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The Glass Box for Wednesday. Or whatever day it is. Oh the ringing.

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Eddie Mair | 16:21 UK time, Wednesday, 6 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. Unless it's Roger Sawyer editing. He's completely hopeless. 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 of your choice: 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.


  1. At 05:38 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Markmyword wrote:

    The Design Consultant on the 2012 logo. To quote Mandy Rice Davies "He would say that wouldn't he".

  2. At 05:39 PM on 06 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    I would like to register my vocal interest and affection for PM.

    (I would also like to rant about stupid selfish people who clog up rush-hour trains with multiple baby-buggies and sprogs when there's barely enough room for the commuters in the first place, but this isn't the place...)

    Thank you PM for starting to calm me down after a rotten journey home.

  3. At 05:57 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Peter Bolt wrote:

    I, personally, feel uneasy about interviews with self confessed "whatevers".
    Public confessions are never very edifying.
    Your interview tonight with the "alleged torturer" in Iraq is/was very much in that vein.
    I know you did not intend it but there is almost the inevitable air of moral superiority.
    I was both a Regular Soldier and a CID Officer, I know from experience it really is not easy to stay dispassionate no matter what the circumstances.

  4. At 05:58 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Graham Day wrote:

    Its about time questions started being asked of Madelines parents - if they were a beer drinking working class couple the media would vilefy them for leaving a child in the house alone - even if the house were next door to the pub. Instead of which there is a media scrum to find someone, anyone who can be made into a story. How does this help find the missing child? More factual reporting please with even balance.

  5. At 06:02 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Mat Smith wrote:

    Yes, the Madeline Roadshow.

    Finally, Eddie asks the question: is there perhaps something wrong with us that we should enjoy devouring these stories on a daily basis? (I paraphrased, likely with my own bias.)

    It's understandable that the likes of our tabloid media put disproportionate focus on stories such as this. They just love a helpless little girl to get the country's attention.

    But the Beeb? Get things in proportion, Beeb.

    Thank you Eddie for being the first (?) to allow the healthy cynicism to come out a little.

  6. At 06:09 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Anne Gaskell wrote:

    I have much sympathy for the McCanns, their have lost a much loved child. However, I am concerned that we would not have quite so much sympathy and for that matter financial help, for a single mother who left her children alone in a hotel room. In fact, I expect she would face prosecution for negligence.
    Mrs McCann attempted to justify herself when she was faced with a hard question today. Leaving young children unsupervised, for however short a time, can never be justified.

  7. At 06:19 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Kate Brierton wrote:

    In response to the question posed to her in Berlin, I was amazed and disgusted to hear Mrs McCann say that she was a "responsible" parent. I have two children similar in age to the McCann's, (4 years and 2 years), and I have never left them with anyone I did not know extremely well. I certainly have never left them alone, and been any further away than downstairs/in the next room.
    My children are my most precious possessions. Would Mrs McCann have left her most valuable piece of jewellery alone in a holiday apartment with the door unlocked? I don't think so. I think the McCann's behaviour was negligent in the extreme.

  8. At 06:25 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Straight thinker wrote:

    I think the German questioner of the McCanns, allowing for language, was asking why they were carrying on their self-indulgent roadshow when it was their absence from, and neglect of, their three very young children which was to blame for Madeleine's abduction. Everything they have done since is to steer the media's attention away from this hard fact. It was gross parental neglect, they are to blame and they should in due course be brought to court for it. Meanwhile, in this age of spin, they have directed everyone's attention away from their own unforgiveable neglect.

  9. At 06:36 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Ruth wrote:

    What a patronizing response from the Daily Telegraph journalist regarding the ongoing case in the search for Madeleine McCann and recent critisisms of the parents. Another journalist suggesting the 'we' the general public are psychological clones is predictable. After all the McCanns are professional people not like the common herd.

