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Eddie Mair | 08:00 UK time, Monday, 20 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 08:26am on 20 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    Good to see Steve Jones (the prof one) appointed to look at "impartiality and accuracy in the BBC's coverage of science". He is an estimable scientist with his feet firmly on the ground. I hope the scope covers news programmes like Today and PM and not just 'science' programmes and reviews BBC interviewers' (in)ability to critically evaluate non-science when it is presented to them by politicians and other snake oil salesmen.

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  • 2. At 08:41am on 20 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    Looks like Gove is being given a second-chance. Second-chance Gove. Only one relevant question for him and the ConDem's educations policy: do you or do you not think that ALL children are entitled to the excellent quality of education provided by Eton? Then a supplementary: if not, why not? If yes, what exactly will you do to make that happen in this parliament?

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  • 3. At 08:42am on 20 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Classic dodge by paddy Ashdown when pressed on tax evasion on the Today program. Not only has the record worn out but the needle needs changing too.

    The Only Lib/Dem answer to the question of the disparity of wealth and opportunity, the question of Tax fraud and evasion is to take a look at the the people who have been taken out of tax among the poverty wage earners. Well, if you are only being given five crumbs for your labour, another crumb adds up to six crumbs. But its still crumbs. And it dosen't do anything for the sick, disabled, or tackle the open prejudice among employers about whom they employ.

    They keep telling us to wait and see over the how the spending cuts pan out when the rich, tax avoiders, and fraudsters are questioned and what they intend to do about it. Yet, when welfare to the poorest is the subject they seem to have already made up their minds what they intend to do. So much for fairness minded attitudes.

    As I pointed out on another thread, Andrew Neil on his lunch-time program last week pointed out, he has rich well off friends living in the best parts of London who save up their child benefit in an account that they then use to buy things from Harrods. Is this the way tax payers money should be used?

    Meanwhile, Cameron wants to limit the tenancy of people who live in council dwellings. Why?

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  • 4. At 08:51am on 20 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    I’ve recently received my annual registration form for the register of electors.
    It states that in addition to British citizens, citizens of Commonwealth countries and of any of the EU member states may register to vote in British local government elections. Citizens of Commonwealth countries, Cyprus, Malta and the Republic of Ireland may also register to vote in British national elections.
    Why is this?
    Are these arrangements reciprocal?
    Are they understood and accepted by most British voters?
    I’d be very pleased if PM could discuss the issues involved.

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  • 5. At 08:55am on 20 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    # 4

    Could it be that the politians know that the British voter will not bother to vote anymore so they have to go elsewhere seeking meaning for their existence?

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  • 6. At 08:58am on 20 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    "A space probe launched 30 years ago has come under the influence of a force that has baffled scientists and could rewrite the laws of physics."

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/1384420/Mysterious-force-holds-back-Nasa-probe-in-deep-space.html

    I heard of this effect a few years ago, it now seems to have been confirmed by other space probes that have come under the same effect as Pioneer.

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  • 7. At 08:59am on 20 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    Headline from the BBC website, 18/09/2010:

    “5 live in the North East”

    Is this perceived under-population the cause of the lack of interest in the region from the media and government?

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  • 8. At 09:02am on 20 Sep 2010, Looternite wrote:

    1. MadnessOfCrowds

    Hear, Hear, Science programmes are usually well made it is the reporting by the news programmes that the tabloid like distortions occur.

    2. MadnessOfCrowds

    Hear, Hear, once again you have said what I think.

    3 funnyJoeDunn

    Well said my friend. Ashdown was so woolly and again ConDems are getting away with not answering questions.

    I watched a programme last night on BBC 4 made by Jack Ashley in 1963 and I urge all Lib/Dems to watch it before they sell out their last principles.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00tw1jx/Waiting_for_Work/

    Don't betray the unemployed who are considered "a price worth paying" by the Tories.

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  • 9. At 09:05am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    4. Galahad

    They can only register if they live here. And if they live here, it's only fair that they have a say in how they're governed, isn't it?

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  • 10. At 09:07am on 20 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    Following the visit to the UK by His Holiness the Pope, I am pleased to announce brief forthcoming visits by both the Invisible Pink Unicorn:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn

    and the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster

    It is expected that a well-wisher will line roads throughout the nation to celebrate these events.

    I trust that PM will demonstrate its religious impartiality by covering these faiths during the forthcoming week?

    Many thanks.

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  • 11. At 09:11am on 20 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    9/

    No, if they aren't citizens of the country they shouldn't be allowed a say in how the Country is run.

