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The Glass Box for Wednesday

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Eddie Mair | 16:39 UK time, Wednesday, 27 June 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.

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.

If you want to post a comment about something that is on your mind but was not on the programme - use the link on the right to The Furrowed Brow. Also on the right, you'll find FAQ: try it. And why not visit The Beach?


  1. At 04:41 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Sorry to nag, Eric. Forgive me?

    * flutter, flutter *


  2. At 05:07 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I do hope we're not going to report (again) on every one of the 55 minutes Gordy spent chin-wagging with Mrs Windsor ... asked to form a government ... said yes ... what a smooth handover ... try his utmost ... different style from Blur ... listen and learn ... oh yes he's a Scot ...

    How'm I doing?


  3. At 05:15 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Agnes Shepherd wrote:

    I've just checked the date; no, it's not 1st April. But did I really just hear on PM that Tony Blair is to be a special envoy to the Middle East??? Who is in charge of this possible appointment? I can think of no-one, except of course George W. Bush, LESS qualified for such a position. Has TB helped to bring peace to Iraq since 2003? Did he try to stop Israel bombarding Lebanon in 2006. Is he perhaps thinking of suggesting that Israel comply with UN regulations and remove their settlements from Palestinian territory? Or might he be interpreting "special envoy" in a non-peaceful meaning? That would certainly be more true to his form.

  4. At 05:58 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Welcome aboard Agnes,

    No, it's not April 1st, but,as Clare Short said yesterday, "I don't know whether to laugh or cry."

    I've been listing a few folk less qualified, but they're a rare breed. It's an open game, so try your hand.

    Anyone from PNAC,

    Besides, the envoy's mission is to implement the 'roadmap' which is well worth a read to see just what 'the west' is expecting the Palestinians to accept.


  5. At 06:43 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Dr Malcolm Sutcliffe wrote:

    Dr Malcolm Sutcliffe welcomes the departure of ACL Blair.Your Programme could use this advice.
    1 DON'T censor significant stories. Eg1 The Scottish Parliament Vote against TRIDENT 71 to 16 with 39 abstainers Eg2 The CHENEY KUCINICH IMPEACHMENT storiesEg3 The BBC censored the anti war march this Sunday in Manchester even though (a) it went through the city center very close to the Bridgewater Hall where Brown made his unelected leader Speech.
    BBC Censorship of the anti war movement doesn't fool anyone!
    3. ASK SIMPLE QUESTIONS, probe the thinking of people,but do it respectfully.ie do,nt copy KIRSTY WALK who allows her pro-labour bias to show too easily and recently cut off Alex SALMOND disrespectfully.
    4.Less opinion more facts, for example the Scottish Herald story claimed the anti-trident resolution in the Scottish Parliament claimed it had been passed narrowly ,with a narrow majority,but didn't give the score. 71 to 16 is not a narrow victory!
    5.Carry more varied people, the panels on BBC question time and current affair programs are boringly repetative. Where have all the CND GREENPEACE FOE WDM CHURCH TRADE UNION VOICES GONE?
    I have offered to discuss Eg2 on newsnight,why no reply?


  6. At 07:14 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Ed @4, oh come on, you're not *trying*. Surely it is obvious?

    Sir Salman Rushdie.

  7. At 07:25 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Pierce wrote:

    Wow so Tony Blair is a war criminal. That rules out the Fairies and the anti-war movement. I've never met anyone who is PRO-war, however, some threats need to be tackled head on. If we all stuck our head in the sand over ruthless despots there wouldn't be any movement pro or anti.

    Get real

  8. At 07:53 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Rachel wrote:

    Malcolm H Sutcliffe PhD

    "4.Less opinion more facts" Yes, indeed.

    I can't imagine why Newsnight would not want to interview you.

  9. At 07:58 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Ruth wrote:

    Agnes (3) It was not Tony Blair's decision to prevent Israel defending itself against attack by Hezbollah in the Lebanon. Hezbollah had no right to be in Lebanon and let's not forget they used the civilian population as human shields.

    People think that Lebabon is a Muslim country, this was not the case 30 years ago. In fact it was the only Christian country in the Middle East. It was the most Westernised and tolerant country in the Middle East.

    It got independence from France in the early 40's. The majority were Christians, Muslims were a small minority. Lebanon had the best Universities, best education centres, open borders. It was a multicultural society. The situation began to gradually change when the Muslims grew and became 50% of society.

