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Eddie Mair | 16:39 UK time, Thursday, 30 April 2009

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The Glass Box is where the PM team meets in at 18.00 every weeknight to discuss the content of the programme. We stay six feet away from each other.

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. Tonight's PM editor Eloise Twisk will read your comments and may well add her own.

Comments

  • 1. At 4:46pm on 30 Apr 2009, Hesiodos wrote:

    "There have been no comments made here yet."

    Yippee!

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  • 2. At 5:10pm on 30 Apr 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    Hey, what happened to the swine flu mass-panic pantomime story? It's slipped down the headlines. The pandemic is apparently getting worse (now eight people have it!), but the story seems to have lost its urgency.

    I would have thought the headlong rush to distress as many mostly vulnerable people as possible thus allowing the story to generate its own inertia would have continued for at least a few more days.

    Still, I suppose modern news is an insatiable beast.

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  • 3. At 5:12pm on 30 Apr 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    Looks like things are quiet north of the borders!

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  • 4. At 5:13pm on 30 Apr 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Thank you, Hugh, for your understated tribute to the civilians of Iraq on this day.

    I hope we can match their forgiveness of our folly by the magnanimity of our actions in helping them to rebuild their society.

    Khahar Bozorg

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  • 5. At 5:19pm on 30 Apr 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Did anyone hear the American on WATO saying that history will show the British as having been 'defeated' in Iraq and, if it hadn't been for the Americans the whole campaign would have been a disaster?

    The report concentrated on the positive things - that the Iraqi soldiers had been trained and were now welcomed on the streets. No mention of electricity. Thank goodness Hugh is there and giving us the real story.

    Carolyn: go girl! Good interview!

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  • 6. At 5:26pm on 30 Apr 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Max Clifford handling the couple who've had flu? This is heading into the realms of the ridiculous. I might even book a flight to Mexico.

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  • 7. At 5:27pm on 30 Apr 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    Wonderful! The swine flu story seems to have been made such a media event and reached such a frenzy over the last few days that Max Clifford has been drafted in to handle victims' contracts. This sort of thing reduces us all.

    I don't know whether to cry or shriek with laughter.

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  • 8. At 5:31pm on 30 Apr 2009, U13879388 wrote:

    1.

    The Grauniad headline today, was about a huge increase in consumer confidence.

    That should lead to borrowing against the house, more, shouldn't it. It always does, the way we run things, at present.

    Which would account for more mortgage money lent, fewer house sales.

    Ah, prices, I here you shout.

    Well, only Nationwide last month thought they were up at all.

    And the change in the (New money)/(New Sales) ratio would have them 25 percent up on the month!!!!

    So today's usual fall in house prices, according to Natiowide, tells those confident borrowers that they've just lost a part of their capacity to repay.

    Meanwhile against appalling real world economic news here and in the US, the short term irrational gains**** on the FTSE continues

    Me, I think it's a crazy system. Can you make any sense of it, Nils please?


    2. They are all bound for the British military adventure in ....Afghanistan....

    ..make that Pakistan-Afghanistan, aren't they? Could your 'Defence' correspondent enlighten?'.


    3. Are there new cases still v. ill in Mexico or can we count all the tabs we've got stored up without guilt?
    Could your health correspondnet help?

    4. Is the new AM - PM GB brand (on watch for almost all moments) for equality and 100 percent green energy generation?
    Could Eddie Mair tell us?

    5. I see the white middle class kids who are hip to a change of life's rich pattern, are in New Orleans en masse, rebuilding and refurbishing.

    Is this going to be a one - off (like the odd VSO year or a two week conservation visit to Peru (currently on offer. (Royalty only?))

    Or is this the white middle class men and women finally getting permanent proper jobs?

    Eddie versus Sawyer versus Justin Webb (any other US correspondent will do) would be valuable on this.




    **** Does PM calls it a speculative bubble?

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  • 9. At 5:32pm on 30 Apr 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Ahh! the delicate tones of Upstairs Downstairs - I like that version much better! Please keep!

    Now, about that Eddie poem, I heard 'tea' but not quadlatte. Can this be the same Eddie?

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  • 10. At 5:41pm on 30 Apr 2009, Thunderbird wrote:

    Forget all that stuff purporting to be news

    Swine flu, Iraq, swine flu, Afghanistan, swine flu, Pakistan, it all means nothing when you hear that you can now buy a Donna kebab flavoured Pot-Noodle

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  • 11. At 5:43pm on 30 Apr 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Bad call. Reading out all the names does not honour any of them: it devalues every one.

