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Eddie Mair | 08:00 UK time, Thursday, 1 April 2010

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You may have read your morning paper and listened to the radio, and have some ideas you want to hear on PM tonight.

Perhaps you have 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!

Comments

  • 1. At 08:27am on 01 Apr 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I will not vote for or beleive any of the party leaders, no matter how long they bang on about savings and social justice until they address the the anomaly of universal child benefit. I can't belive anything they say about making savings whilst doing nothing about this stark social imbalance when people are having to fleece their children and sell their homes to pay for care. It all smells of shallow promises to win votes (which I beleive it is) whilst doing not about the obvious.

    Could you ask about this in any interview with a politico please PM team.

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  • 2. At 08:41am on 01 Apr 2010, DiY wrote:

    A sad day for Pontypool RFC

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  • 3. At 08:52am on 01 Apr 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I have noticed we are in an election campaign. I was reminded of this when I see the lowest denominator comes out out in any discussion with politians. Some are now beginning to blame those languishing on benefits as one main reason the immigration problem. The inference is, we need the imigrants to do the jobs those on benefits refuse to do. One argument as been that people would rather be on benefits than in work. Personally, I have never met anyone on benefits and capable of working seeing it as an alternative or even a desirable lifestyle. I don't think you would find any rational person stuck in the benefits system who thought this. You find many (perhaps the majority of those reliant on benefits)who would describe how they felt the system was inflexible, mean, and deliberately lacking in understanding of peoples needs and individuality. Isn't there also an issue about wages being so low and employment security so fickle that many feel that their personal and families social security would be put at serious risk to make any move from where they find themselves. It may not be mentioned by the politians but this is often the reality in fact and in function. So, could it be that immigration isn't so much about importing people with the so called 'skills' we need and more about importing people who are prepared to do menial, labour intensive work for menial remuneration. However, what is menial to us would be a big step up from the countries they come from?

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  • 4. At 08:59am on 01 Apr 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Can we have a piece, please, on what is achievable in seven seconds?

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  • 5. At 09:01am on 01 Apr 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Request No. 2: How about a piece on the new National Park? This is the lowest profile big news, but is something that will benefit many for decades to come.

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  • 6. At 09:05am on 01 Apr 2010, JAlexW wrote:

    As the UK edges towards a general election I hear a familiar mantra not only from politicians but also from the media, that a vote for anything but Labour or Conservative is a 'wasted vote'.

    Is it not the responsibility of media such as the BBC to try and encourage people to vote since every vote counts?

    UK elections already have a very poor voter turnout; perhaps recall the words attributed by many to John F Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country"

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  • 7. At 09:26am on 01 Apr 2010, Looternite wrote:

    5. Big Sister
    Or a piece on flowers in our parks.

    Sorry I did not get back to you on yesterdays AM GB but my daughter is moving home and I can't believe she has so much "stuff".

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  • 8. At 09:35am on 01 Apr 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    3. I agree, its not a case of there not being the people to do the jobs, its there not being the people to do the jobs for the money on offer. If you paid £100 per hour to clean you lavatories then there would be people queuing up around the block to do the job.

    Its odd that at the of the income tree the argument goes that you have to pay the salary to get the staff, but this argument is set aside at the bottom of the heap. Here when an employer says he can't get the staff, the BBC and like take this as a reason why we need mass immigration, rather than telling the employer to pay more, after all aren't we supposed to live in a market economy? But there is nothing more sickening than politicians weeping copious amounts of crocodile tears at the widening wealth gap, yet who specifically purse policies , like mass immigration, which depress salaries at the bottom which allows Directors trouser ever greater amounts of money. In the last decade FTSE Directors salaries have romped along increasing at 20-30-40% yet in this last 10 years salaries at the bottom have barely moved at all. But this mass immigration policy doesn't just depress salaries at the bottom, it also derives up the cost of living at the bottom, as people are left to fight over static amount of resources with an increasing population. Its a double whammy.

