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Eddie Mair | 08:01 UK time, Friday, 19 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 08:45am on 19 Mar 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    How about something on Ashcroft? now that will be a novelty.

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  • 2. At 08:48am on 19 Mar 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    1 IMOORE
    I'm with you on that one ... more about Ashcroft please!

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  • 3. At 09:20am on 19 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    After watching the Abbot and Portillo show last night, and doffing my cap to FunnyJoeDunn, I have a new name on my lips: Cashtoff.

    But leaving him aside:

    I'm after an inquiry of a different sort this morning, Eddie - and it's one that a couple of million other listeners want to have an answer to. How did Radio 6 intrude onto Radio 4 yesterday - just as the Archers were about to begin? Am I alone in sniffing a rat here, given the controversy surrounding that station at the moment? Oh - and if they ARE going to try to win Radio 4 listeners around to their cause, they might have picked a better bit of music .....

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  • 4. At 09:22am on 19 Mar 2010, DiY wrote:

    Is this a turning point in trying to improve Local Government Child Care ?

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  • 5. At 09:26am on 19 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    And the event can be heard here:


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  • 6. At 09:51am on 19 Mar 2010, jonnie wrote:

    Re: BigSister.

    Yes Radio 4 has been making it's fair share of mistakes.

    Wrong shipping forecast went out
    Wrong episode of the now show,

    and yes, Six Music instead of the Archers.

    As I doubt Eddie would want to comment I spoke to one of my technical bods at the BBC who had a look through the logs and this is what happened:-

    All Platforms of R4 Network radiated 6Music for 2'23" owing to a switching error in London Control Room. Once alerted to the problem LCR restored the Network to be fed correctly from R4 Std 40B. Affected iPlayer programmes have been revoked pending correct re-uploading

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  • 7. At 10:06am on 19 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Well, they would say that, wouldn't they, Jonnie? ;o)

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  • 8. At 10:06am on 19 Mar 2010, DiY wrote:

    HMG spends 153,000,000 Pounds in four years on IT and for what?

    That's an awfull lot of laptops!

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  • 9. At 10:13am on 19 Mar 2010, Anne P wrote:

    DiY - outsourcing?

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  • 10. At 10:32am on 19 Mar 2010, Timetogo wrote:

    Not really about Ashcroft, but taxes in general.

    It is really interesting that the richer people are the less they want to revel, especially with regard to taxes. This includes the 'aspiring great' such as presenters (Eddie Mair, Paxman etc)especially as they grill MP's on substantially less pay!!!

    Our other 'heros' such as GP racing drivers make a dash for countries such as Switzerlan, Monaco etc. Anywhere to avoid tax.

    I would have thought they would all be boasting about how much tax they are paying, making big contributions to hospitals, schools, education etc (I'm ignoring wars here....), but this is clearly not the case.

    Certainly transparency seems to scare everyone (especially the rich and well paid and government, opposition etc).

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  • 11. At 10:52am on 19 Mar 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    10 Timetogo
    Eddie is already atop the spire of greatness, and there's not a shred of evidence that he's a non-dom.

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  • 12. At 10:53am on 19 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    DiY @ 8 - I'm more concerned by the scale of reorganisation that goes on:

    The document, published on 18 March 2010, says there were an average of 20 reorganisations of Whitehall departments each year between May 2005 and June 2009.

    The spending watchdog's scrutiny of 51 reorganisations revealed they had each cost an average of £15m, just under £200m a year overall.

    "Because of the time pressure, transition teams in new departments have to plan and implement change simultaneously, while also dealing with challenges for which they have had no time to prepare," says the NAO.

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  • 13. At 11:03am on 19 Mar 2010, IMOORE wrote:


    Yes a quote sometimes ascribed to Gaius Petronius Pontius Nigrinus, Roman consul 37 AD and governor of Aegyptus.......

    "We trained very hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form into teams, we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganising - and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation."

    .....which seems to sum up this Labour Governments approach to governing us.

    As I posted yesterday.....