    Brigitte Gabrielle a Lebanese Christian (journalist) notes that some Muslims were allowed to marry 4 times. Gabrielle gives the example, that Osama Bin Laden was, 1 out of 53 children. Bin Laden himslef fathered 27 children. Bin Laden also has 52 brothers and sisters. This is how the population grew out of all proportion.

    The Christians had control until the Palestinians were kicked out of Jordan by King Hussein. In fact, King Hussein killed more Palestinians in Black September than Israel in all it's existance.

    The Lebanese being moderate were the only country in the Middle East to take in the Palestinians. On the 3rd wave in 1970 they put their heads together with the Islamists and declared holy war on the Christians.

    Yasser Arrafat tried to establish a base in Lebanon from which to attack Israel, he failed in Jordan because King Hussein was a dictator, however, he was able to do it in Lebanon.

    The problems worsened by 1974 Christians became prisoners in their homes, they stopped travelling, they were tortured. Brigitte Gabriel gives a series of lectures on her first hand accounts of her life in Lebanon. Her lectures can be found on Utube, they are worth listening to. She also explains how the current situation with Hezbollah developed.

  10. At 08:12 PM on 27 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    Rachel (8) - You'll damage either your cheek or your tongue putting it in that far.

  11. At 08:17 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Goodness me how glad I am that the tech crew for The Moral Maze didn't do the tech for PM! Someone hasn't noticed that they've got all the mics live, and we're getting rustles, coughs, shairs scraping, feedback scream... Oh dear oh dear.

    (OK, I suppose that *was* malicious... Somebody has told them now, and it's stopped. Oh my poor ears, though.)

  12. At 08:24 PM on 27 Jun 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Dr Sutcliffe,

    It is as always lovely to see new names here but you don't actually need to shout to be listened to on the frog and block capitals are quite hard on some people's eyes. Just a thought for your next post.

    Pierce, the question is, and we have talked about this before but it's worth bringing up again, it seems there are some ruthless despots for whom governments are quite prepared to collectively stick their hands in the sand and the obvious example, again as we have said many times, is Robert Mugabe. I'm never quite sure whether this unwillingness to act is totally to do with the lack of oil in Zimbabwe. Previously I have always thought that was the obvious answer but I am now coming to wonder if part of it is that thepeople who are suffering are mostly black.

    I've just had a malicious posting error message wice, and for goodness sake I only turned my computer on about 20 minutes ago. I'm off to watch Kirsty Allsop make someone cry, and I'll slip back in hte adverts and see if I can be allowed to talk to you then.

  13. At 08:52 PM on 27 Jun 2007, pierce wrote:

    Admin annie. Hi, I think the point is that in the case of Saddam Hussein negotiations carried on for approx 11 years via the UN. Saddam Hussein did not comply with any of the resolutions and was given full warning of the consequences of his actions prior to the war. I agree with what you say about Mugabe. However, Saddam invaded Iran because of his expansionist agenda then he invaded oil rich Kuwait for it's wealth. The facts show that it was only Saddam who had designs on the oil rich countries of that region.

  14. At 09:02 PM on 27 Jun 2007, tony ferney wrote:

    On the principle that one can only make peace with one's enemies, Tony Blair isn't a bad choice as envoy. He surely has more enemies in the Middle East than anyone else (except George W. Bush of course), so if he can win Fatah and Hamas over then perhaps they will become reconciled and learn to live with, if not love, Israel.

    cc George Clooney who wants to play TB in the movie.

  15. At 09:02 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    We all should try to pull together a bit more, Froggers. It's divide and rule, you know? We should all watch each other's backs, and then we'll be OK! In the army, they call it 'the buddy system'. The main thing that divides us is personalities. Justice wears a blindfold.

  16. At 09:30 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Peej wrote:

    The only thing I'm intolerant of is intolerance, we don't normally do that here but there's been a bit of it about this evening. Do you know after ten years I still can't make up my mind about Blair. There have been the obvious disasters of course and times that he has made my blood boil, but listening to him.... well call me naive (and I've no doubt many of you will), but I really think he's generally tried to do the right thing - at least the right thing as he saw it. The only thing that I am sure of is that being PM is a God-awful job even if you have the hide of a rhinocerous. God help Gordon Brown, I hope the job turns out as he is expecting it to be.

