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The Glass Box. It's Thursday. What did you think of the programme? Say so here!

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Eddie Mair | 16:47 UK time, Thursday, 26 April 2007

Welcome to the Glass Box for Thursday - the place where you can comment on what you heard on PM, interact with other listeners and get responses from the people who make the programme. If you need an example - have a look at Wednesday, a bit further down this page.

We hope this will be a useful tool for you and for us. Just click on the "comment" link. If you've never commented on the Blog before - don't worry. There's a simple registration process you only have to go through once.

Don't worry either if you didn't catch the whole programme, or were busy doing other things and not giving us your full attention. If there was something that "caught your ear" we want to hear about it.

The Glass Box is named after the booth outside the PM studio where we all discuss the programme at 18.00 every weeknight. We try to be honest and constructive. Sometimes there is criticism, and the criticised get a chance to explain themselves.

And so it should be here. The people who make PM will read the comments posted, and will sometimes respond. Please feel free to post your thoughts. There is a link to previous Glass Boxes on the right.

Also on the right, you'll find lots of other links you might like. The Furrowed Brow for example is the venue where you can start talking about anything serious: The Beach is a fun place, and there are links to Blog entries with photos, audio and links.


  1. At 05:35 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Markham weavill wrote:

    Fifteen minutes on a decision of the Armed Forces. Come on. He's the "spare" after all. If he wants to be a professional soldier (which he appears to) then he should take the same risks as his fellow officers. Why do the editors at the BBC think that it should be the main news item. Are they expecting "gongs"? Do you actually do any research on what your listeners regard as "News"? We don't all live inside the M25. We don't all bow the knee to the Windsors.

  2. At 05:54 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Read out on air as a virgin! I missed that bit and'll have to listen 'again'
    Salaam, etc.

  3. At 05:58 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Did I hear correctly? Did the weatherman just talk about 'Ha' hugging the sea coast?

    Could somebody explain, please? Do our coastlines now laugh aloud?

  4. At 05:59 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Peter Jones wrote:

    They've passed the point of no return, this was always going to happen, if they had this concern they should have got him to join the navy where the risks could be more controlled. What I don't understand and what I think the programme should have touched on, is why do the MOD insist on having the debate in the media. Maybe when they've reached a decision, but why announce that they're just in the middle of having a bit of a rethink???? They have managed for the second time in a couple of weeks to score an own goal. Did they learn NOTHING from the recent fiasco? We now have another no win situation - let him go and we've just provided even more incentive for the terrorists to have a go, keep him back and we look weak (again). Plus how do we justify sending another young man in his place? With difficulty (unless he's an MOD media advisor).

  5. At 06:04 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Westrie wrote:

    Ha'ar is sea fog in Eastern Scotland

  6. At 06:23 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    It's the Haaarrrr, y'ken.

  7. At 06:28 PM on 26 Apr 2007, chris wrote:

    It is quite absurd to have a member of the royal family prepared to kill, either terrorists or a.n other persons unknown, even as a part of the armed forces. Likewise, we are not prepared to see him killed either. Do we really want him to represent the queen with blood on his hands?
    He obviously has a blood lust. Let him swan off to Sandringham and kill some grouse(s).
    I personally think he is bonkers to want to go to Iraq anyway.
    The whole thing is bonkers as well.

  8. At 06:42 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Well, Westrie, thank you indeed. I've learnt something - it always pays to ask, and never to make out you know everything, doesn't it?

    For other listeners, to whom this term is new, the following is most informative.


    However, as an aside to weather presenters, us sassenachs down south, for the most part, hadn't the faintest idea to what you were referring.

  9. At 06:44 PM on 26 Apr 2007, John H. wrote:

    Quite honestly, I've not really got over the "paste" / "essence" issue.

  10. At 06:46 PM on 26 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Well it wasn't 15 minutes Markham (1) - however I tend to agree with your point - and did we really need to go through a 'What the papers say' introduction?

    I feel it could have been condensed, however others may have felt differently.

    Nothing on the 80 year old Granny who had a load of police break in to her house - then bedroom in the early hours? I think that could have been stuck up in the running order.