    First I would like to say that people who condemn those individuals who critisise Mr & Mrs McCann for leaving their three young children alone and unsecured are reprehensible. Madeleine McCann did not have the choice as to whether or not she was abducted, she was not in a position to defend herself. However, her parents had the choice in ensuring their children's security on the evening of the abduction.

    I think more people would respect Mr & Mrs McCann if they were to return home and regain normality in the lives of their children. Mr & Mrs McCann have huge support networks in all respects now in Europe. There is no person in this country who does not have the name and picture of Madeleine McCann etched in their memory. Questions have to be asked. Gone are the days (hopefully) when being a high status professional does not place people above the law. I am a reasonable person but, I am starting to take the view that this has become a money making 'racket' by Mr & Mrs McCann. I also think that when people feel they are being manipulated (and I refer to the population of Europe) they are entitled to voice concern

  10. At 06:48 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Rachel wrote:

    Anne (6) "Leaving young children unsupervised, for however short a time, can never be justified."

    Really? How far does one go with this argument: Do we stay with children while they sleep or do we leave them safe and secure in their rooms? Do we stay in the house while they sleep or perhaps venture into the garden for a while? Perhaps we might pop next door for dinner, but take the baby monitor with us. When we stay in a hotel, might we leave them asleep and pop down to the restaurant for dinner but check on the little ones every half hour or so?

    Every scenario has risks and it is a matter of making an assessment of those risks, not applying generalised rules about what is and is not good parenting. The same applies to the report this week on failing to give our children enough independence. Parents have been scared into keeping their children within sight at all times by media hysteria about rare scenarios. We need to give parents the confidence to make sensible decisions about their children's safety, not condemn them when things go wrong.

    (Goodness, that's my second "serious" contribution today. Sorry... I'll probably get done for malicious posting anyway)

  11. At 06:51 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    I groaned when I heard Mrs McCann's response.

    What they did was unforgiveable. And I disagree with the comment made that it is natural for us to push blame their way because it makes us feel it could never happen to us. It could never happen to me because I would never leave my child alone in a hotel room whilst eating in a restaurant, no matter how many times I checked on her safety.

    I pray that they find their child safe and sound. I really doubt it will happen. I can only presume it is their current state of despair which makes them fail to understand their crucial omission in the care of their children.

    PM has highlighted the plight of other missing children during this time, for which it should be applauded. But I think the media have misjudged mainstream public opinion - most parents are outraged at the McCann's negligence.

  12. At 06:54 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Realistically, how much chance is there that a kidnapped four-year-old is still alive after more than a month?

    I know that makes me sound horrible, but it is something I have been wondering. In such tragic cases, how often has there been a happy ending?

    The parents are never going to be the same, the siblings are never going to be the same, but perhaps it is time that the general public -- and particularly the mass media -- shut up and let them start to come to terms with their loss.

    It will be very bad for all of them if they have to spend the rest of their lives being only and always bereaved, and wheeled out again every time a pretty little girl is snatched so that they can be asked how it compares with their own experience.

  13. At 07:37 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    Before I mention the interview on the recent critisism of the McCanns in Germany. I would like to answer this questio for Rachel (8) Who asks "do we stay with children while they sleep or do we leave them safe and secure in their rooms"


    The Daily Telegraph have in my opinion attempted to elevate Gerry and Kate McCann to Sainthood. I feel very uneasy about the ongoing reporting of this story because it has reached saturation point. Yes, you do all in your power in an attempt to get to the truth of what's happened to your daughter, but, Kate and Gerry McCann are in denial that they have caused this situation. I'm afraid that I disagree with the comments of the journalist from the Telegraph. The general public are not stupid and are perfectly justified in making critisisms where they see fit. It's called freedom of speech. However, I do agree with people who suggest that the Gerry and Kate McCann appear to have a liking for the media.

  14. At 08:18 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Gail wrote:

    The only person to blame for this situation is the person who abducted Madeleine.

    This could have happened to anyone. And surely, anyone would do anything they could to find their own child. I would. Never give up hope.

