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PM Glass Box.

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Eddie Mair | 17:56 UK time, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

After every PM, at 1800, the production team gathers in a glass box to talk about what worked and what didn't. You're encouraged to contribute your thoughts here. Tonight's editor Roger Sawyer will read your comment and may well add one of his own.


  • 1. At 6:33pm on 16 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Good prog in general. Did I miss the thing about the vulture funds and the Tory MP?

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  • 2. At 6:49pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    Dear Roger Sawyer,

    I've sent an email to PM.

    I look forward to your response.

    Kind regards,

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  • 3. At 6:53pm on 16 Mar 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Sorry, Eddie, but I do feel you gave the Tory spokesperson an easy time on the piece re dogs and insurance. I guess the government didn't want to put someone up to give their side, which is their choice. Still, to let the opposition to pretty much spew the typical pre-election drivel that we're going to get from most junior spokespeople until the election happens was a poor choice, I felt. Just once, I'd like it if when a government of any hue changed their mind and adopted a stance that the opposition has promoted, they said "Fair enough, you've convinced us it's a good idea." and the opposition retorted with "Okay, that's everyone agreed, what's next?". Is it too much to ask for our politicians to act sensibly and calmly, just once?!?!?

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  • 4. At 6:54pm on 16 Mar 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Like Sid, I enjoyed tonight's programme but I too must have missed the bit on vulture funds and on the propriety of anonymous objections. Is there a reason why this story isn't appealing? Go on - you can tell us...

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  • 5. At 7:00pm on 16 Mar 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Ellis - I hope you will share it with the rest of the class...

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  • 6. At 7:01pm on 16 Mar 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I'd Like to dedicate this to the MPs who seem to like vulture funds and those who choose to turn a blind eye.

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  • 7. At 7:03pm on 16 Mar 2010, DiY wrote:

    Are 'vulture funds' taboo at the BBC?

    Come on Eddie, surely you are letting the 'Spirit of PM' down?

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  • 8. At 7:07pm on 16 Mar 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    5 - Alan, I'll be pleasantly surprised if I get a proper and considered reply!

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  • 9. At 7:11pm on 16 Mar 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    If your query was about the vultures and the objections, so will I. But I live in hope.

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  • 10. At 7:24pm on 16 Mar 2010, IMOORE wrote:


    I thought Eddie, without cause, gave the Conservative politician a hard time. Labour should be given a kicking for coming up with a ridiculous proposal on dog insurance. If there was any pre election drivel it was this Governments proposal on dogs, they obviously thought some initiative on dogs would do them so good in the polls as a Government of action, but in their haste to get some headlines forgot it was going to impact on 5 million dog owners, and it was only for that electoral reason did we seek a screeching U turn.

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  • 11. At 10:25pm on 16 Mar 2010, GiulioNapolitani wrote:

    3 & 10

    I thought Eddie gave the tory politician a time which was both too hard and too easy. Beyond that, I can say no more until after the election.

    I am Nick Clegg and here is your £5.

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  • 12. At 00:07am on 17 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

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

  • 13. At 00:08am on 17 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    pathetic, totally pathetic

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  • 14. At 00:23am on 17 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Whatever has happened to bikers in this country?

    What a bunch of creeps.

    Lining up to support men in TANKS, in GUNSHIPS in FIGHTER JETS, armed to the teeth with disgusting weapons, engaged in the business of terrifying and killing VILLAGERS, PEASANTS????

    This bunch of silly leather jacket jerks who need 1000ccs to feel alive between the legs support the Nato killing machine?????

    Pleeease! THEY are the peasants! Doffing their caps to the Nato behemoth.
    Their pathetic parade in Wootton Basset. Goodness, a hundred hoodies in a shopping mall or 500 drunks in a town centre on a Saturday night have more decency and more humanity. From Easy Rider to Sleazy Biker.

    This obscenity in Afghanistan should end now.

    Shouldn't it.

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  • 15. At 00:25am on 17 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    The MP you interviewed about secrecy wrt to Armagh said he was inside hte ring of secrecy.

