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Eddie Mair | 03:52 UK time, Monday, 21 September 2009


Good morning.

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.

It's best to post before 10.00, so we can work ideas into our 11.00 meeting.


  • 1. At 04:14am on 21 Sep 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Good Morning Eddie and the Team....

    Story one; Iran continuing with its situation on the Nuclear problems...\


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  • 2. At 07:46am on 21 Sep 2009, dazzlingHeatherbelle wrote:

    If our government means what it says about making cuts then I suggest a major improvement in our finances would be achieved if we leave Europe NOW! This would save approximately £200 million per WEEK. Multiply it by 52 for the annual amount - I got lost in the zeros!

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  • 3. At 08:13am on 21 Sep 2009, lucien desgai wrote:

    2 DHB
    We'd never all fit in the boat.

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  • 4. At 08:15am on 21 Sep 2009, dazzlingHeatherbelle wrote:

    May I recommend an interesting read to all those pushing for a rapid and large reduction in carbon emissions. This book looks a little deeper at the complications, and examines how a rapid reduction will result in a vast lost of bio diversity. It is called "Chill: A reassessment of global warming theory" by Peter Taylor.

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  • 5. At 08:15am on 21 Sep 2009, Clichoid wrote:

    What has happened to the Liberal Democrat's policy of scrapping council tax and introducing local income tax? The idea of a non-means tested tax on properties over £1m is absolutely contrary to that policy and completely unfair. Whilst our house is worth nowhere near a million pounds, we're lucky enough to have ridden the property wave on a very modest income. We have to fork out a completely unreasonable council tax on a pension and some part time income.
    Now all three main parties have lost their chance of my vote!

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  • 6. At 08:26am on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    BBC Part of Conspiracy

    Would you like to get Greg Dyke on your prog?


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  • 7. At 08:33am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Listened to Nick Clegg's friendly chat on Today this morning. Why is the BBC so soft on the Limp/Dums. The Liberals have always wanted to be treated like the grown up parties and yet when interviewed they are given the softly-softly touch. Clegg was allowed to be so woolly and although asked easy questions he still couldn't reply with a straight answer. If Lib/Dems are on PM please treat them like other parties and question them properly.

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  • 8. At 08:35am on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    USA complicit in overthrow of a democracy

    President Carter acknowledges US complicity in plot to overthrow democratically elected government, and replace it with a Corporate/Military junta in 2002

    Actually, we knew that already and I think John Pilger obtained a CIA ‘confession’ several years ago. At least President Carter has the decency to confirm it, particularly when the events in Iran in June bore a remarkable similarity to what happened Venezuela in 2002.

    How about contacting John Pilger for a comment?

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  • 9. At 08:39am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #6. Richard_SM
    Once again your links are interesting.
    The most important democratic change we need is an English parliament. The BBC will not discuss it and yet leading up to the setting up of the Scottish parliament all political slots on the BBC were constantly raising the devolution question.

    English Parliament now.

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  • 10. At 08:41am on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    Clichoid @ 5:

    Current Lib Dem policy on local taxes:

    "Fair taxes raised and spent locally. Pensioners and those on a fixed income struggle to pay their rising Council Tax Bills. Ever year bills rise above inflation but neither Labour nor the Tories have any plans to introduce a fairer tax.

    "The Liberal Democrats believe that senior citizens and others on low incomes should not have to choose between heating their homes and paying their Council Tax.

    "We will scrap the unpopular Tory Council Tax, and replace it with a tax raised and spent locally that is linked to people's ability to pay.. We will return Business Rates to local control too, so local people decide how their locally raised taxes are spent."

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  • 11. At 08:44am on 21 Sep 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    # (6) Agreed.

    Eddie and team,

    If you are 'allowed', I believe you should look into the fact that greg Dyke has said that the BBC are part of a westminster conspiricy to undermine fundamental change in british politics.

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  • 12. At 08:45am on 21 Sep 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I'm going to vote for the fag paper you can't get between them!

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  • 13. At 08:48am on 21 Sep 2009, Clichoid wrote:

    re: #10. Sid

    How does the £1m+ property tax square with this policy?

