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The AM Glass Box.

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Eddie Mair | 06:21 UK time, Tuesday, 21 July 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 07:10am on 21 Jul 2009, littleTaylorP wrote:

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

  • 2. At 08:33am on 21 Jul 2009, steelpulse wrote:

    You may have read your newspaper?

    Exactly I thought. That incident with David Beckham in America - his wife reported sitting with Tom Cruise and the alleged obscene sledging Mrs Beckham hasd to allegedly endure.

    You note, Eddie all those allegedlys? A point of view. My thought pattern is what was it really like out there? As David reportedly cited a wish to return to these shores.

    Was it a half dozen foul mouthed louts or was it as some reports suggested - a whole crowd turning on this gracelessness. And as for the comments - I wonder where the USA fans learnt that behaviour from? So wether it was one idiot or dozens - a bit less shock and horror Great Britain please.

    I mentioned a visitor to my house and after reading in my paper about certain situations set up - fake sheikhs and the like - it is most odd mistrusting everybody you encounter. But I do.

    The wife was called to bring to the visitor's attention I was not HOME ALONE - Macauley Cul(l)KIN if you like. lol

    But it was for a good cause - allegedly. Donations being sought.

    Relax your guard, steelpulse - there are some people who do not naturally sit with the Tom Cruises of the world - "War of the Wor(l)ds" anyone?

    Subject: caught in the act
    Anagram: Chat intact - huge

    I deny that anyone who cares. It is a lie! lol

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  • 3. At 08:50am on 21 Jul 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Markets and Measures

    Every day you broadcast 'capitalist' news from the money markets, yet we can't do much about it. How about a daily slot on social or environmental measures? "Carbon emissions index up slightly on yesterday." Probably not possible to do same topic every day, so maybe a different one each day, e.g.
    Monday: How much recycling done in the week. Up or down on previous week.
    Tuesday: What British fruit/vegetables come into season this week.
    Wednesday: How many sent to prison last week; how many released; prison population closing balance, etc.
    Thursday: How much electricity generated. How much used. How much spare. When is it spare?
    Friday: How many wars in progress. How many refugees.

    You get the idea - no doubt there are others: How many homes insulated this week. How much traffic. How much Energy generated might be particularly beneficial: "Demand dropped slightly in the week, spare energy forecast for Thursday night and a drop in demand expected Saturday morning 6-9am"
    Hmmm - could put washing machine on; cut lawn before 9.00am.

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  • 4. At 08:58am on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I have just heard an interview with Alan Milburn about his presenting a report inequality in professions such as, medicine, law, Journalism, etc.

    His antidote?...change nothing...but lift the aspirations of those lower down the ladder. So...its their own fault...still. Nothing more than patronising rubbish from a distant council house dweller who sold out long ago.

    He cited families of modest income (can some one define to me what a modest income is?) and average wage as the ones being targeted by his report. He then spouted on (as they all do) about how much help has been put into lifting people out of poverty. However, like all of his colleagues, never quantifying what this means in reality. None of them ever recognise the poor of their country by calling them the poor. In fact they only seem to recognise children when they mention poverty. older people don't experience this (perhaps pensioners at a push...but not lately) whatever government. No this is aimed at middle labour voters. Not that they don't have a claim but don't wrap it up as if they are trying to help the scapegoated marginalised of our society. After all Mr Milburn said, academic qualifications should always come first.

    He isn't about equality. He sounded just like they did under Blair...look what we're going to do about all this inequality...nothing. However, we will subtly and psychologically shift the blame on to the people we say we'd like to help by covertly insinuating...you must do better in inspiring yourselves. By the way the poor don't exsist. If you don't believe me try getting one of them to recognise THE POOR (and all the prejudice and marginalisation that goes with it). Remember, being taken out of poverty, you still only end up...surprise, surprise...POOR. not middle income, not average earners,not property owning little Thatcherites.

