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Eddie Mair | 16:54 UK time, Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Write here about tonight's programme. Apologies for the lack of the usual explanation...had a devil of a time this afternoon accessing the Blog. We'll try to fix it...


  1. At 05:07 PM on 22 May 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Madame Fifi's prediction of the day:

    "HIPs will be postponed again, and again, until the Government changes and they can be quietly dropped."

    Ruth Kelly's parting remark will be:
    "I propose to alter the start date, till when HELL FREEZES OVER..."


  2. At 05:09 PM on 22 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    This week....HIP's.....This lady is not for turning, neither is this chap, ..or this chap....or him......or her......or him......the lady is not for turning, neither is this chap, ..or this chap....or him......or her......or him......or him....or her......or her...or him..
    oohh the spin, my head!¬

  3. At 05:14 PM on 22 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    ........had a devil of a time this afternoon accessing the Blog ...................

    As no doubt Lord Adonis did!

  4. At 05:16 PM on 22 May 2007, Dr Lorn Macintyre wrote:

    How can a programme of PM's former quality begin tonight's programme with the crass sound-bite "Hip Hip Delay"? Like almost every other news programme on radio, PM has succumbed to the sound-bite. It subverts the English language by lifting phrases out of context and separating them from surrounding clauses which qualify and clarify the meaning. Not only does your programme open with a string of sound-bites: some of your items further down the running order are strung together with sound-bites. In a three minute slot, which can never deal adequately with complex subjects, sound-bites render the item worthless. Why can't you go back to headlines read by the news reader instead of these linguistic gimmicks?

  5. At 05:25 PM on 22 May 2007, Izzy T'Me wrote:

    Generally - HIPs - just turned on PM to listen to this. What a carve up.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 how many politicians can answer a straight question when it's put to them?

  6. At 05:40 PM on 22 May 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Hello. It was, in our view, pithy rather than crass. We think our listeners can not only cope with it - they like it.
    PM succumbed to the sound bite opening many years ago. The technique of using sound clips in items has been used on the programme for about 20 years.
    FYI when we revamped PM in 2004 we extended the bulletin from 2 minutes to four, and we now run items longer in the programme than ever. Given that we now have our highest audience share in five years - it's clear people like it.

  7. At 05:44 PM on 22 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    My Dear Dr L ...this is the 21st century.....its ALL sound bites and spin these days....!

    re..In a three minute slot, which can never deal adequately with complex subjects.....

    so thats y my GP only gives me 2.5 mins.."Oh I see you had a heart attack back in 2001, OK now?"...........NO NOT REALLY.. thats y I've come to c u.......ding...times up...

  8. At 05:48 PM on 22 May 2007, Otto's Mummy wrote:

    Thank you - Quentin Tarrantino proved my point viz the PM team going to Cannes - don't go, you might meet more people like him.

  9. At 05:49 PM on 22 May 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Dr Macintyre (4), I have to say I missed that part of the programme, as I was still in the office (I shall try to listen again later...). However, based on what you've written, I think it fits very well in the fabric of PM as a programme. As has been discussed before, PM is NOT a news programme. That's what the 6pm News is for. Instead, I see PM as the supplement that you get in weekend quality papers (what used to be called broadsheets before they went compact/tabloid/Berliner size etc). That sort of format can deal well with the serious whilst still having a glint in the eye for items where pomposity and spin can be punctured with a well turned phrase...

  10. At 05:53 PM on 22 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The stock market is rising?

  11. At 05:54 PM on 22 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Quint'n TT...naked...shorts....T-shirt...Ohhhh my eyes..:)

    ....or did I mis a bit?

  12. At 05:56 PM on 22 May 2007, Bedd Gelert wrote:

    Oh, Mr Mair, You are spoiling us by gladdening our hearts with another interview full of disingenuous spin and waffle from the mistress of the art, Mrs Ed Balls. Great to see that she has the courage of her convictions by, er, getting her 'friend' Ruth Kelly to give the statement to the House. I wonder if Yvette thinks Eddie is the 'best dressed radio presenter' in the world?...

  13. At 06:00 PM on 22 May 2007, Bedd Gelert wrote:

    Dr Macintyre - I'm with Fearless Fred on this one, even though I didn't hear said 'soundbite'. If you don't like pompsity-puncturing humour and a rather tongue-in-cheek approach one would ask what you are doing listening to PM ?

    What do you think this is ? The World Tonight ? If this is what you make of 'Sony Award Winning Radio' one dreads to think what you make of News 24...

  14. At 06:18 PM on 22 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Izzy @ 5........sorry me ol' mate...too hard...can I have one on sport please?