    The report from the ONS would seem an important report and a comment on this Labour Government rule or rather misrule....

    'The government spent £780m reorganising its departments and agencies in the four years after the 2005 election, Whitehall's spending watchdog says.'

    'The National Audit Office said it was impossible to demonstrate that the changes made between the May 2005 general election and June 2009 represented value for money.'


    It would seem that we have been subjected to continuous change, or rather reorganisation to avoid accountability, for before they can be held accountable for policy failure they reorganise.

    This can be no better seen than what they have done to the English NHS as Liam Halligan reported in the Telgraph sometime ago...

    Pre 1997 100 local health Authorities weren't good enough for New Labour, they scrapped them for 480 Primary Care Groups. Then in 2002, scraped them for 303 Primary Care Trusts. Then in 2006 scrapped them for 152 Primary Care Trusts, getting back to the position they inherited.

    Pre 1997 there were 8 Regional Offices, these weren't good enough for New Labour and in 2002 scrapped them for 28 Strategic Health Authorities, which in 2006 they cut back to 10 Strategic Health Authorities, getting back to the position they inherited/

    Pre 1997 there was GP Fund Holding, this wasn't acceptable for New Labour and scrapped them for non market driven Primary Care Groups. Then in 2002 made them partially market driven. Which became in 2006 Market driven Practice based Commissioning.

    Health insiders complain that 'the Governments tyranny of change has left the NHS in a state of such confusion that it simply doesn't work.

    But Labour’s constant change which has got us back to the structures they inherited has cost us some £ 3billion.


    ......unfortunately it didn't meet the BBC's Ashcroft test, in that there was no mention of Ashcroft in it, so wasn't considered to be a subject of interest.

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  • 14. At 11:06am on 19 Mar 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    Excellent Steve Bell cartoon in today's Guardian.


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  • 15. At 11:11am on 19 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Excellent indeed!

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  • 16. At 11:48am on 19 Mar 2010, baytrees wrote:

    "The spending watchdog's scrutiny of 51 reorganisations revealed they had each cost an average of £15m, just under £200m a year overall."

    Someone doesn't know how to present statistical information.

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  • 17. At 12:05pm on 19 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    I wonder what the team will pick for the blog picks of the week tonight ...

    I reckon there's as much chance of a mention of our mate Christopher as Eddie's horse today winning the Gold Cup :-)

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  • 18. At 12:16pm on 19 Mar 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    Sid: 16 is a familiar story from a familiar source. Ignoral is the answer!

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  • 19. At 12:32pm on 19 Mar 2010, Nigel_N wrote:

    Have the unions considered the impact of their forthcoming strikes on the election?

    The rail unions are reported to be considering a strike over the Easter weekend. But many students will be travelling home on Good Friday.

    Will it be good for Labour if a large percentage of first time voters are be stranded away from home for Easter a month before the General Election?

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  • 20. At 1:02pm on 19 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    You mean these Lib Dem MPs knew they could claim the extra rent on EXPENSES and divi-ed up the profit with the landlord.

    That is crooked.

    If it were Housing Benefit they'd been claiming from, they'd have got charged with fraud.

    And called Benefit cheats.

    So much for Lib Dems in Parliament not on their Oxbridge dominated front bench.

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  • 21. At 1:14pm on 19 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    20 - EtE, yet another reason for the None of the Above option on the ballot paper!

    The situation that British politics finds itself in now is exactly the sort of thing that African bureaucrats pocketing Aid money used to cite when I was investigating their activities. Of course, they went all biblical too referring to specks and logs etcetera.

    There was little I could say ...

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  • 22. At 1:34pm on 19 Mar 2010, vainly_here wrote:

    I worked in the NHS for 23 years, and there were many reorganisations under Conservative and Labour govts. Few of the reorganisations could be shown to have positive effect, because there wasn't time to check the outcome of one reorg before the next came along. I think that was the intention.

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  • 23. At 1:39pm on 19 Mar 2010, vainly_here wrote:

    TTG (10) It looks a lot better if a rich person donates £1M to a hospital than if they pay £1M in taxes which disappear into the general fund, or perhaps into invading Iraq, selling Cadburys to Kraft or some other dubious enterprise.