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  • 5. At 09:05am on 21 Jul 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    The suggestion in today's news that schools should be closed to reduce the spread of flu is on the face of it sensible. However, who then looks after the children? How many parents will have to take time off work, perhaps unpaid, certainly impacting on the productivity of their workplace. What if they are workers in the health services or keep our utilities functioning?

    And how much further should it be taken - do we close all cinemas and theatres, stop all sporting events - you get my drift. Should we all just stay at home and put a paper bag over our heads until it is all over?

    Oh, and we would presumably have to close all out borders, stop all imports and all foreign travel because otherwise we might just re-import the virus from elsewhere.

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  • 6. At 09:10am on 21 Jul 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Anne P (5) Aren't all schools breaking up shortly for the summer holidays anyway?

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  • 7. At 09:28am on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Why is it that when the PM programme is referenced on a BBC programme (Expenses: The MPs Story) it is preceded by the PM theme toon?

    Can I take the matter to Trading Standards? ;o)

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  • 8. At 09:30am on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I'm just listening to a radio 4 program on the MPs expenses. It is all done in past tense speak...when was it all resolved?...did I miss something? It is obviously an attempt (judging from the interviews) to say that MPs don't deserve the reputation and reaction they got over their expenses.

    Hey folks....guess what?...They're not getting it...Neither is Radio 4...it seems.

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  • 9. At 09:40am on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Joe, I thought the very same - and, no doubt you also noted the apparent sense of outrage from some MPs at having been sussed. The protests from one MP about how his 'private life' was nobody else's business when his love of trees was being funded in part by the taxpayer - So, it wasn't our business that we were being expected to fund his hobby?

    However angry we feel, though, we should remember two things: Firstly, the system allowed this (and therefore needs to be changed) and secondly that not all MPs behaved in this scurrilous manner.

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  • 10. At 09:45am on 21 Jul 2009, Thunderbird wrote:

    FJD (4) One simple solution.... Bring back Grammar schools.
    Then it will be less about money and more about ability.

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  • 11. At 09:55am on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Big Sis(9)Good morning.

    Grumpy me.

    Yes, I agree they were not all of the same depravity...granted. It was the system too that allowed this.

    But I couldn't help feeling my blood pressure rise when at least one of them started trying to justify things by saying in effect...well if you want to end up with a parliament made of privileged few...as if we don't verge on this now!?

    And the interview with the MPs daughter who began sobbing...and they say they try not to bring their children into politics...oh I forgot...except when it suits them in gaining the sympathy vote.

    I thought it was bad form. They still don't seem to have grasped the depth of real feeling. Or, they go completely over the top and start saying they were completely paranoid about there being riots and being afraid to walk down the streets. Bad form. Not much about change though did I hear...Did you?

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  • 12. At 10:00am on 21 Jul 2009, joshjgbrown wrote:

    I've just listened to the above programme also and it has highlighted a number of things to me. Whilst I do not condone sending death threats, using violence or in anyway intimidating individuals, the fact that the reactions have been so fierce, demonstrates the severity of the social problems within Britain. MPs and their families may struggle to understand why people are so angry (as one of the contributors explained) but for many, many people who struggle day-in and day-out simply to get by, it is inconceivable that someone should claim £80,000 for a property owned by a trust in their children's name. Ten's of 1000's of people will not earn that money in 5,6,7... years - years which will be long, slow and painful and not filled with dinners and evenings out and nice long holidays.

    As distateful as the 'hate mail' is, so too is the abhorrent social disparity in not only Britain but throughout the world. Politicians, and perhaps some Radio 4 'investigators' (given dramatic, spooky, da-da da-da background music) may be to far away to truly engage with the issues that lie beneath just why people are so offended.

    da-da da-da..!

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  • 13. At 10:09am on 21 Jul 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    FFred (6) I think the suggestion was more about not re-opening in the autumn which is when due to the sudden mixing of populations and the downturn in the weather, colds and flu normally increase anyway. Hence my reference to places of entertainment (and to a lesser extent sport)which would be building up to their most lucrative time of year at Christmas - applies to shops too of course where one might assume that big shopping malls would be another mixing vessel for the virus.