    Was any MP outside the ring of secrecy that encircled the expenses outrages?

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  • 16. At 00:37am on 17 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    The government is in hock to the tune of p'haps 3/4 of annual GDP (total output, in effect)

    That is NOT a large level of debt.

    Households with mortgage debt of only 3/4 of income can count themselves very fortunate.

    Before these finance idiots held sway and claimed it was an unreasonable sort of sum and built their entirely fanciful 'debt' limits into the rules of every international organisation they managed to get control of, no one would have given a monkeys that any country was merely this much in debt.

    Ignore the silly market men.

    Anyway, all of it is only money the rich here are refusing to pay out in taxes to fund services for the poor, and insist we borrow it instead.

    Tell them to watch it. Tell them, if they push it, we will settle the debt by financial confiscation of excessive wealth and income.

    Which we should do anyway.

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  • 17. At 00:40am on 17 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    says Roger Sawyer is pusillanimous and hides behind otiose legalism.

    It says he is the reason your points about Chope have not been covered in the programme, NOR ANSWERED HERE.

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  • 18. At 01:19am on 17 Mar 2010, jonnie wrote:

    Missed it all. My fault, why did Marti Webb choose such an inconvienient time to arrive,

    However did anyone catch Jeremy Irons on Front Row yesterday?

    Since when can the BBC openly advertise smoking?

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  • 19. At 01:27am on 17 Mar 2010, jonnie wrote:

    12 seems to have vanished into the ether EtE - Did he meet the maker?

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  • 20. At 07:44am on 17 Mar 2010, RxKaren wrote:

    Can't find the am glass box but can I just say "Methedrone." I had something passed to me by the Local Intelligence Network last week and was surprised at how naive I am to all this. I was also stunned at the adverts that are apparently acceptable but implicitly advise you how to use the stuff.

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  • 21. At 09:17am on 17 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Karen - tsk tsk! It is mephedrone


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  • 22. At 10:24am on 17 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    20, 21

    Google is usually dleightfully fuzzy. (If I'd Googled that it would ask me whether I meant that I found it delightfully fuzzy. (But it would also list whatever options there were for dleightfully fuzzy))

    Doesn't confusion about how to write 'mephedrone' arise because of its resonances with 'methadone'?

    And indeed if I Google 'Methedrone, dangers' up comes the mephedrone dangers. The th-ph morph is covered.

    (Like postate, prostate and postrate Google rightly thinks the info is more important than the spelling. Google gets appropriately and identically rectal about all three)

    But Google isn't fuzzy enough to pick up 'mephadrone' as 'mephedrone'.
    The equally plausible A 'n' E morph isn't covered (;-))

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  • 23. At 10:30am on 17 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Indeed, EtE, it is the heroin substitute that is causing the confusion in the spelling, and I am indebted to the Today programme this morning for flagging up the difference in the spelling - which helps me, at least, to keep the distinction. The substances are, from what I gather, in no way related. However, googling does show how many 'shops' are 'marketing' plant foods at the moment - well, 'plant foods' based on 'mephedone', anyway. Oh, and let's not go into Twitter .....

    However, if you try to find out just which plant foods being legitimately sold as such are sources of mephedone, google becomes strangely reticent.

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  • 24. At 11:07am on 17 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Big Sister - I may well be wrong about this ... but I believe it's called plant food for sale online - it isn't really plant food at all. (It's illegal to sell it for human consumption.)

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  • 25. At 11:46am on 17 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Sid, I think you're right - Either I was mishearing this morning's Today programme, or the point wasn't clearly made. Looks like they use the term 'plant food' as a device to conceal from the innocent (of which I am one) the true purpose of the drug.

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  • 26. At 12:42pm on 17 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    And now I see it is also spelt 'mephodrone'.

