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The Glass Box.

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Eddie Mair | 16:55 UK time, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

glassa.jpgThis is the Glass Box the PM team meets in at 18.00 every weeknight to discuss the content of the programme.

We try to be honest with each other, but not hurtful, as we talk about what worked and what didn't...what met our expectations and what fell short.

This virtual glass box is where you're encouraged to take part in the same spirit. The editor of the day reads your comments and may well add her/his own.


  • 1. At 5:08pm on 13 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    How little it takes to stir hope

    "Hillary Clinton sent a message to Israel Tuesday during her Secretary of State confirmation hearing testimony, telling the Foreign Relations Committee that because of the conflict in Gaza "we have ...been reminded of the tragic humanitarian costs of conflict in the Middle East, and pained by the suffering of Palestinian and Israeli civilians."

    Mainstream American politicians are famously reluctant to utter the words "suffering" and "Palestinian" in the same sentence. By breaking from that tradition, Clinton appeared to send a signal to Israel that that it would not have a free hand to operate in the Middle East."
    Fingers crossed

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  • 2. At 5:10pm on 13 Jan 2009, Jeezeypeeps wrote:

    Did I really just hear the announcement of a non-story about the PoW calling one of his mates 'Sooty'? Last time I checked, Sooty was yellow, so what race is allegedly being insulted; or has some jumped-up bandwagon rider just spotted an opportunity to make some money by feeding laughably weak stories to our ever gullible press?

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  • 3. At 5:11pm on 13 Jan 2009, U13772369 wrote:

    Analysts fear that another day of bad numbers would signal the economy was in worse state than feared.

    (Ceefax, page 235, today)

    You mean almost anything can spook them?

    Well, play 'em the music, man.

    (Wasn't there another late entry 'quantitative easing' today, to make the FTSE numbers look better?)

    PS Monbiot today says 'green' is about 'class'.

    When is PM going to explain the relevance of class to market numbers?

    The music is after all about social class.

    Put your words where your tunes are.

    (You can quote me)

    (Or Sid if you want to avoid all talk of the need for socialism)

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  • 4. At 5:17pm on 13 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    EI 1, Is that the Hillary who says she was named after the mountain climber and was shot at in Iraq? I believe everything she says.

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  • 5. At 5:18pm on 13 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    jp 2, Which Prisoner of War is that?

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  • 6. At 5:22pm on 13 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Eddie, Reporting on the appointment of a new Bishop of Saint Albans tonight, are we? He is Alan Smith, Bishop of Shrewsbury.

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  • 7. At 5:24pm on 13 Jan 2009, U13772369 wrote:

    Something else I don't think you'll bother with.

    H. Harman is going to make reducing inequality an over arching obligation on government.

    P. Toynbee says so.

    B. Obama appoints H. Clinton.

    So MIDDLE class women are going to escape the implications of true equality (that they do stuff like road mending, emptying wheelies, cleaning offices etc) and having escaped the worst jobs, live so long (via class and sex effects) that Methusala gets envious.

    Ed, it's still paifully slow and inadequate.
    Jews v. Arabs is just too useful a conflict for bourgeois politics to resolve any time soon.

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  • 8. At 5:29pm on 13 Jan 2009, Happyhomeworker wrote:

    Re: "Sooty" story, or rather non-story

    "The problem for the Royal Family is that we are talking about it..."

    Yes, you are, but you don't have to! Don't you have an editorial meeting to discuss the priorities? The reason I like PM is that it covers real stories, interesting ones, with good insight. If I want to wallow in tabloid journalism I'd read the Sun...

    Are we going to discuss every nickname - I used to be called Rupert, is it because I had frizzy yellow bear hair? Should I be offended?

    For heaven's sake, please leave this alone!

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  • 9. At 5:34pm on 13 Jan 2009, Peter Bolt wrote:

    Eddie thinks that Prince Charles must have a sense of humour because he enjoyed"The Goons".
    I do not think the Goons were that funny, often the "Goon Show" was just plain "silly"
    The prog broadcast at around the same time "Round the Horne"and sometime later "Beyond our Ken" were better and more "grown up". Perhaps that is why the POW did not appreciate them.