    I don't think this 'firebreak' theory of epidemic containment has been tried before, so lots of implications that PM might want to explore.

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  • 14. At 10:10am on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Joe - Good morning to you too! :o)

    I didn't mean to sound as if I was disagreeing with you - far from it, as I feel tremendous outrage and anger at how some have behaved. I agree - there is a sense that many are still wildly out of touch with the public and simply haven't grasped that they were not entitled to behave like this and that their behaviour verged upon, or even crossed the line into, fraud/dishonesty, whatever you want to call it, even if the 'system' apparently allowed it.

    Josh (12) raises again the issue that the amounts involved were in some cases very significant, and that the use of taxpayers' money in this way is highly offensive, particularly when there is such a huge swathe of people who are struggling to pay their rent, or mortgage, and put food on the table.

    As I typed that, I thought of last night's edition of The Street, which presented a picture which I'm sure is a reality for far too many people for my own comfort (well, even one such situation is bad enough, imho). It also puts Mr. Milburn's comments in a different perspective, perhaps. Sorry, I'm rambling a bit here perhaps, but I do feel very strongly these injustices.

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  • 15. At 10:18am on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Tbird (10)

    My premise is, and always has been when this is raised is this...

    I believe you should be able to attain an income and lifestyle conducive to the social norms and wealth of your society. This isn't radical this is just saying that whatever job you do, you should be paid a living (not minimum) wage for it.

    The problem with the argument about gaining qualifications and studying to 'better' ones self is this; who would empty your bins, sweep your streets, clear your dog's crap from the park when you forget your pooper bag. Don't these people deserve a proper income too? The issue is about those left behind...those who slipped through the net...those who didn't realise until much later in life how much talent and worth they had to offer...those who had always been made to feel (by the system) and instilled with the perception that what meagre opportunities they had...well thats all they were worth and would never amount to much more. And how do we redress the abominable teaching that can't raise kid's hopes and aspirations?

    Chris Ghoti has said recently in a post that his father taught in university academia most of his life. He reckoned that academic qualifications mean very little as there are too many variables. I agree with this.

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  • 16. At 10:18am on 21 Jul 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    sp 2, Beckham decided to play for ?Milan, goes back to LA, misses first five games to go on holiday, says he wants to play in Europe because the quality of play is better, then gets booed. I'd boo him for letting his wife sit with Tom Cruise. The quality of US pro soccer is rubbish, he knew it, and only went there for the money and life style. The sooner he leaves, the better.

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  • 17. At 10:21am on 21 Jul 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    When Brown goes to visit schools, will he have to be vetted and cough up the 64 quid?

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  • 18. At 10:27am on 21 Jul 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Constitutional Reform Bill

    New YouGov poll shows that voters want more progress on constitutional reform:

    67% believe this is 'once-in-a-generation' chance to improve democracy.

    59% believe 'fixed dates' should determine when General Election.

    52% felt a special "citizens' convention" should examine how UK is governed.

    Two years ago Lord Lester was appointed by Gordon Brown as a special advisor on the constitutional reform needed for this summer's Bill. He resigned in disgust after 15 months, due to the amount of ideas being blocked. The Constitutional Reform Bill published yesterday improved life peers' conditions: they now have the right to resign.

    Is that it?

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  • 19. At 10:31am on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    15: Joe, again I agree with you. Years ago, while working alongside a then rather trendy Marxists economist, I suggested to him that there should be a system of remuneration based upon a basic wage - which doesn't mean a minimum wage - that was set at a level to allow everybody to enjoy a standard of living commensurate with western society's fundamental expectations (i.e. decent - but not designer - clothing, nutritious meals, including fresh fruit and veg, the ability to pay for medecines when required, an annual holiday - though not to the Caribbean!, etc. etc.) to which was added increments for qualifications, experience, doing unpleasant work, etc. In other words, there should not be the need to struggle for the basics, but there should be incentives which would keep fostering aspirations. I acknowledge that it was all a bit naive and certainly needed a lot more thinking through, but I have never stopped thinking that we need to address the terrific inequalities that exist in our society and also we must insist that nobody in our developed economy goes without the basic necessities.