  15. At 06:22 PM on 22 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Who..is this Eddie Mair chap??

    ....the public has a right 2 no......

    PS....could do well on Forth Road Bridge TV?....LOL

  16. At 06:22 PM on 22 May 2007, John Bassett wrote:

    On Palmerston North in NZ...I am a New Zealander living in the UK, and I spent 6 years studying in 'Palmy'. I screamed with laughter to hear John Cleese's comments about the place. It's a boring small provincial town, flat (no wonder they can see Cleese mountain from everywhere), where the main form of entertainment is to stupefy oneself so as to accept the particular length of sentence chosen. My English wife would consider moving to NZ but has ruled one place out (independently of my opinion) - yes that's Palmy, and now Cleese has nailed it for her forever...

  17. At 06:32 PM on 22 May 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Hip Hip Delay :-) well it made me smile. The whole thing is a joke -- more people to rummage through your loft insulation and drill pilot holes through the walls checking out the cavities.

    Well what a news packed little broadcast that was.

    I'm aware that Boris Berezovski has not been accused of murder but perhaps we should consider doing a swop. I'm sure Russia would consider extraditing Andrei Lugovoi if we sent them Boris?

    As for John Cleese - I doubt he'd ever go near the place again - I don't really blame him thogh -

    Here is a little clip from tv New Zealand about the rubbish tip and palmy :-


  18. At 06:33 PM on 22 May 2007, Annasee wrote:

    So you want to know about Palmerston North? Been there, played in the theatre, (pre the refurbishment when it really was grotty backstage - John Cleese should be grateful - anyway, there are plenty of grotty theatres in the UK - why pick on NZ hmmm?)

    It's in the centre of prime agricultural land, & do you know I can't think of a single memorable architectural feature from the city? Doesn't mean there aren't any - just that they haven't stuck in my mind after 20 years. It's very flat. The centre of town is "The Square" which is, well, square.

    There's a big University (Massey) which has good science, veterinary, botany type courses, amongst others. A lot of students come from Asian countries to study there, I believe. That all started after I left, but brings in much needed funds to the university.

    Don't know why J Cleese was talking about suicide. Sounds like he "died" right on stage that night. I'm sure the audience wanted to laugh. ($100 is a lot of money in NZ - abt £33 for a ticket). Perhaps he just wasn't that funny?

    Oh, & why is it called "Palmerston North ?
    Because in the South Island, there is another Palmerston. A smallish town. But not called "Palmerston South". We're not that literal in Kiwiland.

  19. At 06:36 PM on 22 May 2007, RJD wrote:

    Dr Lorn Macintyre - I missed the whole programme today, but thanks for reporting "Hip Hip Delay". That is the sort of thing that Eddie does and the reason why a lot of people listen. You have just made my evening my highlighting it. I'm off to "listen again" - thanks!

  20. At 07:11 PM on 22 May 2007, Rodney Brown wrote:

    From: Rodney Brown
    Subject: Energy Performance Report not worth the paper it is written on.

    Who says so and what qualifications does he have?

    I have built over 47 years, two prestige car dealerships, five petrol filling stations, two shops, five houses for my own occupancy and designed and acted as clerk of the works for some thirty vicarages and two housing association schemes - all different -starting at eight by assisting my father. I therefore know a bit about light commercial and domestic building. I hold a BA. Hon. in Architecture and RICS examinations.

    Is he against regulation?

    No. I support the Building Regulations Standard Assessment Procedure, ( SAP ), which gives a numerical value for comparison of energy efficiencies for new build domestic dwellings regardless of size and type. Only proposals achieving a certain value under the SAP are permitted to be built, thus ensuring a constant raising of the energy efficiency of new building. It is as good or better than the A to D rating of white goods or car MPG ratings and just as useful.

    So what's his beef?

    The Energy Performance Report, ( EPR ), which holds itself out to be of similar utility to these energy efficiency indicators is however, no such thing. It is a total waste of time.

    Why is this?

    Basically this is because it is simple to rate a fridge or car at the time of manufacture, by the manufacturer, for millions of identical examples assuming fixed conditions of use which do not have to pay any regard to subsequent variations in use in real life. The Energy Efficiency Report however deals with the efficiency of used buildings in an infinity of states of repair and usage reasonable or otherwise. Moreover the inspection is not by the designer or builder and is inadequate for the purpose of deriving a reasonably accurate comparative value by reason of the lack of rigour in the inspection and a lack of expertise in the training of the Inspectors.