  15. At 08:47 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Carol Burns wrote:

    I think you tried too hard to be amusing tonight with your item on Gordon Brown and the 'joke' he keeps repeating.
    It was a really lame item anyway and who was that stand up comedian doing the comment.
    It was a typical journalists insider story, the only people following him around to all these different venues are the 'media' and presumably labour party members, none of it remotely interesting to the rest of us..
    If you need to do lighthearted stories(and I thought that was the role of your rivals on Today which I cant bear to listen to now) and I question that need you'll just have to try harder!

  16. At 09:22 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Ken wrote:

    If we all started to leave our young children alone and unsecured who would be responsible if they came to harm? Yes, we would. The abductor, paedophile is secondary to our responsiblity as parents.

    That is why in Portugal it is a crime to put a child at risk of danger. In this country child neglect e.g, leaving 3 children under the age of 4 alone in an unsecured property is criminal negligence. We as parents have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our children from abductors, abusers etc. Of course, the point that was made in the German interview was that on occasions the abuse etc, comes from within the family.

    It seems to me that what offends part of the media in this country is that the McCanns are white, middle class professional people, similar to most journalists, as such Mr and Mrs McCann have tarnished the reputation of the professional classes as the 'ideal parents'.

    In my opinion it is a white middle class profession such as journalism that is having difficulties coming to terms with how Mr and Mrs McCann neglected their children and not the general public as suggested.

    I agree with Ruth (7) on the patronizing nature of the response from the Telegraph journalist

  17. At 09:31 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    On the subject of Gordon Brown's joke. My first thought was is this really a newsworthy story and my second thought was that this is another attempt by the BBC to 'trash' a Labour politician.

  18. At 09:34 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Miles wrote:

    These are desperate, literate and eloquent parents, who are using their communication skills to try to find their child. I believe they feel that publicity is the only weapon they have in the search for their child, and they are going to make the most of this weapon. Rightly or wrongly they feel the Portuguese police are not going to find Madeliene, and they have to take matters in to their own hands to a certain extent. If she is not dead, then saturating the public with the publicity in as many countries as possible will mean someone, somewhere, will put 2 and 2 together and she will be recognised. For their sakes, I hope so. Not that any of their lives will be the same again, even if they ever find her.

  19. At 11:21 PM on 06 Jun 2007, Bill wrote:

    Gordon Brown joke piece - bit of a space filler; not up to the usual standard.

    Attitudes to the McCanns deserve reporting as well as their story. Yes, I'm a bit weary of hearing where they are today. But then I used to get weary of seeing Jill Morrell banging on about John McCarthy...

  20. At 11:21 PM on 06 Jun 2007, John Diffenthal wrote:

    There seemed to be a willingness to misinterpret the german interview of the McCanns. If you substituted the word culpable for responsible in the question then the McCanns have to accept a significant level of blame.

    My two sons were born in the early 1980s and my wife and I travelled all over the world with them. We never left them unattended in the way that the McCanns are reported to have done and either took them to restaurants with us or one of us would stay with them in the hotel. Leaving three small children unattended is negligence which the McCanns seem reluctant to accept - I know I'm not alone in this because I have heard many others voice similar views.

  21. At 12:01 AM on 07 Jun 2007, Gillian wrote:

    This was a great edition of PM....from the sublime to the ridiculous, and back again - a classic mix of serious journalism and wit. Thank you very much, and well done.

  22. At 12:58 AM on 07 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    What a daft question the German Radio lady asked the McCanns?

    Not sure why it was even that newsworthy?

    Given the undue soul searching that goes on in the Glass Box about which story should lead in precedence over another I'd have biffed it to the last 10 seconds - but clearly Roger or Rupert decided it was more important than a potential attack on the Pope?

    With that in mind - Rupert mentioned recently (I think) that there is a larger audience between 5:30 to 6:00, so the audience grows as the programme is on-air.

    Would it not then, make better sense, to run the headlines in the correct order of merit - but run the programme content in reverse order.