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  • 10. At 5:47pm on 13 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    EdI (1) - Let's hope so. I'll cross all my fingers and toes meanwhile .....

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  • 11. At 5:57pm on 13 Jan 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    yagwia 7, Is P Toynbee one of those Ps?

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  • 12. At 6:04pm on 13 Jan 2009, Brian Tomkinson wrote:

    Another day another "royal racism" story. Another excuse for presenters to use a word that that they have decreed no one apart from them is allowed to use - I don’t mean "sooty". One could be excused for thinking that BBC news and current affairs programmes are fomenting racial hatred by repeatedly using words which they themselves have declared to be both offensive and racist. Perhaps a formal complaint to the appropriate authorities is required.

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  • 13. At 6:05pm on 13 Jan 2009, Winenut wrote:

    What was that "sleep doctor" on about? Don't drink alcohol within 3 hours of going to bed. How the hell does he think I drop off and usually get at least 7 hours to boot?

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  • 14. At 6:18pm on 13 Jan 2009, aytchgee1 wrote:

    Oops - another health survey - this time sleep / colds. Sorry to burst the bubble...I am in my mid fifties, have smoked like a chimney since I was 10, am slightly overweight, love junk food and don't take as much exercise as I used to. I hate vegetables. I don't drink. I have had approx 5 hours sleep a night for the past 4 years and....I rarely get colds....1 a year max. The only reason I now take the occasional sicky off is cos I got sick and tired of being the only one with a 100% attendance record in the various companies I worked for and consequently got put upon. Visited the doc around twice in the past 35 years (both for minor ailments). Healthy eating, non-smoking people around me suffer far more illness and colds than I.
    However, I do wish I could get paid thousands for dreaming up all these surveys! Have to become a politician I spose.

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  • 15. At 6:42pm on 13 Jan 2009, Heifetz wrote:

    New year, new personality. Eddie the modest teamplayer has clearly turned into Eddie the ego. Not once in 2009 has he yet namechecked the BBC colleagues who actually create the programme that he is hired to present. Will PM now turn into The Eddie Mair Show?

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  • 16. At 7:38pm on 13 Jan 2009, lynnehoneybun wrote:

    For heaven's sake! What's all the fuss about Prince Harry and his Dad using nicknames when referring to people who are obviously their close friends. If either of friend of Charles or Harry actually lodged a complaint at the use of so-called racist names, then fair enough. Legitimate reason for investigation.
    But truly, these folks don't seem half as upset as the soapbox merchants of the last few days.
    Give it a rest.
    Our student gang, ChinkyJohn, Boobs, Shorty, Specks, Bun ( his dad's a baker) Crapper and my nickname.......you can guess it yourself ......it rhymes with my last name 'Whitehouse'.

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  • 17. At 10:19pm on 13 Jan 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    In a previous life, I grew a moustache. one friend at that time began calling me Pedro due to the way my moustache made me look. Is this something to be concerned about?

    When asked in official form filling what ethnic origin I consider myself to be? I just put that I go a kind of salmon colour in the summer. Do you think this is a problem?

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  • 18. At 10:58pm on 13 Jan 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Just hoping that you might ask the nice sleep therapist person back, cos he left some areas of the sleep/bed balance uncovered (as it were.) I can't remember the ratios of waking/sleeping time in bed that he quoted.


    Does reading in bed count as counteractive to a good sleep? He seemed to imply that it does.

    Does, um, interpersonal physical interaction of the naughty bits (and possibly other bits) count as counteractive to a good sleep?

    Has he asked both women and men about this? Cos the results might vary a tiny bit.

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  • 19. At 10:21am on 14 Jan 2009, Nigel_N wrote:

    Good interview with the head teacher. Glad that he was prepared to stand up for his school and his staff.

    I would propose two measures that would even out the results that schools get:
    1) All pupils whose parents have never attended an open evening to discuss their child's progress should be removed from the results figures.
    2) All pupils who have received extra tuition outside the school should be removed from the results figures.

    A few years ago my son's primary school teacher informed me that the only parents that she needed to see at the open evening were the ones who did not turn up.