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  • 12. At 09:13am on 20 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    9. Sid:

    I would argue that only citizens should vote in elections - or, at the least, only people who are resident AND British tax payers.

    "No representation without taxation" (to almost coin a well-known phrase)

    The apparently arbitrary selection of Cypriots, Maltese and Irish as being eligible to vote here if resident gives me the impression of an inappropriate political fix for some historical and no longer relevant problem.

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  • 13. At 09:16am on 20 Sep 2010, Looternite wrote:

    4. Galahad

    You raise an interesting issue: "Are these arrangements reciprocal?".

    Do these people have votes in more than one country?

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  • 14. At 09:18am on 20 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    13. Looternite

    And could the entire British population register as being resident in a holiday home in Malta and take over their electoral system?

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  • 15. At 09:18am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    13. Looternite
    "You raise an interesting issue"

    It's not all that interesting, as these arrangements have long been known to anyone who is interested in our democracy.

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  • 16. At 09:24am on 20 Sep 2010, Looternite wrote:

    15. Sid

    As someone who has obviously taken more interest in our democracy than others here. Perhaps you can enlighten us "Are these arrangements reciprocal"?

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  • 17. At 09:25am on 20 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    15. Sid

    "...these arrangements have long been known to anyone who is interested in our democracy."

    I love your definition of people 'who are interested in our democracy'. A definition which I suspect would mean that many engaged and politically active people are defined as 'uninterested'.

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  • 18. At 09:26am on 20 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Can you get Mr Butt from the Pakistan Cricket Board on the programme? His interview with Justin Webb on Today this morning was an absolute hoot!

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  • 19. At 09:27am on 20 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    17 - Or perhaps just uninformed.

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  • 20. At 09:29am on 20 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    Galahad@12 - "resident and pay taxes". I agree and I'd like to refine further: "resident and pay all taxes without attempting to avoid or evade".

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  • 21. At 09:35am on 20 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    To add to my 20: and maybe we should also demand that to be eligible to vote (or stand for parliament) they have never accepted money from known tax-avoiders ... after all, that's akin to fencing, isn't it?

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  • 22. At 09:43am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    16. Looternite

    Re EU voting rights - yes.

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  • 23. At 09:46am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    17. Galahad
    "many engaged and politically active people are defined as 'uninterested'."

    I doubt it. These arrangements are described on the voter registration forms we all get. If you can't be bothered to read (and remember) the bit that says 'Who can register to vote?', then it seems unlikely that you're all that engaged or active.

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  • 24. At 09:49am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:


    Here is one non-citizen's view.

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  • 25. At 09:50am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    12. Galahad
    "The apparently arbitrary selection of Cypriots, Maltese and Irish"

    It's because they're in the Commonwealth.

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  • 26. At 09:57am on 20 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    25. Sid:

    "The apparently arbitrary selection of Cypriots, Maltese and Irish"

    It's because they're in the Commonwealth.


    The list of non-British people allowed to vote is: "Citizens of Commonwealth countries, Cyprus, Malta and the Republic of Ireland". Thus Cypriots, Maltese and Irish people are differentiated from "Commonwealth Citizens".

    If voting rights are given "because they're in the Commonwealth", why aren't Canadians individually listed?

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

    Danny Alexander has announced the coalition's intention to clamp down on tax avoidance and evasion. Would PM like to put to him whether this will include tackling the issue of nominating a second home as the main residence in order to avoid the payment of Capital Gains Tax upon the sale of said property?

    I believe Mr. Alexander may well be able to provide some personal insights on this matter as well as elaborating further on his future strategy.

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  • 28. At 10:02am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    26. Galahad

    The Canadians are not in the EU.

    The Cypriots, Maltese and Irish are in the EU and in the Commonwealth.

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  • 29. At 10:04am on 20 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    25 / 26

    Lists of current Commonwealth members identify 53 countries.

    Ireland has not been a member of the Commonwealth since 1949, so should not receive any consideration not also given to every other n0n-Commonwealth nation.

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  • 30. At 10:06am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    For people with short memories:

    This is Danny Alexander’s full statement:

    My wife and I bought our property in Elspeth Road in 1999, we sold it and moved to the current property in June 2007.

    Until the spring of 2006 this was the only property we owned. I had rented a place in Aviemore until then, we subsequently bought a place there and moved into it.

    I have always listed London as my second home on the basis set out in the parliamentary rules as I spent more time in Scotland than I did in London.

    I sold the Elspeth Road flat in 2007 and moved to another flat but was advised that CGT was not payable because of the operation of final period relief, which exempts homes from CGT for 36 months after they stop being the main home. I paid all the taxes required but CGT was not payable on the disposal of my Elspeth Road flat.

