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Eddie Mair | 04:42 UK time, Thursday, 14 January 2010

glasssunrise1.JPG 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.

The PM team will meet in a real glass box at 11am. Why not be part of the meeting by sharing your thoughts in this virtual glass box?


  • 1. At 08:01am on 14 Jan 2010, Looternite wrote:

    So John Denham has admitted that class discrimination has yet to be tackled.

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  • 2. At 08:02am on 14 Jan 2010, Sindy wrote:

    I know there's plenty of heavyweight stuff ... but if you're looking for something lighter:

    Why handbag contents are getting lighter


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  • 3. At 08:10am on 14 Jan 2010, Looternite wrote:

    Misleading headline, Inverter cures student wind problem. Article here: http://www.epaonthenet.net/article.aspx?ArticleID=30661

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  • 4. At 08:12am on 14 Jan 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    There appeared to be some confusion as to who would be doing what in response to the Haiti earthquake. What are the international arrangements and agreements in such cases? Are there any international agreements? Is there any international co-ordination? How does it work?

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  • 5. At 08:13am on 14 Jan 2010, Sindy wrote:

    One of my hobby horses: Prison population 'should be cut' by third, say MPs


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  • 6. At 08:16am on 14 Jan 2010, Looternite wrote:

    Further developments to the LED low energy lamps.


    Note the low energy 80% less energy than incandescent lamps and 50,000 hours life.

    One day the media will notice.

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  • 7. At 08:18am on 14 Jan 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    How have hospital A & E Departments and ambulance services coped during the month of snow and freezing temperatures in UK? As well as dealing with alcohol-related incidents, they have presumably had more slips and falls and road traffic accidents. Have they been able to keep A & E vhicle entrances clear? What about staff shortages?

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  • 8. At 08:48am on 14 Jan 2010, Sindy wrote:

    This day in history:

    "1962: France vetoes Britain joining the European Common Market, believing the UK will act for US interests."

    What on earth gave them that idea?

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  • 9. At 09:12am on 14 Jan 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    So the Today programme informs me that the "Finnish Government" has declared war on the tobacco companies. Gradually to attempt to make smoking a no no - in Finland at least. Targeting the younger than me Finns. Oh dear. Don't tell Mr Hockney or the allegedly may be an even EVEN "Bigger Splash" of more than paint!
    And racism has allegedly changed in the last decade according to a survey. Hmm.
    Still thinking of Haiti and its people.
    Subject: Nonfatal dear Nun
    Anagram: Anneal DNA - fun tutor
    Anneal - to steel perhaps?

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  • 10. At 09:19am on 14 Jan 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    I think the "Subject" line above should have read "Nonfatal dear - Nu Nut!"
    I change subject matters that sort of offend me to use. Unanagrammed I mean. Sorry. But I really am like that.

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  • 11. At 09:36am on 14 Jan 2010, thtone wrote:

    No mention of the BBC report?

    "The current UK broadcasting system was set up in the 1950s and now struggles to keep up with the extraordinary changes of the digital age
    Mark Oliver, author of Changing the Channel"

    Could be the end of 4x4s.

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  • 12. At 09:51am on 14 Jan 2010, Richard wrote:

    What is going on with the current security paranoia? Yesterday, I attended a County Court to obtain a probate document on behalf of my deceased mother. At the entrance I was grilled about why I was there, despite having an appointment. I was asked for 'papers' (shades of 'paperen bitte') but didn't have any because the appointment was made by 'phone. I was made to empty my pockets, take off my belt and I was scanned with a handheld device. Folowing this, I was made to walk through a metal detecting arch which bleeped, because of my watch I suspect, and I was again searched. Once this was over, I went for my interview. In the course of this I was asked to produce ID. I offered my passport but was told I needed additional ID (what? surely a passport with a picture of me is sufficient ID. How will this work with ID cards, will we have to carry ID to prove our ID cards are genuine?) because of 'money laundering regulations'. What does this mean and why was a treated with such suspicion? Petty officials demanding papers, querying ID and searching everyone is redolent of Stalin's Russia is it not? And does it achieve anything other than frustration? Time to question this culture.

