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Eddie Mair | 16:50 UK time, Thursday, 15 October 2009


Got a thought about tonight's PM? Share it here and the programme editor Amanda Lewis will have a look, and may well add a comment.


  • 1. At 5:07pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Same old, same old...

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  • 2. At 5:08pm on 15 Oct 2009, Dr_Hackenbush wrote:

    Zeb and others seem to refer to some entity known as 'Rawl Mell', but I'm afraid I still have no idea what it is. Any clues?

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  • 3. At 5:09pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    DH 2, Who's Zeb? Unless you're joking, Royal Mail?

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  • 4. At 5:11pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    MoD procurement?

    Isn't part of the problem buying things like Aircraft Carriers and Nimrods because making them employs people, and they're employed in certain constituencies rather than whether they're actually needed or suitable for the job in hand?

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  • 5. At 5:17pm on 15 Oct 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    So just how much money is Roche making from this swine flu pantomime?

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  • 6. At 5:18pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    As long as suicide bombers and terrorists are getting killed in Afg/Pak, I guess that keeps them from doing it in GB.

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  • 7. At 5:19pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    Trouble in Pakistan? Haven't the Muslim fundamentalist factions always been there, but there's been a reluctance by the media and the politicians to say it? We're fighting a war, a battle against terror but we can't even say how it is for the sake of upsetting people?

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  • 8. At 5:19pm on 15 Oct 2009, Dr_Hackenbush wrote:

    OK, one more minor criticism from the Doc on pronunciation matters:

    When you hear someone from that country mentioning its name, the pronunciation you get is PaRKistaRN. Allowing for regional accents, I can understand why this sometimes comes out as PaCKistaNN. But for some reason, various presenters, reporters, newsreaders and others have somehow decided on a bizarre hybrid PaCKistaRN. I could mention Martha, Robin and that Mr Miliband character. Would it not be great if someone would put them straight? Well, maybe the word will spread from here...

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  • 9. At 5:19pm on 15 Oct 2009, Saxpost wrote:

    Does the Minister for defence procurement know how the expense's system works?!!? Anyone who serves in the Armed Forces could tell you what the problems are - no leadership - none

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  • 10. At 5:22pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    JW 5, Stephen Roche, the cyclist?

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  • 11. At 5:23pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    DH 8, How about P-shaw-wah?

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  • 12. At 5:24pm on 15 Oct 2009, newlach wrote:

    Great interview with Lord Drayson. He was doing fine until he asked: "What's your question?" He simply collapsed after this, or perhaps he tried to fit new warheads on his shells and realised that they just didn't fit!

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  • 13. At 5:25pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Eddie, I hate poetry being read on the radio. It had better be good.

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  • 14. At 5:26pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    Issues pronouncing Pakistan? Just make it part of India again. Problem solved.

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  • 15. At 5:27pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    L_M 14, And put GB back in charge?

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  • 16. At 5:30pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Me thinks old TS had a bit too much to drink.

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  • 17. At 5:31pm on 15 Oct 2009, Sid wrote:

    It was good!

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  • 18. At 5:31pm on 15 Oct 2009, Dr_Hackenbush wrote:

    3, Who's Zeb? Did I get the wrong newsreader?

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  • 19. At 5:32pm on 15 Oct 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    In the US where drug advertising is far less restricted, they have a much more direct approach to get people to swallow their products.


    It could be argued that between them, the government and the BBC have done a great job for Roche or any other company that might want to cash in on public anxiety over future so-called pandemics (and there will be plenty) that the W.H.O. might want to announce.

    Did anyone else know that the W.H.O. re-defined 'pandemic' shortly before the swine flu outbreak to lower the criteria? Up until last year the world-wide outbreak of this flu could not have been described as such, because it had not killed nearly enough people.

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  • 20. At 5:32pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    DH 18, Dunno, I'm on Radio 4.

    Sid 17, It was short.

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  • 21. At 5:34pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    DH 18, Ah, Zeb Soames. Just heard him. Zebediah?

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  • 22. At 5:34pm on 15 Oct 2009, Sid wrote:

    Don't forget, Debussy finished La Mer at Eastbourne. So it's not just poetry.

