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Eddie Mair | 06:20 UK time, Thursday, 11 February 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 08:54am on 11 Feb 2010, James Howlett wrote:

    Surly this is a better time as any to buy the Elgin Marbles and settle the dispute once and for all. A fair price though, the rest of the money could be a loan.

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  • 2. At 09:29am on 11 Feb 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    Hi folks, a suggestion? It may be appropriate to remember 20 years ago today when Nelson Mandela began his March to Freedom and I'm sure they'll be lots of spokespeople available to talk up RSA's progress ;-)

    It was a memorable day, though I confess I was too self absorbed to realise its significance at the time.

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  • 3. At 09:50am on 11 Feb 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    Oh dear! The US is disappointed by the Binyam Mohamed torture revelations and feels that 'the judgement would "complicate" intelligence sharing'. Does this mean that they might not tell us the next time they have really reliable intelligence that a crazed dictator is stockpiling WMD?

    And it begins to look like Iran's threat to mark the anniversary of the revolution by delivering 'a punch' to western powers has turned into a punch-up on the streets of Tehran.

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  • 4. At 09:54am on 11 Feb 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    So the Greek government wants to build schools, hospitals etc and provide services for those who can't pay for them themselves.

    So the rich refuse to lend them the money for that, refusing therefore to let the workers who build the schools, deliver the services etc, get paid.

    Instead the rich want to use the money to buy CDOs (COLLATERAL Debt Obligations) which hit payola if Greece defaults on her debts. In fact they even take money out of any Greek debt they hold to buy the CDOs. Stacked deck or what?)

    And the rich in Greece itself join in the hue and cry against socialism by screaming that cuts rather than taxing them is the solution.

    So the rich deny the poor the comfort they deserve, using the very money they have expropriated from the poor against them.

    So it is here, as the national and international rich holler that governments should cut social welfare programmes.

    Expropriate these slush funds of filthy lucre and the problem is solved. Then governments, acting for we, the people, create demand, not the creators of speculative bubbles and what the money will be spent on.

    'Course to get such a planned economy right, you need other than fools in charge.
    For example, to revitalise the economy, if you have 200 billion to spend, you revitalise infrastructure with it, so acquiring assets worth having - 200 billion pounds worth of schools, hospitals, green energy production, rail infrastructure, green bus fleets, social housing, sports centres etc.
    Instead we've got a stock market boom, helping no one but the rich and paid for by the poor in terms of all of the above foregone.

    Now the very architects of this ramshackle dis-Easing policy say the recovery here will be 'slow and painful'. Meaning the poor lose what little they have, including work, whilst the rich get it 'quick and easy' via a Ftse asset inflation.

    PS The only sign of hope I can see is the Guardian publishing one of its regualr 'Socialism is dead' diatribes. From which you know it isn't.

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  • 5. At 09:59am on 11 Feb 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    Also highly amused this morning by the BBC's revelation that the annual cost of running the Parliamentary body set up to police Commons expenses will amount to around six times the amount MPs have been ordered to repay.

    Perhaps there should be an inquiry into this? You can never have too many...

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  • 6. At 10:00am on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    If there's not a propaganda campaign going on against Iran at present, as some might argue, how come I can find very little coverage about Iran's 30th anniversary in 2009?

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  • 7. At 10:04am on 11 Feb 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    GDC #6

    Because you are unable to type "30th anniversary of Iranian revolution" into Google?

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  • 8. At 10:07am on 11 Feb 2010, elcej wrote:

    How can it possibly cost £6.5million per year and 80 people to administer the expenses for around 1500 MPs and Lords. I know companies with many thousands of employees that handle expenses with 4 or 5 people.

    Perhaps, rather than using photocopiers and computers these 80 people use quill pens and embellished calligraphy script?

    How can they justify spending our money this way.
    Perhaps PM could interview some large private company and see how they process expenses.

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  • 9. At 10:10am on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    Well done Iraq for expelling 250 Blackwater staff (now XE Services) from their country.

    However, Blackwater/Xe Services is bidding for a $1 billion Afghan deal.


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  • 10. At 10:11am on 11 Feb 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Guido (7) I assume GDC is referring to a different 30th anniversary than the one that's top story on the BBC News website at the moment (10am) ;-)

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  • 11. At 10:13am on 11 Feb 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    ExpectingtheEnd, of course the Greeks could pay for their own Schools-n-hospitals rather than living beyond their means and expecting others to fund them for them.

    Is it wrong to expect borrowers to honour their debts?

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  • 12. At 10:15am on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    @GiulioNapolitani #7
    I did that earlier. Not much coverage, as I said. And not much indicating dissent.

