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The AM Glass Box

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Eddie Mair | 05:42 UK time, Friday, 19 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 06:44am on 19 Jun 2009, whisky-joe wrote:

    Smile..it's high day. :o(

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  • 2. At 07:55am on 19 Jun 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    If there's a slot free on PM, I'd quite like some more on the NASA probes sent to the moon last night. Given that the whole of NASAs manned spaceflight programme is under review, were the two probes a waste of cash, given how the focus for manned exploration of space may be different in 6 months time...

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  • 3. At 08:38am on 19 Jun 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Eddie and Team

    Would you like to do an "I Told You So" piece on television broadcasting? Did more channels improve television as promised? It must be around 20 years ago when it all started. Many warned it would lead to a 'dumbing down,' including myself. People now have wall to wall cookery, property, game shows and other junk to watch. Wasn't it described as "progress" at the time?
    I hardly watch TV now; the TV in the lounge is not even connected, only to a DVD player. I miss programmes like 'World in Action', but we rent international films and documentaries every month, so paradoxically, it has been an improvement. But with ITV, Setanta, Virgin and others in financial difficulties and talks of the BBC assisting Ch4, one could hardly call it the TV revolution a success by any standard. I told you so.

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  • 4. At 08:43am on 19 Jun 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Just wondering - if we have any comments on the Moderation Clinic, where do we post them? It's closed.

    Can't remember who commented on 'ANNA - Host' and her activities on the 'Choice is Yours' MB, but, goodness, we're better off here.

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  • 5. At 08:48am on 19 Jun 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    When is regime not a regime?
    BBC presenters and correspondents keep describing the Iranian Government as "the regime." You don't describe the American, German or French governments as 'regimes.' What criteria do you apply in order to determine which term to use?

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  • 6. At 08:49am on 19 Jun 2009, darkdesign wrote:

    Last night, in relation to the new Iraq war enquiry, you used the word 'blame' rather a lot. Doesn't that imply wrongdoing? Have you already decided that?

    I think it's a titanic mess, and someone is to blame. But I'm not a broadcaster.

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  • 7. At 09:05am on 19 Jun 2009, wildsagebrush wrote:

    Subject; boys not doing as well as girls in school.
    It would be extremely interesting to bring a pschyciatrist in to the debate and seek his views. Boys have this macho problem to deal with and there are so many things they will not attempt in front of girls such as answering questions out loud if they can avoid it, girls do not have this problem.
    I really think this is one area where we should go back to the 50's and after infant's school, seperate the boys from the girls in the classroom. Obviously we still have enough schools, we are simply dividing the the school population.

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  • 8. At 09:20am on 19 Jun 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    People may be interested to learn that the Daily Telegraph will have a special supplement in Saturday's edition: The Complete MPs' Expenses Files - Uncensored.

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  • 9. At 10:04am on 19 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    RSM 8, Once again, I will be forced to buy a Telegraph. Should I cover my face?

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  • 10. At 10:05am on 19 Jun 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    A couple of minutes late - but you really need to follow up the Dano Sonnex case now that Jack Straw is clearly rattled and on the run, as heard on Today with the excellent skewering by Evan Davis.

    If Ministers don't resign over this - what is the point of giving them a job where 'The Buck Stops here' ?

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  • 11. At 10:17am on 19 Jun 2009, skimbleandjess wrote:

    A couple of days ago when the digital future was being discussed, the assumed "switch-off" of FM radio broadcasting was slipped in but largely ignored.
    For me the implications of this will be vast. In my house there are ten FM receivers plus the one in the car.
    Who is going to compensate me for the failure and replacement of these at FM switch off?
    Is this another example of the Westminster bubble completely ignoring the needs of the population?
    FM switch off must be stopped in its tracks and never even considered again.
    Andy Chapman, Chippenham, Wiltshire.

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  • 12. At 10:24am on 19 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Frances O @ 4, dunno, and it put me in a dilemma.

