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I should have

Eddie Mair | 11:45 UK time, Tuesday, 17 April 2007

paid more attention to the outcome of the quiz so I could report back, shouldn't I? I think it all revolved around whether saying "toilet" was common - all to do with the Kate Middleton stuff. Don't expect to hear any of that between 5 and 6.

The programme's already looking busy. We expect more information to come out of Virginia, and there are worries here about how high inflation might go. We're looking too at whether schoolchildren should be forced to watch Al Gore - plus Susan Watts from Newsnight is going to join us with a story which shocked several people in our office.

From noon we'll be glued to Tony Blair's monthly news conference.


  1. At 11:56 AM on 17 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I find I never use the words "toilet", "ladies'", "loo" or anything similar. I simply annouce "Right, I must have a wee" at which point my sister-in-law and oft-companion shrinks into her chair and responds "Appy, we don't need to know what you're going for".

    I'm such class after all.

  2. At 12:08 PM on 17 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Now this 81 year old neighbour from hell who's broken her ABSO. She hit a neighbour with a walking stick and also used verbal abuse. And failed to turn up to court.

    I've just heard people ringing in on a local radio station appauled that she has been sentenced to a term in prison.

    'Why oh why' 'to coin a phrase ;-) (chris Ghoti and Appy) do people think that the rules of society do not apply to the elderly?

  3. At 12:17 PM on 17 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Drinks (1), why don't I find that surprising after you were banned yesterday for having a potty-mouth? I had a quick look at the quiz but gave up when my running score had me squarely in "slapper". I'm not sure how my already fragile ego will cope for the rest of the day.

    This afternoon, the question that will be interfering with my work will be: "how bad is it to have a society riven by class?"

  4. At 12:18 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Tonight is going to be a vintage edition, I can feel it already. Weeks with little really good quality news and then all this in one day.

    The inflation issue is mildly interesting. The Governor of the Bank has had to write a formal letter to GB explaining why inflation has breached 3%. Interest rates are almost certain to rise as a result, making mortgages more expensive. In this same week house prices apparently declined ever-so-slightly, which won't be helped by any putative rate rise. And thanks to the anticipated rate rise the pound breached the $2 mark first thing this morning. Making holidays to the USA dirt cheap. Hoorah!

    Time to drag Evan Davies out of his office and ask him about house prices. He's not fond of our obsession with it as an economic indicator and wishes that we would all take note of other things.

    Susan W. covers the Sci/Tech brief, so I'm intrigued to hear what she has to report on, especially if it shocked the hard-bitten hacks in the PM office.

    Should kids be forced to watch Al Gore? Only as punishment for breaking their ASBO's!

    The hypocrite preaches eco-friendliness whilst his household uses something like 10 times the average US energy consumption, which is already the highest in the world. Do as I say, not as I do.

    And then the Dear Leader's news conference. The monthly exercise in concealment, obfuscation and inveigling. Hoorah again.

    Plus Virginia.

    Can't wait.


  5. At 12:21 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    There are always worries about high inflation might go. Anyway, according to HM Treasury today's inflation figure is probably the result of action taken 2 years ago. Can anyone remember what we did then?

    According to VH, however, the figure is affected within 2 months by decisions on interest rates.

    BTW, what are you going to put in the newsletter, now that you have permitted the felines to escape from the flexible container?

  6. At 12:38 PM on 17 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:


    Si, have you seen the Al Gore film? I haven't. I did, though, see the report about his household's energy usage. Wasn't it "outed" by an environmental group in the US? Hypocrisy has such an interesting place in our lives, doesn't it? A mother who smokes imploring her child not to do likewise, for instance. When I saw that report, I thought "ha!" and then wondered at the whopping big hole in that particular pressure group's anthropomorphic foot.

    I think I abhor hypocrisy. But am haunted by hearing somebody - on the moral maze, perhaps Janet Daley, a long time ago - asking why we consider it to be the worst of all crimes.

    The inflation figure is hardly surprising. However, I did chuckle when the Guv'nor wrote in his letter that furniture price increases (10%!!) might be a price hike in preparation for the Easter discounts - what so we're all going to be paying an extra quarter per cent on our mortgages so that the furniture retailers can con us into believing that they've cut prices? What an expensive discount that will turn out to be!

  7. At 12:55 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Er ... the home page link is diverting back to September again. Someone please let me know that this it’s not just me that finds this sometimes. Thanks.