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  • 13. At 10:16am on 11 Feb 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    GiulioNapolitani, yes the cost of this should be investigated, £6million cost would suggest it costs £10,000 to administer the standards of each MP, are they that corrupt?

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  • 14. At 10:18am on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    Here's BBC report by John Simpson last year. Compare to current news reports.


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  • 15. At 10:18am on 11 Feb 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Ignore my 10, as I misread that it was the 30th, not 31st under discussion

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  • 16. At 10:26am on 11 Feb 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    With regards to comparing events of last year to events today, the fact that the situation may have changed should be taken into account. Peoples attitudes change, so the fact that there is dissent now where there wasn't (or was smaller) last year is not necessarily part of some big conspiracy. Occams razor dictates that it is more likely to be that a significant part of the Iranian population are dissatisfied with how the country is being run.

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  • 17. At 10:37am on 11 Feb 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    The rich didn't borrow it, they stole it.

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  • 18. At 10:39am on 11 Feb 2010, CG wrote:

    We are to be charged 6 million quid to try to stop MPs sticking their hands in our pockets. If we vote for the large parties in the next election it should be held on April 1st - All Fools Day!

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  • 19. At 10:55am on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    Your chance to stand as a candidate in the 2010 General Election

    £1,000 is offered to cover the cost of an electoral deposit as well as campaign expenses for an independent candidate who will be chosen by comedian Mark Thomas (listen to his programme on BBC Radio4 6.30pm tonight)

    Mark Thomas asked his audience to come up with new policies, which were then refined and voted on. See the manifesto on the link below:


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  • 20. At 10:56am on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    The People's Manifesto


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  • 21. At 10:58am on 11 Feb 2010, thtone wrote:

    Remember those expressions,'Rip off Britain' and 'The Spiv'?

    They are now clearly endemic attitudes throughout UK and any attempt to control them results in more of the same by another name.
    Who knowingly prophesied," A nation ends up with the government it deserves?"

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  • 22. At 11:01am on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    @ Fearless Fred #16
    What government policies have suddenly brought about this change?

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  • 23. At 11:07am on 11 Feb 2010, darkdesign wrote:

    The BBC article indicates that the £6M cost of the MP expenses body is a one-off start-up cost, and that subsequently is will cost less that the current body.

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  • 24. At 11:26am on 11 Feb 2010, newlach wrote:

    Is the figure of £6.5 million correct? If this figure is divided by 80 (number of staff)it works out at over £80,000 per member of staff. One member of staff for every eight MPs. I know accountants who would do if free, well, legitimate expenses!

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  • 25. At 11:27am on 11 Feb 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    GDC (22) Ask the Iranians taking part in the rallies not sponsored by the government. It is they who are protesting.

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  • 26. At 11:28am on 11 Feb 2010, newlach wrote:

    Where I have written "if free" above substitute "it for free". It's the stress of it all!

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  • 27. At 11:44am on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    @Fearless Fred #25
    Exactly. That seems to be what's missing.


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  • 28. At 11:56am on 11 Feb 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    80 staff does seem rather a lot. They must be doing something else as well. Or perhaps someone has caught a whiff of the gravy train.

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  • 29. At 11:57am on 11 Feb 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Given that the Iranian government is explicitly banning foreign media from covering any of the protests (paragraph 12), it's difficult to do that, but you do acknowledge that these protests are taking place, don't you?

    more here and here

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  • 30. At 12:23pm on 11 Feb 2010, newlach wrote:

    Is it right for a senior politician to write a letter to the Court on behalf of a convicted fraudster asking that he be spared a jail sentence?


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  • 31. At 12:43pm on 11 Feb 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    newlach (30) - Yes, it's perfectly in order for a politician to make representations on behalf of any constituent. They do it day in and day out. There is no question of instructing or coercing the judge who will come to a conclusion based on all the evidence and representations made to him.

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  • 32. At 1:00pm on 11 Feb 2010, vainly_here wrote:

    There is an interesting article about dissent in Iran on CNN at http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/02/10/shi.iran.revolution.anniversary/index.html .

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  • 33. At 1:00pm on 11 Feb 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    David Cameron's face has been nominated as 'Rear of the Year'.

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  • 34. At 1:03pm on 11 Feb 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Just got the newsletter and see Sequin's comment that "we're hoping to speak to the 15 year old who can sleep for a fortnight."

    They can all sleep for a fortnight Sequin.

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  • 35. At 1:56pm on 11 Feb 2010, bright-eyedwendym wrote:

    Have just heard Mandelson-twice!- on 'The World at One.'He gave us the usual 'what the Opposition intend to do...' Is this normal? We've heard very little about what this lot who are in government intend to do so why are they able to spend so much time telling us porkies about the other lot?