    Sorry.

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  • 12. At 5:43pm on 30 Apr 2009, Happyhomeworker wrote:

    Thanks for playing the full list of those who died in Iraq. A moving tribute.

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  • 13. At 5:46pm on 30 Apr 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    Can I make the point following the news that Max Clifford is now handling the PR for the couple recently afflicted with swine flu that it was the approach to this story taken by journalists and editors that has led to this belittling of what may still turn out to be an international catastrophe.

    Due to its size and influence and the way it has chosen to cover and report this story in recent days the BBC, including PM, can count itself as one of the principle causes of the serious trivialising of this story.

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  • 14. At 5:48pm on 30 Apr 2009, paulgiom wrote:

    Thank you so much for broadcasting the names of those service personnel who have given their lives for us.
    I really, really appreciate it, and hope that the families of these people also do.
    That is, in fact, real news as far as I am concerned.
    Thank you.
    I don't know when I shall not have tears in my eyes following that, and rightly so
    Paul Ginns, Ramsey, Isle of Man

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  • 15. At 5:48pm on 30 Apr 2009, steelpulse wrote:

    Thank you Eddie - for the show today. Except except for My friend Max. lol


    Apart from Hugh Sykes, Caroline Wyatt and a spirited Bythe.

    There is absolutely no reason to listen to PM except for the Sequin’s address - that’s ace

    The is absolutely no reason to listen to the Westminster Hour – except
    Except. It is presented well – despite the voices off – from the other “other “ place.

    There is absolutely no reason to listen to this poem – except. Except it proves that the death of poetry has already happened.

    And rigor mortis has set in.

    Talking of which - there is absolutely no reason to listen to Eddie Mair. Unless your ear is constructed of tin.

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  • 16. At 5:48pm on 30 Apr 2009, thelords55 wrote:

    Listening to the list names from Basra, you are struck by the fact that officers have initials and other ranks do not. Even death seems to have a class system in the British Army

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  • 17. At 5:49pm on 30 Apr 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    How much money, Max? How much are they getting and how much are you getting? Go for him Eddie!

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  • 18. At 5:52pm on 30 Apr 2009, steelpulse wrote:

    Oops - I forgot the preview option - it has been so long. The above post needs throwing away.

    Thank you Eddie - for the show today. Except except for My friend Max. lol


    Apart from Hugh Sykes, Caroline Wyatt and a spirited Blythe.

    There is absolutely no reason to listen to PM except for the Sequin’s address - that’s ace

    There is absolutely no reason to listen to the Westminster Hour – except
    Except. It is presented well – despite the voices off – from the other “other “ place.

    There is absolutely no reason to listen to this poem – except. Except it proves that the death of poetry has already happened.

    And rigor mortis has set in.

    Talking of which - there is absolutely no reason to listen to Eddie Mair. Unless your ear is constructed of tin.

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  • 19. At 5:52pm on 30 Apr 2009, colinjamesberry wrote:

    I've just listened to the army reading the list of the dead in Iraq. Why do they still persist in giving officers their initials but other ranks only their surnames?

    It seems anachronistic at best and disrespectful, but then I'd expect nothing else from the army.

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  • 20. At 5:53pm on 30 Apr 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Ah ha! The item about the predicted good summer!

    Now, I've been predicting this since last year, or at least saying that this year's summer would be much better than the previous two years.

    What your interviewee didn't say is that the last two summers were affected by La Nina, which is a two year phenomenon. We are now out of that cycle, hence the return to a better summer.

    I'm sure there are meteorologists reading this who will give a fuller explanation to this, but I know this was at the root of the last two years' wet summers.

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  • 21. At 5:53pm on 30 Apr 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Chris: I'm afraid I don't agree. Like Happyhomeworker @12, I thought it was very moving. An unexpected and touching tribute. I couldn't help but wonder what ages went with each name though.

    A shocking waste of young people. I hope each and every one of them weighs heavily on Tony Blair's conscious.

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  • 22. At 5:53pm on 30 Apr 2009, Charlie wrote:



    Sorry, I'm with Max on this one.

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  • 23. At 5:53pm on 30 Apr 2009, AlbertTeddyBear wrote:

    I doubt that any commercial radio station would broadcast the list of the fallen. Similarly, I doubt that any television station would broadcast the full list of the fallen.
    My thanks to the editorial team for letting me sit and listen quietly.

