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The Glass Box for Bank Holiday Monday*

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Eddie Mair | 16:40 UK time, Monday, 28 May 2007

The Glass Box is 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. This is proving to be a useful tool for us, and we hope, for you.

Just click on the "comment" link.

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.

The people who make PM will read the comments posted, and will sometimes respond. Unless it's Roger Sawyer editing. He's completely hopeless. Jeremy and Sarah are in charge tonight. 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. And if you want to see us drone on about awards, you can do that too.

*unless it isn't, where you live.


  1. At 05:07 PM on 28 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    ....17:04.....the alcohol....cantent.....content.....

    ........will you be displaying..warnings...

    ..the public has a right to know....hic..hic.
    'ello Big Shishh.

  2. At 05:21 PM on 28 May 2007, David Traynier wrote:

    Listening to your coverage of the US Iranian talks today, it seems obvious that your editorial line is firmly inline with the US position.

    The emphasis in the entire package was on questions of Iranian sincerity and whether they were serious partners for diplomacy. Questions of US sincerity did not arise.

    A good example of this was the continued references to alledged Iranian support for the insurgency/resistance in Iraq. That such activity is going on was treated as an unquestioned assumption by Ryan Crocker as one would expect because he works for the US Administration -yet the same was done by every other speaker and Eddie Mair never saw fit to question this assertion or point out that, so far, there is little or no evidence for it. That's to say nothing of asking any of the speakers why Iran should be helping a national resistance that appears to have the overwhelming support of the Iraqi population.

    As usual, when these issues are discussed, US motives and intentions are assumed to be transparent while Iranian motives, intentions and actions are treated as the obstacle to 'progress'.

  3. At 05:34 PM on 28 May 2007, Pauline Subenko wrote:

    Don't people who join the armed forces realise that they are committing themselves to waging whatever wars around the world the UK government decides on, whether or not they agree with the government's aims? Do they think it's just a bit of fresh air and fun to enjoy in their spare time? It involves violence, aggression and using weapons to kill people. Perhaps they should discuss it with their families before joining the TA, for example, so that it doesn't come as a nasty shock when they are sent into a war zone!

  4. At 05:52 PM on 28 May 2007, Peter Bolt wrote:

    Sus : Suspected Person Sec 4 Vagrancy Act 1824 and Sec 66 Metropolitan Police Act 1829.
    I was a Police Officer in Hackney in the 1970s.
    Diane Abbott is talking the usual hysterical nonsense consistent with the "Do no confuse me with the facts I have made up my mind " school of politicans.
    It is to be noted that Street Crime (which the "sus laws" were designed to combat) have steadily worsened as times goes on. I would describe present day South London as the classic example.

  5. At 05:55 PM on 28 May 2007, patricia haywood wrote:

    I have just been listening to stop and search etc.My grandson then 14years old (although a tall boy for his age) was waiting for his mother to collect him after he had been working late at school. He stood outside a local public house where he had arranged to meet her. It was a cold dark January evening and he had his hood up on his coat to keep him warm whilst he waited. Two women police officers walked up to him and gave him a statutory power or street encounter form, he told them why he was there and his mother even pulled up whilst they were talking to him, the police officer walked over to the car and questioned my daughter who confirmed my grandsons claim. They still issued him with the statutory stop-search issue no. URN0587078. I think this is absolutely disgusting, I went to my local police station to complain and the officer behind the desk said he would not have issued the notice himself if that had happened to him, but this now means my grandson has a police record - what for? for standing waiting for his mom to collect him from school. I feel this is disgusting.
    kind regards
    Patricia Haywood - solihull west midlands

  6. At 05:55 PM on 28 May 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I liked the balance of the programme tonight, and I also caught some splendid moments.

    One was the comparison of Parliament Square with Russia as a place one is not allowed to demonstrate peacefully without getting a special licence first. ‘Demonstrating’ apparently includes reading a list of names out loud, in this country; I wonder whether someone in Red Square would be arrested as a terrorist for doing that?

    Another was Ms. Abbott(?) pointing out that the old ‘Sus’ laws didn’t prevent crime, they just made people very angry. It wasn’t only young black men who were stopped under that law, it was white women in their twenties or thirties who were obviously guilty of walking alone after dark from a railway station to their home, as I happen to know.

    I think I heard right, that the chap defending the latest attack of DiPoW Media Fever was Channel 4’s spokesman on History, Science and Religion? Which was DiPoW’s death? Can’t be science, too recent to be history, so it must be religion. Yup, that sounds about right: no need for any evidence or anything silly like that, just a strong Faith in the conspiracy theories.

  7. At 06:06 PM on 28 May 2007, madmary wrote:

    Peter Bolt, this is what is worrying me. The power to stop people and demand that they identify themselves to police officers or risk arrest for obstructing a police officer gives the police incredible powers. At present I can choose not to answer questions from police. That is because I believe that our society is one in which the individual is free to go about his or her business unless there is a law against that particular business or the way I go about it. This is fundamental to our constitution.

    The moment you give this power to police officers I cease to have this freedom because at any given moment an officer of the state can insist that I justify my existence. This is not the sign of a free democracy.


  8. At 06:15 PM on 28 May 2007, jo gordon wrote:

    Eddie Mair has the most beautiful and most easy to listen to voice on radio. I listen to radio 4, at least 6 hours daily.

  9. At 06:20 PM on 28 May 2007, Paul Davis wrote:

    I think "stop and question" is a bad idea; I'm not sure the Police can be trusted to employ such legislation in an appropriate manner.