    Oops, I think I'm toppling off my soapbox ..... ;o)

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  • 20. At 10:33am on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Big Sis (14)

    I'm sorry if I gave the impression of disagreement. I am actually encouraged by your postings. Tis I me thinks who benefits the most from other people's perspectives. I watched the street too,,,made a point of it. You always know your going to get something good from Jimmy McGovern.

    As coincidence had it, I was round at my friends house eirler last eve and he happens to be a plumber. It isn't so far from reality last nights edition. (as are they all).

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  • 21. At 10:44am on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Joe, even though I can't claim to have been born to poverty, I have experienced it myself. There were periods in my life when I was forced to live well below the level of the minimum wage. I got to know the stallholders in the market very well as I struggled to buy food. I know all the cheapest cuts of meat and could write a cookbook on how to survive on ten pounds a week ;o)

    I think everybody should have the experience of falling on hard times. In my case, no period lasted more than a year at a time, but they taught me a lot, and I've tried never to stand in judgement on those who are less fortunate than me. I am glad to say that I had no children dependant upon me at these periods (well, truth to say, I have no children) and don't know how I could have coped if I had - just the responsibility for the lives of others while struggling to make ends meet ..... Okay, I'm rambling again. Best leave it there for now.

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  • 22. At 10:49am on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Big Sis (21)

    I have some stories in the same vain too.

    You know what some people say though...you can't claim be an expert in anything until you've experienced it. Might be some truth in there somewhere?

    Nice talking to and learning from ya...catch you later.

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  • 23. At 11:19am on 21 Jul 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    fJd & Big Sister, knowing the stallholders? At one point I got to know all the store detectives in the department stores that were a walk away from where I lived: I hadn't got the money to feed into the meter and heat the flat if I wanted to eat as well, so I used to go and walk round in the shops in the winter to keep from freezing. Those shop-guards were good people; once they realised what I was up to, they let me be.

    But that was at a time when provided the rent was paid, two people could get by on a quid a day if they were careful. And there is nothing wrong with horse-meat stew -- pet shops used to sell horse-meat for dogs.

    It is salutary never to forget how it feels when your feet are so cold that it hurts, not because you are out in the weather but indoors. I can't help feeling that if more politicians had that in memory rather than as an abstract "can't happen here, that sort of thing is only when you invade Russia" notion, it might be a very good thing indeed.

    Doing it for a week or two for charity is never going to bring it home: the real drain is in the not knowing whether you can ever escape from the place you have found yourself.

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  • 24. At 11:25am on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    DMNC (16)

    Yeah, David they were booing him because he hadn't played for half the season and they had been paying to watch the American 'soccer' you rightly refer to as rubbish.

    Don't you find the Beckham's friendship with cruise interesting? Isn't Cruise committed scientologist along with Travolta? This is deemed a religious sect by the world council of churches, and as such, theologically and religiously dangerous.

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  • 25. At 11:28am on 21 Jul 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    DMcN @ 16, "letting his wife sit with Tom Cruise"?


    Would you have said the same if he had been sitting with Tom Cruise? Should *she* have "let" him do so?

    It's a completely outrageous suggestion, that his wife is a possession for him to control in such a way. She's another human being, D, and where she sits is not his to ordain.

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  • 26. At 11:33am on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Chris, Joe and myself: I think we're in danger of turning into a Monty Python sketch - I'm thinking here of the four Yorkshiremen.

    How about:

    "We lived for three months in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t' mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi' his belt."


