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Eddie Mair | 08:00 UK time, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

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? We don't really look in after 11am so please be prompt!


  • 1. At 08:39am on 16 Mar 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    As mi dad used to say, "if things don't change they'll stay as they are".

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  • 2. At 08:48am on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    Dear Bill and Sian,

    "On Friday three Conservative MPs colluded to prevent the passage of a bill which would have curtailed the usurious activity of vulture funds. The world's obscenely rich can now continue to use British courts to extract millions of dollars - much of it aid money - from the obscenely poor.



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  • 3. At 08:52am on 16 Mar 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    File sharing

    Politicians rarely understand technology, and are always quick to act on issues that demand attention. The fat cats of the music industry, so long with a licence to print money for bits of plastic and fearful the bonanza is coming to an end, blame teen file sharers for depriving them of millions!

    File sharing deprives no one as the plastic wouldn't be bought anyway, file sharing merely means that more people hear them, which is why new talent often allow free downloading of their music. If restricted to plastic, some may find their fan base dwindling to nothing.

    What the music industry doesn't seem to realise is that the world has moved on, and buying bits of plastic is losing popularity and will eventually die out as a means of distributing music. The far sighted few have seen this and embraced file sharing. The dinosaurs continue to prat on about losing money and having nothing to nurture new talent [as if they ever did!] and have convinced government, who only listen to big money, to enact legislation to victimise file sharers as if that will solve the problem.

    It won't. I predict record/CD sales will continue to shrink. Downloading will continue to increase. The few prosecuted by the knee-jerk fascists of NewLabour NewReich won't change anything. The gravy train to riches for writing and/or singing a few catchy ditties is coming to an end. 'Pop stars' have no more right than anyone to become obscenely rich. Perhaps some of them will learn some humility as a result.

    Hope you deal with this issue in some depth team, and not just the usual whining music moguls and over rich pop brats complaining about intellectual property theft.

    It's a new world, get over it.

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  • 4. At 09:01am on 16 Mar 2010, thtone wrote:

    Local Authority CEOs and their pay offs 'hanging out to dry' at last.
    Is this another mob who have hanged themselves by their own petards:
    more to come , no doubt, Town Hall expenses next?

    Why is it that people do not bother to go out and vote in their 'democracy'?

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  • 5. At 09:32am on 16 Mar 2010, vainly_here wrote:

    DD (3) I agree with you to a large extent. Copyright is far too generous to the licence holders.
    Another topic: This morning on "Today" there was discussion about the EU Commission's views of UK Govt. plans to reduce national debt. Any other time we'd be treating the EU Commission as a bunch of wasters; why the heck should we take any notice of them today?

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  • 6. At 09:51am on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Can we have something on the story that the rest of the BBC seems determined to ignore - the disgraceful actions of a Tory MP who prevented the passing of a Bill to end 'vulture funds' preying on the world's poorest countries? A bill that was supposed to have cross-party support.

    The Speaker seems unwilling/unable to name the MP although The Independent has done. What have the Tory leadership got to say about it?

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  • 7. At 10:10am on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Of course, we could all ask David Cameron why it happened.

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  • 8. At 10:22am on 16 Mar 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    7 IH
    We could ... but Eddie could do it better.

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  • 9. At 10:28am on 16 Mar 2010, vainly_here wrote:

    What's all this about Labour MPs being sponsored by Unite? I can understand a prospective parliamentary candidate being recommended by a Union, but once elected they should not need any further sponsorship, should they? All their needs are provided by the taxpayer.

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  • 10. At 10:41am on 16 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    I was reading this, this morning.


    Men like that.....

    Could we look at a country suffering from vulturism and ask Chope about it?

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  • 11. At 10:44am on 16 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Has the sale of Council Houses reduced our freedoms?

    Many unable to move now to retire, etc, would have been able to do so were Council Housing universal.

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  • 12. At 10:53am on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    10 EtE - Old news now maybe, but huge at the time and with serious consequences for Zambia's recovery.


    China is now the biggest investor in Zambia with Western investment eyed with suspision and fraught with difficulty. Is that what we really want?

    The long term consequences will rebound against us.