  8. At 12:57 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    John H.;
    No, not yet. I'm intending to though. Life has seemed very busy these last few weeks. Current viewing of televisual media in the W. household is concentrating on the entire set of X-Files DVD's. We're currently just nudging into Season 4, having started off last September.

    And I've managed to build up a backlog of films to watch, mostly bought from Toss-co at around £5 a time.

    One guaranteed sign of aging; when all the CD's and DVD's you buy are in the bargain bins.


  9. At 12:57 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    Jonnie (2) the 81 year old broke her ABSO? Is that just below the hip? :-P)

  10. At 12:57 PM on 17 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Hey cool - I'm not in September, but as of 12.55, the "recent entries" and "recent comments" are.


    [Twilight Zone theme doesn't look that impressive like that!]

  11. At 01:00 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    George Monbiot's latest may be germane to any economic (inflation) discussion tonight.

    The United Kingdom, with 1% of the world’s population, has 5% of the IMF’s votes(2). Sub-Saharan Africa, with 12% of the population, has 4.6%(3). The UK’s share equals that of China and India put together. It is 5 times as big as Argentina’s, 19 times Bangladesh’s, 35 times Kenya’s, 124 times bigger than Malawi’s(4).


  12. At 01:02 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Si (4) I haven't yet been able to track down a reference for you, but I understand Al Gore, who does use more electricity than most of us would ever want or need, has dealt with this by both carbon offsetting and using renewable sources. He also offsets all his many plane flights and acknowledges this as an issue.

    While I have a problem with offsetting as being a way of paying to continuing to sin (Papal dispensations come to mind) I think he does at least attempt to deal with the problem starting at home.

    You may feel he does not do enough, but I don't think he can fairly be accused of hypocrisy.

    As for 'forcing' children to watch his film, we force them to do lots of things in school. If the film is used as a basis for informed discussion that can't be a bad thing.

  13. At 01:25 PM on 17 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Si: "One guaranteed sign of aging; when all the CD's and DVD's you buy are in the bargain bins." Brilliant! I spent an indulgent 20 mins or so searching those on offer in one of our local superstores the other week where I saw a woman pick up (I think ) "Dirty Dancing" for about a fiver with the words "I love that film". I realised I was there for exactly the same reason, to find something that elicit the same response from me!

    Sadly, on occasion I've picked up copies of favourite films, which I've already got, just because they were so cheap - and then given them to people in the belief that I was being really generous. I.e. the gift of the film was a great thing, regardless of the price.

    I don't remember it happening with VHS, where loads of films were made available at really low prices. Am I right, or was I just not really in the market back then?

  14. At 01:27 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    This is funny.

  15. At 01:29 PM on 17 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Ed, you share Si's ability to introduce information that is so far beyond my ken that my usual reaction varies from nodding sagely to "Er?". However, first of all, I don't really understand what you're saying and second, what are the numbers in brackets? I don't get the correlations.

  16. At 01:34 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Belinda wrote:

    One guaranteed sign of aging; when all the CD's and DVD's you buy are in the bargain bins.

    Another sign: You go up to the counter and are completely surprised when they do not sell a song you like (and heard on the radio) on Vinyl. You are even more surprised when the person behind the counter doesn't know what vinyl is.

    This was me, two years ago, going into His Master's Voice.

  17. At 01:40 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Ed I;
    I'm missing the point here. Can't see anything wrong with that. Britain is the best place in the world. It's only natural that it has more votes.

    **Skips off wearing cheeky grin all over face**

    Actually I'm not sure what relevance the Monbiot snippet has to UK inflation figures. Please enlighten me.

    Is the voting power not equated to contributions into the IMF kitty or something? So if you put more in then you have more say over how it gets dished out.

    Anne P.;
    It is rather like buying indulgences, isn't it! I wonder if it will lead to an eco-schism in the green movement, similar to that which split the Protestant churches off from Catholicism because of those exact religious abuses? There are already rumblings (which you allude to) over whether offsetting has any validity at all, or whether it is merely a sop to conscience.

    I think Big Al mentioned his offsetting in a voice interview with PM? Or perhaps Today?


  18. At 01:43 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Billy Binks wrote:


    Thank you for the newsletter -- very interesting.

  19. At 01:47 PM on 17 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    What newsletter? Are you by any chance known as 'Smug' Billy Binks?

    Belinda (16) what exactly is vinyl? Is it a bit like lino?


