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Eddie Mair | 07:31 UK time, Wednesday, 1 September 2010

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What ideas, related to today's news, do you have for PM tonight?

This virtual glass box emulates the real glass box we sit in at 11.00 for our main editorial meeting of the day. Your comments can contribute to that meeting.

Please leave your comment before 11, after which time the box may be closed.

Comments

  • 1. At 08:19am on 01 Sep 2010, Anne P wrote:

    Not having the opportunity, or the desire, to read Tony Blair's apparently self-serving memoirs, I am appalled that he apparently believes we should not have a Freedom of Information Act.

    Can you please have some discussion of this.

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  • 2. At 08:25am on 01 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    A bit pointless request to ask us our views of what should be on the news for all we will get is Blair's memoirs.

    So in light of the fact that it is all we will get to day perhaps the question should be asked is the financial mess we are in a large part the product of the dysfunctional relationship between Blair and Brown as Prime Minister and Chancellor?

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  • 3. At 08:43am on 01 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    From the selected excerpts I've heard, Blair comes across as lacking self-insight and Brown has only gone up in my estimation. I have no intention of reading this stuff but I wonder if it contains any gratitude to Brown for the numerous times he stopped Blair making a wrong turning.

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  • 4. At 08:47am on 01 Sep 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    [Posted earlier on PM GB and copying over on his behalf in case mittfh can't make the 11AM deadline]:

    "12. At 07:17am on 01 Sep 2010, mittfh wrote:

    As the AM Box hasn't appeared yet, may I make a teeny tiny request for tonight's PM:

    Please do not continue the wall-to-wall coverage of that book. Just mention it then move on to one of the dozens of other stories in the news. I'm sure I'm not the only PM listener who couldn't give a toss what a certain former politician has written about, let alone his scathing criticisms of his immediate successor."


    Agree with mittfh. If anything about the book is to be discussed would like to second Anne P's suggestion @1.

    Duck (and goose) shooting season starts today. Why do people (mostly men) feel compelled to shoot such lovely birds? Is it a left-over primeval hunting urge or merely a desire to prove some macho point? Suggested this as an item yesterday - apologies for repeat but it is something dear to my heart.

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  • 5. At 08:47am on 01 Sep 2010, Mindclearly wrote:

    Interesting stuff.

    So why does Mr Blair think the freedom of information act was not a good act, now in hindsight.

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  • 6. At 08:56am on 01 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Listening to Chris Mullin's diaries on Radio 4, and having seen reviews of the writings of other Blair/New Labour supporters (Mandelson, Campbell, and now Blair himself), can I suggest that PM commission a meta-analysis of the Blair/Brown governments and their outcomes?

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  • 7. At 08:59am on 01 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Sorry, my finger slipped there. Can I rephrase my 6 above?

    Listening to Chris Mullin's diaries on Radio 4, and having seen reviews of the writings of other Blair/New Labour supporters (Mandelson, Campbell, and now Blair himself), can I suggest that PM commission a meta-analysis of the various books about the Blair/Brown governments and their outcomes?

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

    6/

    Their outcomes are pretty clear, we have a £900 billion debt, We have a £150 billion deficit. We have a £50 billion trade deficit. We have 5 million people in need of housing. Private pension provision has been trashed. They added 750k people to the public sector payrolls, while losing one million manufacturing jobs. They threw open our doors to mass immigration.

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  • 9. At 09:14am on 01 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    MOC - your prayers are answered!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11136511

    Enjoy ;-)

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  • 10. At 09:24am on 01 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    8: I don't think you're particularly hot on analysis, are you? ;o)

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  • 11. At 09:43am on 01 Sep 2010, Mindclearly wrote:

    10 (sis)

    Shooting from the hip today?!

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  • 12. At 09:46am on 01 Sep 2010, Anne P wrote:

    If you are short on something to compete with the Blair book, how about something about wheelie bin fires.