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  • 24. At 1:41pm on 19 Mar 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    16. baytrees - why don't you take your inter-party bikkering somewhere else?

    I'm getting tired of the invasion of the board by party whiners hoping to score points. Very boring.

    I thought PM was about current affairs, not exclusively party political propaganda.

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  • 25. At 1:51pm on 19 Mar 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    DD (24) I'm afraid that this'll continue all the way up to Election Day. I seem to remember that this happened during the last European elections too. If it carries on like this for much longer, I'm going to "lurk" without posting 'til it's all over...

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  • 26. At 2:02pm on 19 Mar 2010, vainly_here wrote:

    Fearless, just keep away from unimportant topics like Polly Ticks. That can go to the Nick Robinson box.

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  • 27. At 2:45pm on 19 Mar 2010, baytrees wrote:

    Lucy in the sky

    There’s a measure of paranoia on this site. The two individuals I have encountered thus far appear to have personal issues. Allow me to reassure you; I have no connection with 10 Downing Street or the Labour party communications centre. I’m not even a member of the Labour party. In fact, I have never been a member of any political party, though I have been a member of a professional trade union in the past. If you believe the government is infiltrating this site, why not report it to the BBC? Or are they part of your conspiracy as well?

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  • 28. At 2:53pm on 19 Mar 2010, baytrees wrote:

    Doctor Dolittle

    Numbers 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, and 21 all have political implications. Quite why you should single mine out, I don’t know. Could you explain?

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  • 29. At 3:14pm on 19 Mar 2010, Betty91 wrote:

    Social work - On the interview with Chris Tucker on Today regarding restructuring social work in Birmingham - as a social work student myself, the point from Khalid Mahmood MP about involving universities in the process was interesting, if not a little overdue; where I study, as in many other cities (espec. London) it is not the norm to have a student placement in a statutory social work team, and certainly not in a child protection team, we're far more likely to spend the majority of our training in voluntary sector organisations, and therefore less likely to receive work based supervision from a social worker who is in the same setting doing social work. I would like to know why this gap between professionals on the ground and those in training as been allowed to widen. More info and thought on this at http://www.communitycare.co.uk/blogs/social-work-blog/2009/04/statutory-placements-shortfall.html

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  • 30. At 3:44pm on 19 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    EtE @ 20

    Interesting to note that you expect more from Lib Dem MPS than you do from Labour and Tory. I wonder why that is?

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  • 31. At 3:52pm on 19 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Meanwhile ... too late for this story today, I suspect - tomorrow, perhaps?


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  • 32. At 3:57pm on 19 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    31 - Classic! Thanks, Sid. That cheered me up no end.

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  • 33. At 4:21pm on 19 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Glad to have helped!!

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  • 34. At 5:19pm on 19 Mar 2010, Joker wrote:

    Hey everyone,
    A host of technical problems lead me to post this (below) from Eloise Twisk, PM editor on Thursday. (We wear a laurel wreath to show whose turn it is.) Technically it should probably go in Thursday's PM glass box, but I think what ET has to say is interesting and thus this will reach a (slightly) wider audience at this time...
    So, without further ado, take it away Eloise:
    Thanks for all the comments about last night's show. Sorry if some people found the interview with Joyce and Ted about their visit from Tony Blair too political. We set out in the morning with the intention of hearing a human interest interview on the subject of a politician's visit - the stress, the media, the visit from Scotland Yard, which china to use etc. I'd have been delighted to find someone visited by John Major or Mrs Thatcher, it just so happened we (well the excellent Mike who is on a placement with us) found Ted and Joyce first.
    Inevitably they were keen Labour supporters, why else would they have been picked? But someone who thought Mrs T was the best thing since sliced bread would have served us just as well. I thought it was a charming slice of life and loved the way Ted and Joyce interacted with Eddie and each other which is why I decided to run It long. And the extra comments at the end- maybe some people thought it was too much but I found it touching and a bit different. I guess you can't please all of the people etc. I hope that explains things a bit.
    Eloise ends, returns to Jo.
    And a word on Lord Ashcroft- the story did move on quite significantly yesterday, but for those who say we only do stroies about Conservative donors, I'd point you towards last Thursday's interview with Ken Clarke about Unite- we were on to that pretty early. Harrumph.