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  • 13. At 09:55am on 14 Jan 2010, Mindclearly wrote:

    WRT Banker getting bonuses.

    Last year the banking industruy was in crisis and the public purse propped it up so could weather the storm.

    This year the banking industry is now paying mega bonuses because the market has now returned to levels that it was before the banking crisis. So the question I have for all you mad keen bloggers,like me, without the very poor year last year woudl they of had the bonuses. I feel that they are being rewarded to get a market back to a position it was before the crisis. ie it is in a bankers interest to have an appaulling year as the next year shall be paved with gold, or am I being cynical?

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  • 14. At 10:02am on 14 Jan 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Some good news?


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  • 15. At 10:13am on 14 Jan 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Richard @ 12 - hear, hear!

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  • 16. At 10:55am on 14 Jan 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I can only agree with Sindy in saying Hear Hear to Richard (12).

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  • 17. At 11:25am on 14 Jan 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Richard@12: perhaps they had a security warning and were being conscientious because of it? For years before we knew why, airport security would not allow liquids through. Inconvenient but it seems they knew something the general public didn't.

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  • 18. At 11:34am on 14 Jan 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Excellent, Sindy - Let's hope it leads to a better outcome.

    Richard, that is dreadful! May I ask which Court? Has it held any hearings involving presumed terrorists?

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  • 19. At 11:38am on 14 Jan 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    6. Looternite - Be realistic, you know the media is only interested in people who want to use incandescents forever and have hundreds of them in protest; now that's a story!

    I have a stack of low energy bulbs I've been given despite only using them for decades; I'm just waiting for one of my existing bulbs to fail, but they seem to just go on and on. I expect LED room lights will be handed out like sweeties before I've managed to use any of them.

    I have a camping/bedside lamp that has LEDs, amazingly bright and runs on a couple of [rechargeable] AAA batteries.

    Energy saving bulbs also come in daylight versions for sufferers of SAD.

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  • 20. At 11:50am on 14 Jan 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    This energy saving device is being trialed http://planetark.org/wen/56342 which could save 10% of electricity. If eventually fitted to every meter, it could make a substantial drop in demand.

    So far in a year I've saved over £100 on my electricity bill [and a whack of carbon] by using my EcoButton http://www.ecotopia.co.uk/wl.aspx?40000091&req=63-dd0036. Rather than waiting for politicians to agree on something, we can all make a huge difference in our everyday lives now.

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  • 21. At 12:08pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    Is it still January ?

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  • 22. At 12:12pm on 14 Jan 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Yes. Another 17 days of it.

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  • 23. At 12:26pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    17 days eh!

    Well... I found some info on the 2010 AL30 Asteroid that came within a gnats wotsits yeasterday...


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  • 24. At 12:33pm on 14 Jan 2010, Richard wrote:

    Re 18, it was Edmonton County Court - not exactly high prfile terrorist country I would hazard. Re 17, the requests for addditonal ID with respect to 'money laundering' are inexplicable. What has ML got to do with obtaining probate for a will? I want someone to explain to me in simple terms what the ML threat is and why we have to keep having to prove who we are anytime we engage in even a simple financial transaction. I could understand it if I turned up with a suitcase full of fivers but is there a real issue or is it just over zealousness and jobsworthiness?

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  • 25. At 12:39pm on 14 Jan 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Only 384 days to Christmas!

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  • 26. At 12:47pm on 14 Jan 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Richard: re the money laundering stuff, I absolutely agree - it has become a nightmare and I think there's a case for a programme to go into the issues on behalf of the consumer. The number of times over the last few years that either I or my husband have had to submit passports, birth certificates, etc., to solicitors or banks in regard to simple (and often very small) financial transactions and the worry that important documentation is going to be lost in transit .... I quite agree, it is very worrying.