    It may sound trivial, and is probably worse during school holidays, but in narrow terraced streets people have no option but to put their bins out against the house wall. If some idiot then sets fire to it, the house goes up too. Moreover apparently the bins themselves are highly flammable.

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  • 13. At 09:48am on 01 Sep 2010, annasee wrote:

    I would like to hear more about the super-dairy farm that is apparently going to be opened with 8000 cows on 22 acres, kept indoors for most of the time, not able to graze, only "loafing" in their occasional access to the outdoors. Why should this be permitted? If farmers are worried about the spread of diseases such as bovine TB, surely keeping animals in a factory like this is only going to be an incubation hot-house for all sorts of diseases. It was mentioned they will have to have a vet on site at all times. I wonder why that would be necessary??

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  • 14. At 09:50am on 01 Sep 2010, annasee wrote:

    Oh and, enough abut Tony Blair's book already. All his agonised soul-searching and deeply-expressed regrets won't bring back a single one of those soldiers' lives lost in the conflict. Not to mention all the Iraqi civilian deaths.

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  • 15. At 10:00am on 01 Sep 2010, Looternite wrote:

    9. Alan_N

    Thanks for the link, so its not just PPE but Magdalen graduates who run this government. :-)

    I never read biographies and I wont be reading this latest one.

    Blair will be judged by historians by what he did, not by what he wrote in his autobiography.

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  • 16. At 10:07am on 01 Sep 2010, Looternite wrote:

    2. IMOORE

    You are concerned about the dysfunctional relationship between Blair and Brown.

    The worst case of dysfuntional government in living memory was the John Major government.

    In my opinion the relationship between Prime Minister and Chancellor is allways fraught and dysfunctional, hence the reason why there has been far more chancellors that PMs.

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  • 17. At 10:11am on 01 Sep 2010, Mindclearly wrote:

    15 (Looternite)

    If this is the case, do you have 15 - 40 years in you to see the opening of the archives? I'm still waiting for the 1983 - 87 Thatcher archives and all the privatisation stuff.

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  • 18. At 10:11am on 01 Sep 2010, darkdesign wrote:

    14. annasee: I concur.

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  • 19. At 10:13am on 01 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    16/

    I don't believe you could say that Major's Government was dysfunctional, may be not very good, but there weren't the rows between Cabinet members. In the end they bequeathed Labour a golden economic heritage, that's not a dysfunctional government.

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  • 20. At 10:17am on 01 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    19 - Er, is this the same John Major who called three of his cabinet colleagues by the 'B' word, or are you referring to a different Major?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/1993/jul/25/politicalnews.uk

    Selective memory syndrome, perhaps?

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  • 21. At 10:17am on 01 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    16 - I thought Major had an extremely close relationship with his Ministers...

    ;-)

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  • 22. At 10:28am on 01 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Can I suggest a different slant for coverage of the Blair book? How about an item looking at how different ex leaders have, or haven't, sought over the years to influence through their biographies or elsewise the future of their parties? Mr. Blair held his counsel for a while after he left office, but his word was being spread by others. Now, through his book, he is effectively telling the Labour Party what it should be doing. Mrs. Thatcher famously interfered for several years. Some left office and left their political life behind them (Harold Wilson being, perhaps, a good example).

    Just a thought.

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  • 23. At 10:28am on 01 Sep 2010, Looternite wrote:

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

  • 24. At 10:29am on 01 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    LS 4, Having cassoulet with duck (confit) tonight.

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  • 25. At 10:31am on 01 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Another angle for this story: A comparison of how much different ex leaders have profited from their office, post office. How much have different political memoirs netted for their authors in real terms? How many have gone onto the lecture circuit (John Major was one, but there have been many, and Tony Blair earns megabucks at his outings ...)

    Which ex leaders have taken a more modest path, realising that, as holders of the highest office open to the commoner in this country, that honour should perhaps be considered its own reward?

    ;o)

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  • 26. At 10:32am on 01 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    13/

    "Why should this be permitted?"