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  • 13. At 10:58am on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    I meant suspicion - of course, oops

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  • 14. At 11:23am on 16 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    I keep fantasising a headline:

    Chope for the chop

    but I don't suppose it will happen ...

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  • 15. At 11:33am on 16 Mar 2010, vainly_here wrote:

    I don't think Mr. Cameron is answering hard questions at the moment, just talking about hard decisions on the national finances (or lack of them).

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  • 16. At 11:34am on 16 Mar 2010, jiffle wrote:

    I really think that PM would be failing in its duty to inform the public if it doesn't cover this issue of anonymous objections in the House of Commons.

    It strikes right to the heart of the role of an MP as a representative of their constituents. If MPs cannot be held accountable for their actions with respect to the law-making process, what hope is there for those trying to hold the government accountable for its actions?

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  • 17. At 11:50am on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    There is something very, very wrong about this 'vulture fund' story and the way that the BBC is handling it - or not handling it, rather.

    I can't find any reference to the story on any BBC site. Maybe somebody with a bit more searching skill can come up with something - but I've drawn a blank.

    I can't believe that it is not a newsworthy story, given some of the dross that is covered. I'm beginning to smell something not very pleasant.

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  • 18. At 11:50am on 16 Mar 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    I'm with jiffle on this one. It is remarkable that a single MP can derail a bill and yet hide his actions in this way. Doubtless we will be told that it is a tradition going back thousands of years and designed to protect Honourable (sic) Members from being burned at the stake or something. Another example, as if one were needed, of just how out of touch with society Parliament is.

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  • 19. At 11:57am on 16 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    On the Christopher Chopes matter, this will be of interest:


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  • 20. At 12:03pm on 16 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Sorry, Chope (singular)

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  • 21. At 12:11pm on 16 Mar 2010, DiY wrote:

    TiH, here, and here and here and here?

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  • 22. At 12:17pm on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    DiY - Yep, I found quite a bit of stuff like that.

    But what I was referring to was the blocking of the Bill last Friday. I can't find any coverage of this discgraceful action on the BBC at all.

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  • 23. At 12:36pm on 16 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    To summarise my link re the Vulture Fund story:

    Yesterday, in the Hice, Sally Keeble raised a point of order about what happened on Friday, saying that there is a convention that members of the Panel of Chairs who chair Bill Committees are supposed to remain neutral and are not supposed to object and that therefore Mr. Chope's objection shouldn't have been taken. Bercow said he would discuss it with the Chairman of Ways and Means. Keeble then went on to ask for the decision made on Friday for further consideration to take place on Thursday, 18 March, (agreed to by the Deputy Speaker), to be adhered to, thereby giving enough time for a vote on the Bill.

    There was a bit more toing and froing between the Speaker and various MPs on the matter, who has agreed to look further into the matter.

    As an aside, another MP asked if the other two Conservative MPs who were in the House at the time of the incident might like to comment on whether it was one or other of them who objected instead of Mr. Chope.

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  • 24. At 1:13pm on 16 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    It must be spring - I have just released a small tortoiseshell butterfly into the wild. It had, apparently, been overwintering somewhere unseen in the house (a not uncommon occurrence) and was sunning itself on our bedroom window.

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  • 25. At 1:48pm on 16 Mar 2010, jonnie wrote:

    So how many children should we have without being classed as selfish?

    Is 2.5 the correct number?

    I understand that the UK population growth is on the decline (without immigration) but is having more than two children putting the worlds national resourses at risk.

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  • 26. At 1:57pm on 16 Mar 2010, Gillianian wrote:

    jonnie - I'm wondering how many children we should have in order to fund the needs of the growing population of elderly people who rely on younger folk contributing to their pensions, benefits, healthcare, and so on.

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  • 27. At 2:06pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    26 - Gillianian, it could be like the good old days - at least five or six kids per family and get them working and paying taxes by the age of seven.

    We're all getting older fast and can't wait twenty years you know!

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  • 28. At 2:21pm on 16 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Funny that Eric mentions Ernst and Young in his newsletter - I seem to recall that a 'certain MP' who has featured on this and other threads has been in their employ ...