    I undertook a while ago to notify the blog if I lost patience and reported any post to the moderators, and last night I did so about a post on that thread, but then couldn't say on that thread that I had done so. Guess I had better do it here:

    I found one of the posts there to be offensive personal abuse and nothing to do with the subject under discussion. I reported it as such, and it has now been removed. As far as I was concerned Richard_SM's post aimed at me was not acceptable, in the light of his previous decision to call Sid, TIH and me names on another thread, and it seems the mods agreed.

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  • 13. At 10:30am on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Richard _SM (8)

    A follow on from the expenses scandal;

    With Hazel blears being retained and not 'redacted' by her constituency party, dosen't this throw up a problem?

    It seems that Disgraced, Shyster, arguably corrupt politicians, can continue to be selected by local party members against the moral will of parliament and the country?

    If parliament continues to deny its responsibility and parliamentary parties continue to relinquish responsibility to local associations, are not decisions such as this going to be inevitable on allegiance grounds rather than based on truth and social justice? At least shouldn't the whole constituency have a vote on this? Even then, you still might see blind allegiance Isn't this problematic? Shouldn't those found disgraced in this way be made, at lest, to undergo a bye-election but, ideally sacked by the parliamentary party?

    You see we are in danger of having the same corrupt politicians being elected again if not made to resign?

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  • 14. At 10:38am on 19 Jun 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    Richard (5) - a regime is something you disapprove of and for which you want to bring about change, a government is something you have diplomatic relations with. At least that's how it seems to be used now. In which case one might consider the use of 'regime' in relation to Iran as potentially sinister.

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  • 15. At 10:52am on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Anne P.

    Does this mean that, due to the disapproval and lack of diplomatic relations with the British people, we have a regime too?

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  • 16. At 10:56am on 19 Jun 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    #9 Dm

    Perhaps you could by an *ahem* magazine from rival publisher Dickie Desmond to descreetly tuck your Telegraph between the pages of?

    Less embarrassing.

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  • 17. At 10:59am on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I thought it was so refreshing to hear Dennis Healy on desert Island discs. Now there is an honourable man. Could show the present shower a thing or two. Never lost is principles when he started making a bit of money. Didn't turn Tory on entering government.

    Yeah, refreshing.

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  • 18. At 11:19am on 19 Jun 2009, mittfh wrote:

    David (9): You could take along one of those opaque reusable bags to put the paper in - or you could wait until Monday, by which time all the Telegraph's rivals will have bought a few copies of Saturday's edition and read through the list while armed with highlighter pens - hoping that their choice of dodgy claims is different from everyone elses...

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  • 19. At 11:31am on 19 Jun 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

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

  • 20. At 11:38am on 19 Jun 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Ref 13. funnyJoedunn

    Yes, it is a concern. One can only hope the local party reconsider their chances at the next election. There appears to be a significant protest group against Hazel Blears - whether she'll last is anybody's guess. But there are Tory and LibDem constituencies with similar dilemmas: put up a stained candidate or select a new one.

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  • 21. At 11:41am on 19 Jun 2009, mittfh wrote:

    Richard_SM (3): Good point there.

    On Freeview alone:
    24 channels are 24hrs/day, of which 3 are timeslip, 4 are news, 2 are shopping and 2 are music, leaving 11 'main' channels.

    9 channels are 12hrs/day, of which two are childrens, plus one each of +1, shopping and gambling.

    Then there's a pair of 20hr/day channels (of which one is a +1), a 19hr/day channel (shopping), a 17hr/day channel, a 16hr/day channel plus a myriad of channels which broadcast for only a few hours at a time (including the bizzare National Lottery Extra - 1hr/day! That's got to be a waste of a LCN!)

    Oh, and one channel which has been displaying a placeholder since January, and probably won't start broadcasting until November...

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  • 22. At 11:43am on 19 Jun 2009, Trevor Mansell wrote:

    I was under the impression that these forums were for civilised discussion, and not for personal attacks.