    There is one final draw back to being mass immigration junkies, it neuters the need for innovation. If business had to pay more for its staff, then this would drive the need for greater efficiencies as well as making companies invest in automation, and push into higher value added products. When an employer can ship in a couple of hundred thousand cheap immigrants, then the need to innovate is removed, and of course these employers dump the social cost of these cheap immigrants on the tax payer.

    Can anybody say that the textiles mills policy to ship in thousands of immigrants from Pakistan has been a success? The mills have still closed down, yet now we have been left with a massive social problem.

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  • 9. At 09:48am on 01 Apr 2010, CG wrote:

    I have just had a look at the bbc video of the olympic sculpture that Boris is so keen on, and I think it should be called:

    The Mangle of the South.

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  • 10. At 09:51am on 01 Apr 2010, elcej wrote:

    I'd like to hear a piece in today's PM programme about the BBC's secret plans to swap the timeslots for PM and 'Your and Yours'. Apparently the original plan was for PM to start at 11 o'clock but they realised they'd have to change the name to "AM" and so reprint all the stationery.

    Apparently, they are also planning to lengthen You and Yours to 2 hours from 5pm - 7pm. Seems excellent to me.

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  • 11. At 09:53am on 01 Apr 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    9 - Excellent idea!

    Edward (10), do you honestly think we'd believe that on a day like today? - Nice try though! ;o)

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  • 12. At 10:04am on 01 Apr 2010, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Big Sister (11):

    Have you read Eddie's piece in the current Radio Times about the 40th anniversary celebrations for PM?

    It looks quite exciting, with a return to two presenters, Eddie conducting an interview while wearing a jet-pack and a special feature from Clare English about Parma Ham.

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  • 13. At 10:05am on 01 Apr 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Nice try, Cat! ;o)

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  • 14. At 10:08am on 01 Apr 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    I am reminded of an occasion when I managed to pull off an April Fool on Eddie (I wonder if he remembers - it involved Tony Bennett) :oD

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  • 15. At 10:18am on 01 Apr 2010, Sindy wrote:


    "The price of petrol and diesel has edged closer to a record high at the pumps following a one-pence rise in fuel duty which came in at midnight." [BBC]

    It was, of course, a one penny rise.

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  • 16. At 10:19am on 01 Apr 2010, Sindy wrote:


    Excellent news:

    Science writer Simon Singh wins libel appeal

    Science writer Simon Singh has won an appeal for the right to rely on the defence of "fair comment" in a libel action being brought against him.

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  • 17. At 10:26am on 01 Apr 2010, mittfh wrote:

    Given today's date, it's no surprise that there are some rather more interesting / unusual stories than usual in the papers...

    Apparently The Guardian has a columnist called Olaf Priol, reporting a rather suspicious looking set of election posters...

    The Independent seems to think that CERN want to build a new Large Hadron Collider in the Circle Line - scientists are worried it might create a black hold under Westminster... (Aside: would anyone notice?)

    The Daily Wail seems to think the AA are going to start using rocket men to help stranded motorists...

    The Daily Express reports research on an anti-ageing gene. This sounds slightly more plausible than those above, until you see the worm gene is DAF-16, the human equivalent FOXO, and the journal the research is published in PLoS ONE.

    The Telegraph reports that broadband companies have started employing ferrets to lay cables...

    The Times reports that a councillor has suggested people pay for repairs to potholes (nothing new there) - and dedicate them to deceased pets as memorials (that's the suspicious bit!).

    The Sun reports that the world's hottest chilli is grown in Grantham - but a quick Google reveals its stablemate The Times tried the same prank back in 2006...

    And The Mirror reports the world's first calorie-negative sweet. They didn't try very hard to hide this - "Woolworths.co.uk has worked closely with health and nutritional expert Prof. A.Prilfoolius to develop the Diet Cola Bottle."