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  • 29. At 2:22pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    I discover from Twitter (yes I know) that there's to be an item on the demise of the cheque tonight.

    This issue is obviously WAY more newsworthy than the abuse of democracy by our parliamentary representatives.

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  • 30. At 2:25pm on 16 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    ... and still is.

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  • 31. At 2:28pm on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Big Sister - I noticed that also. Probably just coincidence, I think.

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  • 32. At 2:37pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    In case Mr Chope thinks the focus is entirely upon him let us not forget Philip Davies who was in the house but not in the chamber last Friday.


    Intereting note on the nature of their respective majorities in Ross's blog.

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  • 33. At 2:55pm on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

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

  • 34. At 3:08pm on 16 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Worth reading Greg Palast's report on the vultures.

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  • 35. At 3:47pm on 16 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    31: We can but hope, Horse!

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  • 36. At 3:58pm on 16 Mar 2010, Gillianian wrote:

    Ellis (27) - I'll have you know I've already done as much as I can ;o)
    Mind you, maybe I should have started sooner.....

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  • 37. At 4:06pm on 16 Mar 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:


    There's a certain American trend - the Christian 'prairie muffins'

    Also featured here

    And the 'quiver full' brigade here

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  • 38. At 4:13pm on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Sid (34) - And Greg Palast is even less enamoured with the lastest move.
    He doesn't mince his words.

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  • 39. At 4:14pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    34 - Sid, I read the report and watched the video. In both Greg reports on a vote "last Friday" in the Houses of Parliament that voted to outlaw the vulture funds. Sadly he was premature as he was referring to the second reading on 26 February.

    Ms Keeble prophetically finished the reading debate with:

    'They will say, "Well that's funny; everybody agrees with it, and everybody says that it is a good idea and that they want it to happen-so why hasn't it happened?" That is why it is important that if there really is a political consensus on getting this measure on to the statute book-and sooner rather than later, because things take time to get up and running again after an election-we take the opportunity to do it. This is not a matter of the political arguments, because we have been through them all and they have pretty much been won; this is a matter of the political will to manage the process.'

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  • 40. At 4:15pm on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    That link again

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  • 41. At 4:16pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    36 - Gillianian, I am sure you've done your best. Now go and encourage the others! Become an evangelist to the cause!

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  • 42. At 4:17pm on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Don't understand - it works fine in preview

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  • 43. At 4:21pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    40 - TiH KISS thoery applies?


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  • 44. At 4:30pm on 16 Mar 2010, Gillianian wrote:

    Ellis (41) I'm afraid I'm too busy, working out what to do with this apron. It may take me some time. Thanks, Doc (37)

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  • 45. At 4:31pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    In the trail, nothing about the vulture bill, eh Eddie?

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  • 46. At 4:42pm on 16 Mar 2010, DiY wrote:

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

  • 47. At 4:43pm on 16 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    "The cowardly little piece of vulture puke ..."

    It paints the perfect picture, doesn't it?

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  • 48. At 4:54pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    46 - DiY, I was talking to Horse about being clever with html - sometimes it's better to keep it simple.

    Still, while you're on the theme http://emptees.com/tees/61201-a-vultures-kiss


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  • 49. At 5:06pm on 16 Mar 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    'We considered dog insurance due to horrific injuries from dogs'?

    So we can expect some legislation to ensure no more illegal wars then Mr Benn?

    Teachers couldn't be members of the BNP, but could be members of the party that fabricated the WMD fairy tale to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq?

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  • 50. At 5:12pm on 16 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Pay attention, Bunny. Teachers can be members of the BNP.

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  • 51. At 5:13pm on 16 Mar 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    Just withdraw the two chances dogs that bite people get?

    If we're to prosecute negligent dog owners, then surely we should also prosecute negligent parents, those that let their unsocialised, violent teenagers bully and victimise the elderly and vulnerable in their own homes.

    The Violent Teens Act?

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  • 52. At 5:35pm on 16 Mar 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    Why berate Executives from Kraft?

    It's the banks bailed out by us that financed it.

    Get over it!

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  • 53. At 5:41pm on 16 Mar 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    I paid an annual membership by sending them a cheque.