  11. At 07:02 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Jacques wrote:

    On BBCNews.com last night there was a photo of your Prince Harry with the name 'WALES' on his helmet.

    I thought that your royal family had the name 'SAXE-COLBOURGH' (or some spelling like that) as their surname. Discuss!

  12. At 07:05 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Graeme Manson wrote:

    I thought your programme was supposed to be "enlightened/progressive/serious" Apparently it is none of these things.

    Don't you realise this obsession with the trivial activities of the Royal family demeans us all and especially the presenters .

    How can I take Eddie Maire seriously as a a commentator and linkman when I hear him attempting to talk with gravity about this young man's potential posting to Iraq !

    As though it was remotely important . Its all beginning to sound like Richard Dimbleby in the 1950's . The obsequious tone , the lowered voice ! Where's your integrity Mr Maire ?

    Is there nobody at the BBC wirth any independent views or thinking process ?

    Number one item on the news,commented on on PM its ridiculous and so depressing . The face of our media culture .

    I don't want to hear anorther trivial piece of nonsense about the royals on PM for another six months -please .

  13. At 07:37 PM on 26 Apr 2007, matt hathaway wrote:

    just a short note to say how much l enjoy the pogramme and eddie in particular. he seems to have the right amount of respect (ie not too much) and importantly doesn't take himself or the views of polititians too seriously. a breath of fresh air a bit like julie birchill on the today pogramme today,

  14. At 07:49 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Graeme (11),

    I'm afraid I concur. I do look forward to Charles' reign, though. He's my kinda' eccentric, and a Good'un.

  15. At 07:58 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Brian V Peck wrote:

    As a Republican if Prince Harry goes to Iraqi or not; may not be the real danger for the British Monarchy in the near future - but the possible election of Nicolas Sarkozy in France. Because if he is going to be as brutal as Thatcher...you never know there may be a second French Revolution and this time it could come across the channel. If so, I can't wait as the wealth and poverty of extremes in this country is a bloody disgrace!! I think I can hear the soul of Tom Paine coming down the road, if Sarkozy does get elected.

    Brian V Peck

  16. At 08:24 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Nikki wrote:

    Regarding Prince Harry and the possible posting to Iraq:
    If Prince Harry is not permitted to take the full duty of an army officer he should not have been allowed to train as an army officer.
    All lives are precious - not just because you are "a Royal".

    The same applies to women and gays in the Church. If it is not appropriate for women and gay clergy to be promoted through the ranks to Bishop and above then they should not have been ordained in the first place.
    I think Harry should go to Iraq with no publicity or fanfare and that the ordained clergy should be able to go to the top of their chosen profession.

  17. At 08:43 PM on 26 Apr 2007, tony ferney wrote:

    Re 12, if we're going to be rude about EM then it's only polite to spell his name right.

    Aside from that, Graeme Manson generates more heat than light.

  18. At 10:25 PM on 26 Apr 2007, stewart M wrote:

    Jaques (11). Wales is shorter and fits on the helmet. Sax-coberg won't. :-)

    If I remember correctely sax-coberg was too german prior to the great war. So name changed. I suppose it reminded everyone that the first war was a family squabble of hugh proportions.

    But surely to have wales across his helmet will make it obvious which one the insurgents have to go for.

    Don't think they should stop him going. He is an officer in her majesty's armed forces. But we should not be there in the first place.

  19. At 10:57 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Molly wrote:


    If I could be serious for a moment, please, what is the name of the stock cube to which you were referring with nice Mr W-T.?

    If I should have one in my cupboard, which one?


  20. At 10:58 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I believe the family name was officially changed to 'Windsor'.

    I suspect the Wales bit on the helmet is the Army's idea of a 'larf'.

  21. At 11:02 PM on 26 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Stewart M (18) "a family squabble of hugh proportions"? What do you know about Hugh's proportions then?

  22. At 12:38 AM on 27 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: tony ferney - and the spelling ! Lost battle there I'm afraid!

    I often point it out though. - although I have problems with Aperetif - Whoops! Sorry Aperitif.