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  • 23. At 11:49am on 19 Jun 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Ref 14. Anne P.

    I'd be interested to hear the BBC's response. Their correspondents and news presenters keep repeating the term "Iranian regime." They don't use it to describe governments in European countries. I don't know if it's an editorial issue or whether it's up to the individual correspondent. Iran is a fledgling democracy just 30 years old. It might have progressed further had it's democracy not been undermined by the CIA in the 1950's.

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  • 24. At 11:50am on 19 Jun 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    #22 mansaylo

    Nah, just a big playground really, most of us get on with a game of football or kiss chase.

    Others lurk in the corners giving each other Chinese burns.

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  • 25. At 11:53am on 19 Jun 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Ref 22. Mansaylo

    I agree. As a new arrival here myself last month, I was surprised at the sniping and name-calling I received after submitting reasoned posts. I put up with it for a month. Now I give it back and they don't like it.

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  • 26. At 11:53am on 19 Jun 2009, mittfh wrote:

    SkimbleandJess (11): Perhaps one of the biggest problems facing radio DSO is that it will require the wholesale replacement of sets. Whereas any TV with a SCART socket (i.e. practically any made in the last 20 years or so) can easily be 'converted' to Digital with a set top box, there is no such facility on radio receivers. And as radio receivers are built in many different forms (portable, bathroom, standalone, radio/cassette, radio/CD, Hi-Fi, clock/radio, car radio/cassette, car radio/CD etc.) replacing each of these will cost bucketloads of money (far more than TV DSO).

    Oh, then there's the small matter of transmitters. TV sets are generally static, so you can point the aerial at the strongest digital transmitter. Radio aerials are generally omnidirectional, and even with analogue FM, can require a lot of fiddling to get a decent Radio 4 signal (which appears to occupy a much narrower frequency band than many other stations wherever I've lived). But even with interference, at least you can get a signal.

    However, with digital, you either get complete signal, a signal breaking up, or no signal at all - the latter point (the 'digital cliff') occurring at a stronger frequency than the point at which analogue signals become unbearable. So digital radio transmitters will presumably have to be either more numerous or more powerful than their analogue equivalents. And given the public's scepticism of mobile phone base stations, which have a few thousandths the power of a radio transmitter, or even the small but growing band of Wi-Fi sceptics (Wi-Fi transmits at a few hundredths the power of a mobile phone base station), radio DSO will be far more complex than TV DSO.

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  • 27. At 11:56am on 19 Jun 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Ref 21. mittfh

    And do you 'get what you like' or end up 'liking what you get?'

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  • 28. At 12:05pm on 19 Jun 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    RSM (19) - Oh, I do hope that I'm the one that that behaves like a juvenile!

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  • 29. At 12:06pm on 19 Jun 2009, mittfh wrote:

    Richard (27):

    I generally find something I like watching across the 'main' channels, however I am concerned about the ever increasing number of shopping / gambling / +1 channels cropping up. I suppose one the companies have bought the broadcasting slot, they're the cheapest ways of filling it. My other main gripe is the unpredictability of signal strength. Muxes A and D in particular really irritate me, as I'll start watching a programme with full signal strength, then several minutes in, the signal will die away to virtually nothing... and I've got to wait until 2012 until DSO (when the strength will hopefully be boosted across all channels).

    Still, I shouldn't complain too much...the Freeview website claims I shouldn't be able to receive any digital channels at the moment...

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  • 30. At 12:07pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Anne P.

    I always thought that the proper use of the term regime could be applied to any controlling power that wasn't democratically elected? Especially when its a repressive power.

    I agree with you Richard about the BBC's use of such terms. For instance, what is the BBC's official title for the Chinese unelected, undemocratic, repressive ruling power?

