has become condemnatory, even mentioning it makes one a suspect, and seeking help in combating it means that one will be condemned.... I am aware as I write of the case of someone suffering depression, who mentioned to his counsellor that if a person in her early teens were nearer his own age he would fancy her no end, and next thing he knew the family she was part of had been warned against allowing him to visit them, and he was being regarded as perverted not only by them, but by everyone who knew them. Now there is a nightmare!

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  • 36. At 6:16pm on 22 Aug 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Yes, Chris, I realise it's not easy for those who have such inclinations, and I applaud those who manage to keep their desires in check. But don't let's allow pity to cloud our judgement over this - it is the victims, or potential victims, who most need our support.

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