  23. At 08:23 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Kathy wrote:

    Prince Harry going to Iraq is an issue, not because an heir to the throne might be put in danger, but because some think his presence will bring other troops into danger.

    Those who think this is a Royalist vs Republican issue have missed that point, although perhaps it could have been underlined more clearly last night.

  24. At 08:27 AM on 27 Apr 2007, alison thompson wrote:

    The main risk for Prince Harry in a battle zone, particularly in a region where the importance of Royal families is well understood, is capture. Photos of Prince Harry as a hostage would be invaluable to opposition in a warzone. This is a real and horrifying scenario, and one where he is not at the same level of risk as the other service man and women. A Royal prince is visible, as well as famous over the entire world, and would be joyfully targeted. I never hear this risk mentioned. Is it just too blindingly obvious to bring up in discussion or is it more important to deny the Royal family anything that could be perceived as favour? Mambership in this, as in any family, is determined by birth, and was not chosen by this young man. Let's not be so quick to offer him up as a sacrice to equality.

  25. At 08:47 AM on 27 Apr 2007, gordon myers wrote:

    The time spent on the Harry story was a bit excessive but how refreshing to hear "arse" on PM albeit a quote from the young prince.

    I'm not, of course, suggesting any lowering of the high standards of language found on PM but the odd colloquial doesn't go amiss now and again.

  26. At 09:07 AM on 27 Apr 2007, The Reverend Green wrote:


  27. At 10:13 AM on 27 Apr 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Reverend Green - Oh come come - it' not that bad!

  28. At 11:23 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Klaus Shave wrote:

    Whilst full of admiration for Harrys' devotion to granny & country he is behaving in a very naive and selfish manner. He cannot go to Iraq and be treated as any other soldier because, lets face it he isn't.

    He will be the primundo jewel in the crown target and whether he likes it or not would be protected. It would be unthinkable for him to be killed as a combatant. The media value to the 'enemy' whould be immeasurable. Sorry Harry, stick to running round nightclubs and Dartmoor and thank your lucky stars.

  29. At 11:38 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Little Miss Poppy wrote:

    Eddie - your ring tone is horrible!

  30. At 11:54 AM on 27 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    No worries Jonnie; I have come to expect my variations on my name from you -- I think I would be diappointed if that changed now! ;-)

  31. At 02:01 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Joe Palooka wrote:

    Big Sister (20)

    I've got, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, written on my helmet.

  32. At 02:06 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Knut Kase wrote:

    Subject: "We're not all in the M25 and knee-bowing to the windsors"...

    Markham's was an unpleasant and unworthy email. I don't know if it was read out ironically and we were supposed to realise it; or if PM thought it somehow appropriate and clever and I'm just out of touch.

    The issue isn't about Harry taking the same risks as other soldiers or not; it's about the fact that the media (including you Eddie) have told the bad guys in Iraq that a very very important target and his regiment will be in Iraq soon and he can be identified by his name badge. Every looney tune will be out to attack him, his regiment, their barracks and every civilian or facility likely to have anything to do with the prince.

    It's no longer HIS safety that's at issue; it's everyone else's. And it's the media's fault, not Harry's.

    For that reason Harry should stay out of Iraq.

    Perhaps an anonymous tour in Afganistan with the Special Aggressive Service would be better; and change his name badge from Wales to something else.

    In the meantime, you and your smart-arse correspondents are a dissappointment.


  33. At 02:40 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Knutty Crunch wrote:

    Knut Kase (32) - Glad to see the content and reasoning within your contribution reflects your moniker.
    "....the media (including you Eddie) have told the bad guys in Iraq that a very very important target and his regiment will be in Iraq soon...."
    You think they would have needed to be told?

    I'm also tempted to ask you to define exactly who are ". .the bad guys in Iraq. ." but perhaps that's a different debate.


  34. At 02:46 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Joe P.;


  35. At 02:51 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Interesting hypothesis. The problems of France being able to afford it's pensions, early retirement and welfare are well-known and commented upon by international bodies. 'Sarko' is holding up a mirror to the French nation, whose people know about these things, but would, in the past, rather reject reality and live on in their cossetted dream-world. He tells them what they know, but fear. The good times are coming to an end. They can either deal with it now or put it off and suffer even greater upheaval later.