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  • 35. At 5:23pm on 19 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    More dishonesty because they're financed by a dishonest man, Micheal Brown?


    No, I expect as much from the Tories being funded by money that Ashcroft should have paid in tax, which Hague said he would.

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  • 36. At 5:34pm on 19 Mar 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

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

  • 37. At 5:35pm on 19 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    I love Cheltenham.

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  • 38. At 5:38pm on 19 Mar 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    25. I'll lurk with you Fred.

    27-28 I don't believe you. Forensic linguistics, you can't evade it.

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  • 39. At 5:38pm on 19 Mar 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    37. Eat your hay

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  • 40. At 5:41pm on 19 Mar 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:


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  • 41. At 5:56pm on 19 Mar 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    "the story did move on quite significantly yesterday"

    Oh come on, what we learnt yesterday was that this Labour Government knew about Ashcroft's tax status. Strange that they were pursing something they already knew, and this whole saga revolving around the fact that Conservative donors were being asked to obey a different set of rules than Labour donors, don't you think that a bit discriminatory? and when Ashcroft negotiated to have the same rules applied to him, we find it a bit hypocritical of Labour to cry foul, and certainly not worth the air time the BBC obsessives have invested in the story.

    In reality the only thing that moved yesterday was a set of photocopied documents that went from the Cabinet office to the BBC, clearly the leaker, the Labour Government, knew the BBC Ashcroft obsessives would be orgasmic at receiving these documents and bang on about it yet again, when the rest of us are giving up the will to live we are so bored with the story. You might say the BBC was condemned by its sources, the leaker knew the BBC would never tire of a story that enabled them to give the Conservatives a kicking, in this the BBC loses all sense of proportion, you might say the BBC is condemned by its sources.

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  • 42. At 6:16pm on 19 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    EtE @ 35

    I'm just wondering why you don't think the Tory and Labour MPs should pay back their windfalls. Does picking on the Lib Dems really leave you feeling more fulfilled?

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  • 43. At 11:43am on 20 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    Sid, It's more interesting that you won't give us your opinion about Brown's millions. Afraid to? Being leaned on not to?

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  • 44. At 11:47am on 20 Mar 2010, Anne P wrote:

    Gordon Brown has Millions? apart from all my tax that is.....

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  • 45. At 4:27pm on 20 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    AP 44, I have no reply to that...

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  • 46. At 4:30pm on 20 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    AP 44, And Sid has no reply to mine.

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  • 47. At 4:48pm on 20 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    Guess the Sid. Quick, before it disappears.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 48. At 4:51pm on 20 Mar 2010, DiY wrote:

    Good pic of Sid and friends!

    I always said you were no where near as old as Dave of St Albans and that proves it!

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  • 49. At 5:04pm on 20 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

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

  • 50. At 09:39am on 21 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    DiY , That Sid has a real sense of humor.

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  • 51. At 09:51am on 21 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    Odd, a man runs for political office (7,406 votes, 16 per cent of the votes, third place) and then doesn't want anybody here to know about it.

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  • 52. At 10:09am on 21 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    The phantom referrer, Dr Bowdler, strikes again!

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  • 53. At 10:21am on 21 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    And now I can't even mention Michael Brown here without upsetting somebody!

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  • 54. At 10:36am on 21 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    Even though Ashcroft can be mentioned. Ox ond goring comes to mind.

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  • 55. At 4:13pm on 21 Mar 2010, davmcn wrote:

    And Lord Paul. Yes, you can mention him, but don't ask about Brown's loot and the Dib Lems. Or ask you-know-who his opinion on the subject. Although he can ask others about donations to their parties. Odd, innit?

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