    I have already publicly declared that I will pay Capital Gains Tax if the time comes for me to sell my second home.

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  • 31. At 10:09am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    29. Galahad

    "Irish citizens in the UK have a status almost equivalent to British citizens. They can vote in all elections and even stand for Parliament. As well as this, some people born in the Republic of Ireland before 1949, but after 3 March 1922, are British subjects. British citizens have similar rights to Irish citizens in the Republic of Ireland and can vote in all elections apart from presidential elections and referendums. Under the Irish nationality law anyone born on the island of Ireland to a British or Irish parent can have Irish citizenship and so most children born in Northern Ireland can have a British or an Irish passport (or both). Before 2002, there was no requirement for one parent to be a British or Irish citizen and so all persons born on the island of Ireland before then are entitled to be Irish citizens."

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  • 32. At 10:10am on 20 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    fJd 3, My father drove a classic Dodge. Not classic at the time, though...

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  • 33. At 10:12am on 20 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    IM 6, Not the Pope, is it?

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  • 34. At 10:12am on 20 Sep 2010, DiY wrote:

    "Welcome aboard the 9.30 Loo free service to Brighton"

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  • 35. At 10:15am on 20 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    Ln 8, You don't seem to understand politics, do you? Put someone in power and they don't have to answer questions. I refer you to Brown, Blair, etc. Frustrating, innit?

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  • 36. At 10:15am on 20 Sep 2010, Looternite wrote:

    Er... drifted away from the question "Are these arrangements reciprocal"?

    Maybe PM can use their powers of investigation and find out.

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  • 37. At 10:15am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    11. IMOORE
    "No, if they aren't citizens of the country they shouldn't be allowed a say in how the Country is run. "

    They don't have a say in how the country is run - they can only vote in local elections (EU citizens, that is).

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  • 38. At 10:15am on 20 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    PM - it would be informative to have an in-depth interview with Charlie Kennedy if he is amenable. Pantsdown and Hughes obfuscate and try to give coded messages. Charles, in my experience, is both more eloquent and more straightforward.

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  • 39. At 10:16am on 20 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    Sid 9, So why only local elections and not for MPs?

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  • 40. At 10:19am on 20 Sep 2010, CarolineOfBrunswick wrote:

    It looks like British citizens can vote in Irish elections (but not referenda), and anyone can vote in local elections.

    http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/government-in-ireland/elections-and-referenda/voting/registering-to-vote/#rates

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  • 41. At 10:20am on 20 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    Sid: Reasons for allowing Irish people to vote in British election:

    28. Argument # 1:

    "...Irish are in the EU and in the Commonwealth."

    No they're not. They left the Commonwealth in 1949

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    31. Argument # 2:

    Citizenship in Ireland is very complex, with many Irish people holding either British citizenship or dual Irish/British citizenship.

    Fine. So allow those who hold British citizenship to vote in British elections, rather than extending this right to all Irish people.

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  • 42. At 10:21am on 20 Sep 2010, CarolineOfBrunswick wrote:

    (who are resident in Republic of Ireland, obviously)

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  • 43. At 10:21am on 20 Sep 2010, davmcn wrote:

    IM 11, I find it peculiar as well. I've lived in GB for 26 years, but because I'm a US citizen and not British, I can't vote for anything. I can, however, vote for a Lib Dem to be a candidate for Parliament because I'm a member of the party. I voted for Chris Huhne because I like his neckties.

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  • 44. At 10:23am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    39. davmcn

    No idea.

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  • 45. At 10:25am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    41. Galahad

    I don't necessarily approve of the way things are. I'm just answering a few questions that people have asked (most of them correctly).

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  • 46. At 10:29am on 20 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Sid (30): Thank you for posting that - however, you seem to imply that I have implied he is avoiding payment of CGT. I am not best placed to comment on that, but we do know that this has been an issue for some MPs and is, for some, a tax loophole. Mr. Alexander, given the allegations that were made about him and his speech yesterday, would probably want to comment on this for himself.

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  • 47. At 10:30am on 20 Sep 2010, Patrick Too wrote:

    Unable to sleep last night I was watching Russia Today on Freeview. They told me there was an election in Sweden! I don't recall hearing ought from the BBC about this - So C'mon PM - You're usually good at this sort of thing - even if you do just nick it from the World Service.

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  • 48. At 10:33am on 20 Sep 2010, Anne P wrote:

    Audited accounts for Derby City Council apparently show that more than half the money owed to it is due from government departments - £26.5m of nearly £50m.