    I do believe there is laid down specific guidelines on these things for editors to follow. It seems to broadly chime with government policy on who our friends are at the time. Or perhaps, more accurately who Americas enemies are. There seem to be dispensations for those countries that hold enough western business interests so as to refere to them as regimes would offend enough to endanger our investments. So we don't. The BBC seem to follow something like this maybe?

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  • 31. At 12:16pm on 19 Jun 2009, U12196018 wrote:

    fjd (30) - Your 'proper use' is pretty much like the OED definition of 'regime' : a government, especially one that strictly controls a state.

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  • 32. At 12:19pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Mitifh (27)

    Since I bought a digibox for the TV in my bedroom, I find I can't get a strong enough signal if the other household TV is on. I never got this problem with analog? And they call it progress!

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  • 33. At 12:29pm on 19 Jun 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    skimbleandjess (11):

    You may want to air your views here as well:


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  • 34. At 1:27pm on 19 Jun 2009, U14032464 wrote:


    You're being ironic, yeah?

    The IMF's enforcer.

    A desert island his just deserts.


    And Britain with the BBC in a starring role.

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  • 35. At 1:54pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:


    As I remember at the time, we were on the verge of bankruptcy and there wasn't much choice but to ask the IMF for money. I am no lover of the IMF but, we did need the spondulix.

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  • 36. At 2:03pm on 19 Jun 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    Another thought.

    You can get Digital Radio over a Freeview/Cable/Sky box through the telly.

    We sometimes leave ours on for the dog when we go out.

    Nothing as racy as R4.

    Usually he prefers R3 or Classic FM.

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  • 37. At 2:05pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:


    Oh yeah, and by the way, he was the epitome of what you always bang on about.

    His father and grandfather were true working class all their lives both in menial jobs, as was his mum.

    It was Dennis's turn to lay down the sickle and change the roles which he did to great effect. He gained two 1+1 degrees at oxford and never once crapped on his roots. I might not have agreed with all of his interpretations, but I do respect him.

    So while you bang on about turning the tables, I'll admire someone who actually did it through sheer hard work and heartache. Not just blog ache.

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  • 38. At 2:12pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    T8 (36)

    Some years ago, my local vicar used to ask me if I minded coming over to sit with the dog and watch the tele if they were going out for an amount of time. Apparently the dog didn't like watching it alone. I did it a couple of times. I then realised that they regarded their pet dog a higher functioning being than other humans outside their family (or me at least). I soon kicked it in the head. (not the dog...the dog sitting).

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  • 39. At 2:13pm on 19 Jun 2009, Hawk wrote:

    Hi PM team,
    On the subject of the digital switch over from FM. Has anyone considered the amount of waste this will create? The amount of plastic surrounding perfectly working radios and the components within will all be sent to the recycling tip to be crushed and sorted before being sent off to China to be melted down and re-used. All this will create quite a lot of CO2 emissions. Emissions that we are supposed to be reducing to stop global warming.
    Why can't the government stop the production of anymore FM radios and let the digital signal run along side the FM signal for at least 5 years before switching it off.
    Maybe they could introduce a scheme where our no longer used FM radios could be sent to third world countries to be used there, instead of just heading to the tip.
    This switch over could be bad news for the environment if handled without thought.

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  • 40. At 2:35pm on 19 Jun 2009, invisibleatheist wrote:

    23. Richard_SM

    'Fledgling democracy seems a strange definition of a state with an unelected 'supreme leader' who decides who has won an 'election'. I think you'll find that's why it's referred to as a regime.

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  • 41. At 2:38pm on 19 Jun 2009, invisibleatheist wrote:

    36. T8-eh-T8

    Our German Shepherd loved classical, especially Gregorian chant, to which she hummed quietly along. Never known a dog before or since with such an ear for music, she hummed in tune too, which a lot of humans can't manage.

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  • 42. At 2:47pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Invisible (41)

    How did she react when you put Zappa or beefheart on?

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  • 43. At 2:55pm on 19 Jun 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    Will we be able to get Digital Radio on our mobile phones?