    To assess the real energy efficiency of a new build house, ( SAP ), requires the meticulous measurement of all the walls, floors, ceilings, doors and windows. The precise materials types and thicknesses for all these must then be determined and the heat loss "U" values for all the materials as used, found from tables. Formulae to determine the heat loss for each individual wall, floor, ceiling, window and door having regard to its relationship to all the other elements and its proximity to the exterior is calculated. This data is then entered together with other details such as extract fans, chimneys, boiler details and building orientation to give a numerical value.

    The EPR in no way matches the SAP in rigour, to the point that any calculation based upon the inspection as proposed, is at best, a very poor approximation. Much emphasis is placed on light bulbs: ( which can be purpose fitted for the inspection and then removed ), white goods and loft insulation. Indeed the Web is already filling up with ways to circumvent the inspection by presenting white goods imported just for the inspection. The loft insulation also, for reasons of access and visibility can be difficult to accurately determine and thus be a further source of inaccuracy.

    Even allowing for variations in individual care and application by those reporting, it cannot be realistic to expect an inspector trained for five weeks to have the same insight and understanding as a Chartered surveyor or Architect with seven years training followed by years in the industry.

    The EPR inspector, under present proposals arising from hasty, ill-informed Government action, could perfectly well have been say, a milk roundsman, prior to training. This lack of insight will inevitably give rise to unwitting inaccuracies arising from a lack of knowledge, insight and experience.

    It is these inaccuracies which ultimately render the project useless. Some two dozen house types account for over 90% of houses in the UK. There is little variation in energy performance within types and not much more between types. Certainly less variation in fact than the variation due to the inaccuracies of the energy report itself and, more importantly, differences arising from the style of occupancy.

    Mention was made of fans and chimneys in the considerations set out above which form a part of the SAP. We will now see why they are included in the rigorous SAP.

    By way of illustration, my house has, as per Building Regulations no less than five holes in the outer walls to accommodate the mandatory extract fans. There is also a chimney. When the cold winter winds blow, the air pressure on the windward side is obviously greater than that on the lee side. Thus cold air pours in the fan holes on the windward side, rushes through the house to be sucked out through the fan holes on the lee side – whisking out my expensively heated air as it goes. But if I close all the room doors this stops.

    The difference in the boiler heat setting between doors open and doors closed is some 40%. If I light my lounge fire, the air in the grate is heated by the fire and rises up the flue leaving an area of low pressure in the grate above the fire. Room air rushes into this low-pressure area in the grate above the fire, is heated in turn and rises up the flue. I am actually paying money to buy fuel for the fire, which then pumps the room warm air up the flue and out – a heat pump if ever there was one!

    So you see, factors as trivial as leaving open the room doors or not drawing curtains on ill fitting sash windows before turning on the flame effect fire, will have a far greater effect on real life energy efficiency than the inaccurate approximations of the proposed energy efficiency report. It is redundant in that it does not give any meaningful new information both in terms of sufficient accuracy nor the matters covered .

    Indeed, such matters as the foundations, drains, wiring, gas piping/equipment, the causes behind any defects seen on inspection of the fabric and the condition of the utilities supply are not covered. These items all have great rectification cost implications and so are of infinitely greater importance to purchasers at the time of purchase than light bulbs. These matters require expert time and knowledge, neither of which are likely to be found in a five week wonder EPR inspector.

    All this is well understood in the industry and in all the Local Building Regulations Departments. So what is the point of this effectively useless regulation other than, ( whilst hiding behind the diktat of Brussels mandarins dedicated to the United States of Europe ), to create jobs for "our people" who will remember which side their bread is buttered come election time, thus maintaining the status quo at the trough.

    Kind regards and many thanks for an excellent programme.

  21. At 07:11 PM on 22 May 2007, Karen Nethercott wrote:

    Poor old Palmerston North! I worked there as a housemaid in the Grand Hotel(then the main, possibly only, hotel)for 3 months in 1969!! In those days I don't think it claimed to be a city. the Grand was a lovely hotel-the mangagers were even kind to me when I caused the washing machine to overflow and flood the bedroom below. Social life was poor,and as was usual in N.Z the few shops there were closed Sats and Suns. Transport seemed non existent and when I joined a club,inappropriately called the "swinging weekenders",we were told tyhat walks wouldn't be appropriate activity as they wanted something the ladies couold do as well. Most ladies sat around bemoaning the fact they had "lost2 their husbands and i though they were all widows until I realised the husbnds had gone off. The chap who gave me a lift wanted to marry me,citing as his reason the fact hat I had not been married before and that bringing up children and running a car were both cheaper in NZ than England. The compliment of the proposal was rather destroyed when as I escaped from the car he asked"Oh what was your name?"

  22. At 07:13 PM on 22 May 2007, madmary wrote:

    I'm with all the folk about the Hip Hip thingy. More humour.