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  • 14. At 08:51am on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    Looternite @ 7

    I'd be interested to know when you have ever heard Cameron getting a hard time in an interview. No one has asked him the hard questions yet.

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  • 15. At 08:57am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #14. Sid
    I agree with you on this. Shamron is allowed to control the discussion too often.

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  • 16. At 08:59am on 21 Sep 2009, TallulahTanglewood wrote:

    I may have missed the PM coverage of this story but in case it hasn't been dealt with yet, I'd like to hear more about the changing attitudes to airbrushing of pictures in magazines and advertising as it relates to influencing body image and ideas of what's acceptable.

    A couple of weeks ago The Observer ran a piece on the storm created when American Glamour magazine used a picture of a gorgeous naked model, Lizzie Miller, that hadn't been tampered with. It showed a belly. Shock! horror! The Observer piece analyzed all the little computer tweaks that "corrected" her alleged "flaws".


    At the same time, the advertising industry's magazine Campaign has a piece claiming the Advertising Standards watchdog says they won't ban airbrushing in advertising because the public aren't concerned about it.


    Is that true? There seems to be a growing rumble from the public about unattainable body shape and size and the effect that media pressure has on self-image and wellbeing.

    As it's conference season, I'd like to hear where the parties stand on this issue and do they have policies on it.

    It would also be interesting to hear from designers, following the coverage of London Fashion Week including size 14 models on the catwalk.

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  • 17. At 09:01am on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Cuts and Savage Cuts

    As the main cause of the budget deficit has been a decline in tax revenue, and all three parties advocating varying degrees of spending cuts, does that mean they don't expect the economy to recover?

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  • 18. At 09:07am on 21 Sep 2009, steelpulse wrote:

    Today told me about the competitive nature of the painter J W etc Turner - to anyone he saw as an artistic rival. More please PM.

    He took on Constable? John Constable? I like Turner - his paintings are good enough but occasionally - in my opinion - lack detail. A bit like - allegedly - a politicians answer to one of Eddies questions. Turner's works I think are suggestive of thing he MEANT to paint.

    Fog, er fog - is that a ship? More fog.

    Now Constable. Constable as a painter fully arrests my attention. There was this seascape in the National Gallery the other day - small and quite clear.

    In the interests of clearness - apologise to Sequin for me Edward. Westminster Hour? Well I Turner-ed it a bit. I almost listened to a third of what I meant to listen to.

    Then according to John of Humphrey's on Today - JW took on Rembrandt?

    A man has got to know his limitations - Harry Callahan 1971 - ?

    Mister Turner must have felt "lucky" on THAT particular day. lol

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  • 19. At 09:17am on 21 Sep 2009, dazzlingHeatherbelle wrote:

    The plan to blame all drivers for any crashes with cyclists or pedestrians is outrageous. This government loves to target the innocent or the victim. I think this is more about getting money out of insurance companies to reduce costs to the NHS and social services for injuries caused by the cyclists' or pedestrians' own mistakes. Why do politicians believe we are all fit athletic youngsters, or people who live in cities where there is adequate public transport? We have an ageing population for whom cycling or walking long distances, is often not an option.

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  • 20. At 09:53am on 21 Sep 2009, jiffle wrote:

    In a society which prizes 'choice' over so many other things, does it strike anyone as deeply ironic that the one area where we no longer have any real choice is in that of political parties?

    How about a piece on the death of democracy (and how we've been so busy trying to export it to the Middle-East that we've forgotten to cultivate it at home!)?

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  • 21. At 09:57am on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Israel’s WMD

    Significant nuclear weapons breakthrough on Friday, though I didn’t hear any coverage on BBC (more concerned about reporting a protest in Iran).

    The UN Nuclear Assembly voted to on a resolution for the IAEA to carry out nuclear inspections on Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Western states tried to block it, saying Israel was being “singled out,” but the resolution was approved.

    Israel has refused to co-operate and says it will ignore the resolution.


