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Eddie Mair | 06:17 UK time, Monday, 17 May 2010

This is the place for serious talk about serious things. The topics are up to you. Maybe post-election analysis or something else entirely.

Please use this strand, and keep Glass Boxes free for observations about PM content.


  • 1. At 09:16am on 17 May 2010, Looternite wrote:

    Has this ConDem coalition prooved that politicians would sell their grandmothers to get into power.

    After all Conservatives and Liberals are not natural allies.

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  • 2. At 09:52am on 17 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    No, Looternite. It shows that some people are prepared to put aside their differences for the sake of the country. We're not natural allies - but we now have a government that can get things done, with a large dose of Liberal policy to temper the extremes of the Tories. Do you have a better idea?

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  • 3. At 09:59am on 17 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Let's wait for the first big falling out and review the situation then, shall we?

    I'd have preferred a coalition of all the parties, for what it's worth.

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  • 4. At 10:16am on 17 May 2010, Sindy wrote:

    3. Big Sister
    "I'd have preferred a coalition of all the parties, for what it's worth."

    So would I. I wonder why they didn't try for that?

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  • 5. At 10:40am on 17 May 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    A good question, Sid. Shall we ask Mr. Cameron?

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  • 6. At 11:02am on 17 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    Shirley Williams was pushing for this - at least to sort out the economics. I don't think I've ever heard her say anything foolish.

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  • 7. At 11:32am on 17 May 2010, Looternite wrote:

    6. Sid

    "Shirley Williams ........ I don't think I've ever heard her say anything foolish."

    Whoops!.... didn't she say that we should have joined the Euro.

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  • 8. At 11:42am on 17 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    Looternite - that doesn't count as foolish in my book.

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  • 9. At 11:47am on 17 May 2010, Looternite wrote:

    Shamron quotes:

    August 2008: "The Liberal Democrats spend every waking hour dreaming of a hung Parliament and their moment of power when they can finally foist themselves on a grateful nation".

    Interesting and prophetic.

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  • 10. At 11:49am on 17 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    Boring and predictable.

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  • 11. At 11:58am on 17 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    Why was New Labour so authoritarian? Wise words from Henry Porter:

    First of all, people such as Clarke, Reid, Straw and Blunkett had been involved in far-left politics in their youth and from those days they retained a belief in the inherent wisdom of the state and saw it as the only real force for good. This accounted for the largely undetected seam of authoritarianism that ran through New Labour.

    Second, New Labour was a quasi-revolutionary movement that had fallen in love with the market and had no coherent ideology other than a belief in modernisation. These were people who were impatient with history and the great achievements of such things as Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and so forth. The struggle for liberty seemed to mean nothing to them. All that was new and modern was good: the old had nothing to tell them.

    Third, New Labour displayed a deep pessimism about ordinary people, which had quietly replaced the traditional compassion of the old Labour party. How this was allowed to happen is difficult to say –perhaps it was the brutalising effect of absorbing so much from Thatcherism. At any rate, that jaundiced view inspired ministers and civil servants to draft legislation that removed defendants' rights, to abandon faith in rehabilitation and redemption, and to assume ordinary people would always act in their own interests rather than those of society.


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  • 12. At 12:03pm on 17 May 2010, Looternite wrote:

    Ok then Huhne on Tory Stance on Europe:

    September 22, 2009: "DAVE'S dumped the Tories' long-term allies to jump into bed with the wackos and the weirdos. He says he cares about human rights, but then cuddles up to a Latvian party that celebrates Adolf Hitler's Waffen SS."

    Huhne is a member of the European Movement; "The European Movement international is a lobbying association that coordinates the efforts of associations and national councils with the goal of promoting European integration."

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  • 13. At 12:20pm on 17 May 2010, mittfh wrote:

    It'll be interesting to see what the new government does on the issue of crime and punishment.

    IIRC, Cameron & co. don't like the idea of community sentences or the early release scheme. So presumably they'll advocate the building of extra prison capacity. But since prisons have a very high NIMBY factor, where will these new facilities be built?

    Reducing the amount of paperwork the police have to fill in may free up more officers for "the beat", but will it necessarily reduce the amount of crime in those areas? And how long will it be before a potential failing is discovered and new targets / paperwork are (re)introduced to combat it?

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  • 14. At 12:34pm on 17 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    Guess who said this ...

    "It is strange that the much more effective criminal justice policies of our European neighbours attract little attention here. Ministers are obsessed by the US, despite its high levels of violent crime, and faithfully emulate its policies, three strikes and you're out and all the rest, as if they felt they had to seem macho. Perhaps they watch too many American crime movies."

    Yup, my wise friend, Shirley Williams, ten years ago ... what's changed?


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  • 15. At 12:45pm on 17 May 2010, Looternite wrote:

    Guess who said this:

    "As a Labour member of parliament I will do my utmost to improve life for you and your family."

    Said by Shirley Williams to my mum in 1964.

    Shirley Williams has had a long political life and she has said many things. Some of us remember when she was a radical leftie.

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  • 16. At 12:47pm on 17 May 2010, Looternite wrote:

    Blast forgot to add.
    Yup, my wise friend, Shirley Williams, 46 years ago ... what's changed?
    A lot it seems.

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  • 17. At 4:28pm on 17 May 2010, Cash Hughes wrote:

    11. Sid
    One, two, three - well put.

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  • 18. At 4:46pm on 17 May 2010, Cash Hughes wrote:

    13. mittfh

    • "IIRC, Cameron & co. don't like the idea of community sentences or the early release scheme. So presumably they'll advocate the building of extra prison capacity."

    Simon Schama was quoting Paine at the weekend,
    • "When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness: when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and its government."

    And I agree wholeheartedly

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  • 19. At 5:09pm on 17 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    I wouldn't change a word of that, Cash.

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  • 20. At 5:28pm on 17 May 2010, H_Andrew wrote:

    Is anyone else reminded of the end of "Animal Farm", when the animals peer through the window at the Pigs and the Humans gorging themselves around the (cabinet) table and they suddenly realise that they cannot tell the difference between them.

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  • 21. At 7:23pm on 17 May 2010, Sid wrote:


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  • 22. At 01:04am on 18 May 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    3 "I'd have preferred a coalition of all the parties, for what it's worth."

    Thought it was going to happen for a minute there. I am deeply unimpressed by the Labour chaps. Did I mention that?

    11 Sid quotes; Clarke, Reid, Straw and Blunkett had been involved in far-left politics in their youth and from those days they retained a belief in the inherent wisdom of the state and saw it as the only real force for good. This accounted for the largely undetected seam of authoritarianism that ran through New Labour.

    Largely undetected?? - ??????

    ID cards?
    Terrorist legislation that makes us all criminals?
    Fooling the public with dodgy dossiers?

    And this person thinks nobody noticed?

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  • 23. At 07:46am on 18 May 2010, DoctorDolots wrote:

    Obsession with politicians and their narrow consciousness. Has the chatterati nonsense not subsided yet?

    Meanwhile, back in the real world, a group of British explorers just back from a 60-day trip to the North Pole said on Monday that they had encountered unusual conditions, including ice sheets that drifted far faster than they had expected, and last month explorers at the team's ice base some 680 miles further south reported a three-minute rain shower ... perhaps PM might think this of some importance. There again, perhaps not.

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  • 24. At 3:49pm on 19 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    The new House of Laws:

    Separate parts for individual savants and political lists?

    In which case in what proportions?

    The savants the dreamers, the party people the people of affairs.

    How can there be any justifcation for STV applied to large constiuuencies here, given its failure to be REPRESENTATIONAL and given its requiring irksome STRATEGIC VOTING calculations to right those difficulties.

    What we need is Microcosm Representation - simply PROPORTIONATE representation which reduces the need for stategic voting.

    There also seems good reason only to involve the Electoral Reform Society at the stage of implementatrion, given their obvious prejudice and indeed I am sorry to say mis-statements about STV.

    In particular their "Mission Statement" which seems to imply STV eliminates misrepresentation and is sufficiently proportional. Which it isn't. They have a number of 'aims'. STV they say is best overall. That doesn't make it best for a subset of those aims - PROPRTIONALITY and minimum STRATEGIC VOTING - both of which are crucial.

    They are good at the administration side of elections however.

    Again, Wikipedia is a mixed quantity. It talkes of procedures under STV which are unfair - for example the crossing out of the names of successful candidates. (This would require changes in the quota and anyway gives some electors two votes whilst others have one)

    Who then could we get to help Clegg on this? I honestly do not believe there is an adequate theorist to deal with this matter, in public life or the Universities here in Britain.

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  • 25. At 9:21pm on 19 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    "I honestly do not believe there is an adequate theorist to deal with this matter, in public life or the Universities here in Britain."

    So why do you pursue it so avidly? We don't actually need theorists - we need practitioners.

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  • 26. At 08:49am on 21 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    There are abroad.


    AV and stategic voting.

    Consider three parties in a single member constituency. Any two together get more than 50 percent of the vote.

    In this first case assume that electors are voting for parties rather than coalitions.

    Assume that the parties are x, a and y.

    Assume 'a' comes third on 'sincere' voting.

    Can they stop their vote getting divi-ed up between x and y?