    Confused? You won't be after this week's episode of Soap

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  • 27. At 1:58pm on 17 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    My dad was an occasional hypochondriac who used to go 'to see the quack' and used to come back in triumph with a bottle of tawney red liquid which he would put up on the high top shelf, far right hand corner of the kitchen dresser. So I couldn't reach it.
    But I could climb up. It tasted like a mixture of potassium permanganate and surgical spirit.
    'My tonic, boy' he would say taking another swig of it.
    It worked a treat, quack or no quack. It used to brighten him up no end.
    All this talk of methadone, mephadrone and mephodrone reminded me. Cos that evil brew was called Metatone which sounds, like metadrone, like another misspelt cognate.
    And he was a gardener too.

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  • 28. At 2:31pm on 17 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    I think you'll find Metatone is still available, EtE, from Boots and other chemists. Clearly got in under the radar ;o)

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  • 29. At 2:40pm on 17 Mar 2010, DiY wrote:

    My brother when he was taking piano lessons was addicted to the metronome.

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  • 30. At 2:40pm on 17 Mar 2010, Gillianian wrote:

    EtE - a quick google shows that it's still available, and its active ingredients are Vitamin B1 and various minerals in the form of glycerophosphates, so there doesn't seem to be anything evil about it.

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  • 31. At 2:44pm on 17 Mar 2010, RxKaren wrote:

    Apols Big Sis (21) I was in at some ungodly hour for a pharmacist to observe a total knee replacement. I am extremely squeamish with knees. This was followed by 2 knee arthroscopies and an ACL reconstruction. I am losing my squeamishness.

    One of the briefing papers I had calls it methedrone, the other mephedrone. If I thought I was naive it was nothing on the orthopaedic surgeon. The anaesthetist (worryingly) knew a surprising amount about it.

    The discussion in theatre this morning moved from Sniffing Baby Bio to the question of why ketamine isn't marketed as a legal high legitimately. It's been through the drug safety testing, the anaesthetist's experience is that it is a safe drug with a wide margin of safety, a lot is known about it... Fortunately the conversation moved on to Chelsea FC so I was let off the hook answering that one. Any thoughts anyone?

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  • 32. At 2:52pm on 17 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Karen, I felt bad after I'd posted that - but I was a bit surprised that you (for I regard you as our 'expert') were also confused about the spelling. I knew nothing about the stuff at all until quite recently, and like a lot of people was confusing it with methadone (and THAT was confusing me!)

    Anyway, it seems there is still a lot of confusion about, as Eric Pickles on WatO also thought it was a plant fertiliser - yet it appears this is just a way kids have of posting about it without drawing attention to its effects on humans.

    Perhaps we all need a lesson on it - What is is, the word on the street, what to look out for in kids, etc. etc.

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  • 33. At 3:27pm on 17 Mar 2010, RxKaren wrote:

    Big Sis (32) By the time the theatre team had shouted at the surgeon 5 times "No, not methadone" he had grasped it but he still thought it was an opioid like methadone rather than a compound related to MDMA. Part of the issue is hiding behind the name.

    The consensus amongst the "learned" group this morning was that at some point as a population we will have tried to abuse/misuse everything for a high. This is probably not a good thing in the whole but it is probably inevitable.

    This afternoon it is a different theatre team but the same surgeon - they are probably debating the literary merits of Dante's Divine Comedy and macroeconomics rather than illicit drug use and football. It was a good discussion though.

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  • 34. At 4:01pm on 17 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    "Fortunately the conversation moved on to Chelsea FC so I was let off the hook answering that one. Any thoughts anyone?"

    Yes - to put it bluntly, Chelsea just weren't up to the job.

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  • 35. At 4:20pm on 17 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Mourinho had the last laugh.

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  • 36. At 4:55pm on 17 Mar 2010, Roger Sawyer wrote:

    Hello All,

    Thank you for all your postings. Apologies for the exceptionally long post that follows.

    Not much to say about Tuesday's programme except that I thought the testimony from the director of the school, near where Sahil Saeed was found, was really compelling. We only got through to him a few minutes before we went on air, so Eddie did a grand job.