  17. At 09:40 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Dr Malcolm - I too found your shouty capitals a BIT HARD TO DEAL WITH but the points you made are very interesting!

    Eric... why didn't anyone report the Manchester march please? Hmmmm?

    My conspiracy theory antennae are twitching unpleasantly....


  18. At 09:51 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Nick Webley wrote:

    On a busy news day I thought that the PM programme was brave to interview Mahmoud ? Barghouti a Palestinian. What he said, sounded quite new to me, on British Radio. Would it possible for you to interview him on a quiet news day and give him a bit more time to develop his viewpoint?
    I sense that Arab speakers need a little more time to present their views when in Britain we are used to concisely wrapped sound bites. If you see Arab commentators on Arab TV, they use the fingers of their hands to enumerate the points they are making. Maybe this is because some Arabs have a strong sense of history and don't want to miss an item that bridges several events, and in part explains their world view. That view may not be shared by all in Britain, but it is very useful to be aware of that view.

  19. At 09:54 PM on 27 Jun 2007, tony ferney wrote:

    Peej (16) raises an interesting point. Blair was today praised for his unfailing courtesy and his constant grin/smile has been mentioned on this blog. So we have the paradox of Mr Nice Guy being reviled for, among other things naturally, behaving in the way people are encouraged to behave. On the other hand, Brown is described as dour, sullen and incapable of emoting with the accompanying prediction (hope?) that he won't stay the course irrespective of what results his policies may produce.

    The moral of the fable would seem to be: outward appearances, body language, nail biting, etc. are essential to in-depth analysis of complex policy issues, decision making and civilised discussion in the public arena.

    In other words, why bother to think when you can use shorthand instead.

  20. At 10:14 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    As for the irritation tonight, Peej, I've just been playing frisbies with the dogs, and noticed the moon is almost full. I could say more about history and full-moons, but there has been quite enough 'bad-vibes' on this page!

    G'nite Froggers xx

    I am so not malicious :(

  21. At 10:34 PM on 27 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Well said, Peej.

    I don't agree with TB's motives but I do agree with everything else you've said.

    One ... er ... four ... of the things I adore about this blog is that people who swing by are
    a) informed
    b) intelligent enough to have a view
    c) brave enough to express that view
    d) polite enough to respect differing views

    Light stuff is kept to the Beach. Heavy stuff goes on the Furrowed Brow. Heavy stuff that's topical enough to be on PM goes in the Glass Box.

    Oh, if only the world were so ordered!!!


  22. At 12:02 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Peej (16), I agree.

  23. At 12:53 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Pierce (13),

    "the point is that in the case of Saddam Hussein negotiations carried on for approx 11 years via the UN. Saddam Hussein did not comply with any of the resolutions"

    Hmmm... Israel... Hmmm... 60 years!

  24. At 01:56 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "Hezbollah had no right to be in Lebanon"

    They had elected members in the Lebanese government. Israel, on the other hand had no right to be in occupation of southern Lebanon for 18 years. Hezbollah arose as a response to the Israeli occupation.

    "n fact it was the only Christian country in the Middle East."

    Clan warfare between various religious factions in Lebanon goes back centuries. The hodgepodge includes Maronite Christians, who, since independence, have dominated the government; Sunni Muslims, who have prospered in business and shared political power; the Druze, who hold a faith incorporating aspects of Islam and Gnosticism; and Shiite Muslims. http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107710.html

    The shift towards a Muslim majority in Lebanon was yet another result of the expulsion of the bulk of the native population of Palestine in the violent birth of Israel, as was the trouble which led to Black September in Jordan, adding further to the pressure in Lebanon, where Palestinians remain as refugees after almost sixty years.


    Not forgetting Sabra and Shatila

    Christian militiamen massacred about 1,000 Palestinians in the Israeli-controlled Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, but Israel denied responsibility.

    Ariel Sharon was in charge.
  25. At 02:11 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    I've just 'listened again' and agree that Dr Baghouti should have been given more time. His comments regarding the inadequacies of the "quartet" and its "road map" were very germane.

    Yours Aye,

  26. At 06:20 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Moll wrote:

    I have noticed that the BBC increasinly use George Galloway as an 'expert' on the Middle and Tony Blair. Does George Galloway (meeow) have any credibility at all? On anything.