    Well, they can if they let it be known what their x to y split is and if they themselves, 'a', are the, for them less popular of the two, party's overwhelming second preference. (They pretend that party is the loser if there is an exact tie)

    They simply say to that loser of the two, 'Vote strategically for us'

    So with voters thinking of things in a left, right and centre way, AV plus strategic voting gets the all round winner, the middle ground 'a' party, voted in in every constituency where there isn't an absolute 'sincere' majority.
    (If 'a' don't come third they get all the transfered votes)

    649 Lib Dem MPs and John Bercow.

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  • 27. At 12:02pm on 23 May 2010, nikki noodle wrote:

    About BBC News:

    1. I can understand that the following story might not be 'headline' news, but it doesn't even appear on the BBC Europe page, it is pretty difficult to find it anywhere on BBC News at all!

    "Severe Flooding is occuring in parts of Central Europe.
    .Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Serbia and Ukraine were affected.
    .The floods caused the death of at least nine people.
    .Approximately 23,000 people were evacuated and the estimated economic cost was 2.5 billion euros.
    .Aid arrived from other EU countries.
    .The city of Kraków declared a state of emergency."

    Even if it were only to advise Brits to prepare alternative travel plans, I can't understand why this is not on BBC News Europe page.


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  • 28. At 12:03pm on 23 May 2010, nikki noodle wrote:

    The BBC News Europe page:


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  • 29. At 5:55pm on 23 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    Top story on that page: "Duchess of York 'devastated' by cash-for-access claims"

    Good greif.

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  • 30. At 6:08pm on 23 May 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    I know this looks boring but it is actualy very simple and very important and should be compulsory viewing for all economic commentaotrs and journalists. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY&feature=related Please watch the whole thing, it's long (eight parts - over an hour). Over ten years old, this is the best and simplest explanation of the mess we've made for ourselves I've yet seen.

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  • 31. At 6:38pm on 23 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    29 Sid
    i before e except after c. ;o)

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  • 32. At 7:17pm on 23 May 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    lucien - forget your pedantry, just watch the vid ... please

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  • 33. At 7:21pm on 23 May 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    It's the bugs in the bottle story that really brings things home, slam dunk, up and under, yay goal. Oh boy we are in serious trouble.

    Do you have children?

    Oh dear ...

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  • 34. At 7:59pm on 23 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    32 Ellis
    Remember where you are.

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  • 35. At 8:06pm on 23 May 2010, nikki noodle wrote:

    Ellis - I have seen these (all 8) quite a few times, and they *still* make me gulp....

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  • 36. At 8:46pm on 23 May 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    Nikki - thank you, it is so very simple; lucien will be dancing with the bluebells till the world caves in, it seems. Shame on him and all of us ... I guess.

    So Nero played the fiddle while Rome burned, has anyone a better plan?

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  • 37. At 8:53pm on 23 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    You can't pin the destruction of the planet on me, Mr Otter ... nor the bluebells. I've watched the first segment and will watch the remainder when (if?) I have time.

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  • 38. At 8:56pm on 23 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    Incidentally ... I don't drive a car, don't fly and live in a very small flat; less destructive than most who live in the isles.

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  • 39. At 8:59pm on 23 May 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    Please, please do lucien (and anyone else who reads this), it just so happens that bluebells are the primary flowers in my garden right now. I love them.

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  • 40. At 8:59pm on 23 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    38 'these isles' I meant to type.

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  • 41. At 9:43pm on 23 May 2010, Sid wrote:

    Or, as we teachers like to say, 'se after the, if we mean these'.

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  • 42. At 11:46pm on 23 May 2010, Looternite wrote:

    32. Ellis P Otter

    Oi leave lucien desgai alone, he's alright he is.

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  • 43. At 11:58pm on 23 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:


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  • 44. At 11:27am on 24 May 2010, JesseBigg wrote:

    The first round of the Tory Chancellor's cuts are on the way, so no doubt it's going to be a re-run of the 1980's when a whole generation of people suffered when shunted into the Tory wasteland.

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  • 45. At 3:27pm on 24 May 2010, Cash Hughes wrote:

    30. Ellis P Otter

    • "Over ten years old, this is the best and simplest explanation of the mess we've made for ourselves I've yet seen."

    Short version

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  • 46. At 3:33pm on 24 May 2010, Cash Hughes wrote:

    And the bluebells and wild garlic are at their peak around here. The mixed perfume is wonderful!


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  • 47. At 8:42pm on 24 May 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    45 - Thanks, Walnut, but video watching is easier on the stupid than reading.


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  • 48. At 9:48pm on 29 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Am I alone in finding Phil Redmoind part of the problem rather than part of the solution?

    Liverpool was like London in this respect. The people of those cities, especially the young, KNEW they had real ability. Their culture had proved it to them. The Stones, The Who, The Beatles, The Searchers,........I could list a half a page for each city. The comedians, the folk singers, the dramatists, the photographers, the artists...

    The future was theirs. They could replace the fuddy class that had produced MacMillan and Home They were clever, intelligent, talented worthwhile. The future was theirs.

    But Phil Redmond told those cities they were a seething mass of problems that no social revolution could solve.

    Just as the cities thrilled to themselves in the 60s so under Phil Redmond Liverpuddleanism and Londonism became a pastiche, a mawkish parody. A burning sense of social justice was burned out into endless concerns about apolitical social differentiations on Brookside.

    This claim is about the general tone of Redmondism. Of course for him the 80s was an opportunity as he was saying.

    An opportunity to transform the glimpse of social transformation that the 60s had given us into the introspective tragic-comic pseudo complexity of the going nowhere social world of Redmond.

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  • 49. At 10:18pm on 29 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    48 EtE
    I think you've tapped into a rage which burns inside us all.

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  • 50. At 10:48pm on 29 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Hey, ld, have you watched that Panorama programme yet?

    The one where Vivian White bashes unemployed youngsters?

    You'll need every ounce of your post modern irony to keep from agreeing with me when you do.

    But you'll manage it.

    Their problems aren't EXACTLY yours.

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  • 51. At 11:23pm on 29 May 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    The one with Digby Jones in Swindon?

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  • 52. At 11:29pm on 29 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


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  • 53. At 7:51pm on 30 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

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

  • 54. At 8:54pm on 30 May 2010, Cossackgirl wrote:

    The issue of Mr Laws' judgement etc has been amply covered, but may I point out that, according to the media, his aged parents are devout Roman Catholics and in their eyes homosexuals are due for eternal hell: a fate possibly worse that death for the devoutely religious of many faiths. It was to prevent his mother's horror and torment on his behalf, that, it would appear, David Laws chose not to come out to his family and friends until he was unceremoniously outed. I cannot imagine the pain of that family! I have some personal experience of this issue, as one of my dearest friends is a closet gay (a very old-fashioned thing to be in these enlightened days). His family were devout Roman Catholics and he knew he would break his mother's heart if he confessed his sexuality to her. He concealed both being gay and his loss of faith from her, always accompanying the old lady to church and not dashing her hopes of him settling with a nice girl one day, until she died. Once his old folks were dead, I actually encouraged him to embrace his true identity and come out to the rest of the world, but it was too late: he cannot handle breaking the news to the circle of his friends, he says he knows they would turn away from him. I, a woman, remain one of a tiny handful of people he confided in in over seventy years of life. I don't think we can tell Mrs Laws that it's the 21st Century for God's sake and she should grow up and accept her son as he is. I am so sorry for all concerned...

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  • 55. At 10:47pm on 30 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    Mine was apparently 'potentially defamatory'. I mentioned me, Vivian White, Digby Jones, Joshua Rosenberg and four unemployed lads.

    Oh, yeah and a school me, Joshua and Vivien went to.

    Oh yeah, and a dead philosopher and a couple of third rate univesities.

    What about yours?

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  • 56. At 11:01pm on 30 May 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Sorry about my posts, my r's won't work propely.

    I think there shuold be a pro forma disclaimer fo controvesial posts.

    'No xxxxxxxxx's have been harmed in the constuction of this post

    Delete as appropriate'

    With xxxxxxxxx as the list of targets the Mods get woked up about.

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  • 57. At 7:59pm on 31 May 2010, Cossackgirl wrote:

    ETE 55, 56
    I have just looked at the comments in today's AM Glass Box concerning the various aspects of the resignation of the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury (she says obliquely). Nothing in my own comment above was in any way worse than a whole load of comments on the new thread. I did not get an email, but I do know that you have to be shopped to the mods for them to notice most misdemeanors (it says so in their rulebook). So somebody on this Blog bears me so much ill-will, they would stab me in the back for nothing. I am so fed up with this blog I hardly ever come anyway. If my comment is not reinstated, I shall never come again. There are better things to do with my valuable time. To you I say: good luck and good hunting!

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  • 58. At 8:55pm on 02 Jun 2010, Cossackgirl wrote:

    Ah, well, so there is justice in the world after all! Many thanks to the mods!

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  • 59. At 10:35pm on 02 Jun 2010, U14450706 wrote:

    54. Cossackgirl

    • "I don't think we can tell Mrs Laws that it's the 21st Century for God's sake and she should grow up and accept her son as he is. I am so sorry for all concerned..."

    Seconded! And well expressed.

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  • 60. At 11:19pm on 02 Jun 2010, Sid wrote:

    Cossackgirl @ 54 - I couldn't agree more. I've been amazed at the number of good people round here who have thought they can offer advice to Laws on how he should have felt and behaved, despite not knowing him or his circumstances.

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  • 61. At 07:58am on 03 Jun 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    I, too, have experience of the problems of someone very close (a cousin) who 'came out' to her Catholic parents. It wasn't easy for her, particularly as she is more than twenty years older than Mr. Laws and her parents were, therefore, at least one generation older than his parents must be.