    I particularly loved the phones ringing and you got it so right Eddie. Peter Hitchens - what does he believe in? Himself obviously.

    Can anyone tell that I managed to listen to a fragment of PM today? Been working so hard that I rarely finish work in time to listen.

    Hi froggers!


  23. At 07:43 PM on 22 May 2007, Chris the Pickle wrote:

    Dr Lorn Macintyre - how very critical you appear to be over such a miniscule thing, though you are, of course, entitled to your opinion, as are we all. Picking on the minutiae of life and blowing it out of proportion can sometimes be a sign of stress (apologies for sounding patronising)... I hope I'm totally wrong, and that you're a relaxed, fun-loving person in disguise.

    We have a virtual way of winding down on The Beach, you'd be welcome to visit and chill out to the sound of gentle waves lapping aroud the camels' hooves.

  24. At 09:36 PM on 22 May 2007, Mike Hogarth wrote:

    I had to chuckle at the comments from the resident of Palmy (possibly Mayor, i don't recall) regarding John Cleeses comments. Are you sure it wasn't a crank call?

    No offence to anybody who lives there, I'm sure it's a loveley place with many interesting people - but your speaker today just wasn't one of them!

    From what I could tell, the entire town were disapointed because Cleese decided to talk about his life rather than crack one liners and do Adolf Hitler impressions. The speaker cited her favourite Cleese moments as being "The parrot sketch" and "Fawlty towers".

    I'm willing to bet that her other favourite comedy moments include "The bit where Delboy falls through the bar" and "The one where Blackadder says 'Bob?'.

    Naming a dung pile after John Cleese - childish.

  25. At 09:43 PM on 22 May 2007, stewart M wrote:

    Nice to know some of you have been to Palmerston North.

    Re TB. It is a problem in certain citys in the country. As a Public health issue it seems right to check out the whole school.

    WHen I was a lad we were all done with that test to see if you had the correct antibodies. And then most of us were given the jab that leaves a little scar on your arm. What is the reason for not now mass screening. Mass innoculation for MMR seems to be very important. Why is it not now for TB?

  26. At 09:59 PM on 22 May 2007, b carbery wrote:

    Dear Dr.Lorn Mac listen every day for a while and you'll get to love pm.Then come on the blog for a while and blood pressure will come down.Worth a try.

  27. At 10:03 PM on 22 May 2007, RJD wrote:

    madmary - Hi yourself! Where have you been? C'mon give us a bit of your chat. Lovely to hear from you again.

  28. At 11:07 PM on 22 May 2007, anth wrote:

    Dr Mac #4,

    I note you did not criticise EM's comment to the effect that he hoped our enjoyment of phones ringing and other noises was not spoilt by the interview with the two people that he had just concluded. Or did that one pass you by?

  29. At 12:37 AM on 23 May 2007, Rawdon Crozier wrote:

    What does Fearless Fred mean by saying that PM is not a news programme? The piece on the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief justice learning of the new Ministry of Justice through a Sunday paper was pure news gold and not widely covered elsewhere - and what's with the oxymoronic nom de plume? How can someone sheltering behind an alias actually be "fearless"?

    However, on the questionable basis he is right that PM is meant to be more like the supplement to a quality Sunday paper, may I suggest that it needs some decent poetry both to "prick pomposity" and counter charges of dumbing down and thereby segue into a shameless act of self-promotion by commending the following topical, pithy and easy to follow guide to the ins and outs of the relationship between our present and (may God preserve us) future Prime Ministers:


    There’s a difference in Tone,
    I’m not quite sure yet exactly what it is
    But there’s something sneaky in that smile of his
    When we’re alone
    There’s a difference in Tone.

    There’s a difference in Tone
    He suggested and I agreed
    He’d go first and then I’d lead
    And he couldn’t disown
    Our agreement, could Tone?

    There’s a difference in Tone
    I somehow thought he’d be gone by now
    But he’s still there and I’m wondering how,
    Now his cover is blown,
    I ever trusted him - Tone.

    “There’s a difference in tone”
    All the Cabinet said it on the news today
    “There’s no disagreement” I heard them say
    They let it be known
    “There’s just a difference in tone”

    A difference in TONE!?!
    I should say!
    We made a deal and he threw it away!
    And they say I’m unbalanced,
    How could I not be?
    You’d be unbalanced if you were treated like me!
    Once we were friends,
    Now I want to burn down his home!
    (Or perhaps I should say,
    I would if I didn’t want to live there one day.)
    He got what he wanted
    And his ego has grown,
    He’s like a dog in a manger
    With his favourite bone,
    And that, if you ask me,
    Is the difference in Tone.