    Because we need the food. I am not saying I like the idea of 2000 cows kept in sheds and never getting to eat grass, in fact I hate the idea, but we cannot keep shoving our heads in the sand and ignoring the basic fact that we are some how going to have to find a way to feed all the people in the increased population of our country and the world in general. I would like to see the debate move to one about population sustainability, rather than just one of satisfying demand, for there is a choice to have other than one of rationing and factory farming, population sustainability. Unfortunately our political class won't even contemplate is, and the people putting the questions to the politicians, the media, are equally reluctant to put the question to them.

    One day, hopefully not in the far distant future when the choice has been lost we will get a news presenter ask a politician....

    Minster, if you are so concerned about the hosing shortage here do you think is such a clever idea to continue to allowing millions more people settle here?

    Minister, if you are so concerned about global warming do you think it such a good idea to drive up further demand , and the resultant greenhouse gas emissions by continuing a policy of population expansion?

    Minister, if you are so concerned about animal husbandry do you think it wise to further worsen the food deficit we have, and the pressures to factory farm by allowing our population increase to 80 million?

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  • 27. At 10:36am on 01 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    20/

    I thought the b*st*rds were more in the backbenches than Cabinet Ministers.

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  • 28. At 10:38am on 01 Sep 2010, mittfh wrote:

    In Post 4, Lady Sue wrote:

    • Duck (and goose) shooting season starts today. Why do people (mostly men) feel compelled to shoot such lovely birds?


    It's probably the Countryside Alliance set - the bunch of (mainly) farmers who appear to believe that livestock is good, wildlife is bad: any wildlife that poses any threat whatsoever to their livestock must be killed, and in the case of foxes, do that by the most ridiculously inefficient method ever devised: does it really take over a dozen humans, a similar number of horses, and oodles of dogs to hunt, capture and kill a single fox in the hope that it will somehow deter all foxes in the neighbourhood from treating fields / chicken coops like a drive-through restaurant?

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  • 29. At 10:43am on 01 Sep 2010, Anne P wrote:

    And further to 25 - could we have a psychologist prepared to elaborate on why some ex-leaders feel impelled to jump into print while others are content to leave the judgement to others.

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  • 30. At 10:45am on 01 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    Maybe cows are being kept inside to keep them from, er, um, being flatulent into the atmosphere.

    Uh oh, the disgruntled Labourites are at it again... Remember, Heath and Thatcher got along very well...

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  • 31. At 10:46am on 01 Sep 2010, Looternite wrote:

    25. Big Sister

    I am so sorry to say this as 1) you are so often spot on and 2) I hate to be pedantic but I was always told by pedants that the highest ranked commoner is in fact the Speaker.

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  • 32. At 10:47am on 01 Sep 2010, Looternite wrote:

    sorry Big Sis but I forgot to add :-).

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  • 33. At 10:48am on 01 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    28/

    I believe the townies are getting equally fed up with foxes, the pleasure of seeing the fluffy little fox loses its appeal when having to clean up the mess it leaves, having to put back the rubbish in the over turned rubbish bin, having to protect the children’s pets, and the damage they are doing to you car.

    I also gather townies are getting intolerant of Canada Geese, which seem to be little more than a flying toilet.

    So perhaps the townies should restrain their moral superior utterances and criticism of country people lest they find when they are put to the test that their tolerance of wild life is equally limited when it affects them, and the Country people had it about right in their maintenance of the balance by hunting and shooting

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  • 34. At 10:49am on 01 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:


    31: You may well be right, Looternite, but he wields less power over us, lesser mortals ;o)

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  • 35. At 10:55am on 01 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    IM 33, We have foxes roaming around or neighborhood and they don't seem to be bothering anybody.

    I don't understand why local butcher shops can't catch Canada geese and sell them. Aren't they edible? Other geese are.