    My observation is this: of course he had the right to conceal his sexuality, if that is what he chose to do, but in order to maintain that deception he broke Parliamentary rules for expenses in a way which would bring opprobrium on any MP, whatever their sexual orientation.

    I have already expressed my sympathy for his family and his partner. For what it's worth, I also feel some sympathy for Mr. Laws - but I remain angry at his behaviour with regard to his expenses.

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  • 62. At 3:38pm on 08 Jun 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    The Deputy Speaker election is using STV between nine candidates for three places.

    Constraints are that there must be one woman and at most one Tory.

    Results: After one candidate, if a Tory, all Tory names are crossed out for the next round.
    Then after two candidates, if this second candidate is a Tory all Tory names are then crossed off.
    If neither is a woman, all male candidates are crossed out.

    The quota is 25 percent + 1 vote.

    If none has a quota at any stage the votes of the lowest placed candidate are redistributed unless she is the only woman left in the contest and one has not been elected thus far, and unless a Tory has already been elected or two seats are still to be filled and all remaining candidates are Tories. (Note 1)

    When a candidate has got elected, their name is crossed out of all voters lists.

    The quota of votes which achieved their election is discarded and that candidate's excess votes are distributed among the other candidates in the ratio of their extant second preferences. The quota remains the same for the next place.

    It is NOT true as ERS and Wikipedia (sometimes, sometimes not!!) assert, namely that the procedure is not amenable to strategic voting.

    (I show a case at
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2010/02/the_furrowed_brow_74.shtml#P95932750 )

    It is also sadly true that a candidate who beats every other can fail to get elected, not because of the constraints but because of the weakness of STV.
    Consider this:
    XPaPY 48 percent, YPaPX 48 percent, aPXPY 4 percent.
    where X and Y are lists of four candidates each (none in common) in the same order for all voters

    Then the top candidate in X and the top candidate in Y are elected straight away. As it happens one is a woman, neither Tories.

    Quota 25 percent + 1 vote.
    The residua are 23 percent - 1 vote for both the X'PaPY' and Y'PaPX'
    and 4 percent for the aPX'PY' voters, where X' and Y' are X and Y without their top candidate.

    Then the aPX'PY' votes are redistributed to the top candidate in X', who is a woman.

    But candidate a is herself a woman and beats every other candidate by 52 per cent to 48 percent in pairwise comparison.

    Decency or elementary democratic theory would of course require that, initally, all XPaPY and YPaPX vote strategically, at aPXPY and aPYPX respectively so that a is elected at the first stage.

    The rest of the election proceeds as normal, taking note as to whether a is a Tory or not.

    That is of course what decency and democracy require.

    But we have a Lib Dem Con which is implementing 6.2 billion of cuts which an absolute majority voted against in the General Election.

    What's more, strategic voting is (wholly wrongly) described as dishonesty. In fact it is a necessary feature of democracy. This appearance of dishonesty may inhibit some MPs, and, given the wholly politically dishonest cuts this year being implemented, may further erode the people's trust in MPs new and old. Particularly if false claims about STV are made for this very election.

    All of which would be hard on the new Labour MPs who are opposed to the 6.2 billion of cuts and hence with the absolute majority of the electorate who voted against them.

    Note 1:

    I say here above:
    If none has a quota at any stage the votes of the lowest placed candidate are redistributed unless she is the only woman left in the contest and one has not been elected thus far, and unless a Tory has already been elected or two seats are still to be filled and all remaining candidates are Tories.

    Should that last occur the original voting lists can be restored with all Tories as well as successful candidates left out and votes then counted. Shoud there be still insufficent.
    If there is a woamn in the contest at all, what I say above guarantees, without further ado, that a woman will get elected.

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  • 63. At 4:49pm on 01 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Still enjoying the odder aspects of STV:

    The basic intuitive idea is of course that for n seats in a constituency of N voters, every seat should be won by N/n (different for each successful candidate) voters. Each quota of electors gets a representative (gets representation, is represented)

    A tranche of N/n voters is discarded for subsequent parts of the count whenever a candidate is elected. They've got their representation. They play no further part.

    So a candidate to be successful, must have at least N/n votes supporting them at the stage when that candidate gets a seat.

    The excess votes (the candidate's support at that stage minus N/n) are redistributed to the other remaining candidates in the ratio of the, then extant, second preferences of ALL that candidates supporters. Or they may be retained and compared with other residuals in party list systems.

    After a number of such seat allocations no candidate may have the required support of a quota ot get a seat. Then the votes of the candidate or party with the smallest extant support are redistributed to other candidates.

    This system itself has its difficulties. But the elaborations on this basic idea make things much worse.

    The elaborations seem to begin with comparisons with one seat elections. Then to win, a candidate must get more than N/2 votes.

    Thus the divisor becomes n+1 rather than n, since for n = 1 the candidate is not required to get 100 per cent to win!

    But this undercuts the basic idea of the system being proportional representation. For now whilst n tranches of N/(n+1) voters will each be represented, there can remain as many as N - n.N/(n+1) voters ( = N/(n+1) voters) who don't get representation of any sort. Put another way the opinions of N/(n+1) voters aren't represented in the 'replicated in miniature' pattern of those candidates elected.

    Now comes another elaboration. N/(n+1) votes per candidate means that n+1 candidates can get the quota.
    Thus the quota is redefined as N/(n+1) + 1 vote.

    This does reduce the number of voters possibly unrepresented by n, but it also allows an absolute majority of voters to fail to get a majority representation. I'll show that below, subsequently.

    Meanwhile for just three alternatives I'll try to show why I have my doubts about PR at all, focused as it is taken to be, on first place preferences.

    For simplicity assume three parties, x, a and y, with a party list system.

    Again for simplicity assume three sorts of voters, by opinion, the xPaPy's, the yPaPx's and the aPxIy's. (The last group thus find x and y equally (un)satisfactory. They are Indifferent between the two)

    Assuming neither the x's nor the y's are in an absolute majority 'a' must be the winning alternative, by pairwise comparison.

    Now in percentage terms, assume X, Y and A percent of the vote for each set of voters.

    The majority of a over x is A + Y minus X
    whilst the majority for a over y is A + X minus Y.

    For simplicity again, assume X = Y >> A > 0.

    If A is less than 100/(n+1) then the x's and y's will get equal representation, with n even and the a's none at all.

    But a is the all round winner.

    How might that fact reasonably be represented in terms of seats won?

    Well, we know X + Y + A = 100 and numerically we know X + A - Y (a's majority over y, call it ky) and we know Y + A - X (a's majority over x, call it k) . These numbers are in terms of percentages of voters.

    What we want in terms of percentage of seats (indicated by ') is that

    A' - X' = kx, A' - Y' = ky and A' + X' + Y' = 100.

    Thus A' = (100 + kx + ky)/3

    This method seems to me to generalise immediately for any number of alternatives and any number of voters for any possible preference ordering when there is an all round winner.

    In every case the all round winner becomes, it seems, the largest party. I call this method my pairwise comparison method with all round winners.

    I am interested in suggestions as to how to choose the comparison alternative when there is no all round winner.
    Alternatively one might simply normalise all alternatives' Borda Count scores.

    I turn here finally to the following case for STV, with the full N/(n+1) + 1 voter quota paraphernalia and party lists.

    I shall work in percentage terms and assume N is divisible by 10 whilst N/2 is odd.

    Let n = 9. Then the quota is 10 per cent + 1 vote.

    Assume that the first preference numbers for the set of parties x, a, b, c, d, e are

    50 percent + 1 vote, 10 percent + 1 vote, 10 percent + 1 vote, 10 percent + 1 vote, 10 percent - 2 votes and 10 percent - 2 votes respectively

    Then straight away the x's get 4 seats for 40 percent + 4 votes in quotas, whilst a, b and c get a single seat each.

    This leaves the x's with 10 percent less 3 votes and d and e with 10 per cent less 2 votes each.

    Thus the x residual votes are redistributed. It turns out that the x voters split entirely and exactly equally between d and e.

    Thus d and e get the last two seats.

    It turns out that a is every voter's second choice when it is not their first choice.

    Thus x has an absolute majority in the plebiscite but is in a minority from the point of view of seats.

    If x is at the bottom of all voters' lists except where it is top, clearly the majority in the country, x, will win no votes in the representative assembly.
    This is a serious defect in any system and explains a little of my doubt about STV.

    Another source of doubt is what STV is FOR. We vote. PR replicates the way we vote in terms of seats in Parliament.

    But with a genuinely hung Parliament we've then surrendered which COALITION we want and so lost our right to express whether we'd prefer the certainty of a single party or the one off all or nothing gamble for one extreme or another rather than watch Parliament concoct a government for us.

    STV seems to be compounding a confusion between having a Parliament that is a microcosm of how people voted and having a Parliament that DOES what we, the people want it to do.

    Imagine a society split down the middle xPaPy-ers opposed to yPaPx-ers, with a few pro 'a's ensuring neither 'zPaPw' set has an absolute majority({z,w} = {x,y})

    We vote like that. But do we want (it depends what the xPaPy-ers and the yPaPx-ers as a whole think) a steady 'a' compromise programme of legislation in Parliament or a wham bam all or nothing entirely x- or entirely y- style government? That depends on our attitudes to risk.
    How do our representatives know what they are? By introspection? They don't. They will do what suits them best.