    How will it work on trains that have been thoughtfully designed with metal tint in the windows, turning the carriage into an effective Faraday Cage, making radio signals practically impossible to pick up?

    I suppose if all trains have WiFi and our phones or MP3 players have a WiFi card we can get internet radio.

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  • 44. At 3:00pm on 19 Jun 2009, Psycho B Delic wrote:

    FJD @ 13 -

    "It seems that Disgraced, Shyster, arguably corrupt politicians, can continue to be selected by local party members against the moral will of parliament and the country?"

    That's because we live in a democracy where anyone - even those thus described by you - are free to stand for (re)election and it is down to the constituency voters to make that decision.

    What is this "moral will of parliament and the country" that it should impose its will on who can or cannot stand for election?

    As far as I can remember Ms Blears 'sin' was to follow "common practice" (according to an accountant the BBC asked to comment on the matter) and arrange her tax affairs to minimise her tax exposure. Something that is neither illegal nor, given the fact that pretty much every self employed person and business pay accountants to advise them for that precise reason, immoral.

    If you mean that her local labour party, who took the time and trouble to talk to her about the alleged misbehaviour and didn't succumb to the popular, but possibly misinformed, media hysteria view and, knowing the uphill battle they will have to fight to convince the electorate otherwise, still feel she is the best candidate to represent them at the next election? Then that is their perogative - and it will be up to the local voters to decide.

    That is democracy in action.

    Government by witch hunt is never a good idea.

    Of course I might be mistaken and you might be party to all the facts pertaining to this matter and are opining from an informed position, my apologies if that is the case.

    What is this moral will of the country - do explain?

    Is it the morality that casts judgement in the absence of all the evidence?

    Or the morality that, despite the efforts of those who fought and died for our right to vote, results in so few people actually bothering, resulting in the BNP, despite getting fewer votes than last time, gaining two seats?

    Is it the morality of the 50% of those in favour of the Iraq war at the time of the invasion or the 50% opposed?

    What is this morality you talk of and why it should have the right to veto the democratic right to choose who is allowed to stand for election?

    If we have a parliament without honour then it is just a reflection of the society it is supposed to represent.

    Bottom line is WE voted them in. WE gave them jobs and if they then turn out to not live up to the desired standard then the fault is with us.

    Surely, as their employers the buck stops with us?

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  • 45. At 3:02pm on 19 Jun 2009, U14032464 wrote:


    A background 'All the better to deceive us with'.

    Nuclear weapons during the Cold War, IMF policies, wage controls. A wealth tax.

    The things that you care about.

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  • 46. At 3:08pm on 19 Jun 2009, U14032464 wrote:


    In a society full of dishonest people (the 'we' of your post), when we realise (for a time at least) how dishonest is the economic system we live by, and how cruel in its inequalities...

    ...shuoldn't the blood letting continue until 'we' change our ways? How else can we express the need for change except by changing our leaders?

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  • 47. At 3:35pm on 19 Jun 2009, skimbleandjess wrote:

    Stainless Steel Cat (33)
    Many thanks for the link. I have now signed the petition.
    Petitions.Number10 kindly emailed me a link to confirm my signing; it was corrupted and couldn't be used until I'd edited the trash from it. (Google Chrome browser).
    For less computer literate people, this would make a petition signature impossible to submit.
    Wouldn't this corruption lead to an unrealistic number of signatures on any petition?
    Or is this a way of redacting the volume of petition signatures?

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  • 48. At 4:01pm on 19 Jun 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    T8-eh-T8 (36):

    So I should have my 32" LCD telly running all day, displaying not very much at all, just so that I can listen to Radio 4?

    Better to have a little battery-powered tranny picking up AM/FM.

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  • 49. At 4:10pm on 19 Jun 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    Thanks SSCat (33) have signed up.

    Has anyone also considered what a pickle we will be in if we have gone totally digital and there is then a severe solar storm?