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  • 20. At 10:54am on 14 Jan 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    Frances O (18) - ". . interpersonal physical interaction of the naughty bits. . "
    Haha! Brilliant.

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  • 21. At 11:50am on 14 Jan 2009, U13772369 wrote:


    Yeah, well, after the hangover effect of last night's late surge on the FTSE (courtesy of a little qualitative easing (though the BoE won't own to it)) had worn off this morning,....

    .....the exchange was heading again in the direction it belongas.....

    ......strictly down south!!

    (Just over 2 percent down at 11.30 today!)

    3,700 here we come!!

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  • 22. At 12:02pm on 14 Jan 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    YAGWIM (21):

    Is that why I'm felling rotten today? A hangover? I thought it was a combination of sleep-debt, a bug and missing most of PM.

    I'm very miffed that I missed (did I get that round the right way?) a sleep therapist because I'm shattered this week despite apparently sleeping well (for the first time in about 3 months).

    Thanks to the Glass Box comments, I now know to go to Listen Again, or the iPlayer or whatever it's called this month.

    (If "Listen Again" if being replaced with "iPlayer", what's Alice Arnold's "Listen Against" going to be called now? rePlayer?)

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  • 23. At 12:05pm on 14 Jan 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    SSC: If you have a sleeping partner, ask him/her if you are snoring. If the answer is in the affirmative, it might be worth investigating whether you have sleep apnoea ....

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  • 24. At 12:19pm on 14 Jan 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Big Sis (23):

    I'm clear on the sleep apnoea front, I've just got massive tiredness lagging behind weeks of sleeplessness (for which there were various known causes).

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  • 25. At 2:01pm on 14 Jan 2009, excellentandylloyd wrote:

    correct me if i am wrong but Pakistan means litterally "country of thePakis"so taking offence to Paki is like taking offence to Scot (land) enoughpolitical correctness !

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  • 26. At 3:24pm on 14 Jan 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    I've caught up with last night's programme now. A couple of points about the lack-of-sleep -> colds item.

    First, "front-loading" all those numbers nearly sent me to sleep. Seriously, those ended up being quite confusing.

    Second, all the things suggested to aid good sleep - optimum weight/BMI, regular exercise, healthy diet, no smoking, sensible drinking etc - are going to lead to a healthier life anyway, so it would have been a good question to ask if there was actually any effect of sleep-time on colds, or whether a good sleep and lack of colds were both just the result of a healthy life-style and not directly connected at all.

    Also, there seemed to be some speech problems; "spad schools"? "spleeding"?

    I hope there's no repeat of this on tonight's "Splee-em".

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  • 27. At 3:46pm on 14 Jan 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    I was dozing quietly (with a steaming headache) and enjoying the programme until I was woken by that little whirlpool of misery at 5.30pm!

    There are changes in sleep patterns that occur as we age. How are these factored into the whole sleep equation? I've been telling patients for years not to worry that they're not sleeping properly and just to persevere with the basic "Sleep Hygiene" rules as this is what I've been taught at every training session that I've ever been to. Has it all changed? I'm intrigued. I lay awake last night worrying about it!

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  • 28. At 4:19pm on 14 Jan 2009, Ed Iglehart wrote:



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  • 29. At 5:14pm on 14 Jan 2009, now_and_then wrote:

    With all that's going on in the world, the first item on PM is a gaffe by some politician no-one has ever heard of. Why are political slips given such a high priority by the news? Why should we care if some junior politician says something slightly off message?

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  • 30. At 6:24pm on 14 Jan 2009, erindoors wrote:

    First, the hon. lady was encouraged into talking about 'green shoots' by Alisdair Stewart - your full clip made it clear that she was set up.

    Second, when is David Cameron going to stop intoning 'Gordon' Brown;s recession' like the ad man he used to be, hoping we will be dim enough to believe it if he says it often enough. If it's Gordon's fault that people in the States were losing their jobs and homes long before Northern Rock was Pestoned he is more powerful than we thought.

    I notice Osama Bin Laden is now claiming credit for the recession: anyone else we could blame while we are about it, or should we just own up to our own laissez-faire and greed?

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