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  • 22. At 10:05am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #16. TallulahTanglewood
    One of the problems with controlling retouching of photos is that the very politicians who would be required to pass the regulation have had their official pictures "Photoshopped".
    They all do; Clegg, Cameron and Brown. Our leaders never say "Photograph me warts and all".

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  • 23. At 10:08am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #20 jiffle
    In a democracy you can form your own political party and stand in any election.
    Therefore, since you can do this in this country we have a democracy.

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  • 24. At 10:08am on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Further to #21, the UN Nuclear Assembly also voted on a resolution for a 'Nuclear Free Middle East,' the day before, something you would think the US favours, with all its rhetoric about Iran in recent months. The US abstained!!!

    As Brown has been insisting Iran enters a dialogue, how did Britain vote? Is Miliband Major around for some words?

    The vote took place last Thursday, 17 Sept and was announced Thursday evening in Vienna I believe.

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  • 25. At 10:12am on 21 Sep 2009, JayBee wrote:

    Here's a question:- does Cathy Clugston (hope my spelling is right!) have the clearest pronounciation on the BBC? I often hear her reading the news (e.g. today) and more quirky stuff (e.g. the satellite navigation instructions for whales a few days ago). Outstanding. The voice is so well modulated and she even sounds her "t"s - not very common these days for BBC or other announcers/reporters. seems to be a fashion, especially with Government ministers/spokespeople, to drop the letter "t" of course, when we accept using the noun 'chair' for someone who chairs a committee, should I be surprised? Wonder if this abuse of language occurs in say, French or German...

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  • 26. At 10:18am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    25. greyLaughingCavalier
    Droppin the letter "T" is how most of us speak.
    Are you sayin that my accent is defective!
    If so you are insultin me and everybody else with a southern English accent

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  • 27. At 10:24am on 21 Sep 2009, Helena-Handbasket wrote:

    #16. TallulahTanglewood

    "It would also be interesting to hear from designers, following the coverage of London Fashion Week including size 14 models on the catwalk."

    The BBCs own story here: http://tinyurl.com/ndp74n

    "A stylist and casting director have left a London Fashion Week show over a decision to use average-sized models, a fashion boss says."

    or, as Fark headlined it:

    "Designer's decision to use Size 12 models in Fashion Week event sparks walkout by people protesting the fact that such behemoths were even allowed to waddle out of their houses, let alone be allowed to take part in a fashion show."

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  • 28. At 10:26am on 21 Sep 2009, lucien desgai wrote:

    25 greyLaughingCavalier
    And the country is run by a cabinet ... How absurd is that?
    Not very - language needs to have meaning and to be understood, not reduced to a codex of fixed and arbitrary rules.

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  • 29. At 10:29am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #28. lucien_desgai
    Couldn't put it better myself.
    Also haven't the Germans been updating their spelling of some words?

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  • 30. At 10:31am on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Lib Dem Guest

    As you're likely to have a Lib Dem speaker on your prog tonight, would you like to ask them if their idea of cutting public expenditure is exemplified by what's happened in Leeds. The planned cuts in wages from £18000 down to £12000 for the refuse workers, as well as wage cuts for street cleaners and those engaged in waste recycling, has predictably resulted in strike action. There's now a public health risk in Leeds as refuse piles up outside homes and shops.

    A Leeds refuse worker explained their problem: “Our mortgages were taken out based on current earnings. If we lose this strike, we'll lose our homes."

    How will the Lib Dems deal with this problem?
    Do they plan to extend this wage cut across the country?

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  • 31. At 10:39am on 21 Sep 2009, mygloriousleader wrote:

    I'm on an international email briefing of businesses going into liquidation or selling assets and came across this one today,
    "Complete Reptile Skin Tannery Equipment and stocks of Crocodile Skins Ends: 22 Sep 2009 6:00 PM SGT Singapore"
    Any other unusual businesses going bust due to UK and US bankers greed...ooops, sorry.... the international credit crunch?

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  • 32. At 10:46am on 21 Sep 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    I know every political hack will draw the line between the Sep 2000 'Education, Education, Education' speech by His Tonyness, and the latest round of education cuts.