    Hezbollah had no right to be in Lebanon. Fact.

  27. At 10:27 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Push! Push? Please!

  28. At 10:54 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Tamir wrote:

    Ruth. I was a teenager in Lebanon when Islamic
    extremists came to prominance. My Mother is Muslim and my Father is Christian. I can assure you that life which had been firmly rooted in the nineteenth century reverted back to how life must have been in the seventh century.

  29. At 10:59 AM on 28 Jun 2007, Tamir wrote:

    Ruth. I was a teenager in Lebanon when Islamic
    extremists came to prominance. My Mother is Muslim and my Father is Christian. I can assure you that life which had been firmly rooted in the nineteenth century reverted back to how life must have been in the seventh century.

  30. At 12:07 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Moll (26),

    "Hezbollah had no right to be in Lebanon. Fact. "

    Israel had no right to be in Lebanon. Fact.

    Israel has no right to exist outside the borders defined in UN Resolution 181 (partition with Economic Union, 1947). Fact.

    Israel had no right to expel the bulk of the native population of Palestine. Fact.

    Israel has no right to refuse the right of return. Fact.

    Israel has no right to settle in the Occupied Territories. Fact.

    Israel has no right to build the "Separation Barrier". Fact.

    Israel has no right to shelter behind the US Veto. Fact.

    U.S. Vetoes of UN Resolutions Critical of Israel
    (1972-2006) From the Jewish Virtual Library:


  31. At 12:38 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    PUSH! (please)

  32. At 12:53 PM on 28 Jun 2007, JPAllen wrote:

    What's the 'PUSH' all about people? That's for the 'Beach', innit?

    So, we're still in Iraq, then. We're all still wage-slaves. I think the media provided the Theater yesterday that Brown was hoping for, minus the ballot box.


  33. At 01:03 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    JPA (32),

    One often tries to 'push' when frogstipation seems to have prevented one's comments from being passed.

  34. At 01:21 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Moll wrote:

    Ed. You seem to set yourself up as an authority on the Middle East. According to you Israel has no right to anything. It is this attitude that prevents rational discussion on this matter.

    Where do you think Jewish people originate from? There has always been a residual Jewish community, even before it was a Jewish state. Israel has every right to defend itself against attack.

    As for Hezbollah I know for a fact that they gained a foothold in the political system of Lebanon through death threats and intimidation and they maintain their power by the gun.

    You appear to blame Israel for all the conflict in the Middle East, I don't want to sound personal, but this is irrational and serves no good cause.

    You appear to want your own way on all aspects of this topic. Your view is paramount. You do not even attempt to seek balance debate.

    Ihave noticed with the core users on this site that they are more often or not against Blair (BBC stance), against Israel (BBC stance), against America (BBC stance). Well I'm sorry Ed I aint no sheep, I have a mind of my own. I'll make my opinions know whenever I wish to do so. I don't succumb to 'thought police' tactics.

  35. At 01:34 PM on 28 Jun 2007, JPAllen wrote:


    It is EDS point of view, held by many in the world. Just give us your point of view, and that's what this is all about. Have a good Frog. X

  36. At 01:44 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Ed (30)

    You have enormous faith in an organisation that was only founded after WW2. If you prefaced your "Facts" with "The UN says.." you'd be right.

    The UN has produced something called a "Children's Charter", which is a very dangerous document. Sorry, but I have very little faith in the UN.

  37. At 01:51 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Moll (34),

    I am no authority, but I have deeply studied the sad history of the Zionist project. It was an understandable, if deeply misguided, response to European oppression of Jews, but such oppression could never justify the violent displacement and dispossession of the native population of Palestine.

    I commend the remarks of 300 prominent Jews in 1919:

    "Israel has every right to defend itself against attack."

    Defence? or Offence?

    "As for Hezbollah I know for a fact that they gained a foothold in the political system of Lebanon through death threats and intimidation and they maintain their power by the gun."

    It's a bit rich to criticise others for the use of the power of the gun, don't you think?

    Hezbollah arose in Lebanon as a response to Israel's 'power of the gun' in her 18 years of illegal occupation in Lebanon. She gained her foothold in Lebanese politics to some extent through social good works and aid.

    As to 'death threats', and ACTUAL DEATHS, see B'Tselem:

    Yours rationally,

  38. At 02:00 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    Vyle, I agree totally on your comments about the UN. I have pointed this out on several occassions, in stronger terms, sadly, they haven't been printed.