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  • 24. At 5:55pm on 30 Apr 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    Max Clifford is only there because of the way the media (the BBC included) has chosen to handle this story. The way this story has been constructed has been entirely a matter of deliberate choice by editors and journalists. He is now part of the story.

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  • 25. At 5:55pm on 30 Apr 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    'An academiologist'? Please don't say he used a methodology...

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  • 26. At 5:57pm on 30 Apr 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    Eddie - when we get to Pandemic Phase 6 we get the UK Alert Level (1-4) kicking in. Another number to worry about

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  • 27. At 5:57pm on 30 Apr 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Eddie:

    You asked why people in the limelight shouldn't make some money out of it. Why not ask why so many people feel they want to be in the limelight for the slightest of reasons? ("I caught a disease! Here's my life-story!") Or why people apparently want to read about people like that?

    Anyway, thanks for the "heads-up" about the upcoming summer weather. Not being a hot-weather fan my "Things are OK index" is now down around 4.

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  • 28. At 5:57pm on 30 Apr 2009, Squirrel wrote:


    Maybe we could put some perspective on the mutated swine flu story and/or the number of service personnel killed in Iraq?
    I suggest these "news" stories be accompanied by a "balancing statistic"; for example how many people die worldwide every day from maleria? An alternative would be the number of people under 25 injured and given hospital treatment in this country as a result of road traffic incidents in a week.

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  • 29. At 5:58pm on 30 Apr 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    I think Hugh should have had his way and been given ten hours to read out all the names of the dead civilians ....

    That is not to be disrespectful to the soldiers who have died in Iraq or elsewhere, and for the sake of their families I am glad of the respect that is accorded them.

    But they went to war: the civilians didn't.

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  • 30. At 6:01pm on 30 Apr 2009, Charlie wrote:

    L_S 21

    I'm with you.

    NOT to read-out a Roll-Call of those killed-in-action for their country would belittle everyone.

    And, Lady_Sue, the ages of the young people who've lost their lives?

    Frighteningly young..!

    I doubt turning to religion will prove to be Mr Blair's salvation...

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  • 31. At 6:02pm on 30 Apr 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Good point, Big Sis.

    Anyway, thank goodness the British troops are out of Iraq.

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  • 32. At 6:03pm on 30 Apr 2009, norfolk_frank wrote:

    It's good to see that the armed forces maintain the status quo even in death. The officers are given the initials of their name, other ranks just their surname in the service today. Who says there's no class system?

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  • 33. At 6:03pm on 30 Apr 2009, normanmugabe wrote:

    That was a bold editorial decision to broadcast all the names being read out.
    Well done.

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  • 34. At 6:04pm on 30 Apr 2009, imipak23 wrote:

    I was (and am) opposed to the war; and I have pondered (with the luxury of having no direct involvement) what I think about the moral position of volunteers to an army that gets involved in a war I believe is fundamentally illegal. (I certainly do not doubt their physical courage or good intentions, it's only the basic legal issue of whether we were entitled to conduct a preemptive strike against Saddam.) However the roll-call of the dead was a powerful and sobering dose of reality to such abstract musings.

    I also applaud Hugh's mention of the ten hours it would take the read the names of the civilian dead from the area of Southern Iraq for which we were responsible. I wonder, too, about the equivalent statistics for the Saddam-era conscripts, who had no choice, and indeed the post-2003 Iraqi police and military.

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  • 35. At 6:04pm on 30 Apr 2009, normanmugabe wrote:

    I'm on my way to the car showroom to buy a Cadiddlydac Chevrolet TransAm Cutlas Charger Panda.

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  • 36. At 6:11pm on 30 Apr 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Lady Sue and others, two of my children are in the armed forces. If they had been killed in Iraq that would be for me to mourn. I would find it profoundly horrible for their deaths to be turned into part of a sideshow on a magazine-programme, for strangers to sit through while waiting for the next "news".

    And now we get a bit of it again on the six o'clock news.

    It will shortly have about as much impact as the list of all those who took and passed a degree last academic year has, or people reading out a list of the names of everyone who has been killed in a car-crash during the past calendar year.

    There were probably at least 100,000 Iraqi dead in the same conflict. As I-think-it-was-Hugh remarked, that would take rather too long to read out in a single day. So let's have say a hundred a day read out on PM for the foreseeable future -- except that nobody bothered to note their names or even the number, so that might be a bit difficult.

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  • 37. At 6:12pm on 30 Apr 2009, blue-eyedRockape wrote:

    Thanks for the names - lest we forget.
    Meant a lot.
    Don't get bogged down with rank/initials, that's the way the military works and all in it accept it!