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  • 36. At 2:15pm on 11 Feb 2010, Walrus wrote:

    Afghanistan British Casualties.
    I watched BBC News the other night and saw a group of British soldiers with some Americans trying to clear a route which consisted of a dirt tracked road; a soldier was killed in an IED explosion.

    I question why soldiers are clearing routes every day and every so often one or more gets killed or maimed?

    Why is it so important that a dirt track is cleared on a regular basis?

    Can re-supply not be brought in by air/heli?

    Is it not possible to go randomly across X country from a base?

    Is it not possible to be dropped off by air at a different starting point for patrols or actions against the Taliban?

    Surely a flexible approach is required?

    During past periods of car bombing etc in the 70s UK, individuals were told to vary their route - is this being done by patrols in Helmland?

    Are built-in surveillance systems watching routes on a 24 hr basis? It's easy to dig-in an Infa-red camera and if it's removed then that too is a warning; they certainly could be used close to base. After all, nearly everywhere in London has CCTV watching us.

    Hard as it is to say, if it was just Afghans(I am aware that many already are) who were the main casualties, would the Taliban still get support? And, as a by-product, would the local population appreciate what is being done?

    Finally, within the constraints of security, it would be interesting to know the current military raison d'etre for these casualty-ridden route clearance patrols. Has the Army(or Light Brigade) ever come on the PM to explain the reason why?

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  • 37. At 2:22pm on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    @Fearless Fred

    Why would USA be allocating funds for propaganda purposes in Iran, as this report from a few years ago indicates? The budget had been $4million over previous two years, then it was increased to $10m, and then hiked up to $75million in order to ‘mount the biggest ever propaganda campaign against the Tehran government.’

    Where and how does this money get spent? Over a million dollars a week being spent propaganda. And I’m sure I read somewhere that the funds have been increased since then.

    Bush plans huge propaganda campaign in Iran

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  • 38. At 2:37pm on 11 Feb 2010, Poverty wrote:

    Newsletter link to Iran item not working - where's the moderator!!

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  • 39. At 2:44pm on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:


    Huge numbers were out celebrating anniversary, but the BBC report (John Line/Lyne sp?) on World at One reports it as:

    “Today it was the government’s turn to control the streets of Tehran. They managed to turn out huge numbers of their supporters in the centre of the city, though scores of buses were used to bring them in from far and wide.”

    “They managed to turn out huge numbers…….” Sounds rather coercive. Rather condescending to the Iranian people – the inference being they only turned up because buses brought them in. Were they all forced onto the buses by the government?

    Perhaps your ‘Occams Razor’ applies? Perhaps there is a much more logical and rational explanation? Could it be that Iranians are simply out celebrating on the 31st anniversary of their democracy - it’s a national holiday? There are probably sideshows, street entertainers, food stands and displays to watch. A few may choose to show their political affiliation – as many Americans do on 4th July celebrations – though to most from the city and surrounding areas, it’s probably just the opportunity for a day-out with their families.

    The president addressed the crowds with the usual rhetoric we all have to suffer from politicians (their politicians are like ours) including the message that Iran will soon be self-sufficient in being able to treat cancer patients through enriching its own uranium and adding that “If Iran wanted to make an atomic bomb, it would not need to hide.”

    But BBC World at One reports this as:

    “At the official rally, President Ahmedinejad warned ominously that Iran had the capability to enrich uranium up to a grade that could be used to make nuclear weapons.”

    Ominously? Only if you want to make it ominous Mr BBC correspondent.

    (actually some may also point out the use of 'though' in that context was inappropriate)

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  • 40. At 2:54pm on 11 Feb 2010, Ralphy wrote:

    39: 'The president addressed the crowds with the usual rhetoric we all have to suffer from politicians'

    Yes I heard Gordon threaten to wipe Israel off the face of the planet yesterday...

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  • 41. At 3:23pm on 11 Feb 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Nice to see you don't answer a direct question, GDC

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  • 42. At 3:28pm on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    @Fearless Fred
    Your question is answered in the fourth paragraph.

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  • 43. At 3:42pm on 11 Feb 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    You draw see no distinction between protesting and "displaying a political affiliation?" Oh deary me....

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  • 44. At 3:56pm on 11 Feb 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    The money men, the seediest and seamiest people in our society, living by each understanding that all will bid up or bid down in corrupt concert, are at it NOW.

    First the attacks on us through the credit crunch, insisting we become worse off.
    Now, countries under attack. How dare they try to support the workers thrown out of work by the credit crunch!

    Greece, now, Spain and Portugal next, then Britain, then Obama's USA.