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  • 27. At 11:35am on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    CG (23)

    "the real drain is in not knowing whether you can ever escape from from the place you have found yourself"

    Absolutely right!

    Where a man (or woman) finds himself against will...to him that is a prison...

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  • 28. At 11:37am on 21 Jul 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Medieval Battle Records Go Online

    Bit late for your deadline I know, but this is quite interesting: BBC news report. Database of those who fought in the Hundred Years War has just gone online today. Reveals salaries, sickness records, names of 250,000 soldiers from Dukes to Archers.

    Here's the Medieval Soldier.org database provided by Southampton and Reading Uni.

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  • 29. At 11:39am on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Big Sis (26)

    Thats nuffin...but try telling the kids today...

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  • 30. At 11:47am on 21 Jul 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Re: #10 Thunderbird

    "One simple solution.... Bring back Grammar schools.
    Then it will be less about money and more about ability."

    Do you think that everybody who went to Sec.Mod. was backward (sorry had learning dificulties). It was about money, the middle classes were most likely to get their kids in to grammar school. Grammar schools had more money per pupil than the Sec. Mods. I never sat the 11+ and was at the top of the "A" stream at the bog standard sec. mod. I was so bored that I left at 15. Too many people under achieve that it is a disgrace and grammer schools are not the answer.

    Re: #4 funnyJoedunn

    being poor is not the same as being working class on a low wage. There is a pride in being working class. I remember coming home from primary school, where the teacher made some comment about poverty, and I asked my mum if we were poor and she quickly pointed out that we were certainly not poor we were working class and don't let anyone look down on you. She knew poverty as her dad died in 1932 when she was 8 and he had been in and out of work since he returned from WW1, the welfare state did not exist as we know it, but having no father plunged the family into real poverty.

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  • 31. At 12:00pm on 21 Jul 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    The poor will always be with us, as a great man once said.

    But does our consumerist society create a more poignant fear of being poor. Perhaps it is an element of social conditioning that we nurture a fear of not having material possessions. From time to time we all experience a moment of clarity where we would like to snap out of this cycle of materialism/consumerism. We recognise the flaws, both to us wealthy westerners, and those who pay a heavier price for our possessions than simply money.

    Is it decadant to think thus?

    Is it an indulgence of the petty bourgeoisie that we can feel regret at our possessions? Along with a fear of not having enough?

    Where is the alternative? Communism/Socialism proved that paying a waiter the same as a surgeon means you have lots of waiters and few surgeons.

    Can we get rid of money yet? Are we ready?

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  • 32. At 12:00pm on 21 Jul 2009, DI_Wyman wrote:

    Richard_SM (28) we are talking about the Dukes of Hazzard and the Archers of Ambridge aren't we?

    DiY ;-)

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  • 33. At 12:16pm on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Looternite (30)

    "being poor is not the same as being working class on a low wage"

    Oh yes, I agree. I never intended to apply different.

    However, I was brought up on a council estate and although we never went hungry, I couldn't wait to get out and get some money in my back pocket. my dad was on a low wage and my mum worked too in those days back in the sixties. We were poor. We never went on holiday until I was 14 and that was only to skegness when I would have like to go somewhere a little more less boring. My dad didn't go with us just my mum. Like you, I nearly died of boredom in the secondary modern, all that woodwork and metal work pysical education. We even had gardening at our school and no home work ever. I really wanted to do more academically at school just to feel that there might be some way of achieving a way out of the council estate mentality that I found crushingly small minded and not for me. Even though I didn't realise it at the time...this is waht I felt. You know that film 'Educating Rita' I could have easily substituted myself for her except I'm a bloke. Especially those scenes down the pub. However, it turned out ok for Rita didn't it in the end.

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  • 34. At 12:21pm on 21 Jul 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Ref 32. DI_Wyman

    "we are talking about the Dukes of Hazzard and the Archers of Ambridge aren't we?"