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  • 18. At 10:30am on 01 Apr 2010, baytrees wrote:

    The CIA is to be given the details of almost 1,000 British Muslim students. Is it another 'enemy-within' scare story - or a further example of a Police state, like the KGB and the Stasi passing files to each other details?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cia-given-details-of-british-muslim-students-1932727.html




    The 2003 Extradition Treaty, allows the US authorities to demand anyone they choose to be put on a plane and shipped over to 'assist them with inquiries/have information extracted.' Providing the CIA with vast data lists on people not only leads to wrongful detentions - it also suggests our security services and Police are incapable of handling investigations themselves.

    I sometimes wonder if these 'security stories' aren't timed as a prelude to other government affairs. The Ricin case was used before the Iraq war - except there was no ricin and no convictions. The cyanide bomb plot - except there was no cyanide bomb and no convictions. The attack on Heathrow when the army and tanks surrounded the airport just before the huge anti-war protest in 2003 - except there was no attack on Heathrow.

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  • 19. At 10:35am on 01 Apr 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    17 I gather that Conservative HQ has placed a April fool ad in the Guardian and they haven't noticed...

    http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2010/04/tory-hq-places-april-fool-ad-in-the-guardian-and-the-guardian-doesnt-seem-to-have-noticed.html

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  • 20. At 10:35am on 01 Apr 2010, baytrees wrote:

    "The Telegraph reports that broadband companies have started employing ferrets to lay cables..."

    That story today may be false today, but ferrets were used to install new cables.

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  • 21. At 10:36am on 01 Apr 2010, baytrees wrote:

    delete one 'today.'

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  • 22. At 10:53am on 01 Apr 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    mittfh (17) You omitted the Guardian giving details on Labour's new poster campaign: Vote Labour. Or else.

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  • 23. At 11:08am on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    I've decided to vote Tory.

    It's not just SamCam.

    It's also those clever city people who can make shares worth 3,500 in March last year, worth 5,800 now.

    That's about 66 percent growth in a year. Only the private sector financier few can create wealth for themselves like that. And just by putting up prices. Woonderful.
    Their shares are worth so much today, becauswe of how much more they'll say they're worth tomorrow.
    Move over Cable, St Ponzi is now the Patron of Economics.
    3,300 Ftse points is about 800 billion quid. That's about 13,000 quid for every single one of us that they've made for us this year.
    Feel the benefit!

    Plus, they're looking after the 300 acre Normanby Hall and the huge Yorkshire Sutton Park estates so well, and St Helen and St Katherine at Abingdon is a marvellous private sector school.

    Meanwhile all our lousy councils can do is sell off school playing fields and pave over flower beds. Meanwhile the government can only create 200 billion of ITS own money, and what does it do with it except lend it to itself.

    So whn the Community Councils come in, we here shall be taking our lead from how Normanby and Sutton are run.

    I'd send this on Smythson of Bond Street paper were I able.


    Only the Tories can lead us back to the specualtive boom, high interest rate, economy, with society people enjoying the big country houses on enormous private estates free from fear of death duties, the prospect of a good day's hard work a mere forgotten nightmare.


    Ete.

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  • 24. At 11:11am on 01 Apr 2010, mittfh wrote:

    @TIH Have you had your morning coffee yet? The Guardian 'announcement' of the posters was my first link - the only difference being I used the columnist's name rather than the paper name! :)

    -oOo-

    Meanwhile, typical Tories - any excuse to do a bit of campaigning...
    I wonder what sums of money they spent on themselves during their time in office?

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  • 25. At 11:14am on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Apparently there are to be two new five minute slots on PM tonight and from now on. One, the humour of TIH, the other the bons mots of BS.


    Pinch and a punch
    First day of the month


    .....And no returns [pause for DMcN's 'We can only hope..']

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  • 26. At 11:17am on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Oi,

    When did 'fey' come to mean 'fay' as well?

    It ain't ike that in my early sixites Oxford but it is in on-line dictionaries now.

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  • 27. At 11:19am on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    'ain't like that', I mena. Don't want to give DMcN nightmares about Ike again!