    But here is an interesting quote from it:

    "For 18 years Britain suffered chronic under-investment in our public services. It held people back - it reduced opportunity,"

    This was as he announced a £700m package for investment in schools. Nine years later a £2bn per annum cut in education funding leaves us where exactly?

    A policy of holding people back and reducing opportunity if we are to take New Labours ground rules.

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  • 33. At 10:48am on 21 Sep 2009, TallulahTanglewood wrote:

    Looternite (22) :

    haha yes and some politicians go the other way - rather than photoshopping bits of themselves OUT of photos, they get completely photoshopped INTO the photo, like James Purnell.

    BUT politicians' pics are not nearly as influential on body image and self esteem as models and other examples of "beauty".

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  • 34. At 11:05am on 21 Sep 2009, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:


    I agree, an English parliament now, along with an English block grant for funding instead of the current uncapped spending that necessitates the Barnett Formula top-up fudge for the other regions.

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  • 35. At 11:10am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #30. Richard_SM

    Well, Well, kept that quiet didn't they. So much for the "help the low waged" pious talking from Clegg and Co. Perhaps the out of touch Lib/Dems think that 12,000 is a high wage.
    A few years ago the good folk of Luton voted in a Limp/Dum council(protest over a war) and they were useless. After 4 years they could only only point to keeping the council tax down. They were replaced as soon as the election came.
    Vote Tory - Get Tory
    Vote Lib/Dem - Get Tory
    it appears.

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  • 36. At 11:14am on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    Looternite - you will not be surprised to learn that there is more to the story than RSM suggests - including issues like equal pay, whether the bin men will agree to work their contracted hours etc.

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  • 37. At 11:16am on 21 Sep 2009, jiffle wrote:

    #23 looternite

    1) Thank you for suggesting such a great way to waste my time and money. As discussed before our electoral system makes you plan completely unworkable and forces us to be dependent on the major parties to provide our 'choice'.

    2) Is it unreasonable to expect that the three consistently electable parties should have policies that are not virtually identical (and, if Blair were still in power, virtually identical leaders)?

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  • 38. At 11:17am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #14. Sid
    Further thought on this BBC soft touch, regarding Cameron.
    Reminds me of the discussion on these blogs regarding the BBC handling of John Robert Bolton the arch right wing American politician.
    Something similar perhaps?

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  • 39. At 11:17am on 21 Sep 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    I have a link for the money conscious Ed Balls


    Don't know about the accuracy but it is good to know. Wish there was a UK version.

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  • 40. At 11:28am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #37. jiffle
    It looks like that at the next election, the good folk of Luton South will have standing as an independant candidate, Esther Rantzen.
    Therefore they will have a democratic choice between the three main parties(what's the point they are all the same) and an independant. Democracy in action or what!
    Other celebrities are available.
    I suggest that the election night programme is renamed:
    "I'm a celebrity get me in there"

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  • 41. At 11:37am on 21 Sep 2009, jiffle wrote:

    #23, 40 looternite

    Ah, sorry. Missed the sarcasm in your original post! (Worked effectively as a troll, though!!!)

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  • 42. At 11:47am on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #36. Sid
    You are right, I am not surprised that there might be more to the Leeds story. There usually is.
    Mind you I don't think that 12,000 pounds is a proper wage for emptying the bins.
    Maybe you do. Leeds council seems to think so.

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  • 43. At 12:12pm on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:


    Italy wants out.

    Germany wants out.

    Canada is already pulling out from 2011.

    But General McChrystal wants more troops, according to the 66 page report Bob Woodward (of Watergate fame) at the Washington Post has obtained.

    McChrystal says the Afghanistan mission will fail unless he has more troops. Who will provide them?

    Possibly too late for your prog. but here's the report anyway.


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  • 44. At 12:14pm on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    #40. Looternite

    That's Life!

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  • 45. At 12:17pm on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #44. Richard_SM
    Certainly is.