    If Thatcher was brutal then it was quite possibly justified at the time. She outlived her usefulness and had to go. But she curbed the untrammelled power of the unions, flying pickets, secondary picketing, the closed shop, worker intimidation, etc. Remember that the 'Winter of Discontent' was under a Labour Government, not her. You will recall, perhaps, rubbish piled high in the streets and the dead piling up in temporary morgues because everyone was on strike, even the gravediggers. That was the problem, Thatcher was the cure.

    Times have moved on for us in Britain, the wheel has not gone full circle. We have gone through that phase and are perhaps coming out of the 'Me' generation which followed it.

    France has never overcome those kinds of problems because they have a tradition of their Governments backing down in the face of any organised strikes and demonstrations. The spectre of 1789, refreshed by 1968, stills haunts the politics of France. They fear revolt, so shy away from confrontation.

    Sego represents the same old order, with the inevitable decline of France and the ruin of it's public finances. Sarko represents one possible way out. The French know that it's a risk, they know that he represents a breach with consensus politics. But they also know deep down that they cannot carry on as before. This vote is a pointer to where France goes next. Will it be the way to decline or at least an attempt to move the nation in a different direction?

    There will not be another revolution in France. Times have moved on. There may be considerable unrest. They may have their version of the Miners Strikes. Somehow I think that Sarko would welcome that as a chance to face down the old order and use it as an opportunity to change the direction of his country.

    Your argument is very long on polemic, but short on facts. Interesting that you state upfront that you are a Republican, then go on to slate the politics of a Republican nation.


  36. At 02:53 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Chris (7);
    Why is it absurd to have a member of the Royal Family prepared to kill any more than for a member of another family? George VI fought at Jutland, Edward VIII was in the Forces in WW1, Prince Phillip and Dickie Mountbatten both served in WW2, Charles did his service in the Navy. What's so absurd about it? They are following an old adage that says 'They who would lead must first serve'. Not to mention and long and distinguished family tradition.

    It also gives them contact with men and women not of the privileged circle around the Court. Ordinary men and women from all parts of the U.K.

    Likewise I don't believe that we want to see anyone killed, no matter their background. But Governments make these decisions and the Forces do their duty. As for blood on his hands serving the Queen, that could apply to any member of the Forces who kills or injures another person in the course of their duties. Why is it wrong for Harry, but alright for others.

    As for a blood lust. that would make him a psychopath. The Forces have psychological profiling techniques to screen out such people at the recruiting and training stage. These kinds of people are unreliable, indisciplined and dangerous to their comrades. They do not make good soldiers.

    It may be that certain events in his life have given him a need to assert himself and prove his own value, to himself as much as anyone around him. But the same is true of more than a few people in society. That kind of inner drive, if properly channelled and focussed, can take someone very far in life. If he makes a success of himself then he could turn out quite a remarkable man.

    Ed (14);
    Charles as King? He could turn out like George III. He was the nutter who lost America to Independence and ended up with his son as Regent. He looked a lot like the late Nigel Hawthorne too, I've seen the film.


  37. At 03:38 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Amanda Lewis wrote:

    As the duty editor of Thursday's PM I've been reading the comments with interest.

    I thought the Prince Harry story would give us an opportunity to look at how the British military operation in Iraq has been faring over recent weeks. However, I take on board that we could have put in some more 'Iraqi context'.

    You may be interested to know that, unusually, we only had half the programme planned at our regular 14:30 team briefing. I was wondering if we should just broadcast until half past five and then get Radio 4 to put on a repeat of 'Just a Minute'. Hopefully the programme didn't sound too thin.

    Molly (19) we couldn't possibly advertise on the BBC as I'm sure you KNOWW.

  38. At 03:46 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    ;-) Maybe Charles will be the one to lose Scotland to independence? Hope so, but I wouldn't mind if Scotland kept the union of crowns for a while; it's just the union of Parliaments that's too far away.