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  • 28. At 11:33am on 01 Apr 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    "Only the Tories can lead us back to the specualtive boom, high interest rate, economy"

    Nothing can out do the boom and bust Brown has delivered us, as well as the disparity of wealth.

    But you shouldn't churn out these arguments when you haven't bothered to respond to people replying to your previous claims about interest rates, as I did on Tuesday.

    So before you rant on about interest rates AGAIN, you first have to deal with the points I put to you on Tuesday, that the Bank of England now sets interest rates, and that interest rates is a tool used to combat inflation, and that this Government is playing fast and loose with inflation with its Government borrowing, and QE policy.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2010/03/am_glass_box_for_tuesday_6.shtml#comments

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  • 29. At 11:46am on 01 Apr 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    mittfh (24) - Yep - I just scanned down the papers you highlighted and misssed the Gruniad.
    btw there was a live hoax watch on their site this morning.

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  • 30. At 12:18pm on 01 Apr 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Neat April Fool on Today:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2010/03/the_beach_151.shtml

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  • 31. At 12:18pm on 01 Apr 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Oops! Wrong link!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8598000/8598291.stm

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  • 32. At 1:39pm on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    The Employer's Contribution should increase by more for companies that can affored it.

    Take Marks and Spencers. With a post tax profit of 500 billion on a turn over of 9 billion (2009), that RATE of profit, can certainly sustain more than a 0.5 PERCENT increase in its LABOUR costs.


    Next looks comfotably placed too, with 300 post tax profit on 3,300 million turn over.
    Again, half of one per cent of the labour cost component of turnover sounds like a loss of sales to rich shareholders and chief executives for Bollingers, no more.

    What with contributions to the Tories, these companies can well afford it.

    They should be pleased their employees earning less than 21 thousand don't have to pay any more employee contributions.

    Their letter disqualifies them as good employers, and in ensuring that the Toies will hike VAT instead it disqualifies therm as customer friendly too.

    But as profit, bonus and high salary protecors, they're GREAT.


    PS Was their letter a bad April 1st joke, if so, a poor one?

    Top salaries account for

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  • 33. At 1:41pm on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    ...about 2 million including bonuses at Next, between 3 plutocrats, but I guessed you'd guessed that.

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  • 34. At 1:46pm on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    You know, at those profit rates those companies, of the gallant 23 profit makers, can afford not to pass the higher cost to customers.

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  • 35. At 4:14pm on 01 Apr 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    #6, JAlexW

    I reckon every vote for Labour or the Tories is a wasted vote.

    They've shown time and again that they can't be trusted and they get by by playing technicalities like immigrant rapists that throw their victims onto rubbish tips.

    This election we need some quality independents to keep the untrustworthy, self aggrandising professional politicians in check.

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  • 36. At 4:17pm on 01 Apr 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/newsbeat/newsid_8596000/8596827.stm

    'Mistake'?

    Rather like Gordon Brown gambling the economy of the nation on the unsustainable property bubble?

    Who benefitted the most from the great property price bubble?

    Surely some of those are the Eastern European immigrants that turned the unrealitically high pound into their native currency and used it in their homelands? Not a dig, just astute use of money and the rewards for their endeavours. :)

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  • 37. At 4:27pm on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Two questions for the sorts of slebs who are too fly ever to be interviewed on PM, and two for Sue McGregor

    One: For Mervyn King: Was it an intended consequence of his QE policy, starting March last year, to add over 60 per cent to the value of the Ftse in a year?
    If so why didn't he say so at the time?

    And if so, why didn't he devote an extra 200 billion to buying Ftse shares at the time?


    He could have sold up now, and cancelled the National Debt with the profit, 120 billion.

    Or are we up against the paradox of paper wealth, that only the few can benefit. With everyone on the bandwagon, the wheels come off.