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  • 23. At 5:35pm on 15 Oct 2009, Joe Walker wrote:


    No, Nicholas Roche, his son. He's being paid to endorse it as a legal performance enhancer.

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  • 24. At 5:37pm on 15 Oct 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    Note to moderators: My previous comment was of course a JOKE.

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  • 25. At 5:38pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Sid 22, And DaVinci died in Amboise, France. And the Messiah premiered in Belfast.

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  • 26. At 5:38pm on 15 Oct 2009, Scotch Git wrote:


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  • 27. At 5:39pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    JW 23, I'm of an age to remember Stephen. He used Asian flu jabs.

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  • 28. At 5:40pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    S-g 26, Zippity do dah?

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  • 29. At 5:41pm on 15 Oct 2009, yetanothercomment wrote:

    It's all right spending five minutes on a long and heartfelt item about an innocent guy charged with rape, but what percentage of rape allegations involve an innocent guy? 5 %? 10 %?

    Can we take it that there will now be ten or twenty items about rape trials and rape victims where the rapist was not convicted? Just to make it fair?

    And since only a small percentage of rape cases actually get to court - what is it, one in ten? - does that mean you'll now do 100 or 200 items on the trauma that rape victims suffer just to make it completely balanced?

    Thought not.

    What exactly was the point of this item at a time when only a fraction of genuine rape cases get to court, and only a fraction of those cases lead to conviction?

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  • 30. At 5:42pm on 15 Oct 2009, Scotch Git wrote:


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  • 31. At 5:42pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Good God, PM sings the blues! What next!

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  • 32. At 5:42pm on 15 Oct 2009, Anne P. wrote:

    I thought the Messiah premiered in Dublin.

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  • 33. At 5:42pm on 15 Oct 2009, Mike wrote:

    Lord Drayson seemed to think the criticsms in the report were new. They are not and have been made over and over again. Perhaps he meant they were new to him?
    He said he would do his best - this is unlikely to resolve the problem.
    There probably should be more "ownership" by the end user. The current procurement process seems to favour the supplier not the customer (the Armed Forces. The continual movement / "improvement" of specifications causes delays, allows confusion and frustration leading to overruns. Value is not well understood. Deadlines and penalties seem not to be used.
    A strong dose of leadership is needed.

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  • 34. At 5:44pm on 15 Oct 2009, Joe Walker wrote:


    And the rest... oops, who said that..?

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  • 35. At 5:44pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    Regarding the RoW owning Britain's financial posterior. If a financial whizz kid of Gordon Brown's standing 'End of boom and bust' failed to realise that it was a bubble and was sticking his fingers in his ears whenever the IMF voiced warnings, how can we be expected to believe them when they trying frightening us over climate change?

    If they're incapable of not being in denial over the economy how should I think they've a handle on climate change?

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  • 36. At 5:46pm on 15 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #8. Dr_Hackenbush
    Don't Give A Monkey's how people pronounce it. We all know where they mean. Get a life, mate.

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  • 37. At 5:47pm on 15 Oct 2009, Sid wrote:

    Anne P - Handel's Messiah certainly did. I wonder which one D was referring to?

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  • 38. At 5:49pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    AP 32, You're probably right. I couldn't be bothered to Google.

    S-g, Gerald Mcboing Boing.

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  • 39. At 5:50pm on 15 Oct 2009, lucien desgai wrote:

    8 DH
    If you or I pronounced Paris or Nicaragua as though we were natives we would sound pretty silly (assuming that you are English). Conversely Mr McNickle might say that the British pronunciations of Michigan (hard 'ch') and Maryland (the land of the Marys) sound quite daft.
    There are no hard rules here; the trick of pronouncing foreign place names is to be understood without sounding silly.

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  • 40. At 5:54pm on 15 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #39. lucien_desgai
    Yes I agree with you.

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  • 41. At 5:55pm on 15 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    People don't pronounce Luton as per the locals, Dr_Hackenbush

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  • 42. At 5:57pm on 15 Oct 2009, Joe Walker wrote:

    The great thing about talking about cyclesport on a BBC blog is they have no idea what your talking about. You can make all kinds of accusations and claims and they won't have a clue.