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  • 38. At 6:18pm on 30 Apr 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Chris: I believe it was done with the best intention and may have given some comfort to the families who lost loved ones to know they were remembered in this tribute.

    To each his own.

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  • 39. At 6:23pm on 30 Apr 2009, imipak23 wrote:

    @Chris Ghoti, #36, at 6:11pm: lists of the names of the dead have played a central role in our national and societal response to deaths in military service since the first war. Whilst an individual death may only directly affect family and friends, it is surely right that society at large - which, in theory at least, is what decides whether or not to put our armed forces in harm's way - is reminded of the human consequences of those decisions. Would you prefer the names of the dead to be suppressed or airbrushed from history?

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  • 40. At 6:28pm on 30 Apr 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    Chris_Ghoti(36)

    Absolutely!

    To reiterate CG's point:

    No one ever counted the civilians and we should never forget this.

    And to add:

    We are already, with the BBC's help, drifting into a process of celebration of the shameful events of the Iraq invasion and its terrible consequences.

    The list of dead British soldiers is already being turned into part of a fetishistic ceremony which will do nothing to question those events, but everything to celebrate them.

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  • 41. At 6:52pm on 30 Apr 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    imipak23

    Names airbrushed from history? The 100,000-600,000 (take your pick on the number) Iraqi men, women and childrens' names certainly have been. They were the price paid by Iraq for the invasion.

    PM should discuss this.

    As US General Tommy Franks succinctly put it when referring to civilian deaths, "we don't do body counts".

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  • 42. At 7:14pm on 30 Apr 2009, imipak23 wrote:

    @Joseph Walker: well, yes, of course. I agree with you.

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  • 43. At 7:14pm on 30 Apr 2009, Cossackgirl wrote:

    For a split second I couldn't believe my ears when the names began to be read out. Then I stood up and listened, silently saying "thank you" and "goodbye", as we were taught to do as children to show respect for the fallen warriors.
    I was implacably opposed to that war and if it were possible to read out the names of the dead at the door of the man at whose word they marched off - I would join those who'd be doing the reading at every dawn and every sunset and feel my life well spent.
    The ancients would say that their shades are haunting his dreams, but I doubt that between his hubris and his hypocrisy Tony Blair has conscience enough to even notice...

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  • 44. At 7:52pm on 30 Apr 2009, Allan wrote:

    To cossackgirl,
    ditto, ditto, ditto.

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  • 45. At 7:55pm on 30 Apr 2009, nextoanidiot wrote:

    Chris G- You do the listeners to PM an injustice by underestimating them so. I pulled up in the front drive and listened with, I dont know, sadness,respect and much deep emotion as the names were read out.
    I have very strong views on the war in Iraq, as i suspect you have. but regardless of the rights or wrongs of it, it is fitting that at some time along the way, we all stop and take stock, of the cost.

    Hard to think of a better time to do that
    than this day.


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  • 46. At 7:58pm on 30 Apr 2009, Allan wrote:

    I think Blair and Bush can go down in history,Bush as an idiot and Blair as his poodle, saddam could easily have been contained with a little more pressure from the UN,
    ENJOY YOUR NEXT GLASS OF CRYSTAL CHAMPAGNE TONY AND CHERIE i am sure you must have earned it.

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  • 47. At 8:00pm on 30 Apr 2009, U13879388 wrote:

    A friend of mine says:

    Isn't it time that the authorities (Liverpool this time) woke up to the fact that just because a woman can produce a baby it doesn't mean she wants to look after it for the duration of its childhood? Biological motherhood is no guarantee of suitability to bring up a child in today's individualistic society. Conversely, because a woman is sterile (or a man for that matter) it doesn't make them unsuited to parenthood. We tend to accept the latter. Why not the former?

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  • 48. At 8:11pm on 30 Apr 2009, Rudolph77 wrote:

    I was moved during this evening's programme to hear the names read out of all 179 military personnel killed in Iraq. I was struck, however, by the fact that officers were accorded rank, initials and surname, while NCOs and below were referred to only by rank and surname.
    It seems that, even in death, the military continues to believe that 'other ranks' can be afforded less courtesy and respect than their officers

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  • 49. At 8:17pm on 30 Apr 2009, RJMolesworth wrote:

    Do you remember that he sent tanks to guard Heathrow Airport in the days leading up to the war? He thought it would convince us we were in danger.

    Fantacist!

    He tried to terrorise us. Tony the Terrorist!

    As bad at that as everything else he did.