    As I say, we're confusing having a model of how we voted as a Parliament (THAT sense of representation) and a Parliament that does what we want (THAT sense of it representing us). And they are not the same thing.

    Almost half the electorate shouts 'Give 'em the money!', another near half shouts 'Give 'em nothing!' Two sides of Parliament shouting the same things at each other may be (a picture) an accurate representation of how we voted but it doesn't let Parliament do what, as a whole, we want - whether to give 'em 50 quid (a centre ground minority view) and end matters there or spin a coin and let the devil decide, 100 or nowt.

    We're divided but what do we do on the whole, is for us to decide,(by voting tactically) not for a body constructed to look like us in all our divisions.

    PR (even STV sometimes) delivers the latter but not necessarily the former.

    As things stand if we voted and parliament was hung, we could expect our leaders to go off and leave us with the uncertainty as to whether they will come back having gone for a Lib Dem Con or a Lab Lib Dem coalition.
    Logically in that uncertainty we have the right to say 'We want Lib Dems pure and simple' or 'We want Lab or Tory, all or nothing'
    Logically we have been robbed of that choice (Lab + Lib Dem + DUP + Greens + Scots Nat + Plaid + .. could have forced PR and hence a properly hung Parliament on the Hice).

    We've been asked 'Lib or Lab or Con' not Lib-Lab or Lib-Con or...and PR is necessary but not sufficient to resolve that LOGICAL difficulty.

    As it is, we've been conned, left right and centre

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  • 64. At 11:09pm on 05 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    120, 33, 33.33, 33, 33

    Seats 11

    Divisions: 120, 60, 40, 30, 20, 100/7,

    33, 33, 33, 33, 33 which allocates all 11 seats since 100/7 is greater than 33/2.

    This is the half baked system, D'Hondt, that from 5 Euro seats here, completely misallocated 4 of the seats.

    This is the system that gave Nick Clegg a seat here in 1999 with a THIRD fewer votes than he needed to be elected fairly.

    No wonder he's in a collusion no one voted for and wants electoral 'reform'.

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  • 65. At 7:21pm on 09 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    "The Labour leadership candidate David Miliband today accused Gordon Brown of failing to realise his promise to renew Labour, saying he sent the party backwards and left it lacking a central creed."


    Good to see someone in the Labour ranks prepared to acknowledge that the mess we're in is not all down to the coalition government.

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  • 66. At 7:39pm on 09 Jul 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    An interesting article, Sid, but I think you may need to reread it as it is attacking Gordon Brown's style of leadership rather than any failure of economic policy.

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  • 67. At 8:19pm on 09 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    ... and some are differently disillusioned.


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  • 68. At 09:43am on 10 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Big Sister - the point I was trying to make (and failing, as I often do) is that if GB had renewed Labour, they would not have failed so dismally in the general election, and we might not now be in the dire straits we are. One or two more percentage points, and we would now have a Labour-Lib Dem coalition.

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  • 69. At 11:01am on 10 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    But GB's problem was one of fear of rejection and failure, hence no election within a couple of months of his accession to the throne. Had he done so we would be looking at another 3 years with him as PM. Makes you shudder!

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  • 70. At 12:02pm on 11 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

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

  • 71. At 6:23pm on 13 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Here's a question that occurs to me quite often these days: "Is it more frustrating to try and discourse with someone who is stupid - or with someone who pretends to be stupid?"

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  • 72. At 6:24pm on 13 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Sid - Never argue with a fool. The best outcome you can hope for is to win an argument with a fool.

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  • 73. At 3:19pm on 14 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    What did they do, consult Olly Grender, the ERS and the errant Wikipedai writers?

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  • 74. At 4:33pm on 14 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    We have a problem in Brtish politics which is that one party alone, the Lib Dems, is capable, apparently, of entering into coalition with either of the other two.

    This post meets that problem head on by considering the effect of the solution that the Lib Dems stand as separate factions, one pro Tory one pro Labour.

    I consider such an arrangement uder the Lib Dem's preferred votng system, STV.

    There are a number of strong reasons for thinking such factions would be to the good.

    Without them the Lib Dems stand as a monolith and in voting for them we may have no idea which coalition they will engage in, as happened at the last election. Under the method, here, we can make our view clear.

    It is sometimes claimed that under STV we can, unafraid, vote for our preferred party. That claim must apply to the '4-party' pattern I describe here. That view is tested.

    The size of the constiuency is chosen for arithmetic convenience. With 9 seats the qota is 1/10 of the vote + one vote. (The example works just as well with, say five seats and 20 percent quotas (using a convenient common STV variant))

    Since the constituency would be huge, and given the way the example below works, we can ignore the extra single vote required.

    First, without the factions and with x = tory. y = labour, a = lib dem

    The voting patters are assumed to be

    xPaPy, yPaPx and a with either x or y in second place - we don't know.

    The percentages are chosen to highlight a problem. They do not seem to me to be unreasoanble.

    They are 46.5, 36.5, 17 percents respectively of 100 percent of the vote.

    There are 9 seats so the quota is 10

    Thus 4,3,1 seats respectively (x,y,a) are allocated straight away

    The residuals are 6.5, 6.5, 7

    Thus 4, 3, 2 is the final seat allocation whichever of the 6.5 residuals are redistributed since 'a' comes next for both sets of voters. (If you are uncomfortable with that, drop and increase the x and y percentages (either way round will do) by 0.05 percent. Then the final vote is 6.55 percent to x or y, and 13.45 to a)

    With pro-x and pro-y factions among the a's, assume 5 and 12 percent each. Again, this is to make the point but not unreasonablly.

    Initially then: 46.5, 5, 12, 36.5 (x, pro-x a's, pro-y a's, y respectively)

    Then seats straightaway are:

    4, 0, 1, 3

    Residuals are 6.5 5 2 6.5 percents
    which on redistribution gives
    first 6.5 5 0 8.5
    and then 11.5 0 0 8.5
    giving final seats 5, 0, 1, 3, an absolute x majority.

    (The 0.05 adjustment would make no difference to the outcome here, either)

    But all 5 percent pro-x-er Lib Dems claming to be pro-y-Lib Dems gives 4, 0, 3, 2 for x, pro-x, pro-y, y respectively (as the first case here above shows)

    Lib Dem-ers then would voting tactically under STV given that the pro-x Lib Dems would prefer a Lib Dem and y COALITION to an x only government.

    The set of members which they would send to Parliament by strategic voting would support their view, but only with strategic voting.

    (Frightened to post this. An earlier version got referred, for, I think I discovered today, percentages adding up only to 99!

    Check, if you wish, that taking 0.5 percent off x and y first preferences throughout makes no difference whatsoever to the outcomes in terms of seats and straegic voting. Which is probably why I didn't spot it earlier. Sorry. (The Mods must call such errors 'off topic' I think. Good joke! They are!))

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  • 75. At 5:06pm on 14 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    One interpretation of the politics of

    It models preferences as opposed, for Tories and Labour (if you're a Tory it's Lib Dem next and Labour last for you, and the opposite if you're Labour) and anything possible for Lib Dems (Tories or Labour second or third)

    I show if the Lib Dems offer themselves as two factional lists, it pays them to misrepresent under STV, for reasonable (assumed) percentages in the vote and when the misprepresenting faction prefer the coalition with their less preferred major party to an absolute majority government of their preferred partners. The factions allow us, the people to know what it is we're voting for.

    'Course if they declare a coalitional intention as a whole, then again, for reasonable percentages, it pays one faction to misrepresent if their preference is for the government alone of the coalitional partner they favour rather than the possibility (the majority view of their party) of a coalition with the other major party i.e to vote Tory straight away!!!

    'Course if they stand as a Lib Dem whole without any declaration about coalitional intention, they're back to their dictatorial elitist ways.

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  • 76. At 6:13pm on 14 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    74. ExpectingtheEnd
    "We have a problem in Brtish politics which is that one party alone, the Lib Dems, is capable, apparently, of entering into coalition with either of the other two."

    When a post starts with such a simple mistake, I rarely bother to read the rest. In this case I did not make an exception.

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  • 77. At 11:48pm on 14 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    Your loss, sunshine.

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  • 78. At 10:10am on 15 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    74 onwards.

    With a = lib dem, x = con, y = lab

    for lib dem voters there's

    aPxPy or aPyPx

    as (non-exhaustive) possibilites.

    Consider one of those possibilities with strict preferences (no ties), say aPxPy.

    Then they, the aPxPy-ers, are pro-x leaning and favour the coalition with x to the coaliton with y (coalition a-x is better than a-y) .

    But that assumption doesn't tell us how they feel about the coalition with y compared with pure x government.

    Are they: 'a' best, a-x, next, x next, a-y next, y worst (written aPaxPxPayPy) or are they aPaxPayPxPy.

    In otherwords given a choice, x's policy or the a-y coalition's policy which do they plump for?

    There's also the case where they find x's policy and the a-y coalition view about the same (written xIay (or ayIx (and talking of notation
    ay = ya etc)))

    That gives three or four plausible Lib Dem factions from the aPxPy voters alone without considering the a-x-y (the coalition of all three parties, written axy or xay or ..etc) coalition and its plausible standing for such a voter with x alone (assuming it's worse for them than ax and better than ay).

    Thus the three possiblities ay, x and axy, assumed above y and below ax for an aPxPy voter can reasonably result in 6 coalitions (perhaps not a seventh because those for whom ayIxIayx (x policy is as good as the a-y and the a-x-y coalition policy (they may or may not be formally different) wouldn't mind which one or two possilibities others put top of the three.