    At least then, the largest potential number of listeners would hear the topical stories?

    Ask Alan Freeman - he got it right?

    And before anyone jumps in - yes I know .. but we have mediums who stay with us on a weekly basis. You see anything is possible ;-)

  23. At 05:58 AM on 07 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Jonnie (19):

    I think the German journalist's question was perfectly sensible and long overdue. As Ruth says, a lot of the media have put the McCanns up on such a high pedestal that it seems like sacrilege to criticise them, but people I've heard talking about this from the start - real people, not journalists - have had the same two points:

    "Well it's a real shame, but what the **** were the parents thinking?"

    I'm glad PM's had the courage to report this question, and slightly disappointed that it took so long and was second hand.

  24. At 08:50 AM on 07 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; SSC - I accept that they should not have left her alone but - I don't think that was what Sabina Muller was referring to.

    Her question implied that some people thought the McCanns were involved in the abduction?

    Do you really believe that?

    As for the way they have been behaving - well I've seen nothing wrong. They are only trying to attract maximum awareness to the tragic story - in an effort to find Madelaine.

    I thought - in essence - the question was pointless apart from bringing attention to Sabina Muller.

  25. At 09:12 AM on 07 Jun 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Generally I find stand-up comedians pretty grim, but I enjoyed the interview with one last night. What I couldn't quite tell was whether & to what extent the recordings of Gordon Brown were cobbled together from several different "Performances".

    And now I can't remember the joke. Oh, yes. It was something to do with President Raygun. Just in case you haven't heard it (came round to me a second time yesterday) here is one about Dubya:

    {Hmm... can't seem to find it, and if I told it in my own words it'd be dire. If anyone wants it, just email me and I'll make the effort to obtain it again.}

    The interview with the "Torturer" helped to show, I think, how easy it is to be sucked into a system with which one is not really in sympathy.

  26. At 09:25 AM on 07 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Jonnie (21):

    Sadly, the number of times we've seen relatives giving weepy press conferences only to find later that they themselves were responsible for harm to the victims, has made me cynical enough that I think it's a valid question to be asked.

    It would be less valid if the parents were as blameless as many of the newspapers seem to be making out, but the cloud over their tragic mistake in leaving the girl alone in a strange place seems just a little wedge that leaves the door open to such questions. I've really been surprised that this is talked about among people I know, but not - until now - in the media.

    I hope I'm not appearing like a monster in this. I hate the fact that the world is such that often when I think I'm being cynical, it turns out that I've actually been naive and things are even worse than I thought.

  27. At 09:52 AM on 07 Jun 2007, Perky wrote:

    The McCanns are clearly very lucky that they have the finances, the connections and the professional guidance to scour Europe looking for their daughter, and I really, really hope that they find her soon.

    Every time I hear a new piece of news about where they are, who they're meeting and how they've travelled (private jet to Germany, was that right?), however, I can't help thinking about all the other parents who simply don't have that pulling power and would have to come home to sit and wait for news - which is far more torturous in my opinion.

    I hope that Madeleine is found soon and that the McCanns have the compassion and the generosity to use any funds donated to their cause to help other parents in a similar situation. I'm sure they will.

  28. At 10:28 AM on 07 Jun 2007, Peter Rippon PM Editor wrote:

    Thank you for the comments. I was generally really happy with the programme. The interview with the Military Intelligence officer from Abu Graib was compelling. We very rarely run things that long but it seemed to flow well enough.
    We did the Gordon gag story because he is about to become PM and I think people do want to get a sense of the man as well as the politician and the policies. Hearing him telling jokes gives people a more three dimensional perspective. I thought the stand up was generous and sympathetic so I do not agree it was another example of trying to trash a Labour politician.

  29. At 10:36 AM on 07 Jun 2007, Forwhatitsworth wrote:

    Thank you, thank you, to the many contributors above who have reiterated the point made on this blog since this poor child was abducted in Portugal (no, I won't even say her name - we all know who I mean).