    It's really a bit like cars - once upon a time even I knew how to do things to the engine of my car to keep it going, now it's all computerised and modularised and can only be maintained with the use of special equipment.

    I shall hang onto some analogue and FM radios just in case. Wonder if it will spawn a new breed of pirate underground stations.

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  • 50. At 4:15pm on 19 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    And in case anyone cares, I referred RSM's 19, which was just a repeat of the personal abuse Chris has also complained about.

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  • 51. At 4:28pm on 19 Jun 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:


    Better to have a little battery-powered tranny picking up AM/FM.

    Surely that should be 'picking up AC/DC?'

    Ah the evolution of words.

    Does anybody remember the comic book character Danny's Tranny.

    Has a completely different meaning to the yoof of today........

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  • 52. At 5:04pm on 19 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    mittfh 18, As I will also be buying an Indy, I'll just put the Telegraph inside it.

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  • 53. At 5:05pm on 19 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    T8 16, See my 52.

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  • 54. At 6:09pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    psychodelic (44)

    I retract nothing I said in post about the politician in question. I was using this politician as an example of how not to behave. There are many more I would put in the same boat.

    I say this in the light of capitol gains tax avoidance whilst taking a post which is seen as and given the privilege of being a moral compass to the community. This is one reason why they are referred to as 'honourable' and 'right honourable'. Capitol gains tax avoidance is illegal in any other walk of life but, you call commonplace. It is only common place among shyster MPs. The particular politician in question paid back the evaded tax.

    There are many MPs who have also been found out and I would put them in the same category. I cite this one as an example of what can happen as, this is the first one (as far as I know) who has put themselves before the local party and been retained. We can have stained politicians of all parties being put back in parliament and I don't believe this is good for democracy or the image of elected representatives. I realise we should not be looking for squeaky clean people. In fact, I believe there might be an argument for more people who are rough at the edges a bit more and yes even repentant convicted people. But, I draw the line at people who deliberately betray the trust of others for personal gain and pretend its normal behaviour until they are found out. Yes, there are many more who fit in the this category.

    Also the behaviour immediately after resigning. regretting it when it became clear things were going the way it might have been thought (Browne stepping down). Btw I didn't vote for this particular politician and can't vote her out I don't live in that constituency so the collective 'us' does not apply.

    You seem to be using some kind of argument about the BMP getting in that I don't recognise as part of this debate. I suggest if we don't want this kind of representation (BNP) then put up candidates that people can openly see are better representatives by the lives they lead being in kilter with the truth they profess. Not a kind of pick and mix politics when it suits personal circumstances.

    I have no more contempt for this particular politician than I have for many of them. Some have chosen to stand down but all going with the same death rattle. Family reasons, I did nothing wrong, I didn't brake the rules...denial could be used as a future defense if any fraud allegations were forthcoming toward any of them.

    I think I will stop there. There is so much more I could say. I think it is important to note how angry with and how resentful of politians the public are. I am one of that public and I believe that if any of 'us' had behaved the way many of them have in any employment we would have been drummed out long ago.

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  • 55. At 8:47pm on 19 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    fJd @ 54, I think it goes back quite a long way and is linked to the acceptance that has gradually grown up that it is quite ok to nick a little from the office -- who's going to miss a few biros, a ream of paper, a stapler? and then from wherever one works -- a large proportion of "shoplifting" is known perfectly well to be done by the staff; the entire "perks" outlook, which means "getting something that isn't really meant to be yours but hey, who cares?"

    It just got bigger and bigger and in the end became a complete culture instead of a rare thing.

    How many of the people screaming about MPs diddling their expenses have never made a phone call at their business' expense, or taken home something they hadn't paid for? Not many, I'd bet, because it is simply accepted. The MPs just did it in a way that got them caught in the end.

    I am not at all sure that some of the anger isn't a sort of self-righteous "Well, I know I sometimes do something a bit wrong but look how much, much worse *they* are!" reaction.