    So that's 12 or 14 Lib Dem factions, counting in the aPyPx voters.

    If the x-y coalition can form that's extra possibilities for the xPaPy and the yPaPx voters (the opposed Tory first, Labour last and Labour first, Tory last, voters)

    with this multiplicity of factions, ie views supported, a 4 or 5 member constituency, under STV, or even a 9 member constituency, must ignore some views and make strategic voting inevitable.

    Jurisdiction-wide lists would, however, probably be able to replicate the various faction views in Parliament.

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  • 79. At 10:30am on 15 Jul 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    The vuvuzelas are still going. All I can hear is a constant whining drone.....

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  • 80. At 4:00pm on 15 Jul 2010, David Weaver wrote:

    Is there any section of the BBC which will publicly acknowledge the 2,100 plus (and rising) comments and (mostly) complaints about the so-called "new look" BBC News website?
    The new site is simply awful and around 90% of the above posters seem to agree. Yet all the BBC can do (so far) is remove the link to the blog from the Front Page - no doubt hoping that fewer people will complain.
    The so called "newly improved" BBC News website is anything but, in fact the complete opposite. Where we once had a quality product perceived around the world as being the best in the business, we now have something that resembles a "Red Top" tabloid newspaper or a cheap on-line shopping site. It is NOT easier to navigate and is no longer intuitive to use.
    Don't take my word for it - just look at some of the 2,100 plus blog posters:
    Most people want the old-style site to be re-instated.
    This is a disaster for the BBC, yet nobody seems to ackowledge it. Perhaps PM can do some digging?

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  • 81. At 7:07pm on 15 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Actually, 99% of the above posters seem not to have mentioned it ...

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  • 82. At 7:10pm on 15 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    80 - Actually David, I quite like it...

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  • 83. At 7:22pm on 15 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    77. At 11:48pm on 14 Jul 2010, ExpectingtheEnd wrote:

    Your loss, sunshine.

    You may have lost your only reader.

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  • 84. At 7:24pm on 15 Jul 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    80 - With one reservation. Why does every sentence have it's own paragraph?

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  • 85. At 10:34am on 25 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    "The Khmer Rouge – who swept to power in 1975 when their black-clad fighters ousted US-backed government forces from Phnom Penh – killed up to 1.7 million people through starvation, sickness or execution. In all, their Maoist-inspired revolution, designed to transform Cambodia into a classless, rural-based society, reduced the country's population by a quarter."

    Makes you think, doesn't it?


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  • 86. At 1:43pm on 25 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    QI Fact of the Day (from BBC Home):

    "The odds of being killed in a car crash in Britain are the same as being killed in an accident inside your own home: 1 in 10,000."

    Utterly meaningless of course, with no further info - is this every day? every time you go out? in your lifetime? does it mean the odds of being killed if you have an accident?

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  • 87. At 7:53pm on 25 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    In Clearer Thinking for Everyman we find:

    I may know the number of times, N, an event takes place during a period of time T.

    I may also know the probability p of the event taking place during time period T.

    If I consider 1/Y of time T spent, and I find that N/Y events have taken place, I may be able to conclude that the probability of the event occuring during T/Y is p.

    One would think the probabilty of an event, A, conditional on another event B, is well measured by the fraction of events B which result in A.

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  • 88. At 8:26pm on 25 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Read my post, Mac, and tell me where 'the period of time T', as you call it, is specified.

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  • 89. At 9:11pm on 25 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    It is true of all T/Y and since Y is merely constrained to be greater than zero, no particular initial T needs to be specified in the statement you quote.

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  • 90. At 10:54pm on 25 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Clearer Thinking For Everyman, eh? Looks like gobbledygook to me.

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  • 91. At 11:02pm on 25 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    It's by E.Mander. My dad used to swear by it.

    He left school at 13.

    During the war at his Octu he was the only non-varsity man in his unit.

    The others used to make him dig the slit trenches because they said their hands were too soft to do the work. They read novels whilst he did.

    When he used to ask, they would explain to him that the jokes they told across the dinner table to esch other in French were untranslatable.

    Their problems began when a French resistance organiser was seconded to their unit.

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  • 92. At 07:45am on 26 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    Your father was in the officer class?

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  • 93. At 09:55am on 26 Jul 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    For what it's worth, EtE, and to put your comment in context:

    My grandfather was already working at the age of 13, was seriously wounded in WW1, sent to Ireland to recuperate, and sent back into the trenches. He didn't go to University either. In fact, the majority of the poor souls who went to war hadn't had much education.

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  • 94. At 12:55pm on 26 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Yeah, there he were caste.

    And killed me he would have for 87 etc.

    Of course you are right Sid. The one in ten thousand has to be in terms of numbers per time period.

    The comparable (?) rates of 300 or 600 deaths a YEAR then apply to any time interval as RATES - whether a day a week or a month etc.

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  • 95. At 1:04pm on 26 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Oh dear!

    Mmm. It was WW2 of which I spake.

    This was my father.

    Now my grandfathers....

    I'm sure yours was a lion led by donkeys, too in WW1. (;-)

    Oh, gotcha! It was early when trench warfare was still expected. Had to get a few token workers into the caste class of the class, don't y' know!

    Class is always about difference.

    Anyway. Sorry Sid.

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  • 96. At 1:41pm on 26 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    94. ExpectingtheEnd
    "Of course you are right Sid."

    Yes, of course I am. I'm very impressed that you seem to have read and understood what I wrote!

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  • 97. At 1:42pm on 26 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    95. ExpectingtheEnd
    "Sorry Sid."

    Did you mean 'Sorry Big Sister'?

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  • 98. At 3:01pm on 26 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    Impress yourself by reading 74, 75 and 78.

    Then you'll see that we can vote for the policies we want in a General Election rather than elect a bunch of aristo-banker plutocrats who cook up policies that they impose on us.

    But only if each Lib Dems candidate explains to us in detail which coalitions they favour and in which order of preference.

    And if theorists you favour admit that strategic voting under your prefered methods is necessary.

    Why pick out the Lib Dems? 'Cos crucially they are more likely to swing both ways.

    Certainly a part of the problem is not in the electoral system but in what people want from a REPRESENTATIVE democracy.

    Three interpretations potentially conflict:

    1. The House of Commons should, in its composition, reflect accurately voters preference orderings.
    2. The House of Commons should implement what the electorate specifically want, given the disagreements acknowledged in 1)

    (The divergences between aims 1) and 2) arise when attitudes to risk differ between electors and Members)

    3. We elect the great and the good who do what they see as best for us.
    = We elect the totally self interested who do what is best for them.
    Like this we get Oxbridge toffs who skipped the 20th Century in their first class (not) PPE degrees but know who the PM was from 1828 to 1830 who seek to restore the cult of the amateur in public life.

    And people there to feather their own nests.

    All three get described as representative.

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  • 99. At 3:45pm on 26 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    I've already explained why I can't read your stuff. As far as I can make out, what isn't incomprehensible is wrong - e.g. "We have a problem in Brtish politics which is that one party alone, the Lib Dems, is capable, apparently, of entering into coalition with either of the other two."

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  • 100. At 4:25pm on 26 Jul 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Good to see the FTSE doing well, isn't it?

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  • 101. At 4:35pm on 26 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Let's hope it keeps going up. I can't stand much more of hearing other people's climaxes as it goes down below 5000 - oh my god, it's got back up to 5000 - oh look, it's down again etc.

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  • 102. At 4:55pm on 26 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    It isn't. It does us badly.


    I honestly think you'd do less damage as an amateur heart surgeon.

    What's got in to you? Even your pedantic grammar and spelling have slip-slopped. Power gone to your head?

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  • 103. At 5:06pm on 26 Jul 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    EtE (102) - I can assure, it does me quite well!

    When you're smilin'
    When you're smilin'
    The whole world smiles with you.
    And when you're laughin'
    When you're laughin'
    The sun comes shinin' through.

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  • 104. At 5:20pm on 26 Jul 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


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  • 105. At 6:26pm on 26 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    102. ExpectingtheEnd
    "grammar and spelling"

    Sorry - didn't realise grammar and spelling concerned you so much. It certainly doesn't show in your interminable posts. However - tell me what you think I've got wrong, and I'll correct it for you.

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  • 106. At 7:22pm on 26 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    My grandfather spent the war in the Home Guard, posted at Victoria Station to defend against a German invasion by train ... very successfully.

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  • 107. At 11:28pm on 26 Jul 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    EtE(104) - Not sure what you are pointing to (nothing new there) but I bought again in October 09 and am still holding. Good here, innit?

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  • 108. At 05:26am on 27 Jul 2010, artifus wrote:


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  • 109. At 1:58pm on 27 Jul 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    FTSE up nearly 1%
    Barclays up 8%
    RBS up 6.5%
    Lloyds up 6%

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  • 110. At 2:21pm on 27 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    108. artifus

    TED is good, isn't it?

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  • 111. At 2:42pm on 27 Jul 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Good times, Horse (109) :-)

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  • 112. At 2:46pm on 27 Jul 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Barclays up 8.8%
    RBS up 7.5%
    Lloyds up 7.5%

    Yes indeed, Fred!

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  • 113. At 2:48pm on 27 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Horse - might you take a little profit later in the week?

