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The AM Glass Box

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Eddie Mair | 05:41 UK time, Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Welcome to the AM Glass Box - your chance to help shape tonight's PM.

You may have read your morning paper and listened to the radio, and have some ideas you want to hear on PM tonight.

Perhaps a question about something in the news you would like answered - or better still, direct experience of something topical. Or maybe there's an aspect to a big story you haven't heard explored that you would like to hear.

Just as the PM Glass Box emulates the meeting we have AFTER the show, the AM Glass Box will be like the real meeting we have every day at 11.00, in that all ideas are welcome.

Just like the real meeting, most ideas that are suggested will not make it on air. But we would like to try this to see how it works. It's best that you make your suggestion before 10am.


  • 1. At 08:24am on 10 Jun 2009, Wiznae wrote:

    I am fed up hearing every expert voice their opinion on what the BNP stand for and so I think it only fair that the media such as the BBC invite them in for a fair and reasonable interview and afford them the oppertunity to explain their policies - After all they are democratically elected

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  • 2. At 08:31am on 10 Jun 2009, jiffle wrote:

    With reference to PR, I was very interested that, in an interview on the Today programme this morning, Lord Steel commented that there was a review a long time ago (just after WWII?) that concluded that we should use AV for rural seats and STV for the cities.

    Sounds fine! I'll admit, that I had no idea such a workable plan had been suggested such a long time ago.

    Sid: let us put aside our previous differences on PR mechanisms and both endorse this approach. Usually PR opponents defeat us using the 'divide and rule' approach - they cunningly say "Yes, but which system" and we all start bickering among ourselves!!

    If everybody endorses this one simple plan we will actually have a hope of getting things changed...

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  • 3. At 09:04am on 10 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    If its right that the millionth word enters the English language today, I would like to pass on my contrafibularities.

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  • 4. At 09:06am on 10 Jun 2009, Blogarooney wrote:

    Good morning,

    The NHS budget forecast raises serious issues as to strategic decisions on future spending and, equally, on future savings. I have always wondered why GPs' mouths were stuffed with gold and why they continue to attract such phenomenal fees (they are self employed). However we know they have a strong and influencial professional body who have argued that with less money, many GPs would leave (to do what I can only wonder - they don't often depart into other areas of medicine). Some GPs support homeopathy which really is a waste of public money (Let people buy it not expect it for free). That said, surely the Audit Commission who are usually adept at analysing expenditure could come up with a value for money tool for Health to help senior managers work out how to develop a fair and transparent funding model for the NHS which takes account of the ageing profile and other salient factors. There is also scope for creative thinking to bring agencies together that so often are criticised by parents and users for not being joined up. Disabled children for example. One example is to let speech and language therapists for 0-19 year olds who work under commission from PCTs to locate themselves in the country's Childrens Services. There must be scope for a fresh look at many issues. With an ageing population surely we should look at what successful countries do and reflect on who is best placed to deliver services; it need not be those who have delivered it in the past. I do not work in this area but come into contact with health professionals via work. I am always struck by and confused by the insular strucutres that permeate the profession. There are silos within silos and custom and practice that persist for no other reason than that they have been there for some time. Some services are commissioned and this means that there are internal bidding systems in place. Has anyone ever understood how that operates fairly across the country?
    On a positive note my son was recently admitted to our local adult hospital for complex eye surgery. The team was efficient, organised and to cut unnecessary costs they let my son come home that evening rather than take up a bed in the nearby Children's Hospital. 10/10.

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  • 5. At 09:08am on 10 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    jiffle - the last para of my article reads:

    "Parliament has considered switching to PR before back in 1917 the House of Commons voted in favour of using STV in a third of UK constituencies and AV in the rest but they were thwarted by the House of Lords, which rejected the plan five times, and no party since has had the will to undertake this change again. I wonder if the time has come for our elected representatives to try again? After all, 92 years is a long time time to wait ..."

    (There's more here.)

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  • 6. At 09:12am on 10 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    I don't hear people shouting that our first-past-the-post electoral system lets in the extremists (though that's what they say about PR).

    Another quote from my article:

    Heres a real-life example from Burnley, which has just elected a BNP councillor for Lancashire County Council (June 2009). The BNP won 30.7% of the vote in Padiham and Burnley West. Labour got 25.4%, the Lib Dems 24.6%, and the Conservatives 19.3%.

    I wonder how the 69.3% of people who voted for a party other than the BNP feel now that their sole representative at county council level is a BNP member? One of the weaknesses of the current FPTP system is that it is very difficult to avoid the vote-splitting that has gone on in this ward, allowing a candidate to win who may be opposed by the vast majority of other voters.

