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The Glass Box.

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Eddie Mair | 16:55 UK time, Tuesday, 25 November 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 the Glass Box you see above. Add your comment here.


  • 1. At 5:08pm on 25 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    What is going on with the blast of cheerful music in the middle of the report on a horrible murder? eeeeek!

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  • 2. At 5:14pm on 25 Nov 2008, Gillianian wrote:

    Why don't shops put up some notices to say that VAT reductions will be applied to goods at the till, at least as a temporary measure?
    Surely the tills can cope with working out the discount, and this would give staff time to do all the extra fiddling about without rushing to get it all done by Monday?

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  • 3. At 5:19pm on 25 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Gillianian @ 2, that sounds far too much like sensible to be done! At Makro of course the VAT gets added at the till anyway, so they only have to change every notice on every shelf to tell people what the rate of VAT is on every single item there. (It tells you whether an item is rated at 17.5% or 0% for VAT, in every case.)

    Incidentally, for some reason the blog seems to have reverted to the format it used to be before it was impproved. I am getting a bout of nostalgia: it is so much easier to read, and the space for comments is larger!

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  • 4. At 5:23pm on 25 Nov 2008, Gillianian wrote:

    Chris - I'll consult my sister - she works in EPOS. Me, I'm just a simple soul ;o)

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  • 5. At 5:25pm on 25 Nov 2008, lbeagle wrote:

    The nightmare described by the unfortunate traders in fiddling about with prices/records on the Vat change shows precisely how out of touch with reality is the Treasury.

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  • 6. At 5:26pm on 25 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Unfortunately, the blog is also going round and round: it gets as far as the chap with his driving test, then goes back to the most recent thread about the man with the full head of hair, and round and round, if I press on 'previous' each time.


    It does look pleasant, though...

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  • 7. At 5:27pm on 25 Nov 2008, jackhigh2747 wrote:

    Just listened to the report on the sentence of a murderer, and the terrible ordeal felt by the victims family who thought that the sentence did not match the crime.


    I know that this is a topic that is an 'old chestnut' -but with the rising numbers of serious crimes and murders , is it perhaps time to make the sentence fit the crime.

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  • 8. At 5:38pm on 25 Nov 2008, Colin McAuley wrote:

    There was a time, and it still is a time(a new album by the Boss coming out soon), when actually being able to understand the words in lyrics mattered. The Clash actually enunciated their words, and they remain the "only band that matters"! Guns 'n' Roses should be banned, everywhere!!!

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  • 9. At 5:59pm on 25 Nov 2008, mtrcricket wrote:

    Dr Vivienne Nathanson expresses opinions about the likelihood of people smoking and drinking more or less when in a recession as if it were a medical opinion.
    As a retired Consultant Surgeon I disagree with her. However neither of us are qualified to claim, with regard to this subject, that what we say is a medical opinion.
    Perhaps I am wrong but, perhaps, it she who is talking rubbish?

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  • 10. At 6:17pm on 25 Nov 2008, Simon wrote:

    There's something that's been bugging me all day from the BBC news channel on the idiot box.

    One of their reporters has been out and about canvassing shopowner opinions about the VAT reduction.

    Will they bother passing it on? What do they need to do to make the change in their shop. How much of a clerical burden? Stuff like that.

    He's been hearing moans from a sizeable proportion that they've already bought stock and paid the 17.5 percent VAT. When they sell they only get 15 percent back. So they're all whinging about being out of pocket.

    But if they are registered for VAT then at quarter-end they claim back all the VAT they've paid out (at 17.5 pc) whilst only remitting the VAT on their sales to the Treasury (at the smaller 15 pc). So for one quarter only they are actually getting a VAT bonus.

    With financial dyslexics like that running our small businesses it's no wonder that so many will get into trouble!


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  • 11. At 6:26pm on 25 Nov 2008, SSJimmy wrote:

    You mentioned tonight that RBS has assured the Chancellor that they would increase lending.

    Last month RBS also ensured the Chancellor that they would pass on the 1.5% interest rate cut in full.

    I have an RBS One account. I asked them when this would happen and they've responded with an email saying that they are only passing it on for tracker accounts.

    Hardly newsworthy or something that Alistair Darling would have needed reassurance about?? He's a clever man - I'm sure he could have worked that out for himself.

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  • 12. At 6:40pm on 25 Nov 2008, copperGatty wrote:

    A couple of times tonight PM has referred to a housing market in crisis.