  20. At 02:04 PM on 17 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Oh that newsletter...

    Anyway, sometimes you lot really annoy me. I was trying so hard to retain my focus today but this whole jobby about indulgences was just too interesting to ignore. The parallels are amazing. Zealots, sceptics, belief, etc?? And what better interpretation of original sin? You are born, therefore you have a carbon footprint, and for as long as you live, it will only ever increase (and not only because your feet will grow). But, wait, despite your inability to stop your footprint growing, your only option is to attempt to limits its growth for you cannot shrink it by acts of offsetting. And if you don't believe this, then you are doomed. But if I actually do covet my neighbour's wife, am I as doomed as if I commit a lone gun man massacre? And surely those acts of goodness, all those little trees I planted, will help a bit?

  21. At 02:05 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Billy Binks wrote:

    John H (19)

    That's oilcloth to you.

  22. At 02:07 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Belinda (16) - Didn't you know that vinyl is now VERY trendy? So, for those of us whose youthful tunes were all on vinyl, there's a killing to be made out there .....

    In fact, I kept all mine, along with my Pioneer turntable, mainly because I could never get on with cassettes. CDs are a great improvement of those. The problem with vinyl is storage space (oh, and scratches - but I digress). But I have to confess that I don't often play my records.

    However, DVDs vs video tapes is more complex. I like the idea of DVDs, but find navigating videos easier. I want to like DVDs even more, but I suspect that I won't get there until I can afford some really high tec equipment, and I'm not sure I can be bothered.

    Sounds like the froggers don't 'do' the cinema much any more. At least that's shaving a bit off our carbon footprints!

  23. At 02:08 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Si (17),
    See my answer to John H (if it appears)

    The IMF shares USED TO BE based upon kitty contributions, but now the chief income is from interest paid by third world debtors...

    Inflation and interest rates (in my mind each feeding the other) have been set to rise for some time due to our profligate spending on explosives and delivery systems (one-time-use consumables) and the financing of such by government borrowing and simple printing of money. The collapse in the housing market (and connected dodgy loans) in USA is more advanced than ours, not being so well supported by new demand in the form of immigration.

    Salaam, etc.,

  24. At 02:46 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    Roberto (14) - You're a star! :o)

  25. At 02:50 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Si & John H,
    Disappearing reply mentioned New Economics Foundation, George's competence on economic matters as evidenced in his archive, and studies in Human Ecology

  26. At 02:54 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    I too heard that vinyl was making a comeback; as lyniv presumably. A vinyl here is an anagram of my name. Fancy that.

    The real loss when vinyl went was of those handsome 12" square sleeves.

    I didn't buy a CD until last year.

  27. At 03:34 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Last year Vyle (26)? what so possesed you after all of this time, pray tell?

  28. At 04:14 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    'N Hairy Lever (26)

    I miss the cover notes. Or is it just that I can't be bothered to read with a microscope?

  29. At 04:36 PM on 17 Apr 2007, RJD wrote:

    Big Sis (28) - My grandfather complains about that as well :o)

  30. At 10:38 PM on 17 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:


  31. At 12:14 AM on 18 Apr 2007, Val P wrote:

    Yes I find the words on CD's too small too.

    Too small too, I rather like that.

    I made lots of pre-vinyl into flower pots when I was small. Let's hope they weren't destined to become collectible.......

  32. At 10:35 AM on 18 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    RJD: If you're angling to claim me as your grandmother, you're barking up the wrong lampost, I'm afraid!

  33. At 11:04 AM on 18 Apr 2007, RJD wrote:

    Big Sis - Funny, a lot of people tell me I'm barking.

  34. At 11:44 AM on 18 Apr 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Hmm. As soon as I'd posted, I realised that I had bought a pair of CDs (Sixties Hits) the previous year. Not so 'nehve liary' after all.

    The reason for purchase is that the car only has a CD player, so all the cassettes are useless.

    Val P (31) You must be referring to the 78 rpm wax records, I think

  35. At 01:10 PM on 18 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I was kind of hoping you were going to share the title of the masterpiece that finally persuaded you to make a CD purchase, Vyle (34), but I guess "convenience in the car" is as good a reason as any.

  36. At 05:13 PM on 18 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:


  37. At 11:14 PM on 19 Apr 2007, Val P wrote:

    Vyle H - ah yes, those'll be the ones. They didn't look like wax though, because, as a diversion, you could always shatter them instead. Good grief, we didn't do the ones that said Gigli on them did we?

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