  39. At 04:34 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Belinda wrote:

    He could turn out like George III. He was the nutter who lost America to Independence and ended up with his son as Regent. He looked a lot like the late Nigel Hawthorne too, I've seen the film.

    His son also looked a lot like Hugh Laurie, if I remember correctly.

  40. At 10:09 PM on 27 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Oh, I hope so. Let Scotland keep the tax revenues from the North Sea and cut the block grant from Westminster. The rest of the Union will be £23bn a year better off. We'd have a tiger economy if Scotland's public sector wasn't being propped up by the rest of us. I'm praying for an Alec Salmond overall majority.

    Plus 39 less Labout MP's at Westminster and an almost guaranteed Conservative overall majority. Sounds like heaven to me.

    Appy might want to move North of the border though. Right Ap?

    We'd have to negotiate to keep Eddie on PM though. There's one valuable asset I wouldn't want to see heading up yonder.


  41. At 01:07 AM on 28 Apr 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Oh Si (39), Trying to involve me in a conversation about politics? Are you looking for a fight or what? ;-) Too tired; not biting! Well, yes, actually, biting my tongue, as I have been at a lot of the frog today...

  42. At 08:16 AM on 28 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Why should we stop at the tax revenues? Why not nationalise our natural resources and enjoy their full value? You know it makes sense to reclaim the commons.

    They hang the man and flog the woman,
    Who steals the goose from off the common,
    But let the greater villain loose (or enoble him),
    Who steals the common from the goose!


  43. At 07:56 PM on 28 Apr 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Oh Appy? What's got your goat? I haven't been as attentive a Frogger as I ought to be during the last day or so? I've missed the cause of your bitten tongue.

    No Ed. I don't fancy the idea of living in a state where all property is owned by all in common and the state decides what each person will do and can own. It removes the impulse from humankind to work and strive to improve their lot. It's called communism and it doesn't work for the above reason and because someone always corrupts it to aggrandise themselves. It reduces everyone to the lowest common denominator instead of raising them up.

    Re-read Orwell's 1984 for a few pointers.

    People work for reward, more money, promotion, power, bigger house, nice retirement prospects, to help their fellow man, the reasons are as varied as the people. Remove the reward and you remove the incentive. Remove the incentive, remove the desire to work and improve and you end up with the Civil Service.

    Let Scotland do as it's elected politicians desire as the expressed will of the people. Just keep the rest of us out of the disaster.

    As a last thought; Who will pay for all those expensive public services? If done through Income Tax alone then Scotland's tax rate would need to be at a basic level of 43% just to balance the books. That would see the workforce clamouring to relocate elsewhere. Do it through corporate taxation and the businesses will relocate likewise. Either way Scotland loses. And it's not entitled to EU relief, the average wage is too high since we allowed Eastern Europe to join in.

    What would you propose? Of course you may fancy the 1984 scenario, if you think that you will be Napoleon.


  44. At 09:23 PM on 28 Apr 2007, nikki noodle wrote:

    Did you hear about that american economic theorist who was on Radio 4 a few saturdays ago: he proposed a monthly payment for each citizen until death: to be paid for by not having all the beaurocacy accompanying all the social benefits scraped.

    It was immediately rubbished as saying that some people would not 'invest' for their future. Up to them, surely? and the monthly check would still come in anyway...

    did anyone else hear this?

  45. At 02:14 AM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Si, "I don't fancy the idea of living in a state where all property is owned by all in common and the state decides what each person will do and can own. It removes the impulse from humankind to work and strive to improve their lot. It's called communism and it doesn't work for the above reason and because someone always corrupts it to aggrandise themselves. It reduces everyone to the lowest common denominator instead of raising them up."

    Drawing rather exaggerated implications from a simple suggestion that Privatising the commons had perhaps gone too far.


  46. At 02:02 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    As to Commons versus "Free Markets", I think some areas are best kept out of transnational corporations and better managed democratically.

    "It is well understood that nothing so excites the glands of a free-market capitalist as the offer of a government subsidy." -- Wendell Berry


  47. At 10:10 PM on 29 Apr 2007, Molly wrote:

    Amanda 37

    Understood- thank you!

    Mollyxx ;-)))

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