    The Police National DNA Database is a case in point. This database is now populated with thousands of DNA profiles from people arrested on suspicion of having committed recordable offences and released without charge. There was no public consultation into the ethics of this - it was not a consequence intended from the legislation that enabled it to develop in this way. The Police have gone down this route because they have a vested interest in knowing as much as possible about as many people as possible, and it is of no concern of theirs that they may be entirely innocent.

    ACPO now intends that all arrest records are kept against a person's name on the Police National Computer for life. This is regardless of whether they are charged or not. In conjunction with the taking of fingerprints and DNA on arrest, this means that people are now given a criminal record for life, even if they are innocent.

    This example of gradual "function creep" is a result of the loophole in the data protection act that allows it to be circumvented for the purposes of the prevention and detection of crime, allowing Police to store information on people for ever,

    "Stop and question" legislation should not be brought in until the Police are forced to dispose of data held about innocent people in a timely manner.

  10. At 06:25 PM on 28 May 2007, Jan Hurst wrote:

    Surely, the sus laws that Diane Abbott mentioned were more to do with preventing 'conventional' crime and not with attempting to deal with acts of terrorism. Along with human rights and civil liberties comes responsibilities and the rights of the majority to go about their daily lives without the fear of being blown up. This administration have to reflect all aspects of the current situation. I hope this also involves a re-think of human rights legislation so that potential terrorists do not benefit from the legislation.

  11. At 07:05 PM on 28 May 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I must agree with Mary at 7 and Paul at 9. I've already written a long answer as to why on the Furrowed Brow, but the short answer is that it'll create more angry young Muslims who will ba drawn towards those with a more radical outlook, precisely the one thing we dont want to be doing. In addition, if we adjust the fabric of our society so dratically, then we lose the very freedoms we are trying to protect.

  12. At 07:22 PM on 28 May 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Paul Davis, this is my fear and I hope I'm not being paranoid about this...

  13. At 08:15 PM on 28 May 2007, Peter Bolt wrote:

    For the sake of clarity let me give a typical "sus" encounter. A man is seen standing at a Bus Stop. Three/Four even five buses go past. He still remains standing at the Stop. Opposite is a small shop ( Dry cleaners ;Newagents;Off Licence etc) the type with ready cash in the till.
    Women are walking past, handbags to the fore. A dozen other reasons. Why is that man there still there ?
    You go and ask him ; "Waiting for a bus"
    " Fine but you have let five different buses go past"
    That is what the Suspected Person Act was all about.
    In fact it was extremely difficult to obtain a conviction at Court, its advantage lay in its deterrence.
    I bet Lady from Solhull would not have complained if it had stopped her grandson from being hit over the head, or does that not happen in the West Midlands ?

  14. At 08:42 PM on 28 May 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I'm afraid I heard only the gap. The Reverend Green will have been tut-tutting -- it sounded rather long to me.

  15. At 09:31 PM on 28 May 2007, Judith wrote:

    Pauline Subenko (3), I think you missed the point of the article on Reservists.

    Most Reservists well understand their commitment to mobilisation and that they may have to do dangerous, unpleasant tasks in support of their government's foreign policy but the article was actually about the special pressures placed upon part-time, as opposed to full-time, members of the Armed Forces.

    A Regular service-person is usually part of a formed unit which trains together and deploys together. A Reservist may be plucked, as an individual, from a civilian job with very short notice to deploy. The possibility of mobilisation is always there, but some Reservists for Telic 1 were called up at very short notice and, after their period of service, were returned to a non-Service life with very little time for "decompression".

    The Armed Forces appear to be starting to realise that they have a duty of care for their personnel after they have left the theatre of conflict and, in the case of Reservists, left the support of the military environment.

  16. At 02:29 PM on 29 May 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Wholehearted agreement with Mary (7), even though I missed the programme.

  17. At 11:24 PM on 29 May 2007, Paul Davis wrote:

    If you would like to see a real, informed debate about "stop and question" powers, have a look at Policespecials.com - in particular the forum part on News at
    Bearing in mind that these are serving Police Officers having the discussion, there is a clear weight of informed opinion against "stop and question" powers. It's a shame that the politicians do not see the wood for the trees...

  18. At 05:13 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Mike Stallard wrote:

    I have always understood that no Parliament could enact a law which would bind its successors. This will be the case if the European Union Constitution, even if it is disguised by a change of name and subtle alterations, is nodded through Westminster with out being the subject of a referendum as promised by Mr Blair. This appalling situation arises because of the content of Article I-59 Voluntary Withdrawal From The Union, which is contained in the original draft of the Constitution which I have before me. Paragraph 3a of this Article says "---the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in Council or European Council discussions or European decisions concerning it.

    A qualified majority shall be defined as at least 72% of the members of the Council, representing the participating Member States, compromising at least 65% of the population of these States."

    This Article will bind Britain within the E.U. regardless of the wishes of her people even when these are democratically expressed through Parliament If the provisions of Article I-59 are included in the 'new arrangements' agreed to by Mr Blair,Britain would not be able to leave th E.U. without securing the approval of Member States as required by the Article. We would not even be included in the discussions that lead to their decision. The financial contribution that Britain makes to the Union is such that the possibility that other Member States might approve Britain's withdrawal is unimaginable.
    Douptless the legal force of Article I-59 will be burried in the revised version of the Constitution. We will not be consulted about it, most of us will be unaware of it until an attempt is made, in the future to recover our lost sovereignty. Then it will be too late.
    How can this be stopped? I have joined UKIP. I have written to my M.P. I have petitioned the Prime Minister. I am prepared to to defend Britain's sovereignty to the last for the benefit of my grandchildren but I need a strong political lead. I pray for it.
    Posted by John Gallon on June 7, 2007 4:02 PM

    Why don't you EVER discuss things like this?
    Are you scared? Have you been told to shut up about it?

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