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  • 50. At 8:27pm on 30 Apr 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    nextoanidiot 45. ditto. As an 'ex*' Serviceman it was a fitting tribute by PM. Well done to Eddie and team for keeping it plain and simple.


    * re ex.

    Anyone who has served in the armed Forces is never really an 'ex'. Just someone who has completed their spell of duty and is watching from the sidelines as to what unfolds.

    And that is something all politicians may need reminding of. We are all voters and our votes count.

    I wonder how many have now ditched 'New Labour' over the Gurkha debacle?

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  • 51. At 8:31pm on 30 Apr 2009, U13879388 wrote:

    Superb stuff, Eddie.

    The terrible toll of a military adventure.


    'Clangs the bell' 179 times.

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  • 52. At 8:38pm on 30 Apr 2009, Thunderbird wrote:

    RR(%£) Spot on. Maybe he has found God he can say sorry?

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  • 53. At 8:44pm on 30 Apr 2009, U13879388 wrote:

    The British and US could have avoided so much civilian death by not being there.

    The British would clearly thus have avoided the deaths of their 179 soldiers.

    Iraqi civilains killed, would not have died had the British not been there, not only those there, but the 52 in London.

    The British usually allow their enemy's war dead to be recorded although I know of no monument, with names. for those who were murdered in the Dresden fire-storm. (I hope there is one).


    The 7/7 bombers regarded themselves as soldiers, too.

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  • 54. At 9:02pm on 30 Apr 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    TRW, is there a monument of those from the East end of London that died in the Dockland blazes started by the incendiary bombing from the Nazis in WWII?

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  • 55. At 9:03pm on 30 Apr 2009, eloise wrote:

    Hi thanks for all the comments. We realised not everyone would like the item in which the names of the 179 British killed in Iraq were read out.

    When we heard the audio coming in from the armed forces' own ceremony in Basra this morning it seemed like the right thing to do. Eddie's idea, of course. we thought especially poignant to hear the names read by the soldiers' own comrades...a rich patchwork of voices.

    Hugh did refer to the many thousands of Iraqi dead, obviously it wouldn't be possible to spend 10 hours reading out their names, (if all of them were even known) though we have discussed the Iraqi death toll on the programme before, and perhaps could again. Also Roger may examine the military tradition which means officers have their initials read out but others don't, which puzzled lots of you.

    -

    We were so carried away with the subject of Max Clifford and his chequebook (my personal hobby horse for the last couple of weeks) that our weather discussion got rather squashed -- but we'll try to remember to go back to the Met Office and the other weather forecaster at the end of the summer and hold them to account if it's a washout. Be assured heads will roll! Eloise

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  • 56. At 9:09pm on 30 Apr 2009, Whinnythecat wrote:

    The roll call of the British servicemen who died in Iraq was a very moving tribute, and I was completely taken aback by the emotions that I felt on hearing it. It really brought home the sacrifices made by those people and by extension their families -- and all in vain.

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  • 57. At 9:58pm on 30 Apr 2009, therealperspective wrote:

    Swine Flu
    To see how severe it actually is why not have a chart with the number of people in the UK who are killed by it compared to those who are killed in cars or are pedestrians?
    This would clearly indicate what the danger level is.
    I would guess that when it reaches a ratio of 3:1 for Swine Flu we should start to worry.

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  • 58. At 10:25pm on 30 Apr 2009, OriginalBurndenpark wrote:

    Maybe I'm just making false connections?

    Just as Swine Flu hits, we get the MPs withdrawing from the trough.


    Coincidence?

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  • 59. At 10:32pm on 30 Apr 2009, Squirrel wrote:


    Re: 57 .. It looks like it may take a while to get close:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6135983.ece

    Cars get safer and rescue and medical response saves more lives every year, but still thousands die on our roads!

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  • 60. At 10:43pm on 30 Apr 2009, U13942511 wrote:

    In some BBC reports that awful Iraq military adventure is still called a success.

    If that is a success whatever does a British failure look like?

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  • 61. At 11:09pm on 30 Apr 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    60: Gaza?

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  • 62. At 00:52am on 01 May 2009, U13879388 wrote:

    62

    The failure to say that the Israelis should immediately withdraw from Gaza, throughout the Israeli atrocious invasion, was one you shared with the British Government.

    This government seems only to act properly when there are enough voices saying it should. Yours was notably silent in Gaza's hour of need.

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  • 63. At 2:18pm on 01 May 2009, Squirrel wrote:


    60/61: America?

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