    Can PM investigate whether local authorities generally suffer from late or overdue payments from central government. Is this part of a more general problem of centralisation that over the last twenty years or so has seen local authorities deprived of power to act locally because funding is controlled and dictated centrally? For example I understand local authorities have no great interest in collecting business rates as the money goes direct to Westminster.

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  • 49. At 10:36am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    46. Big Sister

    Big Sister - I did not intent to imply anything, merely to give Danny Alexander's response to questions about CGT, expenses and his home. As far as I'm aware, the 'allegations' have been dealt with - otherwise presumably the Daily Mail would still be making a hoohah - in which case I wonder why people are bringing the issue up again.

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  • 50. At 10:37am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:


    Did you know that people in Holland have stopped getting taller? (Not the ones who are still growing, obviously - but their overall eventual height has stopped increasing.)

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  • 51. At 10:38am on 20 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Sid, Mr. Alexander made a speech which is relevant to this story. The matter may well be settled in his particular case, but this is a standard tax loophole. Other MPs, during the expenses scandal, have already been shown to be guilty of employing this tax loophole. I would like to hear Mr Alexander's thoughts on the matter.

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  • 52. At 10:42am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    51. Big Sister

    It's not a tax loophole, it's tax law. No one can be guilty of obeying tax law. Other issues may be relevant, but not the CGT one.

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  • 53. At 10:44am on 20 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    But it is how that tax law is interpreted, Sid - and there are cases where it is deliberately misinterpreted for personal gain. I do know quite a bit about this issue.

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  • 54. At 10:45am on 20 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    47/

    I believe a right wing party that doesn't like immigrants got a lot of support. Not the sort of thing the BBC likes to publicise.

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  • 55. At 10:45am on 20 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    Sid@50 - I have for a long time believed that Dutch height and general healthiness is related to their high consumption of dairy products. I wonder if the scientifically dubious advice on lowering fat intake has affected them -or whether their average is just approaching diminishing returns?

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  • 56. At 10:46am on 20 Sep 2010, JesseBigg wrote:

    That anecdote re George Best, (Where's it all gone wrong, George?) on this morning's Radio 4, in an attempt to bolster Nick Clegg's weak position, missed the point. George Best's career by then wasn't still on the up, it was on the down.

    And I'm afraid that the Lib-dems have become a party of bystanders.

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  • 57. At 10:47am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:


    Never heard of this before: 'Last 'sin-eater' celebrated with church service'

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-11360659

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  • 58. At 10:49am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    56. JesseBigg
    "And I'm afraid that the Lib-dems have become a party of bystanders."

    You haven't been watching the news ...

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  • 59. At 10:54am on 20 Sep 2010, Anne P wrote:

    MOC 55 - I would doubt it. Compare with the successful campaign in Finland from the 1970's to improve cardiovascular health by reducing dairy consumption (sorry I can't quickly find a good reference). Suspect general good health and genes have more to do with it, always assuming that they are not eating large amount of meat full of growth promoters!

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  • 60. At 10:57am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    53. Big Sister

    I'm sure you do know quite a bit about this. However, it seems to me that threr are two distinct issues here - the law as it applies to CGT, and the mess that was MPs' expenses. It also seems to me that it may be relevant in the context of tackling tax evasion and avoidance to comment specifically on the CGT aspect, but that it is not particularly relevant to re-open discussion of MPs' tax affairs. That's all.

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  • 61. At 10:59am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    59. Anne P

    Here's an old article about it:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/dutch-height-increase-slows-768857.html

    "International studies have found the Dutch to be the world's tallest people, usually ascribing that to wealth, nutrition, genetics, and the country's universal health care system."

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  • 62. At 11:08am on 20 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    Anne P - but didn't the Finns have outrageous consummption of sat fat whereas the Dutch are more balanced in their fat consumption? Good genes too, no doubt.

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  • 63. At 11:17am on 20 Sep 2010, Sindy wrote:

    56. JesseBigg

    "• Mary Ann Sieghart in the Independent says Clegg wields disproportionate influence over the government."

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  • 64. At 11:20am on 20 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Sid, I don't want the MPs expenses scandal reopened - I gave that as an example. This point with regard to CGT is used by many as a way to make a non taxable gain. It doesn't do the property market any favours, either.

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  • 65. At 11:34am on 20 Sep 2010, U14519596 wrote:

    U. S. NEWS

    One in Seven Americans Living in Poverty
    Six in seven living in denial.
    More Losing Their Homes, Smoking Pot, Taking Ecstasy
    In that order.

    REMINDER
    Don't drink and tweet.

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