    Two: For SamCam. Is society a democracy?
    If so can I elect someone else to run the great estates of England, like Sutton Park, Yorkshire and Normanby Hall, like I can vote for a Minister of Health to run the Health Service. I mean are jobs in society allocated by a transparent political process, rather than say patronage and heredity.

    If not will that change with DavCam's big idea?


    For McGregor, two, too.

    1. Does she think the 'Have you stopped beating your kids?' school of interviewing has won, in that now, exactly that sort of question has to be answerewd 'Yes' or 'No' by interviewees. Otherwise audiences and interviewers howl with indignation.

    If so, p'haps women are less disingenuous and pointlessly ruthless?


    2. In post Apartheid South Africa, who, now, should do the manual labour?

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  • 38. At 4:41pm on 01 Apr 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    #6,

    I'd argue that a vote for Labour or the Conservatives is a wasted vote. It's a vote for more of the same.

    The only way out of this economic mess is to hype up the property market again.

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  • 39. At 5:01pm on 01 Apr 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

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

  • 40. At 5:14pm on 01 Apr 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    Working 4 days a week instead of 3 days a week?

    What about time spent with kids and partners? Should employers change working days just like that? Shouldn't 'felxible working' benefit both parties?

    Should public tarnsport be like a McDonalds server? 'Work's light, go home now and return later to finish your allocated hours'?

    If they want to change the shift from 3 days to 4 days they should offer some incentive.

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  • 41. At 5:16pm on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    What do those 40 per cent planning to vote Tory think?

    #something like this.

    The way the Tories will run the economy will be to get back to asset inflation and debt driven 'affluence'

    They will hike interest rates to make imports cheap again and cut government tranche by tranche, to pay off, and pay for the increased cost of, government debt.

    Labour has proved it can run a capitalist economy (the Brown years as Chancellor) and that it can save one in a crisis (the Darling-King years).


    The polls at the time showed clearly that the electorate saw Labour as right for to cope with the crisis, and the Tories for to let the good timmes roll again...whenever...


    And the electorate still take that view. Their view is:

    One.
    The crisis is over, but how is it to be paid for? Remember 'good times' are when household-acked debt is self repaying via equity in house prices, and share sales are self financing cos the remaining shares you have inflate in value.
    Everyone seems to think some great cost has to be suffered before the gravy train can start up again.
    The Tories offer government itself as the sacrificial lamb and that sounds right to the electorate.
    Labour really wants to say 'We can just carry on from here, can't we? Look at the Ftse. The gravy train express is on its way'.

    The former sounds more convincing to a public wholly mesmerised by thought of fault and blame and cost.


    Two. At the crucial time, last March, Labour failed to offer SOCIALISM as an alternative. That failure confirms socialism as a failure in the minds of the Tory 40 %
    Labour is seen as an organisation offering to run capitalism, which is re-rentering a new 'money for nothing' phase, whilst being vaguely uneasy about it.


    That then is the 40 per cent view.


    The truth is more likely that an incoming Tory governmewnt will find itself swept up in world capitalism's new on slaught on Obama.
    The gravy train will restart here, but for the very, very few, as the pound crashes and hyperinflation and mass unemployment stalks the land.

    That is why the careful application of tax funded remedies that Labour offers is so valuable.
    We are as a nation like someone suddenly realising they are hugely overweight from gorging. (Know what I mean?****) You can't get back into shape quickly. Slow, dedicated application is the only way.
    Getting something like that across is Labour's only chance.

    PS I still believe in socialism!!!!!!!!!


    **** Don't know where that simile came from but in my own case I'm planning to get back down to my former Homer Simopson figure by the Aytumn.

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  • 42. At 5:29pm on 01 Apr 2010, Happyhomeworker wrote:

    On the rail strike/union issue:

    1. employers have every right to challenge the legitimacy of a strike ballot where they have cause to do so - unions don't shy away from challenging the management's right to make decisions about the business, do they?
    2. unions struggle to keep up with who is where? That's bull - all they have to do is get their HR team to give them a download of work locations and numbers every few months. To fail to do so before taking a strike ballot is negligence
    3. what about all those people who would not have been able to get to work and who wouldn't have their season tickets refunded if the strike had gone ahead - there is a real sense of anger in the country about unions striking, where was this in the rather unbalanced item we heard earlier?

