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Busy preparing for recorded interviews

Eddie Mair | 14:19 UK time, Wednesday, 4 April 2007

with Hillary Benn and the Government's respect co-ordinator Louise Casey. And now we hear the Britons in Iran are to be freed. Hold on to your wigs and keys.


  1. At 02:28 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Eddie, if that is true, it is excellent news.

    By the way, I've left my wig off today. It's the Yul Brynner look for me.

  2. At 02:35 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    This seems to confirm it


  3. At 02:36 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Tsk! Hilary. It's only the Senator who spelllls it with an extra 'l'.

    (carp, carp, niggle)

    And as for wigs, Eric Becks, pot and kettle???


  4. At 02:43 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    And this is a recording of the announcement


  5. At 03:04 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    That is good news indeed.

    On an entirely separate note - wot no newsletter?

  6. At 03:35 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Hm, bet he read this post and took Ambridge. Er... umbrage

  7. At 04:04 PM on 04 Apr 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    You know Eddie was up at 4:44 this morning ( we all know cos it says so at the top of the post called Blue) well I've been wondering....

    Suppose I got up and tried to frog at that time, and because all Comments are moderated, and will not appear on this weblog until the author has approved them there must be a process of someone having to approve my comment -

    - and then it goes to the people who put it on the interweb

    - and then gets in a queue

    - and then it appears here.

    My question is: is there someone sitting there 24 hours a day doing this? Is that why eddie was up at a quarter to five?

    Wow. All out of my radio licence fee.


  8. At 05:43 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Richard Stevens wrote:

    Is it my imagination, or was Eddie's interviewing style a lot more aggressive than usual for Louise Casey? Are you auditioning for the Today programme, Eddie?

    : )

  9. At 06:14 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Jane Parsons wrote:

    I have two criticiisms about today's (4th April) programme. First, why do we have to be subjected to lengthy interviews with, in this case, the sister of one of the British naval personnel about to be released? It isn't news, and it's excruciatingly embarrassing.

    Secondly, you treated Louise Casey abominably in your interview. You were bullying and sneering, and hardly ever let her finish what she was saying. I doubt whether you would have seen fit to bully a man in the same way. I have rarely felt the need to contact you to protest, but this time I must. I covered my ears during the first-mentioned item (and would have switched it off if it had been up to me alone), and found myself shouting at you during the second.

    I hope you will mend your ways. I would like to hear proper news, perhaps just a short interview with a family member. How do you suppose they feel? Do we have to hear it at such length? And interviews conducted with courtesy as well as firmness.

    Yours, angrily

    Jane Parsons

  10. At 06:31 PM on 04 Apr 2007, RJD wrote:

    Yep, I agree.

    After praising Eddie the other day for the quality of the interviewing technique when talking to Simon Weston - plenty of time and space to develop his thoughts - I feel justified in saying that the piece with Louise Casey was pretty poor.

    If I didn't know better I would suspect that Eddie was a bit peeved that Hilary Benn had not been made available.

  11. At 07:04 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    RJD and Jane: I'd second (third) your comments. I was surprised and rather disappointed with Mr. Mair on that one.

  12. At 09:18 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Val P wrote:

    I don't often carp, but I was stuck in traffic and was reasonably excruciated by the interview - as I told the dog. He didn't care though, as he was so hot because when we our engine is idling I have to switch the heater on full blast because the fan won't cut in, to stop the engine overheating,,,,

    So it could have been the excess heat making me intolerant? I did like the reference to the Gordon Brown flourish though.

  13. At 10:17 PM on 04 Apr 2007, Humph wrote:

    Hmmm. So when someone (Louise Casey) claims 100% success for a certain effort (using CCTV with voice over to tackle the dropping of litter in Middlesborough) is asked "So there is no litter dropped?" and says "Well not much litter." then the interviewer is not allowed to get annoyed? Personnally I found Mr. Mayor rather restrained in that interview.

    The coverage about how the system works gave an example where the voice said "Place the can in the bin provided!" Was it referring to a re-cycle bin? I doubt it. If my doubt is founded it is a system that looks to reduce the Council cost of collection of litter to be replaced by a Council cost for land-fill. Yippee (not).


  14. At 11:09 PM on 04 Apr 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Humph, the litter question was perfectly valid, but how about the total non sequitur concerning shouting at fat people not to eat crisps?

  15. At 07:30 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Richard M wrote:

    Whilst the interview with Louise Casey did appear to be 'confrontational', with her not exactly helping her own cause with the 100% proclamation, the question about fat people being told not to eat crisps was fantastic!

    Too many complain about this being not politically correct, lets face it, we were all thinking that and the truth hurts sometimes. I'm sure they would be picked up if they dropped the crisp packet after they had finished eating them, but if they didn't eat them in the first place, then there isn't a crisp packet to drop! Cause and effect?