    No - their ancestors - Brian of Aldridge, Edward the Grundy, Master Lucas Duke, army field cook Linda of Snelling with serving wench Mistress Daisy.

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  • 35. At 12:23pm on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Joe: I think the Open University is grest. I wasn't a Rita (I had been fortunate to have a good secondary education) and I went to University, albeit as a mature student, before I was thirty, but when I wanted to change directions in my life I did an OU degree. It was a lot cheaper than giving up work and going back to higher education, and I met several people with whom I've retained friendships, but most importantly it gave me back my confidence and self esteem at a time when I most needed it, as well as providing me with a first rate education in an area which I then went on to develop as my career path.

    If you haven't already done any of their courses, you might like to look into them further. Their Foundation courses are, just by themselves, very interesting and open doors onto lots of different issues and ideas.

    I'm thinking of saving up to do another OU course in the next couple of years just to keep the grey cells going and to expand my interest in the World, Life, and everything else. :o)

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  • 36. At 12:24pm on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Thanks for that link, Richard, it looks very interesting.

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  • 37. At 12:25pm on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    T8 (31)

    The only alternative to what we have is the worst aspect of the old Soviet Union Communism or socialism.

    Who was it who said, "when I feed the poor, they call me a saint". "when I ask why are the poor..poor, They call me a communist".

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  • 38. At 12:44pm on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Big Sis (35)

    Thank you for your kind thoughts. I came to the realisation late in life just how much I might be capable of achieving. Due to an earlier long-term illness that unfortunately affected self esteem,confidence and the like, I was unable to explore my own mind and abilities. This was compounded by the disparity of opportunity, open doors and competitive nature of things. So much so that it about crushed any energy I wanted to apply in pursuing answers through trying to better myself. I felt I would always be the estate kid out of his depth among peers that I shouldn't be among. This is what is instilled when you fail the 11+.

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  • 39. At 12:51pm on 21 Jul 2009, U14056677 wrote:

    This was yesterday's newspapers:

    (Please cut and paste)


    (Yesterday's print headline was

    The last sentence is:

    So all eyes will be on whether the stockmarket can maintain its momentum, or whether investors decide to cash in their recent gains.

    And my comment was:

    So as per, the bubble has nowt to do with economic reality, now or in the future. Just a way of making a few bobs by announcing what you own is worth a third more than it was. Supported by the BoE so they can off load their bank share investments to offset the loans, gifts and easing they've given the banks. And the Tories want to give them more power!!

    Because there is no real sign of economic recovery. Just the opposite in fact. The output contraction for the 4th month (April) was greater than in an month during the previous three months (ie Q1)

    ((That's month by month comparision
    comparing the months with the same month a year ago makes things look even worse.))

    (April is the last month we have figures for that we can really trust - that aren't vulnerable to an 'as you were, it's worse after all' revision 'later on'.)

    Those numbers can be tricky.

    Again, as I said yesterday

    Nils, tricky things these numbers, eh?

    Ceefax has it that MORTGAGE LENDING is up 17 per cent on June of last year.

    The quarterly figure (Q2) is the SAME as Q1 - not a penny more.


    Same source (SML) as your 17 per cent growth cf 'last month'?

    Tricky things, numbers.

    All co-possible of course, if April and May were averagely 5 to 6 per cent down on the Q1 average figure.

    We should be told, I think.

    But we weren't, were we.

    No editorial comment as yet on the afternoon GB as yet.

    Yet any way you cut it those mortgage numbers and opinion about hte stock market surge are more 'economy slumps'. 'markets fail' news.

    Today the FTSE is up again.

    Whatever happened to campaigning journalism? A bubble comes about by daily inflations of stock values by those owning them and buying and selling them.


    If you don't campaign against it day by day, you wind up commenting on it ex post - by which time those who made money from the downright lies they are telling will have cashed in.

    I want schools, houses and hospitals for the many, not Mandelson sized yachts and holiday homes in the Bahamas. That is the difference between government funded social spending and private affluence funded by stock market bubbles.