    On the other hand if I levelled a few reasonably well substantiated, but un-proven drug-related suspicions about certain footballers and their teams, or tennis players, they would disappear instantly in a terrified frenzy of BBC censorship.

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  • 43. At 5:59pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Ln 41, They can't afford t's in Luton.

    L-D 39, Yes, Merry-land (sounds like Alton Towers). And Who-stun instead of Hugh-stun. Lima and Toledo, Ohio?

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  • 44. At 5:59pm on 15 Oct 2009, darkdesign wrote:

    I believe I heard an MP complain about receiving a letter which referred to the need for information that she had already provided, and that made her feel guilty even though she had done nothing wrong. Many, many ordinary people receive similar letters about tax credits, benefits, council tax, etc, day in, day out. Was she expecting sympathy?

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  • 45. At 6:00pm on 15 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Time 4 Eggheads.

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  • 46. At 6:02pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Just exactly what did Mrs. Claire Curtis-Thomas forget to keep receipts for?

    How much of the claimed £165+K is under question?

    Surely keeping receipts, a common enough convention, was part of the arrangement for MPs making claims?

    Irish TDs do not have to produce receipts in making their claims - scandalous.

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  • 47. At 6:02pm on 15 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    So, the stocks of flu vaccine are soon to be arriving in hospitals.

    Can someone explain the difference between this (preventative) vaccine and the Tamiflu that's already available? Is that an alleviate the sysmptoms vaccine only? (It may have saved lives; I don't recall statistics on that)

    I'm sure the answer is very straightforward, but I'd have liked a brief explanation during the item.

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  • 48. At 6:03pm on 15 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    sysmptoms, schmymptoms.

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  • 49. At 6:04pm on 15 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    43. David_McNickle
    It's not that we can't afford t's but that we are reducing our carbon footprint.
    The T sound requires more energy to produce.

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  • 50. At 6:05pm on 15 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #47. Frances O
    The Flu jab prevents infection.
    Tamiflu is used after infection and reduces its spread.

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  • 51. At 6:07pm on 15 Oct 2009, darkdesign wrote:

    YAC@29: The point was to remind us that things are not always as straightforward as we might wish. And that the person who made a false accusation of a vile crime cannot be identified.

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  • 52. At 6:14pm on 15 Oct 2009, Idcam wrote:

    Oh dear! I'm in Edinburgh. Looks like I might as well throw the weather map out the window (or "winday" as they say up here!). No mention at all of Eastern Scotland in today's forecast. What happened? Did they forget about us? Or what?

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  • 53. At 6:14pm on 15 Oct 2009, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Looternite: Now that's exactly what I needed to know. Succinctly put. Thanks.

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  • 54. At 6:16pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    51darkdesign: I thought the law had been changed and that someone making such a false accusation could be named - though I suspect if this were the case PM would have named her.

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  • 55. At 6:19pm on 15 Oct 2009, SproutGhost wrote:

    Rant mode on
    Beware of Ministers saying “Eddie”.

    My guess is that you have forced them into a corner and they are looking for an escape route / a chum / sympathy! So why not go the whole hog and ask them about a specific example of poor spending, over run of supply, over budget….just look at the “Typhoon”.

    Designed as a highly agile Air Superiority Aircraft it is ending up as a multi-role/swing-role weapon system sandwich. History has shown, and we never seem to learn, that a single weapons platform cannot be multi role. Different marks of Spitfire / Hurricane, Hawker Hunter, Nimrod, Sea King etc were produced for specific jobs and not supplied as “All in one kit”..

    Have we not been this down this road before with the “MRCA Tornado” MRCA being Multi Role Combat Aircraft? This was an all in one solution that ended up as several different marks doing different jobs with the ADV and GR version to name but two.

    The Typhoon is kit that was designed for the cold war era but is still going to be supplied to the RAF. Why not give them a half decent ground attack aircraft which is what the feet on the ground need for support, something like the BAE Jaguar that has now been scrapped, or develop the Harrier / AV8 in conjunction with the US?

    The US Government learned years ago, in Korea & Vietnam, that the “grunts” need the correct kit now and not thirty years down the line so became very, very good at ‘reverse’ engineering the kit supplied / in the supply chain so that it was fit for use in the current theatre of war.