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  • 46. At 12:28pm on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    #42. Looternite

    Equal Pay is indeed a factor in the strike in Leeds. Instead of raising the wages of the those unequally paid, the council has decided to reduce the previously agreed wage rates (which applied largely to male employees) so they cannot be accused of breaching their equal pay obligations.

    This decision has wider implications for other council and public sector employees across the country. There is nothing to stop other Lib Dem councils (and Tory councils) forcing through similar pay cuts based on the same principle: lowering pay rates to overcome equal pay laws.

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  • 47. At 12:31pm on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    Looternite @ 42

    I don't know all the details - but I believe the offer is £12000 plus £5000 bonus (depending on how efficient you are). Roughly 50% more than the minimum wage for an unskilled job.

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  • 48. At 12:42pm on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Ref 32. T8-eh-T8

    "This was as he [Blair] announced a £700m package for investment in schools. Nine years later a £2bn per annum cut in education funding leaves us where exactly?"

    Misleading post. The Education budget has gone up year after year, from around £20 billion in 2002 to £60 billion in 2008. There was a huge investment 2-3 years back which is still working its way through in terms of Teacher Training, new schools etc, and wouldn't be affected by the the present cuts being discussed. If Ed Balls is suggesting a £2bn cut, that might take the budget down from £60billion to £58 billion. That contrasts with Lib Dems proposals to take £12 billion from education.

    Here's a simple graph showing the trend of government spending on education.


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  • 49. At 12:52pm on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    Yet again, RSM gives half the story. Yes, spending on education has gone up hugely since 1997 (I often wonder why the govt doesn't make more of this).

    But then the suggestion that Ed Balls might take £2bn from education, contrasted with the Lib Dem 'proposal' to take £12bn. Is that £12bn a year, like Ed Balls' plan? Any source (reliable source that is) for this info? Or just another cheap dig at the Lib Dems?

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  • 50. At 12:59pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:


    'The need for lsws inequality hgas never been greater'

    Why have any at all?

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  • 51. At 1:03pm on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    Did you mean 'Why hvae nya at agll?

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  • 52. At 1:13pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:


    No. I meant what I wrote. Why have any inequality at all?

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  • 53. At 1:15pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:

    Aneurin Bevan and the '45 Labour government curbed the power of private medicine, the mine owners, the steel magnates - all the bosses and profit takers across a range of industries.
    They had prolonged the 1930's First Great Slump.

    Thatcher came to power promising to discipline the Trade Unions. She did, creating 5 million unemployed to break their power.

    Now, those too mighty in the land are the bankers and finance houses. Millions unemployed cannot be curbing their power, but enhancing it.

    They it is who continue to make profits in the Ftse speculative bubble**** and keep ordinary firms so short of funding that the BoE says last month saw the sharpest fall in lending by banks to firms EVER.

    And if ever the poor start benefiting from the profligacy of the rich, those very bankers and finance men will take their profits and crash the system again.

    Isn't the choice at the next election stark? Socialism or capitalism. Simple as that.

    ****Mercifully deflated a little today.

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  • 54. At 1:19pm on 21 Sep 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Apparently, research has shown that, as long as you begin and end any word with the correct letter, 55 out of 100 can read what is written no matter how the other letters in each word are arranged.

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  • 55. At 1:22pm on 21 Sep 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Sid (47)

    I thought there was only one minimum wage? You make it sound like its plural.

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  • 56. At 1:23pm on 21 Sep 2009, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Anita Anand is expecting..


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  • 57. At 1:30pm on 21 Sep 2009, Fearless Fred wrote:

    PeoplesMandate (various) You forget to mention that where "complete equality" has been tried before, it led to ruination of the contries that tried it. As an example, I refer you to the "social equalisation" performed by the Khmer Rouge. Hardly a system that inspires confidence.

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  • 58. At 1:46pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:

    Lib Dem demographic?

    By voter, party member and MP?

    Comfortably above the average in income and wealth both in background and now.

    That's why we gat all this pseudo radicalsim from them. Take from the very rich, give to the very poor and leave us comfortably above the average.

    You think they'd join with Labour to bring in Very Rich to Very Poor redistribution?