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  • 56. At 9:14pm on 19 Jun 2009, Charlie wrote:

    For slightly different reasons I wonder, how long before "we" follow suit..?


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  • 57. At 10:33pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Chris (55)

    You are probably right about the attitude (I include myself) of self righteousness. But there is also the issue of proportionality and context. some of the MP behaviour might even be termed Kleptomania.

    We hear that once brought to public notice, MPs seem to be in the habit of paying back pretty quickly. this insulates that they really didn't have a practical or social need to steel. And actually most of the sums involved are fairly low compared to what MPs incomes are. much of the money being paid back is fairly trivial too when you consider many of them are millionaires. However, to the vast majority of the population, the numbers are probably not trivial. Context and proportionality.

    I think this is one of the anger producing factors too.

    Chris I have addressed conferences of people who have to rely on state benefits for their income due to disability and illness. I have lobbied parliament on such issues and helped get things changed for people the establishment would like disappeared at times. I have stood up to my local benefits office, fought and won everything I was already entitled to that they wanted to deny me. I have been actively careful that all my financial affairs are legal and in line with benefits legislation. For me not to do this, my conscience would not have let me speak out and fight in the way I have. It would not have allowed me to write to and confront ministers and my local MP over the injustices those with least voice have.

    I have had the privilege to represent people who have been unable to work but deliberately kept in poverty due to not being deliberately allowed to above the same meagre sum (twenty pounds per week at most) for the past ten years. The value of their entitlements seem to lose real value each year. Yet the government steadfastly and stubbornly refuse, at no extra cost to the tax payer to allow such people to earn not one penny more. This is an experience none, but none of these MPs will ever face and their families probably. Yet if the people I've had the privilege to speak for, would be hauled through the courts if they were to earn enough to say go on holiday without worry for once.

    Yeah, you bet, I'm angry. Call it self righteous if you like, dosen't change the effect.

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  • 58. At 10:37pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Sorry about some about one or two missing words in my last post.

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  • 59. At 10:54pm on 19 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Chris (55)

    Please don't take my reply as a personal attack. Please feel free to enlighten me. I do not consider myself an expert on anything. However, I do give myself the recognition of trying (and succeeding with self will) to live properly. I have also had it out with myself that if I felt I had reached the point where I felt the need to deliberately break the earnings rules, be it financial or to further the need for recognition, I have concluded to inform and give notice to the secretary of state and my MP well in advance. Which is more than we got!

    Proportionality and context is all in this type of situation at times.

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  • 60. At 11:40pm on 19 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    fJd, I didn't take what you said personally, and was afraid when reading your first post that you had taken "self-righteous" as being aimed at you. It wasn't.

    But how much of the outrage in the media comes from people who *never* put a bill for a meal with their mates on expenses? Never claimed for a stay in a hotel and spent the night at a friend's house? Never got a lift somewhere and claimed for a taxi or train?

    I am angry because people in government who lecture the general public about honesty and values are as likely to be on the take as they have shown themselves to be. But I do feel that the high moral tone adopted is sometimes a bit over-done.

    And my main point wasn't the anger or the self-righteousness: it was that a vast proportion of the population *do* "help themselves" if they can, and diddling the system or the taxman is practically a national sport. The MPs did it from an intolerable position in that they tell us that we ought not to do this, and are now seen to be being just the same. It's called hypocrisy, and that's what I find sticks in my craw.

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  • 61. At 08:21am on 20 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    CG (60)

    Chris Thank you for your reply. Yes the hypocrisy, that is it. but, it is felt that much more keenly when context and proportionality is taken account of.

    As you can see, It does affect me emotionally due to being and knowing many people who are personally affected by the restrictions placed on their lives because they deemed not to fit in the box due to disability. It is even more craw sticking when you belong to a group of people who are deliberately singled out for particular hypocritical attention and denigrating exposure to produce a certain unreal and unfair general image. This differs fundamentally to what happens to MPs because, as you say, they are a big part of the law making process whilst trying to making themselves a special dispensation.