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  • 114. At 3:19pm on 27 Jul 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Sid, I'm dithering to be honest. But I've reset my stop-loss limits so it will only be good news.

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  • 115. At 3:39pm on 27 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:



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  • 116. At 7:07pm on 27 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:



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  • 117. At 9:23pm on 27 Jul 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Lucien - I don't understand your repeated linking of the coalition government with Quisling. Please explain.

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  • 118. At 4:51pm on 28 Jul 2010, artifus wrote:

    110 - yes, it is.

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  • 119. At 5:50pm on 28 Jul 2010, artifus wrote:

    well worth a look around.

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  • 120. At 7:25pm on 28 Jul 2010, artifus wrote:

    speaking of which (don't worry, i'll be off after this), i found this one t'other day:


    now, we all know that 99.9 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot (copyright vic reeves, some time ago), but i still found this one quite interesting.

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  • 121. At 7:49pm on 28 Jul 2010, artifus wrote:

    120 - (and entertaining - bear with the accent and hang on in there for the sword swallowing).

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  • 122. At 10:31pm on 30 Jul 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    If it walks like a quisling, talks like a quisling ... it's a duck.


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  • 123. At 2:37pm on 02 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    We used to assume that attributing significance to equal probabilities to two events meant that we were making the comparison in respect of the same population, say the population of the UK for a year, and were thus applying the same criteria to the events themselves, when we made judgements like 'Accidents in the home and road accidents are equally likely - 1 in 10,000'. Certainly we would expect the sort of comparability of the data sets which make pssible the...comparisons.

    Then applying the logic of Clearer Thinking for Everyman, 87 above, we could conclude that the probability applied to every properly constructed subset of the population(s) and of the corresponding events which have the same probability of occurence.
    And we could sort, by looking at the data requirements, which probabilities can be deduced from our inital data sets and which can't.

    Before Sid, that is.

    Which reminds me, I didn't finish the story im 91, above..

    The French guy couldn't understand a word the toffs in my dad's unit thought they were saying in French.

    My dad suggested they tell him one of their jokes. But he didn't laugh.

    So my dad suggested they ask him what's wrong with French sailor's trousers.
    They said 'Why?'
    He said 'Its a joke'
    They said 'What's the punch line?'
    He said 'They're too long and too loose'

    They all laughed and so did the Frenchman. His English was really good.

    Notwithstanding, the OxBridge toffs still tried to translate it.

    THe French bloke told them he understood their franglais translations of the joke. 'Oui, oui, je comprends' he said.

    That was to make sure they didn't lose all self respect.

    Like telling Sid, 'Yes, yes, you're right' when he's wrong.

    Just think! That would have put Stephen Fry in the right. Like he was when he went to that City dinner in support of a return to bankers' big bonus culture a year and a half back.

    Like he's right not to protest at the wages Chinese and Bangladeshi workers are getting making those electronic devices he thrills to (pennies an hour).

    Stephan was at Queens where David Cameron was tutored by Bogdanor. Nuff said.

    Actually, recently there's been more chance of being killed in an accident in the home than there has been of dying in a road accident.

    Now, what do YOU think the data sets were for that judgement?

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  • 124. At 2:53pm on 02 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    123. ExpectingtheEnd
    "We used to assume"

    Speak for yourself. Most of your assumptions are terribly wobbly.

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  • 125. At 5:12pm on 03 Aug 2010, mittfh wrote:

    Since we don't have a glass box for today...

    I've just spotted in an article on El Reg that Sky's average revenue per user is £508 - equivalent to £42.33pcm.

    And yet several respondents to the Government's consultation claimed that the BBC's license fee of £145.50 per user (£12.13pcm) is excessive.

    On other forums, I've seen anti-BBC punters claiming that it should move to a subscription model, abandon repeats, abandon all non public service broadcasting, or only produce stuff nobody else does.

    Let's take the subscription model. Surely one of the points about PSB is that it's universally accessible. If a subscription model was to be enforced, then you would have to have encryption to prevent access by non-subscribers, and presumably some form of means-testing to enable those on low incomes to have access. As for the encryption, bear in mind the license fee also funds the radio stations and at least part of the website (I assume some of the costs for that are borne by BBC Worldwide, as almost everything except iPlayer is available globally).

    If it was to be funded through general taxation, it would lose its tenuous independence from the government.

    If it were to focus solely on PSB, would that mean the axing of all entertainment/drama? If they were to focus only on areas nobody else does, would that mean the axing of BBC News as well?

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  • 126. At 5:27pm on 03 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    Interesting stuff, but you are a bit in-crowd for me to follow fully.
    WHERE's the article you refer to? WHATEVER is El Reg?

    Best wishes.

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  • 127. At 11:15pm on 03 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    It's always fascinating to find someone who's never heard of Google ...

    El Reg >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Register

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  • 128. At 3:02pm on 04 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

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

  • 129. At 5:21pm on 04 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

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

  • 130. At 4:42pm on 05 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    Apparently not. You're still a dedicated follower and....

    ...well,..course there are those who refer my posts without reading them at the sight of the words Sid, Oxbridge and Lib Dem Con in them.
    They don't count, of course.

    But now I've got a Moderator reading each one. And I'm honoured.

    A high pass rate too!

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  • 131. At 6:49pm on 06 Aug 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    EtE (130): But now I've got a Moderator reading each one. And I'm honoured.

    A high pass rate too!

    Oh dear:

    # 128. At 3:02pm on 04 Aug 2010, ExpectingtheEnd wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.
    # 129. At 5:21pm on 04 Aug 2010, ExpectingtheEnd wrote:

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

    Not that high a pass rate, it seems....

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  • 132. At 7:02pm on 06 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Not bad for a red-brick university, though?

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  • 133. At 7:11pm on 06 Aug 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Not even red-brick it seems.

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  • 134. At 9:12pm on 06 Aug 2010, artifus wrote:


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  • 135. At 7:35pm on 07 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    You will not be unaware that I take the view that Oxbridge feeds on and creates a destructive elitism.

    I think that elitism makes Oxbridge alumni see themselves as havong a God given right to a cushy life and in consequence the dull real work of producing the goods we consume should be left to industrial 'domestics' who should know their place. And if they don't, should be told it regularly.

    I think that attitude of superiority starts with the schools that feed Oxbridge, then is reinforced by Oxbridge itself and replicated generation after generation

    My aim is to examine to what extent this view is supported, if at all, or challenged, by what is going on in


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  • 136. At 7:43pm on 07 Aug 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    A bit rich from a public school son of the officer class. Did you apply for Oxbridge entry?

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  • 137. At 8:32pm on 07 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

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

  • 138. At 9:00pm on 07 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    White asked in the reconstructed Tory, Digby Jones.

    It is not unreasonable to describe him as berating the under 25's unemployed in the programme.

    But this is Keynesian unemployment. Caused by firms' lack of confidence and banks' reluctance to lend. Bashing young workers like that, talking of cutting benefits and workfare, is bullying. It's designed to force down the price of labour - and that's the wages of every other worker, too. For the young in the programme had a higher reservation wage than Jones deemed reasonable.

    Is that the intention of the presentation, to keep wages low?

    I shall reconsider all these questions, Mods willing, a little later.

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  • 139. At 9:02pm on 07 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    What's wronng with that one, ref?

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  • 140. At 9:07pm on 07 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    Dust a minute, dust a minute, this post has already gone through Moderation.

    Should someone raise some esoteric point against it and it is succesful, surely I should be told what, not who, it is, in detail and given the right of reply.

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  • 141. At 9:25pm on 07 Aug 2010, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Lucien (135) He not only applied for, but was accepted to Oxford (but declined to take his place). Face it, this is simply an individual who has a massive chip on his shoulder. He has a fascination with a system of "social leveling"that is indistinguishable from that espoused by and practiced by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

    EtE (various): Give it up. We can see right through your protestations. You want to be the ruling elite, deciding the lives of others based on your own perceptions of their social status as defined by you. Wherever this has been tried in the past, it has led to the subjugation and oppression of all, with massive loss of life. Hardly the desire of one who claims to strive for those who have, through various means, been ignored and mis-treated by "society". The ideals of a society should be to ensure that everyone is brought to an acceptable standard of life. What you propose is that all should be brought to the lowest common level. To suppress all like this is abhorrent.

    Oh, and your comments on other threads stating that all the problems within Northern Ireland are down to the fact that the current assembly being voted into place using the STV system are sickening and idiotic in the extreme. For someone who claims to understand history, you show a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of it. Your demeaning of the suffering of the people of innocent people on both sides of the war/conflict/(insert alternative here) just so you can attempt (and fail) in petty point scoring is sickening. Many people have died in that region, and your attempt to use their suffering to bolster a specious theory based on an erroneous interpretation of a voting system and manufactured numbers is despicable.

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  • 142. At 00:25am on 08 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

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

  • 143. At 12:14pm on 08 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    Should we concern ourselves with the way our establishment is created?

    No doubt its fellow travellers who seek kudos for having rubbed shoulders with the great and the good or for having slept on the same corridor of the same cloister in the same quad would say no.

    But my view is that we should.

    We should worry that overwhelmingly so much of our establishment went to the same schools and then on to...Oxbridge.

    This of itself would suggest something of a Glass Bead Game world of special talents.

    Sadly there is considerable evidence that the reverse is true.

    What if these schools were Oxbridge designed Oxbridge launch pads, mere crammers? What if despite their efforts some who did badly there still went to a select Oxbridge college because they were liked or known about by an admissions tutor. Then, in such places, degrees were awarded in the same 'face fits' 'must be a good man' 'must mean.. when he writes...' 'have a word with the examiners' way.