    Her parents were extremely foolish, and it is time other parents of young children thought carefully about how they deal with these issues.

    Anybody who knows anything about child psychology could tell them that children of this age are not equipped to cope if they awake alone and without somebody within earshot to calm and soothe their fears, let alone capable of understanding the consequences of their actions in situations where they are presented with potential danger, witness the house fires caused by children playing with boxes of matches.

    These facts alone should have told their good sense that their children should not have been left unattended.

    Yes, being on the premises isn't in itself a total safeguard against danger, but it goes a hell of a way towards it. And, if things DO go wrong, any parent concerned will know that they did their best to provide a protective environment for their children.

    I agree that in this case the McCanns, as middle class professionals, appear to be being treated differently by the media to the many single low income parents who have left small children in this way and been brought to book on their actions and who, arguably, have a greater excuse for their wrongful actions. I do hope that, at an appropriate time, this matter will be tackled by the British or Portuguese authorities, although I appreciate that great sensitivity needs to be exercised since their suffering is so apparent.

  30. At 10:48 AM on 07 Jun 2007, Molly wrote:

    I agree with Gillian(18) and was actually so mesmerized(REALLY!) by the various items which were all so interesting- I didn't move from the radio till I'd heard 'the joke'.Supper late!

    I thought the build -up to the joke was rather clever. But then I do think that Gordon has a 'certain something'-his lack of funny bones, perhaps, is somewhat appealing......

    We also had one of Eddie's loaded 'Oh!'s- lovely!
    Realise my comments seem rather trite considering the serious content of some of the items- don't mean them to!
    Good work!


  31. At 11:40 AM on 07 Jun 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    re. 22, the joke is here.

  32. At 12:52 PM on 07 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re SSC

    No - you are not coming across like a monster - however you and others on this thread have missed the point on the McCann story.

    Sabina implied they were suspects (that a growing number of the public were viewing them as suspects)

    Well that is simply not true. Not if you have read all the facts and followed the story closely.

    Yes of course they were foolish to leave the children unattended. The have admitted that - however it's not unforgiveable.

    It is the media that is keeping the ball rolling. The McCAnns like you or any other parent in the land will do anything to get a missing child back.

    Sabina's question was legitimate but not necessary. It's sole purpose was to poke an oar in and stir up more debating - adding to the mental torture that the family are going through.

    Had Eddie asked them such a question I would have been appauled.

    However I know he wouldn't.

  33. At 02:29 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Paul wrote:

    I am a professional person and what I hear from my colleagues on a daily basis is that they suspect that the family may be involved in some way. It's not beyond the realms of possibility.

  34. At 02:37 PM on 07 Jun 2007, John Diffenthal wrote:

    Jonnie: You seem to be locked into a literal interpretation of the german jornalist's question. I don't believe she meant responsible for the abductiion (in the sense of organising it), but interpreted as as culpable (ie their irresponsibility left their children at risk).

  35. At 02:41 PM on 07 Jun 2007, admin annie wrote:

    jonnie, I know we all make mistakes as parents, and gosh my heart still turns over remembering the day I lost my son in BHS. I honestly just took my eyes off him for less than a minute and he was gone. It was only for five minutes, but they were really scary minutes. So I keep my mouth shut when things happen to other people's children as the result of a moment's inattention. I think we've all been there.

    And you are quite right that the german reporter was asking if they were involved in the crime, and I haven't heard anyone sugggest this nor do I believe it, and she wasn't taking them to task for leaving the child alone. LIke most other froggers here I am very surprised that this question has not been addressed.

    But I do take issue with you (in the nicest possible way) when you say that the foolish actions of these parents 'aren't unforgiveable'. Well if their daughter comes back she might find it unforgiveable and if the worst has happened to her I don't think she would have found it forgiveable then either.