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  • 40. At 12:57pm on 21 Jul 2009, U14056677 wrote:


    I love this new blog.

    It's as if some Palladian arcade of Ionic pillars had groan up around us in some computer simulation of a classical town.

    Now, we all seem in our proper places and proportions, each separated by cool columns.


    It does seem to vary in whether it acknowledges all parameters in a quoted URL when offering a link.

    So.. as you were.. Just click.

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  • 41. At 1:00pm on 21 Jul 2009, U14056677 wrote:

    Oh dear, I sent you to page 2.


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  • 42. At 1:16pm on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Joe: Are you familiar with this website?


    It's all free ...

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  • 43. At 1:17pm on 21 Jul 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Re: #33 funnyJoedunn

    like you I grew up in a council house, however we had little money as I have 7 brothers and sisters. At school we had to do gardening but as we were "A" stream it was only the first year. The extra physical exercise, we had double period per week games and one period for PE, is what school kids should be doing today. As far as woodwork and metalwork are concerned was to prepare us for the factories or maybe skilled trades. We had homework but I would do maths or science in english. I only made an effort in these subjects. If you saw my reports you would see "could do better" in all subjects apart from maths and science. The school had annual exams that would determine your stream for the next year. The lowest position I got was 9th and that was the 3rd year when I truanted for most of the time, until the truant officer warned my mum.
    I, like you have observed the council estate mentality my observation is that there is a cult of the "hard man" not the cult of the "clever man". Far from sneering and picking apart Alan Milburn's report lets recognise that at last someone has commented on this.
    Re; #35 Big Sister
    The OU was Saint Harold Wilson's idea of a university that those who missed out could get an oportunity of a degree. However, after doing 8 hours on a production line it is very difficult to sit down to study. In fact most students are once again middle class.
    We have laws preventing discrimination regarding gender, race, religion and age but discrimination regarding class is still legal.

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  • 44. At 1:23pm on 21 Jul 2009, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Big Sister @ 26, yes, ok, it wasn't in Yorkshire... :-)

    your 35 makes me feel very pleased: my Pa was one of the people involved in the OU set-up. I think he would be made happy to read what you wrote there if he were still on life.

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  • 45. At 1:25pm on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    43: I well know the origins of the OU as it happened within my lifetime. I appreciate your points about the difficulty of sitting down to study after a long day on the production line. While I was doing my OU course I was working very long hours (more than 8 hours) and had to cram in the study as and when I could. That is where motivation is key.

    The OU tries to offer a solution in an imperfect world. It's a lot better than nothing.

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  • 46. At 1:36pm on 21 Jul 2009, U14056677 wrote:


    The hard man act gets exploited by the Armed Forces and their rabid nationalism.


    Yep, as everyone is SAYING the crisis is in the elite, rich or in genteel (if hip) poverty, not on the estates or the new workers.

    'Inverted hierachy' used to be management chic talk (like dress down Friday).

    But it's what should happen. Via a rights respecting majority rule government.

    Hardness is at root a legitimate anti establishment class aggression that turns on its comrades.

    Refusing education is a trait of the guilty middle class ('turn on.. etc') but it can also result from the education system erecting ladders, turnstiles and hoops (like one of those horse riding competitions).
    After they get through the potty golf course the dispossessed are given what was rightfully theirs ANYWAY.

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  • 47. At 1:41pm on 21 Jul 2009, U14056677 wrote:

    31 and 45

    Complementary points about motivation.

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  • 48. At 1:45pm on 21 Jul 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Re: #45 Big Sister

    I agree the OU is better than nothing, and in fact I admire anyone who can study for the required time to get an OU degree.
    However, my son and daughter left school at 16 (again bored to death), after a range of minimum wage jobs my son finally did an access course at the local uni. He then applied to various universities and Hull university offered him a place. He was a mature student and just missed a first. It is interesting that universities like Liverpool would not offer a place. His life now is a million miles away from where he was heading. It is another way to get that coverted qualification. In 2000 I got a maths "A" level, on the same course that a 10 year old was on. He was in the papers but an old man of 50 was not news. I had to prove that I could have done it if I wanted.