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  • 27. At 12:54pm on 14 Jan 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    @Richard #12wrote:
    "What is going on with the current security paranoia?"

    Something called 'the War on Terror,' - apparently. Some people got a bit sick of us (US/UK) preaching freedom and democracy while supporting oppression and brutality. They got a bit sick of turning the other cheek and a few of them decided to push-back a little. And now they're all called terrorists and want to take over the world - apparently.

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  • 28. At 12:56pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    let's make them the best 384 days of our lives...

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  • 29. At 12:57pm on 14 Jan 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Why not? Though I don't think we need stop there, do you?

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  • 30. At 1:00pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    Ok...let's make it the best 385 days of our lives...

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  • 31. At 1:03pm on 14 Jan 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:


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  • 32. At 1:05pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    no... I haven't touched a drop...

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  • 33. At 1:11pm on 14 Jan 2010, Crataegus Monogyna wrote:

    GDC (27),
    Well summarised.
    The War Against Terror (acronym)

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  • 34. At 1:18pm on 14 Jan 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    ....and The War Against Terror Supporters.

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  • 35. At 1:26pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    They say that Crufts has been attracting mutant breeds...
    Not me...I thought he was great on Blue Peter.

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  • 36. At 1:57pm on 14 Jan 2010, AllotmentJo wrote:

    As someone who is 'fostering' a bulldog for someone who is unable to look after him at the moment, I can only hope that the Kennel Club takes note of todays report, into the breeding of dogs. Poor Sam, a 3 year old bulldog, can only walk about 50 yards before he has to stop and get his breath back, his head is so heavy that he has to lie flat on his stomach to get some relief from carting the thing about, the grooves in his face have to be cleaned and vaselined daily otherwise they get sore, I have to clean his backside for him, as well as get to the itches he can't reach, chop his food up because he can't bite properly, I could go on and on. Although he is extremely stupid, he has a very affectionate nature, which is a bit troublesome when he tries to get on your lap!
    He loves going for walks and tries to have a run around, but gets so breathless! I feel really sorry for him when he looks up at me, with great big brown eyes, absolutely gasping for breath. Anyone, thinking of buying such an animal, should stop and think again.

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  • 37. At 2:03pm on 14 Jan 2010, vainly_here wrote:

    I'm fed up with all this propaganda and pressure about economy light bulbs. I use them wherever possible, but I have 4 PIRs outside that will only work with incandescent bulbs, and several luminaires inside that would look terrible if I fitted CFLs. Accordingly, I have stockpiled incandescent bulbs. Sadly, the lighting industry has introduced many designs in recent years that do not use standard incandescent bulbs and so cannot use CFLs (even the nice new compact ones) either; the long road to LEDs will probably be as tedious as the digital radio and TV saga. That is, almost as soon as nearly everyone is up to date, everyone is out of date. Think how many years it took to get decent FM radio in cars. Was it 20?

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  • 38. At 2:05pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    How many propagandists does it get you to change your light bulbs?

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  • 39. At 2:23pm on 14 Jan 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    38 sodarkinhere
    None ... propagandists keep you in the dark.

    (the Daily Mail springs to mind)

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  • 40. At 2:28pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    so true...