    I disagree on one point I have no faith at all in the UN.

    JPAllen I agree with Moll. If you make any attempt to introduce balance on this subject you are met with vitriol. A point of view is fine, but some people are irrational in their response.

  39. At 02:04 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Vyle (36),

    Like Democracy, the UN is flawed, but the best thing we have, and it enjoys the support of the majority of the world's nations and peoples.

    Its flaws are not in its principles, but in the failure of its members to live up to the solemn obligations of membership.

    I do consider it a better authority than whatever might have been behind the statement that, "Hezbollah had no right to be in Lebanon."


    "I'll make my opinions know whenever I wish to do so."

    By all means do so. It would, however, be useful to answer points made once in a while.


  40. At 02:08 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Moll wrote:

    ED. I do not wish to be impolite but pardon me while I


  41. At 02:17 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Right Paul (38),

    Let's have some 'balance'.


  42. At 03:25 PM on 28 Jun 2007, JPAllen wrote:

    It IS hard work to get through, Paul, but it was the 'thought police' bit that was not relevant. But I'm a Commie, and used to abuse. Skin gets thicker everyday!!

  43. At 03:48 PM on 28 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Ed, Paul, Ruth,

    Given how heated and permanently opposed the views on this subject are, sometimes I wish the UN would act like a parent and just say:

    "Right, if you two can't get along, we'll just have to separate you. Palestinians, you get some territory in the empty part of Canada. Israelis, you get a chunk of the Australian Outback. The land between the Mediterranean and Jordan will be covered in decking and used for storage."

  44. At 03:59 PM on 28 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Gah. I meant Moll, not Ruth. Sorry.

  45. At 04:03 PM on 28 Jun 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    SSC (43) - Decking? How very environmentally unsound!


  46. At 04:18 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    I'm sure that SSC's decking would have re-used old lumber.

    No waste on this Blog.


  47. At 04:29 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Feline Inoxydable,

    "I wish the UN would act like a parent"

    Perhaps that's the task confronting the new envoy?

    D'ya think they'll pay a blind bit of attention to him?

    The Zionists already refused a generous British offer of part of Africa for a 'homeland'.

    As we have seen, the root cause of the Palestine-Israel conflict is clear. During the 1948 war, 750,000 Palestinians fled in terror or were actively expelled from their ancestral homeland and turned into refugees. The state of Israel then refused to allow them to return and either destroyed their villages entirely or expropriated their land, orchards, houses, businesses and personal possessions for the use of the Jewish population. This was the birth of the state of Israel.

    We know it is hard to accept emotionally, but in this case the Jewish people are in the wrong.We took most of Palestine by force from the Arabs and blamed the victims for resisting their dispossession.
    Jews for Justice


  48. At 04:34 PM on 28 Jun 2007, Ruth wrote:

    Tamir. Tell me about it. I'm desperately waiting for research results on why as a species we make constant technological progress yet, as a speicies many people do not psychologically progress regardless of educational opportunities.
    I can't figure out any possible evolutionary basis for this.

  49. At 08:31 AM on 29 Jun 2007, tamir wrote:

    Ruth I think part of the problems is that some people read on how to have an ideology then look to others to see if it fits their views, after all we are herd creatures. Few people can hold balance or maturity. They do not form their opinions from experience. It's difficlut with a medium which is faceless. It has benefits for some who otherwise would have difficulty in gaining an audience.

  50. At 10:06 AM on 29 Jun 2007, Syd Hambly wrote:

    I note, as predicted, Business previously in HMG eg Lord Sainsbury,is now in with Brown. Lord Digby Jones (CBI) now a member of the LABOUR(!!!) Party as Trade Minister raises the question as who is next on the list, Lord Richard Murdoch Minister for News? Brent Lovable Democrats tried to get a tax exile to fund one of NEWLabour Academies, How about Lord Birt
    Minister for destruction of Royal Mail by EC Directive?

    The Business Round Table, with a member at the elbow of every EC Commissioner, the Bilderberg Group (neither power ever mentioned in the UK Press with one exception guess which one) are getting what they want in the UK

  51. At 03:24 PM on 29 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    It's no good, after puzzling about this for 48 hours I *have* to ask:

    Moll, @ 40, if you don't wish to, why do it?

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