    The BNP has won two more county council seats in each case with the backing of even fewer voters than in Burnley. They won in Hertfordshire with 29.2% of the vote, and in Leicestershire with 27.7%.

    Has the time come to discuss these things?

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  • 7. At 09:19am on 10 Jun 2009, Adrie van der Luijt wrote:

    Buy-to-let landlords are losing their properties at over three times the rate of other homeowners, research shows.

    Council of Mortgage Lenders figures show 1,700 buy-to-let properties were repossessed by lenders in the first three months of this year.

    As buy-to-let lending continues to decline, research from Unbiased.co.uk, the professional advice website, has revealed that consumer confidence is declining with it, as nearly a third of Brits (28%) believe buy-to-let property investments will make a loss in the current climate. A further quarter of Brits (23%) think those invested in the buy-to-let market are likely to just about break even.

    If you are planning to cover buy to let (which is only a fraction of the private rented sector, by the way), Smartlandlord.co.uk has spokespeople available. We had a big debate at the Landlord & Buy to Let Show in Manchester last Saturday about "Bye Bye Buy to Let? Is this the end of buy to let?". Happy to contribute.

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  • 8. At 09:20am on 10 Jun 2009, Blogarooney wrote:

    I haven't got it in for GPs but as a PS I was told by a health professional that the reason why GPs shy away from attending complex case conferences for example regarding very vulnerable children with health and other needs (which we have sadly heard too much about lately) is because they would lose money.

    They would have to get a locum in to cover them while they attended a meeting. I am not saying that GPs should be out and about attending meetings but examples like that must raise questions as to value for money not to mention safeguarding.

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  • 9. At 09:30am on 10 Jun 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Joe (3): You have caused great hilarification with your contrafibularities.

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  • 10. At 09:37am on 10 Jun 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    After the overwhelming blog response to the BNP interview last night, some follow up would be interesting. How did the bloggers divide?

    A look at the voting system other countries use and an evaluation of the pros and cons. Israel and Australia good examples of this - Australia uses different systems depending on whether it is local, state or federal. I suspect they all have flaws.

    A debate on whether or not compulsory voting should be introduced. In Australia we were brought up to believe the reason the Nazis were elected in Germany was because they did not have compulsory voting and the Nazi supporters were sufficiently motivated to get to the polls and vote them in. To guard against this happening, compulsory voting became law.

    Perhaps the election of the BNP goes some way to proving this has some foundation.

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  • 11. At 09:43am on 10 Jun 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    Joe (3) and Big Sis (9) - I'm frasmotic, indeed almost anaspeptic as a result of your wordplay. Anything further may result in pericombobulation:

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  • 12. At 09:44am on 10 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:


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  • 13. At 09:52am on 10 Jun 2009, akagingerQ wrote:

    The issues raised around Alan Sugar's appointment are not addressing the question about his promotion to the Lord's. That makes it a political act by Mr Brown. Why does he need to be in the Lord's if it does not involve some political commitment to the Government. He can advise without being his Lordship !!!

    On a more general point. Why has PM not dealt with the main political message to come from the Euro-elections?? The people clearly do not like the Government's drive to further and further tying UK to the idea of a Euro-state. The Governmenbt has to answer this, so bring ministers into the studio and press them - TODAY!

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  • 14. At 09:58am on 10 Jun 2009, jiffle wrote:

    Sid (5),

    Ahhh - missed that. Thanks for the update.

    Does that mean that we agree to agree?!

    The only point I would note about AV compared with STV is that it would be harder for divisive parties such as the BNP to get elected, as most of those that that are not for them are against them. Thus AV's requirement an elected candidate be acceptable to 50% of voters would act to filter out divisive minority parties in most circumstances.

    And cities are where the majority of divisive candidates would chose to stand anyway...

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  • 15. At 10:00am on 10 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Did I hear Bob Crow say that he had already signed an agreement that would have called off the strike when it was withdrawn by higher powers on London Transport.

    Could you get someone to confirm this please, perhaps Boris and Bob?

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  • 16. At 10:00am on 10 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    re electoral reform:

    'Ken Ritchie, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said the proposed reforms were "exceptionally weak".'

    The AV system they are looking at depends, in Winston Churchill's words, on 'the most worthless votes of the most worthless candidates'. And AV is not proportional.

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  • 17. At 10:01am on 10 Jun 2009, mittfh wrote:

    It certainly appears as though the RMT are floccinaucinihilipilificating TfL's offer...

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  • 18. At 10:07am on 10 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    jiffle - I hope we agree!

    I'd settle for STV in urban areas and AV in rural areas (where STV would require huge constituencies).

    I'd still go for STV, even if it made the election of BNP candidates more likely - if they can get enough votes, they ought to have seats. (I'm not sure they'd have got seats in these elections.)