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  • 49. At 1:45pm on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Motivation isn't all about money. Or at least it isn't in my own case. Sometimes people just want to move out of their current situation, whether that be poverty, lack of stimulation, being in a place where there isn't the opportunity to use all of one's skills ... and a lot of other reasons besides.

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  • 50. At 1:56pm on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    48: My brother did the same as your son, and also found himself doing boring work in which he felt trapped, so he took his A levels at Night School before going on to do a degree and becoming a teacher. I suppose, in fact, that is also what I did ... just a little earlier than him.

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  • 51. At 2:31pm on 21 Jul 2009, U14056677 wrote:

    Keep up the pressure!

    Goodness, let's not let these threads be text book Situationist examples.

    Nor real life.

    First the tear in the fabric of conformity, the realisation of how things are, then the glimpse of What is To be DONE, and somehow this society recovers itself. The gaping truth heals up as if it were a wound.

    Not this time though.

    MPs living above the means - our means as a country.

    Life opportunities to be re-allocated on a first shall be last basis.

    ALL recognised as with extraordinary but universal ability.

    The rich sussed as creaming it off via their stock market bubble tax

    Britain letting her young go to war with peasants to the greater glory of the rich and powerful.

    The working class is ready. Let it roll...

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  • 52. At 3:17pm on 21 Jul 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Marx, from whom so much talk of removing inequalities derives, was himself a privileged, and very middle class, man.

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  • 53. At 3:41pm on 21 Jul 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Re:# 51 ThinkerRetired

    Not sure I get your drift, no doubt you will tell me I have nothing to lose but my chains.

    I went to several meetings organised by various leftie groups ie Marxist, Lennist, Maoist and Trotskyist.
    I was constantly told what the workers want is.... etc.
    I asked each group have you actually asked the workers what they want. Apparently no, as the workers don't know what they want.
    I never joined any political group although I have never missed an election.
    My family have a few sayings that have proved to be invaulable.
    1. The only good tory is a dead one
    2. Never trust a liberal

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  • 54. At 3:43pm on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Big sis (42)

    Thanks. I'll investigate when more time is available.

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  • 55. At 5:33pm on 21 Jul 2009, excellentSteveview wrote:

    I was born in 1951 of a single mother in poverty on a very rough council estate in Yorkshire. Started work at 16. Discouraged even from going to grammar school because my mother couldn't afford the school uniform and needed the rent money. Now, at 57, I've made a few million, paying over £1.4m tax in the last 12 years alone of running my own company. Equal opportunity and outcome is a chattering-class ideal. Everyday people know equality in reality doesn't exist. In the race of life, there are winners, losers and non-runners. Anyone who thinks otherwise is denying the evidence of history and current reality. Steve Ellis,Canterbury, Kent.

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  • 56. At 6:05pm on 21 Jul 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Re. #55 excellentSteveview

    Well done you made plenty of money, no doubt your dream came true. However, the point of social mobility is, could some one living on a council estate in a single parent family dream of being a surgeon or a judge. There are hurdles to be overcome that are not there for other people. In my opinion the chattering classes talk equality but would be horrified if the oiks were truely competing for the jobs their children would be going for. The class system is a reality.
    The ladder of success looks highest veiwed from the bottom.

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  • 57. At 7:46pm on 21 Jul 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:


    "Everyday people know equality in reality dosen't exsist"

    Interesting concept equality depending on how you See it. Some people don't see equality as everyone being treated the same. In fact, I think the best form of equality is not treating everyone the same but treating everyone as an individual.

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  • 58. At 11:26am on 23 Jul 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    BS 52, Was he one of the Marx brothers: Groucho, Harpo, Zeppo, Chico, and Skid?

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