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  • 36. At 10:56am on 01 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    30/

    Wasn't Heath a backbencher when Mrs T was PM? Could you say that no one in Labour backbenches were not a problem? In the case of Major if there was a dysfunctional element to his Government it was the result of having a very slim majority, not that there was more dissent, and the dissent there was between Blair and Brown was of critical nature as it was between two key offices of state. Yes Mrs T had her problems with her Chancellors, but she resolved the problem by sacking them, Blair let the problem fester by keeping Brown in post, which probably damaged the country.

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  • 37. At 11:01am on 01 Sep 2010, mittfh wrote:

    In Post 33, IMOORE wrote:

    • I believe the townies are getting equally fed up with foxes


    You have to ask yourself what attracted foxes to leave their natural countryside environment and set up shop in towns in the first place. Could it possibly be the subtype of humans that haven't been properly trained in the use of litterbins yet? I know most people have been trained in their use (and regularly use them), but you only have to roam around a town centre or a mile radius of a fast food restaurant to discover plenty of people who haven't...

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  • 38. At 11:02am on 01 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    36: More analysis, please! ;o)

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  • 39. At 11:07am on 01 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    36/

    In the damage the Blair and Brown feud did to the country?

    Here I think Blair laid it out in saying that Brown was a road block to reform, and that he instinctively thought that big statist solutions were good. Result we entered the recession with a bloated inefficient state, which has added greatly to our deficit and national debt.

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  • 40. At 11:13am on 01 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    3. MadnessOfCrowds
    "From the selected excerpts I've heard, Blair comes across as lacking self-insight and Brown has only gone up in my estimation."
    He can only go up in my estimation, it being rather low to start with...Blair can hardly go down for tha same reason.

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  • 41. At 11:18am on 01 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    15. Looternite
    "Blair will be judged by historians by what he did,"
    and even more notably didn't, e.g. "mid East Envoy"

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  • 42. At 11:21am on 01 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    4. Lady Sue
    "Duck (and goose) shooting season starts today. "
    But is the duck ready to eat?

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  • 43. At 11:25am on 01 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    26. IMOORE
    "Because we need the food. I am not saying I like the idea of 2000 cows kept in sheds and never getting to eat grass, in fact I hate the idea, but we cannot keep shoving our heads in the sand and ignoring the basic fact that we are some how going to have to find a way to feed all the people in the increased population of our country and the world in general."
    But from where are we going to find the food with which to feed the cows? The conversion rate is so low that the same food would go far further if fed to humans, who according to your statement are going to need it. Why divert it through cows?

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  • 44. At 11:28am on 01 Sep 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    annasee@13: oh no!

    annasee@14: hear, hear!

    IMOORE@26: "Because we need the food" - not produced in such a barbaric manner. Why not concentrate more on vegetarian options to feed the ever increasing UK/world population?

    mittfh@28: "It's probably the Countryside Alliance set" - not around here. It seems to be nearly every male old enough to carry a gun. Fortunately my 'Lands Preserved' signs seem to have had some effect as I wasn't woken to the sound of gunfire at 5AM. When I walked the dogs, I could hear shooting from across one of the lakes and a lot more 'bird noise' than usual - the poor things clearly panicking over why they are suddenly targets. It's horrible.

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  • 45. At 11:38am on 01 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Someone asked about duck shooting and the reasons why people do it.

    The answer is, they don't really know why they do it themselves. its just something Grand-Pa-pa used to do. Whilst nanny breast fed us in the parlor. So we tend to carry on the tradition. Minus the brest feeding...the best bit in my opinion. We'd shoot the local council estate peasants as an alternative but they told us this was bad form old chap.

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  • 46. At 11:43am on 01 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Tony Blair said this morning on the today program, 'Look you can't have a welfare state stuck in the 1950s'.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Whilst its still OK and getting worse to every other institution from the house of lords nod and a wink privilege on down stuck in the 19th century.