    What if these trajectories, the launch schools, programming at Oxbridge, acceptance into Oxbridge dominated professions and so on down the generations were misinterpreted by us and by the alumni themselves?

    Instead of them and us seeing it as the effect of educational resources they received, the danger is that it is seen as a destiny of inviolable right.

    Then the media, politics, the world of education itself etc would be populated if not dominated, by people who saw themselves as different in virtue of some imprimatur conferred on them as of right, as of inevitable consequence of their own evident 'natural' excellence.

    Such men will forget to remember the gulf between the lives of someone like them at a school like that and at Oxbridge and those of an unemployed youngster.
    And they will forget to remember that, as Adam Smith said, their lives, those of the Oxbridge alumnus and the sink estate unemployed youngster, swapped at aged 5, would have swapped detail for detail too. (As he thought the lives of common street porters and philosophers would). Each one would have become wholly the other.

    Then we get the rhetoric of workfare, homelessness as a weapon and benefit reduction as legimate means to keep the lower orders where they belong.

    And the alumni where they think they do.

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  • 144. At 1:14pm on 08 Aug 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    or what if you are just blethering as usual and have the most enormous chip on your shoulder...

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  • 145. At 12:11pm on 09 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    I find it a matter of great concern that the category 'potentially defammatory' seems to be applied to posts which merely identify members of the establishment and describe them accurately.

    The category seems merely to help keep in their places people who shouldn't be there anyway - which is the implicit claim of the dissallowed posts.

    Of course truth is not always a defence in law but the law of defammation is notorious.

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  • 146. At 2:17pm on 09 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    145. ExpectingtheEnd
    "truth is not always a defence in law"

    Wise not to rely on it, then.

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  • 147. At 3:25pm on 09 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Isn't it nice to see the FTSE hovering around the psychologically important 5400 mark?
    Banks doing well also - got to be good.

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  • 148. At 3:45pm on 09 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Well, it's nice, Horse - but it doesn't exactly make me want to ... you know ...

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  • 149. At 3:50pm on 09 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    And you're not the only one encouraged by the way the markets are behaving at the moment:


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  • 150. At 6:36pm on 09 Aug 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    145 EtE
    As I think you're aware I am the one who has been complaining about the posts removed as 'potentially defamatory'. If your claims are true then indeed they should be exposed as they suggest corrupt practices carried out by a famous public institution and that a person prominent in public life is not all that he claims.

    I am no fan of the individual who you've repeatedly named nor of English laws of defamation. If what you say is true then you need to support your claims with evidence. You've said that the individual concerned admits to what you've alleged - if this is so then please post a credible link to the admission.

    The simple fact that you have made an assertion does not make that assertion true ... although that's not a point with which I expect you to agree. If you can demonstrate your claims to be fact then this is a matter which need to be aired. I certainly won't refer any post which contains the evidence to back your allegation, and the mods would have no business removing it.

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  • 151. At 6:40pm on 09 Aug 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Drat - now I want to know who he's (allegedly) defaming!

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  • 152. At 09:35am on 10 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:


    Intro to the item at 16.00 of the amin clip.

    Useful graphic at 20.08

    The Ftse rises 1600 on the back of 200 billion QE money.

    That's 300 to 400 billion quid on stocks and shares.

    Governement ownership of bannks means we get back a part of our 200 billion - a small part:


    The extra 100 to 200 billion on the Ftse is pure fantasy money, another speculative asset inflation bubble.

    The 200 billion this bubble is costing us would cover government deficit spending and then some for this year.

    Apparently more 'put it in bankers' pockets' money is coming. Probably at Treasury and millionaire Osbore's insistence. Note a depressed looking King sounding as if he's abdicated.

    If this policy is getting votes and people are lining their pockets with it, well, shame on them.

    The money they're feathering their oppulent nests with could have gone to the poor on benefit and our children's schools.

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  • 153. At 09:42am on 10 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Alan_N (151) - I'm afraid EtE is slowly losing it. He can't tell the difference between Joshua Rosenberg and Miriam Margolyes.

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  • 154. At 1:39pm on 10 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    losing: 'Singing, just sitting on the drain'

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  • 155. At 1:42pm on 10 Aug 2010, GotToTheEnd wrote:

    loser: public school pupil's request

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  • 156. At 07:54am on 11 Aug 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    Good jokes EtE ... found any evidence / links to support your 'matter of great concern' claim?

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  • 157. At 5:34pm on 13 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Bring back the Brow & Firkin!

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  • 158. At 5:36pm on 13 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Don't forget the small beer!

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  • 159. At 6:23pm on 13 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Staying alive so that this isn't forgotten.

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  • 160. At 09:15am on 14 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    What do we want? Claret! When do we want it? At sometime which is mutually convenient to all concerned!

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  • 161. At 10:30am on 14 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    I holding out for nibbles, Sid.

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  • 162. At 11:47am on 14 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Strange - if I click on the other Furrowed Brow, I get a jumbled list of topical posts ...

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  • 163. At 12:01pm on 14 Aug 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    So, I gather this is by way of alternative to the Beach for light-hearted chat, or is there a subtle difference?

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  • 164. At 12:15pm on 14 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    At the moment we're trying to keep the poor little blighter alive, Lady Sue. (Said in my best Rolf Harris accent.)

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  • 165. At 12:46pm on 14 Aug 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    ... think of it as the antidote to botox.

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  • 166. At 3:32pm on 14 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    And up we go again ...

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  • 167. At 09:04am on 15 Aug 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    I don't think the picture is quite appropriate, as pub signs go. Rather too intense.

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  • 168. At 12:15pm on 15 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    I wasn't thinking about pubs when I took the photo, Lady Sue - in fact it was only when someone explained it yesterday or the day before that I realised ... perhaps I'll try again ...

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  • 169. At 1:27pm on 15 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Here, Sid, have a pint on me. From the Bar of Doom. ;o)

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  • 170. At 3:39pm on 15 Aug 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    I'm popping next door to the Manic Depressive's Arms

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  • 171. At 3:50pm on 15 Aug 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    I fancy a bite from the Munch House ... I'll get someone to nip down there for me.

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  • 172. At 10:36am on 16 Aug 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Apologies Sid, I thought it was an excellent picture as 'furrowed brows' go, which is why I'd assumed it to be a serious thread. I wonder, if you send a new pub-sign style picture in, if Eddie and Co. will give us a new thread?

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  • 173. At 11:18am on 16 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    If anyone isn't already aware ....

    The current run of posts isn't to detract from the 'seriousness' of this area, but simply a ploy to keep it available for serious discussion - otherwise it will slip away into oblivion due to the way the Blog is currently set up.

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  • 174. At 4:20pm on 16 Aug 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Being an Ozzie means I'm easily confused but two 'Furrowed Brow' threads? You're messing with my keyboard.

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  • 175. At 1:07pm on 17 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Mustn't let things slip ...

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  • 176. At 3:40pm on 17 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    This is the most recent ... perhaps we should let the other one slip?

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  • 177. At 4:01pm on 17 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Keep it up!

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  • 178. At 09:00am on 23 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Looking for a lift?

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  • 179. At 08:32am on 24 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Is University Challenge slowing down - or am I speeding up?

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  • 180. At 09:54am on 24 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    A bit of both, probably, Sid. ;o)

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  • 181. At 10:17am on 24 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Sid - Are you one of those annoying people who try to shout out the answer between the student pressing the buzzer and actually answering the question?
    I am.

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  • 182. At 10:26am on 24 Aug 2010, Phil Burt wrote:

    me too

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  • 183. At 10:28am on 24 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Ah, but can you answer all the questions? And are you right all of the time?

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  • 184. At 10:35am on 24 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Big Sister - No and no.

    But it's the only way that I can play. As you know, my hands are too small to operate a buzzer effectively.

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  • 185. At 11:02am on 24 Aug 2010, Phil Burt wrote:

    And no and no for me too!

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  • 186. At 11:03am on 24 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Yes, Horse ... about those hands? ;o)

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  • 187. At 11:17am on 24 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Big Sister - As you know, I'm a horse. And horse hands are only 4 inches.

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  • 188. At 11:31am on 24 Aug 2010, Phil Burt wrote:

    187. The Intermittent Horse

    • "horse hands are only 4 inches. "

    but well compensated in other matters...

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  • 189. At 11:51am on 24 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Phil - I couldn't possibly comment.

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  • 190. At 12:56pm on 24 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    181. The Intermittent Horse

    Yes. No contest last night - Paxman regularly gave them time to write a short essay before asking for the answer. Poor show.

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  • 191. At 9:45pm on 24 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    190. Sid

    Yes, Sid, I quite agree ...

    Goodness, this is hard work!!

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  • 192. At 10:59pm on 24 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Raising the standard.

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  • 193. At 11:05pm on 24 Aug 2010, artifus wrote:


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  • 194. At 11:07pm on 24 Aug 2010, artifus wrote:

    sorry, just keeping the brow furrowed...

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  • 195. At 09:02am on 25 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    193. artifus

    I know ...

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  • 196. At 1:47pm on 25 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    Anybody fancy a drone?

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  • 197. At 1:59pm on 25 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    IMOORE just has one on the Bee thread!

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  • 198. At 2:12pm on 25 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    How interesting - I didn't know Mr Shouty was a countryside enthusiast!