    "you burden the people with empty laws but do little to help them with their real needs"

    Who said that?

    Sorry if I over do things a bit, I'm thinking of taking a break. I have found some of the issues discussed on the blog affect me perhaps, a bit deeply. I can't seem to help it.

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  • 62. At 10:05am on 20 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    fJd 59, Did you say that you live with Will Self? Does Deborah Orr know?

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  • 63. At 10:05am on 20 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    Chris - I'm puzzling over this a bit. I've been a teacher all my life, and the scenarios you describe (meals/hotels/travel expenses scams) simply don't apply. How could a teacher diddle the system? Give their children free French lessons?

    But then there are millions of others in a similar position - mostly in the public services, I guess - for whom the nearest they could get do fraud would be having a day off when they weren't really ill. A vast proportion of us are on the fiddle?

    Having said which, I'm quite sure that some of the indignation is synthetic, and that some of the media folk who are outraged fiddle themselves. But, as you say, there is a difference with MPs, in that they're telling us how to behave.

    More significantly, some of the MPs' behaviour (claiming for non-existent mortgages, evading capital gains tax) is not only naughty, but immoral and probably illegal.

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  • 64. At 10:12am on 20 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    fjd - we all have a right to be angry about our MPs' hypocrisy, from our various viewpoints. I'm particularly livid, as a political activist of sorts, because of the damage done to our democracy in the recent elections. You have more personal reasons for being angry. But we all have a right to be angry, and the right to express that anger in whatever forum we choose. Don't we?

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  • 65. At 10:27am on 20 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Sid 64, Have you emailed Lemon Toothpick about his wig expenses? Outrageous!

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  • 66. At 12:01pm on 20 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Sid (64) Thank you. Consider the your comments reciprocated and I wish you well in your political endeavours too.

    I know Nick Glegg is the only main leader who has spoken out about the kind of social justice I have reffered to in previous posts. When asked to put their names to reforming lobby documents - the Lib Dem MPs have always been the most supportive and forth coming of the elected house in their support.

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  • 67. At 12:03pm on 20 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

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

  • 68. At 12:11pm on 20 Jun 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Me (67)

    One claim isn't true - one is.

    I'll let you work it.

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  • 69. At 1:47pm on 20 Jun 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Sid @ 63, yes, there are a lot of people for whom fiddling can't be a way of life because they don't have the opportunity. I am unsure, though, how much the voice of these people is the voice we hear: far more "voice" does inevitably come from the media, and the opportunities for fiddling are certainly greater in that area.

    Isn't it interesting the way that the fury against the bankers last month is fury against the MPs this month? Who orchestrates it?

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  • 70. At 3:44pm on 20 Jun 2009, Sid wrote:

    Chris - I'm not sure. But I do believe that New Labour's kowtowing to the popular press is partly responsible for the deterioration of our democratic processes. 'Too many immigrants you say? You're probably right, let's see what we can do about it ... British jobs for British workers!'.

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  • 71. At 4:13pm on 20 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    C_G 69, Who orchestrates fiddling? The leader of the orchestra (first violin).

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  • 72. At 4:15pm on 20 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    fJd 68, OK, what did we say now? (65, 67)

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  • 73. At 4:41pm on 20 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    DM 71, But the orchestra tunes up to an oboe.

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  • 74. At 5:34pm on 20 Jun 2009, invisibleatheist wrote:

    They're gassing and shooting young people in Tehran. Twitter is going ballistic with their messages. Mainstream media reporting it as a far off, small scale event.

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  • 75. At 09:04am on 21 Jun 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    fJd, There's hope yet, we have only been referred. By whom, I wonder. I'll give you four guesses.

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  • 76. At 07:57am on 22 Jun 2009, corneliac1234 wrote:

    Good to know that you are taking in suggestions.

    Cornelia Cunningham
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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