    The MOD seems to muddle around by ordering a Mondeo, getting a Lada when all they wanted a BMW 7 series!

    (Apologies to Ford, Lada and BMW)


    rant off

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  • 56. At 6:29pm on 15 Oct 2009, steelpulse wrote:

    Eddie In my opinion a good programme and it was very instructive seeing a demonstration of an interviewee who would have benefited from what later will be done to one word answers. Answering just yes and or no. Lord Drayson. My goodness what a brave attempt to say absolutely nothing helpful - allegedly.
    You see why I couldn't do a job as a politician. I call it like I see it. And that openness has most probably cause a few conflicts over the centuries. See below. lol
    I heard on FiveLive they have still not implemented equal rights (with permanent employees) for Temporary employees - another delay of two years after years of early delays. Will this country never bite that bullet? It was the early 1980s I was first complaining - quietly then and here we still are. That running almost back to back with MORE large city bonuses and I consider we still have our priorities wrong.

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  • 57. At 6:29pm on 15 Oct 2009, Sid wrote:

    SG - something like the TSR-2 might do ...

    "All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics. TSR-2 simply got the first three right.”

    — Sir Sydney Camm

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  • 58. At 6:37pm on 15 Oct 2009, Wacsee wrote:

    To answer an earlier blog, the reason for including the item on the innocent youngster accused of rape must be that it was a case that surely shouldn`t have gone to court anway on such apparently flimsey or non-existent evidence.However strongly we sympathise with genuine rape victims we also have a duty to protect the innocent.The statistics relating to reported rape cases and subsequent convictions are misleading.There seems little difference in the rate of conviction IN PROSECUTIONS for this crime and most others.I hope no one is suggesting that the level of evidence be lowered.

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  • 59. At 6:50pm on 15 Oct 2009, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    We're back to John Bolton territory, with 'experts' telling us democracy is bad for Pakistan.

    This current extreme view from an 'anti-extremist', that the opposition should not oppose, is of a piece.

    For of course, Bolton's CIA-informed view was that a democratic Pakistan would be, in effect the Taliban, and on their Taliban cousins' side in Afghanistan against the US - UK invaders

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  • 60. At 7:00pm on 15 Oct 2009, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Missed some bits and replays not yet up and running... but......

    from a post or two above.... did Nils consider whether we are in the middle of another speculative bubble, as I suggested he might like to, on the AM GB?

    What with Goldman-Sachs profits and all, I expect he did.

    Ignore today's 333 point fall in the Ftse, that's just rich fat cats playing it cautious for a day. Iy'll be up on Friday, cos those guys are on a roll/

    They are making money (spending power) hand over fist at our expense (50 per cent up since May) - at our expense because government services, pensions and wages are cut or put on hold to make way for that spending power, The 'CUTS NOW' programme is driven by the supporters of this speculative bubble.

    It'll last till Cameron is in power and ready to slash government expenditure and so inaugurate phase 2 of the Second Great Slump.

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  • 61. At 7:13pm on 15 Oct 2009, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Whilst we are cooperating with anti-democratic tendencies in Afghanistan (Kharzai etc) and now aligning with those refusing to incorporate the Talban into mainstream politics in Pakistan, despite its huge territorial and popular power, could we please consider..............

    ........INSTANT recall for the next lot of MPs, here - to stand for re-election as soon as their Constituents register a fall in their vote by, say, 50 per cent (An easy matter to arrange electronically and anonymously. So that someone voted in on 40 per cent must stand again as soon as 80 per cent of (all) registered (electronically) voters are opposed to the MP.

    (The Constituency support poll is carried out by regular national calls to re-initialise one's registration and alignment)

    Well, we need some way of stopping them becoming a permanant cosy club of sleaze balls and lazy bureaucratic party fodder.