    But wait..

    There’s a difference in Tone,
    It suddenly seems that we're friends again,
    I'm not "psychologically flawed" but "the next PM",
    So I'm finally getting to Number Ten
    And there won't be another moment when
    I'm totally thrown
    By a difference in Tone

    Copyright Rawdon Crozier 2006

  30. At 09:25 AM on 23 May 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Dear Rawdon (29) my comment was that PM is not a strict radio news programme. You only need to compare it with the 6pm news to hear the difference. Also, when you consider that PM's stablemates are the World At One, Broadcasting House, The World This Weekend, none of them are stricly news programmes. They tend more to the current affairs and analysis. That's not to say that PM, WatO, TWTW etc are not capable of breaking stories. Far from it. You only need to think back over the last couple of weeks regarding the SEN situation that PM has highlighted. That's where Eddie and Carolyn excel, digging into topics in far more depth than a standard news programme could.

    As for my name, I have explained it in the past, but a brief summary is that I work in the IT industry. Because of that, I take care with my online presence, as I know how easy it is to have one's identity stolen, or to have one's name used by others. I am following simple internet security by using a nom-de-plume. In effect, I'm doing no more that the person who takes care when crossing the road. That doesn't make me "fearful" as you seem to imply. Instead, I would say that I'm showing common sense. The name itself comes from The Goon Show, in case you were wondering...

  31. At 11:06 AM on 23 May 2007, tony ferney wrote:

    Hip hip,
    There's been some delay
    But finally Tone

  32. At 12:19 PM on 23 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Rodney Brown (and others on the HIP thread):

    Your points are most interesting, and confirm my own belief that there is a much better way of approaching the matter of making homes more energy efficient.

    The information that a buyer might want - such as construction methods, insulation, etc. - are available in other ways and don't require an 'Inspector'. Recommendations for improving energy efficiency can also be made in other ways. A relatively simple home audit, available in questionnaire form, would enable homeowners to highlight areas in their own home where they might be able to improve energy efficiency/reduce energy consumption (which is what it is really all about).

    And what about rented property? The Government's chosen way of dealing with reducing energy consumption will have absolutely no effect upon these.

    I've referred elsewhere to the real issue for Listed Buildings (coming from personal experience). The house where I live would definitely come under the 'none of the above' categories for construction, yet cannot be modified in meaningful ways when it comes to energy efficiency. This clash between the desire to 'conserve' and the requirement to 'improve energy efficiency' is something that has to be thought through properly.

    That much said, my house is thatched. As there is no access to the roof space, I have no way of knowing whether it is insulated - but the thatch itself is an extremely effiicient insulator, as my neighbours can see when there is snow. Our roof is always the last to be under snow, and this is tangible proof that very little heat is being lost through it.

  33. At 01:39 PM on 23 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Not only is thatch an excellent insulator, so is softwood panelling, e.g. wall lining, and wattle & daub ain't too bad... Those old builders knew more than we give them credit for.

    Our house also represents a choice to live with very old construction, and the best energy conservation measure yet is longjohns - Scotch Central Heating!

  34. At 03:29 PM on 23 May 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Ed I (@33)

    And if you wear longjohns you can be absolutely certain that you haven't got The Spon.

    Rawdon Crozier (@29)

    I hesitate to suggest that you too might be using a sensible nom de net, but I think you'll notice that it isn't just Fearless Fred who doesn't broadcast his/her real name here for all to spam.

  35. At 10:33 AM on 27 May 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Rawdon Crozier (29), Coming onto the blog and picking on a much respected and loved, balanced, regular frogger really isn't very wise.

  36. At 11:27 PM on 11 Jun 2007, stella wrote:

    I'm living in Palmerston North and loving it!..Why?.It's flat which means we can ride our bikes everywhere..There are the Tiritea hills all around which means we can tramp (hike) whenever we feel like it...It's near the skiing ..The Lido swimming complex is sensational with 50 metre outdoor heated pool for lane swimming plus the diving pool and other stuff...Inside there's indoor lane swimming pool plus sauna, steam room, spa and special childrens' pools, fantastic changing rooms showers etc..There is a vibrant theatre and musical life and more bookstores than anywhere...The library takes up a whole block and is amazing in what it offers..The university and rural lifestyle give Palmy a laidback yet bookish air according to Lonely Planet..Being central in the North Island we can reach all other places very easily..Twenty minutes away are long endless stretches of soft sandy beaches..The air is fresh and the weather is lovely..Honestly, there's no better place on earth..The people are kind and unpretentious and enjoy life ..Come and see for yourself!

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