    NOW ...The housing market is not in crisis. Prices are coming down to the point where people can afford to buy, and people who can't afford a mortgage can't get one.

    BEFORE ... House prices were too high, and irresponsible bankers were lending to people with no proof of income to get paid huge bonuses.

    The market was in crisis - now it's getting right. Please don't suggest we should try and get back somehow to the way things were.

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  • 13. At 10:16pm on 25 Nov 2008, justfloating wrote:

    (12) - copperGatty

    It is still in crisis. No houses are coming on the market. Only one in the village, in the month, and that was due to a death. The price wanted is still beyond the reach of two people on average local salary and it needs completely refitting.

    I still say they should remove the HIPs for 1 year on sub-stamp duty houses.

    This will allow those getting into trouble to put their toe into test the market without seeing a financial liability.

    But then that is not in the interest of the banks who want to have the pseudo-tenants indebted to them alone.

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  • 14. At 00:32am on 26 Nov 2008, U11204129 wrote:

    My goodness, aren't politicians easy meat compared with bankers.

    None agree to appear on Newsnight or be on PM.

    McNamara (the ex -Alliance-Leics CEO) did appear on Newsnight. He made hand gestures reminiscent of a fair ground huckster working the three card trick or the pea under one of three egg cups. He talked like it as well. Banks, he said, are worried that they may lose small business deposits as the economy turns down. (So they refuse to lend to small businesses who need it - thus helping the economy turn down)

    And King (who in fairness is not a banker but a PR man) was before the Treasury Select Cmmtte. Last time there, he told the Cmmtte that government couldn't tell bankers what to do. That would require nationalisation.

    Today he said they should be told what to do.

    So does that require nationalisation, he was asked? Well, he said, he wouldn't rule it out.

    A PR man's joke? No. The usual evasion from anyone even remotely connected with this banking farce.

    Merve the Downward Curve was at Birmingham University when Domenico Mario Nuti arrived there. (They'd known each other at Cambridge. Merve had been claiming Nuti couldn't speak English well, and so shouldn't teach in Birmingham. Nuti spoke English rather better than Merve, it turned out)

    Nuti was an excellent Marxist and used to point out to Merve the way markets fail us all, and the need for the public ownership of the banks.

    Goodness, that man HATES being wrong. Go on, Merve, admit it, the banks should be taken into public ownership as you were told, by one and all, at Birmingham, 25 years ago.

    What he said about Labour Party policy, which it was at the time, is on record.

    25 years to get it right. Goodness, these St. Johns men are slow learners. Two short planks think more quickly.

    Hey, did you hear Edgie talking to Johnson the Health?

    'This terrible recession', the Mare called it. To my ears he used the high ironic tones of someone who doesn't care and thinks his BBC contracts will insulate him from it's effects.

    I'll probably get called 'Cloth Ears' for hearing Mare that way.

    That's the insult he used to use, anyway, when listeners misheard him. According to him.

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  • 15. At 07:34am on 26 Nov 2008, yurithespaceman wrote:

    In last night's programme ( 25th ) , it was interesting that the piece that featured Peter Stringfellow's observations about proposed Govt legislation affecting lap dancing venues , should follow the item about the recession. The govt is worried about the proliferation of so-called lap dancing clubs, but notwithstanding the merits or not of such clubs, the govt would be well advised to sit back and let market forces unfold naturally. If ever there was a sector that was reliant on a healthy booming economy, then it must surely be lap dancing. It relies heavily on work groups be they large or only 2 or 3 men, visiting such clubs and with unemployment rising steadily and less money available for frivilous feel-good type spending, I suggest the govt should be more worried about the increasing burden of unemployment benefits from the ranks of soon to be unemployed dancers and other financial burdens associated with business foreclosures.

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  • 16. At 09:05am on 26 Nov 2008, Sid wrote:

    Cloth ears - you could actually hear that rogue apostrophe in 'it's'?

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  • 17. At 11:39am on 26 Nov 2008, Nigel_N wrote:

    Interesting take on the VAT change from the lady from the bus tourism industry.

    The chancellor has reduced VAT to 15% and increased fuel duty so that private individuals do not gain. BUT, VAT registered companies do not have VAT as a cost, they reclaim it from the government, so fuel costs for businesses have just gone up by 2.5%.

    So, in reality, the reduction in prices on full VAT items will not be fully passed on because distribution costs have gone up; and even worse, for VAT free items such as food and children's clothes the VAT reduction is inflationary.

    This starts to look like the 10p debacle where the chancellor had not thought it through before he announced it.

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