    They would like a DD to be set up but I don't know if I'll always want to be a member and I like to keep track of my finances.

    Cheques, like analogue radio aren't broke.

    Cheques are more secure than cash.

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  • 54. At 5:47pm on 16 Mar 2010, IMOORE wrote:


    Why should we? Perhaps if this was kept in the headlines we would get a debate about the short termist failure of the city that churns British companies into foreign ownership, mostly against the national interest, and them putting British companies in play is just a means to trouser a load of fees.

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  • 55. At 5:56pm on 16 Mar 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    We as taxpayers funded that deal. If we didn't finance it via our ownership of the banks then it wouldn't have happened.

    We should be asking the Ministers, or Brown why they gave the banks our money, when it was to finance deals like this.

    So taxpayers money can finance deals like the Kraft purchase of Cadburys, but how much of that money we poured into the banks got to the small companies that employ many across Britain?

    Govt. actions are partially to blame for the Kraft buy out.

    Labour's love affair with Big Business isn't over is it?

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  • 56. At 5:59pm on 16 Mar 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    Kraft said they would keep the Cadbury plant in Keynsham open? And Labour promised us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?

    Politicians like Big Business tell porkies or change their minds. It's nothing new, nothing that won't happen again.

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  • 57. At 6:06pm on 16 Mar 2010, IMOORE wrote:


    A more disgracefull act by this Labour Government was to sell Westinghouse, they barely got more than the price of refurbishing the MOD offices. Within months of Brown flogging it off to Toshiba they landed a $60 biillion order from China for nuclear power stations. And just over a year later, Brown decided that we needed nuclear power stations here, but having let our nuclear technological skills go, and having flogged off Westnighouse he went cap in had to the French, the price of that was for us to sell British energy to them, the deal financed by RBS.

    So we lent the French government the money to buy our nuclear power stations, so they could sell energy to us.

    Oh by the way, RBS included this finance in the total that they said they were lending industry as part of the deal for the British tax payer refinance them.

    So thanks to Brown we got screwed every which way.

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  • 58. At 6:22pm on 16 Mar 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    The future will be very blemished by MPs fiddling their expenses and this government making up that WMD fairy tale to justify our illegal invasion of Iraq.

    Those MPs giving Kraft grief need to take a good hard look at themselves in the mirror.

    I can't believe it's getting that much news coverage given it was taxpayers money that financed that deal!

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  • 59. At 2:27pm on 17 Mar 2010, rosepoet wrote:

    When I recently visited Lord Bassam as part of a Brighton branch of Willie Sullivan's 'Vote for a change', I was very suprised that an item in my possession was removed as potentially a terrorist weapon or a threat to the safety or decorum of the Houses of Parliament. I had brought a picnic with me[hummous, lemmon rice salad,that kind of lefty-eating provender] and to stop drips I had purchased some Sainsbury kitchen roll. They removed this as a risky item! Can anyone beat this for lunacy? I would have thought the hummus had far more potential to be run amok with than harmless kitchen paper!I was quite alarmed that the guards removed my asthma inhalers and looked at them with the deepest suspicion, before returning them.
    What could one DO with kitchen paper that would offend M.P.s or Peers, anyway? Blow one's nose? Wipe a dusty seat?
    As a Quaker I try to behave in a peaceable and ethical manner, and my hummus and sundries were subsequently put to their intended uses.
    But I remain in doubt as to who or what the guards are protecting...the public, human rights, freedom? The petition we tried to deliver on the referendum vote couldn't be delivered either. Another potential threat, apparently. It could only be collected...Don't hold your breath, while long-entrenched freedoms ebb away...

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  • 60. At 5:00pm on 17 Mar 2010, Gillianian wrote:

    rosepoet (59) That reminds me of the time I went to visit the BBC Television Centre - our party was held up at the gate after a suspicious object was spotted in someone's bag, on one of the x-ray scanners.
    We had to wait while more security guards were called in to examine the bag.....they found a banana!

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  • 61. At 5:02pm on 17 Mar 2010, DiY wrote:

    Bloody dangerous things Bananas in the wrong hands!

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