    In my opinion, which I realise isn't shared by all the world, no parent should leave 3 children under four unattended in the evening, especially in a foreign country/strange place, and more especially just so they can go off and enjoy themselves with their friends. Having children entails some temporary sacrifices, and quite a few of them involve changing your social life. I appreciate that 9 times out of 10 everything will be OK; this was sadly the 10th time , and it underlines why you shouldn't trust to luck to keep your children safe.

    On a slightly different note, I think maybe one of the things that annoys people about the McCanns is the way they seem so composed about it all. Whenever I see them onthe TV news they don't look as though they have just lost a young daughter and are horribly afraid for her. This is inconsistent of me because I would be just as unimpressed if they came on TV weeping into hankies so I don't know what they could do to make me sympathise with them more.

  36. At 03:07 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Robert wrote:

    Has any one covered the issue that if Mrs McCann goes back to work as a GP does she not have the right to sit on approval boards who judge whether a parent is suitable to be a parent?
    I have been to continetal europe with children and it is simple involve them or don't bothing joining in your selves. I took my children into a Sardinian town one evening till quite late so we could enjoy a drink with friends and they were accepted by all and they children were 6 and 8 then. I think the McCanns took too big a risk which they could have prevented, not worth doing with children.

  37. At 04:21 PM on 07 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re : admin annie ;- You may be correct on the forgiveness angle.

    If they had been there none of this terrible incident would have happened - however like you, on a busy Saturday a few years back I lost my four year old neice in Asda.

    I still remember it like it was yesterday. She must have run off down one isle in one direction and I headed down the other and within seconds we were totally heading in different directions. It all happened in what seemed like a split second. Luckily a kind lady took a crying child to customer services a few minutes later- phew! I was very anxious.

    And you are right that they should have never been left alone - they took the risk - and it was a calculated one. The odds were against them.

    I could have understood if Sabina Mueller had asked them again about the reasons they took that gamble - but she came out with one which was below the belt instead.

  38. At 08:14 PM on 07 Jun 2007, Jan wrote:

    I was pleased to see the point raised by Robert (33) I agree totally with these points. I think that Mrs McCann has lost credibility in her future professional work. How can she possibly comment on good parenting in light of her actions and some of the comments she has made. For example, that she thought leaving 3 young children under 4 alone was 'at worst naive'

  39. At 07:24 PM on 25 Jun 2007, Kirsty wrote:

    Im just wondering if there will be any reprimand for the Mccanns neglect of their children that night - after all I'm pretty sure its classed as a form of child abuse here. In this case, the worst happened, but it was an extremely stupid thing for any parent to have done - there are so many risks, leaving young children alone like that. What if one of them had fallen out of bed and cracked their head open, for example. Or had gotten out of bed and started playing with knives, matches etc. If their parents have failed to notice someone breaking into their children's bedroom I doubt if they would have noticed any other scenario either. I cannot understand any circumstance when any parent would think this course of action would be a good idea. If they didn't want to take responsibility for their own children at all times during that holiday, they should have left them in the care of relatives and gone away by themselves. The fact cannot be avoided that it was because of their actions that this has happened, and I can't help feeling that their children aren't safe in their care - as events have already proved. I am also wondering if this was the first time they have left their children alone, after all, im pretty sure that whoever took that little girl didn't do it on the "off chance", and instead knew the situation. I think some serious investigating needs to be done into these people's suitability as parents.

  40. At 10:56 PM on 15 Aug 2007, Louise wrote:

    The mccann family set themselves up for something that could be prevented. Fair enough we cannot be around our children 24/7 but when we are in the same accomodation, i.e. house/appartment so we put a seal closer on the place.
    You cannot call yourself responsible after leaving three children under the age of five alone anywhere- sorry but i disregard that comment full stop.
    I have no sympathy for the parents but hope that maddie is alive although after 100 days, i am beginning to think otherwise. the public are paying them to stay out there by the donations. Fair enough they are looking for maddie and doing conferences but there is other stories happenning more tragic!
    You also do not see every single missing person case on the news, so what stanfds out here?

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