    We are preached at by other government departments to eat our 5 a day, so why not tell people what not to eat. Seems obvious to me.

  16. At 08:28 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Interestingly I thought the point about fat people / crisps was well made. Where do you draw the line when officialdom intrudes into your life?

    We might think that it's O.K. for some anonymous voice to scold us for littering (Personally I don't think so). So if you accept the principle where is the outer limit? If obesity is the result of aberrant behaviour why not tell people off for it? If the cost in ill-health and NHS funding is vastly more than the cost of picking up litter then why not berate 'fat' people by voice-camera in the town square?

    But who decides what is obese? One might choose the Body Mass Index, which gives a clear-cut definition. Only problem is that it makes the likes of Brad Pitt obese (and the Frog Ladies favourite Bond, Daniel Craig). Muscle tissue is much heavier than body fat.

    And what about when they extend the principle into your home? You could have your kitchen monitored by CCTV to ensure that you use 'healthy' ingredients and your portion sizes are appropriate. No more scraping around the bowl when you make cakes!

    And then the introduction of a fixed penalty system for miscreants. The police would have the right to take you to a cashpoint and pay a £100 fine for using goose-fat when roasting potatoes for the Sunday lunch.

    One step from there to being monitored through your TV in the living room. Shades of 'The Truman Show' or worse, '1984'.

    This is already a step too far. I avoid cities and towns already, as much as I can. This is one more reason to reinforce that.


  17. At 08:55 AM on 05 Apr 2007, CV wrote:

    I tend to agree that the Louise Casey interview was not the best. The 'crisps' question was just facile- really there to pander to Eddie's broadcasting style rather than actually throw light on the issue.

    There is also a tendency to assume that just digging up any old quote that apparently contradicts something said by an interviewee qualifies as insightful questioning.

    In this case, the whole thing about the four-year old report on street lighting verses CCTV showed how poorly this approach can serve. Firstly because it was not about loudspeaker-equipped CCTVs, as Louise very promptly observed, but also presumably because improved street lighting only reduces anti-social behaviour at night.

  18. At 10:38 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Hello. The point about street lighting was that the Home Office's own research from four years ago showed better street lighting was considerably more effective than CCTV at reducing crime. This fact was put in the original interview (and answered) but I think cut out in the edit. But I think the central point stands.

    The point about fat people and crisps was that it was the Government's contention that the talking cameras were a cost effective way of changing behaviour. The idea was to challenge that assertion. If it really worked for anti social behaviour, why not use it to cut the considerably higher NHS bill for treating fat people?

  19. At 11:35 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Okay, Eddie, fair points.

  20. At 11:38 AM on 05 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Eddie (18);
    As noted above, you get my support, for what little it's worth.

    There seems to be a certain tendency to categorise and enumerate every form of 'bad' behaviour, then to try and find a way to prevent it. Littering is the current hot topic (this week), but it might well be obesity or more general anti-social behaviour.

    It is one thing to have CCTV in towns and cities to help in detection of crime. Britain is the most observed society in the world in this regard, which doesn't say anything good about us or our rulers. Only last week (?) the Home Office were urging our local councillors to upgrade these systems to an level submissible as criminal evidence.

    It is another thing entirely to use these systems to directly intervene and dictate the behaviour of the public at large.

    Again I would repeat, if we now accept the principle of using televisual means not only to monitor and detect criminal or anti-social behaviour but also to correct it where do we draw the line? And who decides which forms of behaviour are suitable for a televisual castigation? Your point my have been a little off-the-cuff, but the principle was sound.

    Thus far and no further. We have already accepted too much.


  21. At 10:24 PM on 05 Apr 2007, madmary wrote:

    You have my utter support on that interview. The moment the woman claimed 100% success it was clear that she was on a loser.

    What I would love challenged is the idea that the public are supportive of these sort of ideas. What research did they do? How many people were asked about it and what questions did they ask? What is the follow up? Do people like being shouted at in the street, being shown up? Do people worry that they might inadvertantly do something "antisocial" (whatever that means)?

    I could go on but I'm sure that no-one is reading this thread anymore.

    We must resist this intrusion into our lives. We must question the concept of antisocial behaviour and ask ourselves what is more important tidy streets (and loss of work for street cleaners) or being publicly humiliated for doing something someone else disapproves of.


  22. At 11:58 PM on 05 Apr 2007, Karen wrote:

    Completely agree - smacks of 1984. Is public humiliation really the best way of changing behaviour anyway? It's certainly not the most effective form of education.

    The whole "respect" agenda behind this confuses me. Two wrongs don't make a right and broadcasting someone's misdemeanours across a street is hardly promoting respect.

    I thought the tone of the interview was spot on, especially when she trotted out the 100% statistic. I resent the thought that my taxes are paying for this woman's salary let alone her talking cameras. There's a certain lack of respect there her thinking that she can provide this data and we will unquestioningly accept it.

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