    More likely stick out for Very Rich to Comfortably Above Average.

    Where's the stuff about raising Unemployment Benefit to a livable income? The Minimum Wage?

    They don't believe in economic equality, just less inequality, which you get when Bill Gates loses 10 dollars at poker to Richard Branson.

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  • 59. At 1:49pm on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #53. PeoplesMandate
    "Isn't the choice at the next election stark? Socialism or capitalism. Simple as that."
    No it ain't!
    Notice, no white space.

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  • 60. At 1:49pm on 21 Sep 2009, lucien desgai wrote:

    57 FF
    I'd suggest you (and others!) avoid engaging win PeoplesMandate because he'll only respond with lines of antisocial white space.

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  • 61. At 1:51pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:

    The War attracted some people not well off to the Lib Dems but the real face of the party from Our Shirl to the dreadful soldier boy Paddy and the up themselves Oxbridge clique running the Parlaimentary Party soon became clear to them.

    In Leicester at the GE Labour's Inner City policies won back their support.

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  • 62. At 2:02pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:


    Democracy and human rights prevent that sort of thing, you know.

    Don't be afraid, Fearless. Universal equality is like the principles of the NHS applied....universally.

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  • 63. At 2:17pm on 21 Sep 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:

    Regarding the CBI call for higher interest on student loans and charging higher tuition fees:

    • Surely this will mean more of a financial buren on the parents.
    • When questions are being asked about the standards of university tuition, doesn't this create a more commercial environment for higher education, therefore leading the universities open to claims of insufficient service for the money paid? A recent R4 programme highlighted how some courses now have as little as 3 hours direct tuition per week, with the student expected to work out the rest from books, web sites, themselves. If we place further education on a platform of finacial interaction, wouldn't the customers be justified in demanding better goods for their money?

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  • 64. At 2:18pm on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #61. PeoplesMandate
    In the old days of 1964 when "Our Shirl" was a leftie Labour candidate fully signed up to clause 1V "To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service."
    Shirley (traitor) Williams whilst out canvassing popped in to use our toilet. Now that's an interesting snippet. Yes, I had to move to Luton from Hertfordshire.
    Apparently she was very concerned about people like us. Working Class 8 kids etc.
    Of course she and the other back stabbing gang of four left the Labour party because Labour was to Left wing.

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  • 65. At 2:19pm on 21 Sep 2009, T8-eh-T8 wrote:


    First point to read:

    more of a financial burden on the parents

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  • 66. At 2:22pm on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    fjd @ 55

    This is what I intended: 'Roughly 50% more than the minimum wage (and it's for an unskilled job). I didn't mean there was a minimum wage for unskilled jobs and a different one for skilled jobs. (Though age has an effect.)

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  • 67. At 2:23pm on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    PM - what about doubling the personal tax allowance?

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  • 68. At 2:45pm on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Ref 53. PeoplesMandate

    "the '45 Labour government curbed the power of private medicine"

    They most certainly did. They went ahead and introduced the NHS at a time when the national debt was well over 150% of GDP! This puts into perspective the current calls for 'savage cuts,' as our national debt is only around 60% presently. Lower than France, lower than Germany, lower than USA.

    Whilst some spending adjustments might be necessary in 2010/11 to level out increases in spending the government had planned, it certainly doesn't warrant the present frenzy for 'savage cuts' and lowering of services that some are calling for. The more important question they should be addressing is how they intend to maintain an economy based on consumerism, expansion and oil. Whichever way you look at it, severe limitations loom: oil is running out and will be become relatively much more expensive; land is needed for homes and factories, but we also need to produce more food; and consumerism is flawed by environmental factors.

    Which brings me back to the question I posed in #17. I wonder if the parties privately accept that consumerism and capitalist expansion is over, which would explain why they are so keen to cut back public spending severely. If thats the case, voters will have a choice between the 'small government/laissez faire' approach favoured by Conservatives and Liberals, or 'big government/supportive' approach from Labour.

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  • 69. At 2:58pm on 21 Sep 2009, Richard_SM wrote:

    Addendum to my #68.