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  • 41. At 2:31pm on 14 Jan 2010, Richard wrote:

    Re security, a thought has just struck me. Supermarkets, cinemas, theatres, car show rooms, banks - anywhere you don't have to go, where you have a choice - no searches or security. Courts, Airports, Public buildings where you frequently go because you have to or because there is no alternative possible - massive security and restrictions. Presumably if Tesco introduced body scanners,and demanded ID, customers would stop going and would use a supermarket with no restrictions. Market forces or bullying? Time to stand up to the security bullies. If everyone refused to be searched, something would have to give. I don't believe it would make a scrap of difference to the potential risk

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  • 42. At 2:58pm on 14 Jan 2010, Looternite wrote:

    #37. Vyle Hernia
    The fact that FM radio was around for years before it was universally available in cars was because of a technical reason. The radio technology used for FM is more complex than long wave or medium wave, these are amplitude modulated signals and it is easy to decode the signal, hence the reason why that was the first radio technology. FM however is Frequency Modulated and requires a lot more electronics to decode the signal, miniaturisation was needed to get the electronics in the confined space for car use. The higher frequencies used for FM requires more transmitters to get national coverage. Therefore, you had to retune more often. This was a nuisance driving along motorways etc.
    However, technology does not standstill, what really made in car FM radio take off was the development of RDS so now you can drive from one end of the country to the other and stay tuned to your favourite radio station (Radio 4 FM) without knob twiddling.
    So yes, FM radio was about for donkey’s years before widespread car use because other technologies had to be developed and all transmitters had to be upgraded. Also of course, there had to be consumer pressure to provide the financial incentive for the various manufacturers to develop the products.

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  • 43. At 3:14pm on 14 Jan 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Richard (41) - It has always struck me as rather ridiculous that to get on to a plane you have to divest yourself of liquids, remove coats, hats, shoes, belts, and empty pockets etc., to prove that you are not carrying a bomb. And yet you can stand about a crowded check-in hall with hundreds, if not thousands of people, in very close proximity and have an enormous device within the 2 or 3 suitcases on your trolley.

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  • 44. At 3:16pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    Hopefully you're not speaking from personal experience...

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  • 45. At 3:34pm on 14 Jan 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    A PM caveat.

    As is well known I would die for Edgy's right to be wrong, but yesterday was the third time, on Big Issues, that I think the prog has almost willfully refused a moral stance when it could have done so much good taking one.
    (And what else but moral stances are Mare's best questions)

    Instead we got media stances, clever clogs but ultimately obscurantist:

    1. The credit crunch.

    It was and still is a failure of markets. Governments saved a lousy system.
    Where was/is PM's criticism of that (not of bonuses but of the whole finance industry and its motives and henec of those of the whole private sector.
    Instead we got 'Upshares' appealing mainly I think precisely because it WAS being naughty about serious matters.
    Pointing out government corporations work would, not be hard for the BBC to do.

    2. Cars

    Any pedestrian will tell you that cars in cities seemed an abomination during the cold spell

    Instead PM praised 4 X 4's and told others it was OK to use your own 2 X 4 car provided you went carefully.

    Meanwhile the TV was showing all cars, 4 X 4's as well, skating on ice roads in some parts, and being buried in drifts in others.

    So the opportunity to extol on-foot travel especially in towns was lost - whilst climate change and general health considerations make it a brilliant option to be taken by all healthy enough.

    3. Work

    We seem to have the wrong people doing the worst jobs. The land girl Gibson and now the Steel worker (let alone the Cradley Heath chain makers) demonstrate the capacity of middle class women to do proper jobs.

    We hear of working class benefit scroungers but never of the idle rich, the daughters, grand daughters, great....etc) in particular, of the gentry and of entrepeneurs and of hte atristic and cultural elite, who ride or write or compose or play or design or otherwise idle

    Steel workers, chain makers and Land Girls demonstrate how productive women from elite idle lineages could be.

    Why no PM stance on this issue?

    (If its 'cos you are frit, I don't blasme you after all)

    But stories without stance, narratives without moral outlook, we get

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  • 46. At 3:42pm on 14 Jan 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    37. Vyle Hernia wrote:

    '... I have 4 PIRs outside that will only work with incandescent bulbs'

    Really? Why? Have you asked bulb manufacturers?

    '...and several luminaires inside that would look terrible if I fitted CFLs.'

    I don't see why, CFLs come in a wide power and shape range including globes, and there are some colour variations now.