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  • 199. At 2:20pm on 25 Aug 2010, Anne P wrote:

    whatever did he say?

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  • 200. At 2:21pm on 25 Aug 2010, Anne P wrote:

    Really curious quirk this business of displaying comment number one and requiring us to refresh in order to continue....

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  • 201. At 2:55pm on 25 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    Anne (199) - It was some drivel about an interview on WATO. Total non-bee, non-honey and non-sting!

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  • 202. At 10:30pm on 25 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:


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  • 203. At 10:30pm on 25 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Hello (again)!

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  • 204. At 10:30pm on 25 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

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

  • 205. At 10:31pm on 25 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Hello? I say again, Hello?

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  • 206. At 10:31pm on 25 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    I keep being told that I've already said something in comment 1, but I wasn't even involved in comment 1 .... Whatever is going on?

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  • 207. At 10:46pm on 25 Aug 2010, Sindy wrote:

    206. Big Sister

    If you refresh, you'll find it all gets sorted out in the end ...

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  • 208. At 10:56pm on 25 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Yes, so I discovered, Sid. ;o)

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  • 209. At 12:14pm on 26 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    M: Ah. I'd like to have an argument, please.
    R: Certainly sir. Have you been here before?
    M: No, I haven't, this is my first time.
    R: I see. Well, do you want to have just one argument, or were you thinking of taking a course?
    M: Well, what is the cost?
    R: Well, It's one pound for a five minute argument, but only eight pounds for a course of ten.
    M: Well, I think it would be best if I perhaps started off with just the one and then see how it goes.

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  • 210. At 12:27pm on 26 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Open for discussion. ;o)

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  • 211. At 12:35pm on 26 Aug 2010, U14589562 wrote:

    I posted this on AMGB today - just as it disapperared! So here it is, with amendments:

    1. Why didn't it disappear today at 11? (It did, so why have it hanging around all day, and if it is not to have longwinded stuff why no FB placement. Maybe a daily one.

    2. Should the blog be run in the public interest, the interest of bloggers or the interests of the programme?

    3. Could Mark Thompson include a bit on that in his vale/salve/dictory addresses. (:-)

    4. More seriously, people droning on about the bees in their bonnets on the AM blog might irritate PM staff because they just want 'They cut my water off this morning without warning, or, indeed, any contact, and say I can't be compensated because burst pipes, which it was, are exempt. How is that? Isn't the company responsible for bursts, lack of inspection, etc?' All of which is true.
    Or it may irritate more senior BBC, BBC Trust and even Ministerial figures.

    But it surely is a huge virtue in itself.

    For it assures many many holders of minority opinions that their voices are heard if unheeded.

    It seems an extraordinary decency, like Soap Box Corner, that plainly eccentric opinions can be posted there.

    They may be boring as anything but there is a scroll button. And like Speakers Corner you learn to know who to avoid and who to sample carefully as well as who to listen to.

    In fact like Speakers Corner the opinions here are surely only here, in the overwhelming majority of cases, because you won't hear them on PM, The World at One, Newsnight etc or in Parliament or the mass circulation newspapers and magazines.

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  • 212. At 12:37pm on 26 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Perhaps I was too hasty ...

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  • 213. At 12:59pm on 26 Aug 2010, U14589562 wrote:

    BS Your AMGB postings that have disappeared are in your own BS account. You could copy the useful ones to here. The one about deciles I corrected quietly. Hope you don't mind.

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  • 214. At 1:20pm on 26 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    I made no comment about deciles, Mac, though I did repeat the news from the IFS, and I think it is this to which you refer. I'm aware I can see my posts (as I can see yours), but thanks for the concern anyway. Sadly, however, it becomes impossible to recover the dialogue.

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  • 215. At 1:38pm on 26 Aug 2010, Mindclearly wrote:

    (214) Sis

    there is a way, if you want to reread a comment, you can use the persons link to see the comments they have posted as long as its on a blog that has been taken away by either a wirl wind or the witches of the blog.

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  • 216. At 1:49pm on 26 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Yes, but you can't see how the dialogue goes on the thread, mindclearly, unless you know who has contributed.

    I have looked back at Mac's comments, but they don't relate to what I said. I've no idea if anyone else commented on that thread as I was out all day, having made a comment very early on.

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  • 217. At 1:55pm on 26 Aug 2010, Mindclearly wrote:

    216 (Sis)

    well the other way is 'Ruby Slippers'

    "There's no place like home."

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  • 218. At 2:30pm on 26 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Only Eddie the Wizard can do that, MC!

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  • 219. At 3:01pm on 26 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Perhaps I should say Eddie Wizzard - like Eddie Izzard, but with added W.

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  • 220. At 4:52pm on 28 Aug 2010, Phil Burt wrote:

    What does a bear have to do with anything?


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  • 221. At 11:26pm on 30 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh, the joys of this Blog! My 204 removed for repetition when it was the vagary of the Blog that produced it ....

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  • 222. At 08:54am on 31 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Hurrah! Word of Mouth has finally given way to Today.

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  • 223. At 10:51pm on 31 Aug 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    I've nowhere else to put this. I was looking for the smoking thread ... anyway here's the thing.

    I have finally got around to register with the local doctors' practice after my years in Africa - not through choice but because I have to comply with a legal thing.

    It is not that I object being registered, recorded and monitored but I have to go through an assessment where I'll have to tell somebody I do not know that I have consumed sufficient alcohol and tobacco to kill Godzilla every day since a decade or two before they were born. Then, if she is or he is good at their job will suggest a few take care routines that will help me live a healthier life.

    But I look at the examples of longevity in my own family and they don't equate with happiness.

    So, how do I deal with what the Doc says?

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  • 224. At 10:54pm on 31 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:


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  • 225. At 11:00pm on 31 Aug 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    To myself or Doc?

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  • 226. At 11:05pm on 31 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Either? Both?

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  • 227. At 11:12pm on 31 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My 225 may sound a bit extreme, but the reality is that many patients lie, by commission or omission, to their doctors about how much they consume of food, drink and tobacco (and probably drugs). The doctors I know make allowance for this.

    You could start with a figure with which you're comfortable until you get to know your GP a bit better, and then perhaps be a bit more frank with her/him.

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  • 228. At 11:13pm on 31 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My 227: for 225,read 226.


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  • 229. At 11:18pm on 31 Aug 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    Either sounds good.

    My central argument is really about lifestyle choice.

    Is it better to live to a hundred dribbling into a glass and watching daytime television or dying at fifty of a heart attack? I guess it depends entirely on personal circumstances and the value of the years between.

    But when you have had, children and grandchildren and have little else to say ...

    Anyway, I only raised this because I had an argument with a Rabbi and know nothing about his faith.

    I'm going to check out the peregrines on the hill tomorrow to get perspective.

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  • 230. At 11:36pm on 31 Aug 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Ellis, I'm not sure that drinking or smoking oneself to death makes for a better exit. I watched my grandfather and great uncle (both heavy smokers) die of cancer, and two good friends died far too early because their livers finally gave up following years of abuse ... I guess what I'm saying is that it isn't for us to decide how we'll end our days. We can only hope, and perhaps make sure that we have on hand activities of the mind that may keep us happy if our bodies give up before the Grim Reaper comes to settle the score.

    Meanwhile, may your spirits soar with the peregrines tomorrow.


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  • 231. At 11:55pm on 31 Aug 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    Thanks Big Sis, actually the falcons will be gone and I'll just be looking at spore. But it'll be fascinating anyway.

    Why do your feet keep growing as you age?

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  • 232. At 01:23am on 01 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    227. Big Sister
    "many patients lie, by commission or omission, to their doctors about how much they consume of food, drink and tobacco (and probably drugs). The doctors I know make allowance for this."

    But what if the patient is being truthful?

    I have a new (and very young) doctor, and I could see in his eyes that he didn't believe my estimate of the relative little I drink. Though I admitted freely to having drunk far too much and far too frequently in the past, he doesn't seem to be able to believe I still drink, but very little and quite infrequently.

    And as for the (fortified) tobacco, he appeared even more skeptical.


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  • 233. At 09:03am on 01 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Mr. Nut, I appreciate this can be a problem. You will have to work on your powers of persuasion. ;o)

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  • 234. At 7:04pm on 01 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    " Currency trading volume around the world has hit $4 trillion a day, fueled by investors in the wealthiest nations looking to diversify beyond their home markets in a time of economic turmoil.

    The $4 trillion mark represents a 20% gain from $3.3 trillion in 2007, the last time the global foreign-exchange markets were surveyed, according to the Bank for International Settlements. While the survey found continued growth in currency trading, it did reflect a slowdown in the market's growth from the prior survey, when trading volumes had soared 69% from $1.9 trillion in 2004..."

    At four trillion every day, it'll add up to an amount equivalent to the entire Global Economy's worth in less than a fortnight - the total value of everything changes hands every fortnight in what amounts to a giant no-limit game of Texas Hold'em....

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  • 235. At 7:14pm on 01 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    234 - Sounds like fun - deal me in!

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  • 236. At 7:17pm on 01 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    235. Alan_N
    "deal me in!"
    Table stakes!

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  • 237. At 7:27pm on 01 Sep 2010, Anne P wrote:

    232 Mr Nut, I sympathise - when attending a medical for insurance purposes I've been required to agree to consuming a (modest) amount of alcohol which was larger than the very little I do drink 'because they don't like people who don't drink' !?

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