    The Tories often like to compare government spending with balancing a household budget, which is a false analogy, but let's extend that reasoning briefly.

    If national debt is at 60%, that's the same as someone earning £30,000 a year having an £18000 mortgage.

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  • 70. At 3:23pm on 21 Sep 2009, mittfh wrote:

    @19: Accidents involving pedestrians / cyclists.

    I don't know the detail of what is planned, but certainly there needs to be a toughening up of legislation / punishments tied to road related misdemeanors (and what the police can get away with). Several examples:

    A police constable who reached 159mph on a motorway has been cleared of speeding and dangerous driving.

    James Martin - "The look of sheer terror as" a group of cyclists he overtook while blasting his horn "tottered into the hedge was the best thing I've ever seen in my rear-view mirror."
    (Note that he only apologises for any offence caused by the article - not for the incident itself)

    Construction lorry kills a cyclist - driver given 5 points and £300 fine.

    Some councils have very strange ideas about where to put cycle lanes...
    (October, February and April are particularly nutty)

    Then again, even cyclists can suffer a failure of common sense - such as this one that crashed into another cyclist who was falling off his bike after hitting a pothole - then tried to sue for damages.

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  • 71. At 3:27pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:


    Handy for the single pensioner on 95.25 or couples on 152.30 each week.

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  • 72. At 3:37pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:


    Where's the other '?

    Doesn't missing it out completely invalidate your own point in your own world of pedantry?

    Or are you still quoting yourself, as in 'I said 'I said 'I said 'I said...........', Sid?

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  • 73. At 3:46pm on 21 Sep 2009, The Wrath Is Come wrote:

    mittfh - excellent piics of cycle lanes.

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  • 74. At 4:05pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:

    This 'recovery'. The V shaped outcome didn't happen.

    Now we're encouraged to worry about the big W.

    The first bit I understand - the crash \, then a false dawn recovery, followed by a fall back, giving the inverted v in the middle.

    But where is the / supposed then to come from to complete the W?

    I would have thought down dow, down dow down was more likely.

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  • 75. At 4:11pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:


    Yep, nothing for state dependent OAPs or on unemployment benefit, but a nice thousand quid hand out to everyone above the average income without a million pound home.

    I should think MPs from outside London will vote for that particular hand out from one of their own on 64 thousand.

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  • 76. At 4:22pm on 21 Sep 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Billy Goat Gruff is looking a bit gruffer today.

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  • 77. At 4:23pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:

    The downward slide. Is it starting today?

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  • 78. At 4:27pm on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    71, 75 - I didn't realise you wanted me to provide you with a comprehensive explanation of every Lib Dem policy.

    'nothing for state dependent OAPs or on unemployment benefit' is not true.

    Lib Dem Pensions and Benefits Policies can be found here - but this is the last time I do your homework for you, you naughty, naughty boy!

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  • 79. At 4:43pm on 21 Sep 2009, pithywriter wrote:

    not sure where to put this

    Can the team please find out if the Italian soldiers are conscripts please? Also, please find out how many other countries soldiers (or/and conscripts) have died in the Iraq/Afghan Blair/Brown/Bush wars? It is very odd that we never hear on BBC
    thank you

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  • 80. At 4:59pm on 21 Sep 2009, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    The best thing the labour party gave us was indoor toilets!

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  • 81. At 5:02pm on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #80. funnyJoedunn
    ....and what about the aqueduct and......

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  • 82. At 8:17pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:


    By raising the Persoanl allowance to 10 thousand, which was what your question was about.

    Do try to keep up, at least with what you yourself are talking about.

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  • 83. At 10:22pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:

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

  • 84. At 10:43pm on 21 Sep 2009, Sid wrote:

    PM @ 83

    No one who knew me would say that ... so, you just don't know me!

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  • 85. At 11:00pm on 21 Sep 2009, LionHeartedLion wrote:


    Say what? (:-)

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  • 86. At 11:31pm on 21 Sep 2009, Looternite wrote:

    Tch, Tch, I was accused of a troll like post earlier and I did not refer it to the moderators.

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