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  • 62. At 7:26pm on 15 Oct 2009, aberitzwyth wrote:

    Can somebody please explain to me why bailing out the banks threatens to saddle us and our children with massive debts for years to come? Surely it is the banks themselves that are in debt to us, and surely therefore the bail out debt will be recouped (with interest?) from the profits the banks make from now on. Are they not expected to repay these loans before handing out massive bonuses to themselves and their shareholders? If not, doesn't it follow that we own the banks now? If so, why don't we sell them off and cut our losses? Or better still, amalgamate all banking under The Bank of Britain, which could operate from Post Offices, thereby securing their future. Surely if we all had our mortgage with the Bank of Britain (i.e. the government), the interest paid on those mortgages could fund a reduction or abolition of income tax, and maybe people will once again see houses for what they are, namely homes in which to live and raise families, not investments towards a fast profit.



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  • 63. At 8:21pm on 15 Oct 2009, unclesocial wrote:

    So another MP has bitten the dust following allegations that they have ripped the tax payer off for over £100,000 (allegedly). When MP's have been asking everyone to tighten their belts, their own appear to have been bulging with public money. How hypocritical. Does one lose their sense of morality when they become an MP, even if they claim to be doing nothing illegal. I also wonder who was doing the scrutiny in the fees ofice, because clearly they don't have a clue how to interpret the rules. Since when were plants linked with parliamentary business. They'll be claiming for Pugin wallpaper next.

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  • 64. At 9:02pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Percyrind, I am wondering when the next stage of announcements will be made as the example you refer to sounded to me like a clear case of fraud.

    Did the MPs think after the Summer we'd all just forget about them fiddling their expenses? It's not over yet.

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  • 65. At 9:05pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    The police messed up when dealing with that rape case? A bit like they messed up DNA swabbing Mathew Repton, fireman after somebody drove into the back of his fire engine when attending a road traffic accident?

    Perhaps the police could handle rape cases better if they weren't to busy DNA swabbing anybody and everybody to fill up the DNA Database?

    MoD procurement doesn't help us to fight wars and protect our military in Afghanistan while the police here DNA swab anybody for the slightest excuse? Shouldn't we be fighting for freedom and democracy here?

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  • 66. At 9:49pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lepus_Madidus wrote:


    Haven't we also bought off warlords then?

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  • 67. At 10:51pm on 15 Oct 2009, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    It does beg the question whether MPs get elected to represent their constituents, which let's face it must be difficult when the party whips have them on the leashes that are pagers, or it's a just to enrich themselves?

    How many MPs would be getting similar remuneration in the private sector? If they can get more why don't they just do it instead of the increasingly unconvincing 'we're doing it because we want to help people'?

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  • 68. At 09:45am on 16 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Ln 49, 'hanks for 'hat info.

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  • 69. At 09:48am on 16 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Ln 50, I thought the explanation was that one is the one doctors have and the other is the one they don't have.

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  • 70. At 10:15am on 16 Oct 2009, Looternite wrote:

    #68. David_McNickle
    You mean fanks for lat.

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  • 71. At 11:19am on 16 Oct 2009, David_McNickle wrote:

    Ln 70, Dew knot.

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  • 72. At 2:08pm on 16 Oct 2009, cultureboy wrote:

    I was very upset to hear the tale of the young man held for months on remand in prison on a trumped-up rape charge, then having to face the trauma of a trial, without a shred of evidence against him. The fact that he was acquitted can have been scant consolation after that ordeal.

    What is not commonly known is that court judges (criminal and civil) alike have absolute power over them. They can hold people in prison and/or dictate that they face a trial or civil hearing without there being any evidence against them. And there is not a single thing that can be done about it - judges are completely unaccountable and you cannot refer the matter to any appeal body.

    For my own part (a far less serious case than the young man featured), I have been told I must attend a civil hearing over a billed amount I never agreed to - despite the Complainant admitting that it has no evidence whatsoever that I authorised it.

    The very sinister and completely undemocratic powers of judges and courts must be reined in - and a fairer, more sensible system put in place.

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  • 73. At 5:34pm on 16 Oct 2009, LooeLady wrote:

    Education - the only thing that has to be taught is a love of learning. So learing must be fun and continue to be fun.

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  • 74. At 5:39pm on 16 Oct 2009, Geronimo3 wrote:

    I can't believe what I've just heard David Milliband say in defence of the Govt opposing publication of the proceedings in the Mohammad case. Has he not heard of Nuremburg? His argument would have the British Govt support any secret of a foreign Govt that was disclosed to it, including genocide. Oh where are the men of principle these days?

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