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  • 47. At 11:48am on 01 Sep 2010, annasee wrote:

    If we're worrying about feeding everyone, I saw on the ferry home on Monday, information about the writer Jonathan Swift (the name of the ferry, if you're wondering why). One of his more controversial satirical statements was along the lines of Ireland never being able to rid itself of poverty & famine until the poor agreed to provide their numerous offspring as food for the rich, who would then be well-nourished. A suggestion I've yet to see in Private Eye.
    (I Moore, it's 8000 not 2000 cows)

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  • 48. At 11:51am on 01 Sep 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    fJd@44: "Someone"? Moi!... and @46: Oh dear, your chips are showing (again!). ;o)

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  • 49. At 11:58am on 01 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    About the thousands of cows going to be kept mostly in a shed. I heard something on farming today about this. The guy prosing to do this admitted there was inherent risk, more so than at present with illness and disease. He also admitted that from studies in America, where this practice goes on (and which we seem to now want to import) that the animals suffer with something to do with their feet and hoofs because they can't move around. his only defence to this sort of rearing was that people say they want cheap food and this is the way we have to go if we are going to meet that need. But nobody asked me. Just like when the supermarkets say 'when we asked our customer what they want, they say...' But the only thing any supermarket has asked me is, 'would I like some sort of loyalty card or other'.

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  • 50. At 12:08pm on 01 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    44/

    And when we have eaten all the vegetarian food sources we can move onto Soylent Green.

    What I am saying is that there is a choice to be made, a choice we are not being offered. Yes no doubt we can feed a population of 30 billion if we all eat vegetarian food where get to queue up for our vegetarian cake and supplements to keep us alive, but that is not living. I like my bacon buttie, there is no better olfactory pleasure than to smell some bacon and eggs being cooked up. So the choice I would make is to have a population policy that moved us to a lower more sustainable population, where we weren't being forced down the road of factory farming, genetic foods, or vegetarianism, and could enjoy my bacon buttie with out some humourless vegetarian with fixation on global warming trying to deny me the pleasure of it

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  • 51. At 12:15pm on 01 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Lady sue (48)

    Chips moi? only if there laden with a healthy dose of anything bad for you.

    Tony Blair is a master at diverting the questions round to a completely different subject without you knowing it. So much so that most journos think hes answered there original question with some kind of new insightful answer. Or could it be that most journos are secret admirers because of Blair's Toryism. Anyway, even Blair resorted to the latterly popular get out clause with Andrew Marr in his interview when he didn't know what to say. Namely, when in doubt about what to say, bash the benefit scroungers making sure you don't single out the middle class beneficiaries though. I know, lets just refere to them as the 'welfare state'. Everybody will know who you mean. Namely, not them.

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  • 52. At 12:38pm on 01 Sep 2010, jonnie wrote:

    I can't wait to read Tony's memoirs. Looks like I'm the token misfit...

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  • 53. At 12:44pm on 01 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    52. jonnie
    "I can't wait to read Tony's memoirs."

    Wait no longer! Read them in the smallest room and keep them there for convenient recycling.

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  • 54. At 1:13pm on 01 Sep 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Grande Noix (various): witty and amusing. I also heard Mr. Fry this morning - good programme.

    GN@43: well said. Why divert the food through the cows?

    IMOORE@50: "humourless vegetarian with fixation on global warming"? Now, now - not all vegetarians lack a sense of humour, not do they all believe in global warming. I would be the last person to tell you, or anyone else, what they should and shouldn't eat but you do make vegetarian food sound terribly bland and dull, which it isn't. In my experience it is often far more imaginative and tasty than the "meat and two veg" option. Short of shooting huge swathes of the population (a suggestion made by fJd@45 above, which has been referred for moderation but not by me) it seems sensible to look at new food sources or maximising those we already have. It just so happens that I happen to know this is already being done in America.

    As for "no better olfactory pleasure" of bacon and egg cooking - what about coffee and the warming waft of home made bread?

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  • 55. At 1:36pm on 01 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    You have a point about coffee and fresh bread, but could we still afford to devote areas to growing coffee in this brave new over populated world?

    I did spend several years being a vege, an experience I wouldn't want to repeat, the food was boring, after a while you got to dream about the sauces that come with meat dishes.

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