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  • 19. At 10:15am on 10 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Andy Burnham, another lackey from this disgraced government telling us what we are going to feel about their up and coming health service cuts during the today program. This before anybody has raised the issue. Nothing like getting your ore in first eh Andy?

    "I think the public do have a right to ask what our money is spent on". I do think they have the right to ask if services are being delivered efficiently",... or something similar.

    Craftily, psychologically, trying to tell us how we are allowed to react to the fact that they are going to be cutting services. But hey guys, its not our fault, look we're on your side. we know how you feel about it, (even before there has been any debate or even issue), because we're going to tell you how (are allowed) to feel first.

    Just like they want to tell us why we didn't vote, why we did vote, why we voted for the party we did!

    Patronising paternal rubbish. Andy we have always had the right to ask about how our money is spent. Its just that you disgraceful lot don't want to tell us. Especially when it comes to what you have stolen and continue to steal from us.

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  • 20. At 10:22am on 10 Jun 2009, The Wrath Is Come wrote:

    Joe/ Horse/ Big Sis/ Sid et al.

    You are being quite desporting.

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  • 21. At 10:24am on 10 Jun 2009, darkdesign wrote:

    I can't plough through another 400+ post thread today. Won't somebody think of the children!?

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  • 22. At 10:27am on 10 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Sis (9)


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  • 23. At 10:34am on 10 Jun 2009, madasastickchick wrote:

    As mentioned by one of your PM blog contributors yesterday - something on petrol prices please.

    Increases this time round appear not to have hit the papers/media to any great extent. I heard mention of speculators pushing the price up but this was on the World Service at 5 o'clock on Monday morning when most sane people are still asleep.

    I am paying £102.9 for my petrol and not too happy.

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  • 24. At 10:43am on 10 Jun 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    Free broadband and PC offer reported in Technology news - although my Grandmother keeps threatening to get "a broadband" she is unlikely to embrace the technology as she thinks everything is designed for the young. She also points out that the free shopping delivery (which would be useful) has a minimum spend of £100 from Sainsbury's which she thinks is excessive. That's the only thing she wants it for. She also has no clue about how identity theft works with the internet so is apprehensive about this too. Is this a vague Gov't aspiration or will I really get a CyberGrannie?

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  • 25. At 10:44am on 10 Jun 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    TWIC (20). I am most compunctuous. I will leave this thread interfrastically.

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  • 26. At 11:00am on 10 Jun 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Free PC and broadband offer for who[m] and from who[m], RxKaren? Is this the Age Concern (or is it Help the Aged) one? Would be interested to know.

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  • 27. At 11:02am on 10 Jun 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    I dare say there will be a piece on How Londoners Coped With The Tube Strike, with loadsa vox pops.

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  • 28. At 11:12am on 10 Jun 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    No-one else around? But it's time for elevenses.

    Anyway, here goes for a hat-trick.

    Re the 'millionth new word' unstory:

    one quoted was 'web 2.0'

    Um... that's not a new word. At the risk of being accused of pedantry


    I would suggest that it's a phrase consisting of a rather old word plus a number.

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  • 29. At 11:13am on 10 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    What's up, Horse? Not staying for your pendigestatory interludicule?

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  • 30. At 11:14am on 10 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    And not only that, Frances O - a rather old number as well.

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  • 31. At 11:40am on 10 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:


    Sid Cumberland Sausage!?

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  • 32. At 11:41am on 10 Jun 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    Sid - Apologies for my velocitous extramuralization - I remembered an urgent appointment.

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  • 33. At 11:55am on 10 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Apparently, we could all get by using around only three thousand of the million words of the English language.

    I guess the rest is just semantics then.

    When I was a kid I used to make up my own words. I still do from time to time.

    They don't really pertain to anything, I just find them nice to pronounce. Try these;






    Yep, I think I could be diagnosed! (probably have been)

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  • 34. At 12:07pm on 10 Jun 2009, Trevor Mansell wrote:

    Probably too late for inclusion in PM.

    Has anyone noticed that advertisements detailing the Government's scappage scheme are mainly placed by foreign - i.e. outside the UK - companies. So far I've seen Citroen, Fiat, Hyundai, Renault etc. No adverts from Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Vauxhall, Jaguar, Land Rover etc.

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  • 35. At 12:46pm on 10 Jun 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I'm not surprised to see that Cameron is rubishing any idea of making the results of elections be more representative of how people voted. After all, under the current FPTP system, he may have a workable majority in the HoC with a minority of the votes cast. Shame on him for not wanting a proper debate on this.

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  • 36. At 12:50pm on 10 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    fJd @ 33, some years ago my daughter decided that we needed a word for "any specimen of any species of coniferous tree that is the right shape to be a Christmas tree" and called all of them "loms".