    Here, instead of strengthening our real economy here, we've handed our very own moneymen 200 billion pounds to drive up the value of their own
    wealth holdings with. (A gain of 400 billion quid since March)

    Apart from directorships, later on, to those who dreamed up this scam, what good is it doing us?

    As our currency crashes, of course, import inflation rockets, and only government butchery of services will satisfy these moneymen.
    Meanwhile they will continue to bid up their own financial assets benefiting only the well off among us, as we pay pay them more and more for the privelege of borrowing from them.

    Whyever didn't we allow those markets to stay down and to crash further so that we could start again from scratch, puting money creation, demand creation and the distribution of spending in the hands of we, the people.

    Mervyn and his capitalistic economics must go, now!!!

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  • 45. At 4:10pm on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    @Fearless Fred
    It's a national celebration. Depending which reports you read, there are between one million and five million celebrating. I don't suppose it's any different to other similar events in other countries - Bastille Day in France for example, where there always seem to be small scale riots, scuffles and arrests.(200 cars damaged/torched last year I seem to recall). Our Notting Hill Carnival has been known to get out of hand from time to time - riots and assaults. Public order is always going to be a problem when such large numbers gather. I don't see any reason why Iran would be any different.

    We don't seem to hear so much about other national celebrations going on around the world - or indeed other events going on the world. There's a major offensive involving British troops going on in Afghanistan. Not a mention on BBC World at One, despite it being a full 30 minute news programme.

    It was interesting on World at One, that they covered the Iran story three times, no less: first in the news headlines, then a lengthy piece after the headlines from John Line/Lyne, and then again at 1.25pm with another interview with another BBC corespondent. And at the end of the programme it finished with a round-up of the news with a reminder 'you can keep up with today's events in Iran by logging onto our website www-BBC-News-Iran. Why Iran specifically? The 1.00pm news also covered the economic crisis in Greece and the Euro. No link to that.

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  • 46. At 4:24pm on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    @Fearless Fred #43
    "You draw see no distinction between protesting and "displaying a political affiliation?" Oh deary me...."

    No - not when they are part of much larger crowds at a national celebration.

    What is the distinction?

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  • 47. At 4:28pm on 11 Feb 2010, steelpulse wrote:

    Fight - fight. I am amazed. A few words and it becomes the WHOLE story - allegedly
    The Governments Housing Ministers words "the best thing" for some "in difficulties" mortgage holders - just became a "row" and his words a "good thing" on FiveLive in the "headlines" and I look forward to being actual Government Housing Ministers advice to all mortgage holders to chuck in their mortgages if in any repayment trouble, by the time PM starts, Ms Quinn!
    I sigh. And wish Edward a speedy recover to to good health.

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  • 48. At 4:42pm on 11 Feb 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I'm sure when Operation Moshtarak actually starts it will be covered. Without knowing for certain the process that went towards WatO planning, I think it's not unreasonable to see it as a decision to feature most heavily an ongoing, developing situation (Iran). The Greece decision had been reached earlier, so probably didn't need to have a specific link for it.

    I would also say that what is happening in Iran (by those accounts that are coming out) is not like your examples of Notting Hill, Bastille Day, etc. In those examples you have disruption and violence starting with the rioters. What we are hearing from people in Iran is that agencies of the government that are responsible for violence, including but not limited to attacking protesters physically (including beating prominent members of the opposition seeking to demonstrate), using live ammunition on protesters, etc. No doubt if this were to happen in the UK, you would (quite rightly) be up in arms about it. Because it is happening in Iran, you appear to dismiss it. Not a very principled position in my view.

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  • 49. At 5:06pm on 11 Feb 2010, GeeDeeSea wrote:

    @Fearless Fred #48

    The military offensive in Afghanistan is going on right now. From what I could make out, it started last Saturday or Sunday. There was a report from the the BBC's Ian Panell/Panel (I think) but I can't recall which day I heard his report.

    "In those examples you have disruption and violence starting with the rioters."

    And that isn't the case in Iran? The Police - 'agencies of the government,' as you call them - may well be reacting to crowd trouble. Our own Police attack people causing trouble in large crowds, or not causing trouble sometimes - rewind to the Pro-Fox hunting people who were beaten by Police, including footage of a older man with a false/steel leg, and people clubbed on their heads. Rewind to Ian Tomlinson, newspaper vendor, again on camera casuing no trouble at all, except walking. Rewind to the Gaza demonstrators last year where the front of the marchers were blocked by Police and then beaten on the heads, including prominent members of opposition parties.

    So - what is the distinction between protesting and displaying a political affiliation when they are part of much larger crowds at a national celebration?

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