    'Accordingly, I have stockpiled incandescent bulbs.' It was you!!! ;-)

    The lighting industry should get up to speed on this.

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  • 47. At 3:52pm on 14 Jan 2010, Crataegus Monogyna wrote:

    Response on the "wrong" thread


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  • 48. At 3:54pm on 14 Jan 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    36. AllotmentJo - so true Jo, and it's the Kennel Club which is to blame and which has been called on repeatedly for decades to change; and their judges who pick extremes as winners, thus causing breeders to try to mimic them to make more money.

    German Shepherds with hip displasia is another breed mucked about with to their detriment, Cavalier King Charles spaniels another, where breathing can be affected as well as other health issues. Bulldogs are great characters, but I always feel so sorry for what man has done to them. Too many people keep dogs for entirely the wrong reasons.

    http://www.my-new-dog.co.uk has a lot of good advice on dogs' and puppies' care, including not to buy from dealers unless there are none of the dog you want in shelters, and definitely not to buy from pet shops/suppliers as these get their dogs from puppy farms, which should be banned but the government is uninterested.

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  • 49. At 4:03pm on 14 Jan 2010, Looternite wrote:

    #46. DoctorDolots
    At least we can agree on this.
    I spent a long time finding a suitable CF bulb for my lounge light fittings. Eventually, either the manufacturer produced smaller bulbs or the DIY Company stocked them. However, all my inside lights are low energy and when my outside PIR lamp failed I chose one that would take a low energy lamp.

    The other lamps happened to take more common sized CF lamps.
    There is a fantastic range of CF low energy bulbs available that it is fairly easy to get a bulb that fits your older fittings.

    LED lamps will come to replace the CF lamps eventually but it has been said that as LED technology is a semiconductor process and the conventional bulb and CF lamp manufacturers are basically "glass blowers" and so are not wanting to hand over to this more efficient light source easily.

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  • 50. At 4:06pm on 14 Jan 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    We numpties think that taking the last 130 years decade by decade, there is an 11 to 2 chance (5.5 to 1 in newspeke) of a global temperature fall over the next decade, and a 12 to 1 chance of a hold (at the highest temperatures ever). Meanwhile there is also a 11 to 2 shot of a mild temperature rise (on top of course of highest ever temps). (If any of those possibilities should come about the odds in its favour would then increase for the next decade (a Bayesian said yesterday) - in the case of cooling by 50 per cent! (From 11 to 2, to 11 to 3))

    The odds on favourite is however, at 5 to 8 ON, a decade of rapid temperature rise.

    Now we numpties know that this cold weather was the coldest this climate, ie this last 30 years.

    We know too that 1940 to the mid eighties was a period of temperature constancy overall, so 1989 to 2009 seems a good interval on which to define the present' climate ' - conveneiently a 30 year period.

    Which gives three decades of rapidly rising temperatures and one on hold (at the highest levels ever)

    Which for us, the 'right thread numpties', makes it a 1 to 3 odds ON favourite that there will be rapid temperasture rise in the coming decade and a 3 to 1 shot of a hold in (v.high) temperatures. With ziltz prob. of anything else.

    Is that what the cogniscenti are trying to tell us as they enthusiastically trip over their own rhetoric and jargon? Why don't they get one of those little blue ball points from a bookies and write down for us what the odds of their dire predictions are? We numpties understand that, y'know.

    What WERE the odds as of 1st Dec for this cold spell according to the Met Office weather model, at that time?

    Shouldn't we be told, straight?

    Can we use the answer to calibrate the Met Office Climate model, which is the same thing (isn't it?) as their weather model, up to time and area scaling differences?

    Us numpties would like to be enlightened.

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  • 51. At 4:13pm on 14 Jan 2010, Crataegus Monogyna wrote:

    I like this snow stuff! Here it is at quarter past four, and still light!