    I was slightly amazed that "lom" wasn't already a word meaning something different (maybe a tool in the grittling trade, or an obscure disease of sheep, or a bir of soggy ground), but it doesn't seem to be.

    Does this "millionth word" include all the ones that nobody has used since 1732 but they are still in the dictionary, and all the ones that were around for ten years or so during the sixties and nobody has used before or since that decade?

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  • 37. At 12:51pm on 10 Jun 2009, RxKaren wrote:

    Frances O (26) - It was the top story on the BBC Technology page. I thought I'd heard that the plan was to connect everyone to Broadband a while ago and Ofcom were assessing interest. The link is http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8091398.stm

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  • 38. At 12:55pm on 10 Jun 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    RxKaren (37) It wasn't actually a proposal to give out free broadband and computers. It was the results of a survey of those without internet acces at home, and it found that some wouldn't want broadband internet access, even if it wer completely free!

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  • 39. At 1:02pm on 10 Jun 2009, Thunderbird wrote:

    I think we should have full blown PR for the next election, if only to see all hell break loose when the BNP take there seats in Westminster.

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  • 40. At 1:25pm on 10 Jun 2009, jiffle wrote:

    Wouldn't it just be easier to give free iPhones to grannies?

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  • 41. At 1:44pm on 10 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    fjd @ 33

    It would be interesting to see how far we could get using Ogden's Basic English - 850 words to cover all topics!

    (Plus a few others for more advanced use.)

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  • 42. At 2:21pm on 10 Jun 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Anyone know how many words there are in Newspeak? Not counting the ones starting un- or doubleplusun-.

    Thanks, Karen.

    Meanwhile the good money's on PMQs, I think, at or near the top.

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  • 43. At 2:55pm on 10 Jun 2009, Theendgame wrote:

    It is a sad day for this country when the only defence we have against an extremist party is to throw eggs and shout down any vioces of decent. Clearly the BNP received a legitimate mandate from voters who used thier democratic rite and put them in two MEP seats. Why can we not just win the argument with voters instead of dismissing the argument by using the same tatics they have.

    Again we here political commentators expressing thier belief that they know what the court of public opinion finds acceptable or not. Clearly we need a sensible honest debate on the topics that have made voters choose the BNP. Instead of assuming that everyone who is concerned about imigration and the suffication of the british culture as nazi hitler lovers.

    There some ordinary decent people who regulary if in private express those concerns.

    Lets have ahonest debate.

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  • 44. At 3:10pm on 10 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    CG (36)

    Words in the sixties you mean like 'fab' 'maxi' and 'Bobby Charlton' etc. Ha ha.

    Its interesting though Chris. I have often said to myself, I'd like to compile all the old phrases my mum and dad used to use that are so rare today yet, just a couple of decades or so ago commonplace among my social background.

    For instance my mum would say five and twenty past ten, and five and twenty to eleven and such like for conveying the time.

    You ought to book your ideas up was another. I think I'm going to do it.

    Sid (41)

    That would be more than ample for me and my brain!

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  • 45. At 3:14pm on 10 Jun 2009, skintnick wrote:

    The dinosaur in the room (Global Warming) just keeps growing a little bit each day. Can we give her a little bit of attention please? If we don't acknowledge her soon on a individual and collective basis she's gonna come and get us for sure, maybe sooner than you think.

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  • 46. At 06:32am on 11 Jun 2009, oldtedw. wrote:

    I don't believe it !!!!!!!

    The Controllees being released by the High Court are mostly foreign ?. One even Iraqi ?

    Who is paying their legal fees ? Legal aid ? Therefore the British taxpayer ?

    Who is supporting their wives and kids ? - The British taxpayer ?

    They should be deported immediately.

    If they are so dodgy they need watching, who let them stay in the first place ?

    Yet again we are being ripped off by the Human Rights do -gooders and their lawyers

    No wonder people vote for the BNP

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  • 47. At 11:53am on 11 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    diamondolded @ 46, "If they are so dodgy they need watching, who let them stay in the first place ?"

    Given that every single person who sets foot in central London or travels by bus or tube is deemed so dodgy that they need watching (you may not have noticed the survaillance cameras, but they are there) who let them stay in the first place?

    Perhaps we ought to revert to the old-fashioned idea that people might be innocent until they are *proven* guilty, rather than banging them up indefinitely on the unsupported say-so of others, as we now learn happened to a *lot* of the prisonners of the Americans at eg Guantanamo.

    Yesterday we learned that 250 of those were guilty of the crime of escaping from China, where they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs. Doesn't that make one proud of the vigilance of, erm, the people who were paid a bounty for dobbing them in to the US forces for the crime of not having been born in the country they had escaped to?

    Eeee, it's a stranger: heave half a brick at him!

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