    Is PM becoming the voice of the trade unions?

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  • 43. At 5:47pm on 01 Apr 2010, John Corey wrote:

    How can a union claim it is representing the union members if the specific union does not know who the members are, how to contact them and where they work? If a union wants to speak for and otherwise represent the members being able to actually contact the members seems like a pre-requisite.

    If a vote to strike is needed before action can be taken, the running of the vote needs to be a core skill for the union. If the current union is not up to the task then it needs to be replaced by a union who can get the job done.

    The union's claim there is a 'safety issue' seems a bit odd. The vote was very close. What sort of message is half of the membership trying to send given they voted NOT to strike? Either they feel there is no safety issue or they do not see a strike as an effective way to deal with the supposed safety issue. The regulator seems to be saying safety is not an issue. It is the regulator's job to focus on safety while it is not really the main focus of the union leadership. They are there to run the union, including running the vote.

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  • 44. At 5:55pm on 01 Apr 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    I'm in a Union. But then again I work part time and earn between a 1/3 and a 1/4 of the national average wage. I also volunteer, work for free in the public sector.

    Despite being a union member I've never knowling had rabies or eaten a baby.

    I wish Cameron wouldn't bang on about unions. He's assuming that all union members are the same and no union members have ever voted Tory.

    Unions are a political football, or organisations that represent and stand up for their members?

    Unions are much more democratic than the way this Country is run with Blair's supposedly Presidential sofa politics and illegal wars?

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  • 45. At 6:21pm on 01 Apr 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    When some of us were prudent and I didn't buy into the bubble why should thay have to feel all the pain?

    The economic bubble didn't just happen. It was obvious, visible from space so surely those that stood by and let it happen and even fuelled it should feel some cuts.

    Not everyone gained by the bubble that prudent Gordon Brown presided over did they?

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  • 46. At 6:33pm on 01 Apr 2010, Sindy wrote:


    "What do those 40 per cent planning to vote Tory think?

    "#something like this.

    "The way the Tories will run the economy will be to get back to asset inflation and debt driven 'affluence' ... "

    No, EtE - nothing like that.


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  • 47. At 7:17pm on 01 Apr 2010, Lepus_Madidus wrote:

    42, HappyHomeWorker,

    I agree on your 2nd point in the age of TXTing and Emails it's not that hard to communicate with union members?

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  • 48. At 7:28pm on 01 Apr 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    The very low value of the Polish currency against the pound let Britain buy up huge tracts of prime farming land in the east of Poland.

    The value of that land together with the loss of so much of their productive effort in Poland itself cost Poland far more than Polish workers were able to realise from work here.

    Whilst here, the property bubble ensured rents they paid were exhorbitant too.

    The Polish economy had been deliberately trashed. Foreign investors bought up huge industreial holdings as well as land.

    The sums strawbwerry pickers and care assistants could send back home could not prevent the wholesale take over of the country by US, British and EU capital.

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  • 49. At 9:21pm on 01 Apr 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    So EtE is to vote tory while maintaining his belief in socialism
    ... the Camer Rouge?

    ;o)

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  • 50. At 11:04am on 02 Apr 2010, baytrees wrote:

    (42)Happyhomeworker
    (43)John Corey
    (47)Lepus_Madidus

    Speaking from a management perspective, it is practically impossible for the union to comply with the law. My understanding is that there is no obligation on the employer to provide the union with employee details, and the comments last night from the industrial relations professor seemed to confirm this. Happyhomeworker's point 2 is ill-informed.

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  • 51. At 5:47pm on 04 Apr 2010, davmcn wrote:

    eTe 48, When we were in Poland, you could get 1,000,000 zlotys for £60.

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