    And we had a huge email response on the cheques discussion especially... and also a lot on the shipping forecast. Both items worked pretty well, I thought. A lot of interesting points about cheques and their usefulness and a lot of warmth about the shipping forecast. Personally, I wish they'd put it on at 3.30am in the morning. That's when I usually wake up and - after a lot of World Service - the only thing that sends me back to sleep is the shipping forecast at 5.20am. Then my alarm goes off at 5.30am. Well, actually, it doesn't, because I wake up at 5.28am and switch it off. I should record it or pod it or whatever it is the young people of today do.

    A word or several hundred now about something exercising some people here and on the AM Glass Box... the Debt Relief Bill, which, somewhat unexpectedly, came back to the Commons on Friday and could maybe have completed report stage and third reading. Just for the record - and I realise some people may choose no to believe me on this - there is no BBC conspiracy to hide this.

    I'll put my hands up - we missed this exchange in the Commons on Friday. And if you look back at the news wires, so did a lot an awful lot of people. It wasn't on the wires. And even if we hadn't missed it, I'm not sure it would have made it onto the programme. That's not because we don't care about debt relief for developing countries or parliamentary procedure, it's just about Private Members' Bills and their chances of becoming legislation. Depending on who you talk to, this Bill could have progressed and been taken up in the Lords and succeeded or, because of the concertina-ed timetable ahead of Parliament being prorogued for an election, it didn't stand a snowball's chance, let alone a cat's. If I'd known about it on Friday, would I have run it? I don't know - probably not. Our Westminster people, quite late on, flagged up a different story which I did put on... The row over the CPS, Baroness Uddin and expenses. This one was not drawn to my attention... I'm not sure I would have said yes to it.

    For the conspiracy theorists, I am told there was something about the Debt Relief Bill on the Today programme on Saturday morning. Also, efforts were made by another programme to speak to the MP who shouted 'object' - without success. He declined. We don't even know for sure it was him.

    The story rumbles on. The Speaker has suggested an inquiry into whether the Bill was denied passage on the nod in a way that went against Parliamentary procedure. There are other suggestions that it might be adopted by the Government - and therefore whipped and guaranteed passage - or the opposition. We don't yet know. But we are watching the story and may well put it on the programme. Then there is, of course, the Lords. There is, of course, the whole debate about whether Vulture - or distressed debt - Funds are necessarily always a bad thing.

    One more thing: we do read your postings on the blogs and we do weigh them up. Sometimes, your suggestions make it to air. The same with our editorial meetings. Producers, editors, reporters - hey, even presenters - come up with plenty of ideas. Some get on air. The majority do not, because of a number of reasons: time constraints, time difference, lack of corroboration, language, lack of availability, taste, irrelevance, frivolity... there are many reasons. I've written quite a bit explaining why we haven't put a story that a few of you have suggested on air... but I'd just say that I really don't think we should be expected to do that, to justify why we choose not to run a story. We give you a forum - that you use very well - to suggest and discuss stories and discuss the programme, but we honestly don't have the time to go into detail about every story that we do not to broadcast.

    We have close on three million listeners. Our responsibility is to all of them, not only to those who post here. We really do try our best. Cub's Honour. We don't always get it right, but we do try.

    Love on-ya dudes


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  • 37. At 7:00pm on 17 Mar 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Roger, does your arm hurt? ;o)

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  • 38. At 7:18pm on 17 Mar 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    28, 29, 30

    Hey, well, thought I'd posted it on the Beach, since it was meant to be Mephedrone lite.

    Thanks for the indulgences. I'll say a few Hail Marys anyway and get some Metatone to get over it. It's probably like bananas which I hated in childhood.
    (Spat the suff out after me mum had queued for 3 hours to get ONE, they were heavy in points)


    Naughty, naughty! You know typing is a two finger job.

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  • 39. At 7:26pm on 17 Mar 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Big Sister - does Roger's arm hurt whom?

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  • 40. At 7:27pm on 17 Mar 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Thank you Roger - I much appreciate you taking the time to clear that up.

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