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  • 52. At 4:18pm on 14 Jan 2010, Sindy wrote:

    "Now we numpties know that this cold weather was the coldest this climate, ie this last 30 years."

    In the UK maybe - but not in Australia, where Melbourne had its hottest night temperature for 102 years a few days ago. Don't you get fed up hearing me say 'Weather does not equal climate'? I'm certainly getting fed up saying it.

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  • 53. At 4:33pm on 14 Jan 2010, BradyGray wrote:

    Man made climate change global warming etc just gives us the illusion of control and or influence over the planet thus making us feel more important than we are not that we aren't important because we are important all the planet has to do is shrug and we're all gone or in a place of hell like the poor souls in Haiti...we matter so much and we matter so little...I like people I like the planet thus endeth my half baked thought...

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  • 54. At 4:45pm on 14 Jan 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    What made the fund managers here decide, in March 2009, to accpt the governement bribe of Quantitative Diseasing rahter than contiune the crewdit crunch?

    One might say 'They saw profit in it'

    But credit crunches are crucially about the destruction of short term gains.

    So why did they swallow dive out of the plunge that Ftse prices were in at that time?

    One might say, the good price the BoE was offwering withn our money for its own debt but that scarcely results in a reduction of governement spending - another concenr that drives credit crunches.

    No, it must be that the political climate had changed. Obama was being felt throughout the financial world, with his talk of GDP increases being illusory if brought about by the creation and bidding up of financial assets. At that time, with Obama's predictable embroilment in Afganistan a year or so away, and the White Knight Cameron hugely ahead in the polls, to those fund managers short terem profits on the FTse using Quantitative Diseasing money for the rainy days to come, must have seemed right.

    Whether they are leaders or followers in the global game of boom and crash is hard to know without complete transparency.

    They may just have followed the US leaders from Oct 2008 on, in selling off their Ftse (etc) holdings, and bottled out i nthe face of Obama's presence and the BoE bribes.

    In any event, as leaders or as followers (leaders at the momonet seem to be pumping short term money into China in another speculative bubble, lets hope again China divests itself of foreign debt and burns their fingers) they will no doubt be engaged in the big sell off in the middle of this year as a 'genuinely concerned for you all' Cameron is 'forced' to cut government spending 'because of the 'crisis''.

    So, Nils

    1. What turned them round in March 2009, given they had been destroying 'value' by their selling strategies?

    2. Is Greenspan right that another crunch will come (They're inherent in market systems for him), in the middle of next year? (As those of us who see them as quite deliberately caused, believe)

    PS In a discussion I found difficult, here, on religion, a poster said he'd take an economist's advice on economic matters.

    Would that have been difficult at the beginning of the credit crunch or were Hayekians, Keynesians and global marketeers all saying the same thing?

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  • 55. At 4:55pm on 14 Jan 2010, Sindy wrote:

    EtE - I often read your stuff, and end up wondering what on earth you mean. Like this: "Obama was being felt throughout the financial world ..."

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  • 56. At 6:18pm on 14 Jan 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    the coldest weather this climate, where the climate is taken to be the 30 year interval


    Obama's influence, his effect, his presence

    You seem an ideal cogiscente to be able to tell a numpty like me what, indeed, the probabilty was of the current cold spell acording to the Met Office weather model.

    And the probability of their various climate predicitons.

    And whether they use the same model for both, up to time and area aggregations.

    30 years of a certain sort of weather makes any other sort of climate unlikely, I would have thought.

    The Met Model is surely Bayesian isn''t it?

    Glad you are quoting the weather in Melbourne in your comments about climate.

    PS Aftermath was their best LP and 'It's all over now' not written by them, about their second best single.

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  • 57. At 6:19pm on 14 Jan 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    I meant to call you a cogniscente

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  • 58. At 10:24pm on 14 Jan 2010, Sindy wrote:

    EtE - have you made this up? "the climate is taken to be the 30 year interval" - I don't recall seeing it anywhere else.

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