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Eddie Mair | 06:09 UK time, Monday, 30 July 2007

Talk hear about serious stuff on your mind.


  1. At 06:31 AM on 30 Jul 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Eddie, I know this is a bit early, but is there any chance of an item to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Windscale nuclear plant fire?

    With the current debate about non-fossil fuel power generation, it would be quite apt and interesting to see how safety procedures have change (or not) in the last half century.

  2. At 11:44 AM on 30 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Um, Eddie, "talk hear about"? (Well, you changed some carp spelling for DI Wyman, so it seemed worth mentioning.)

    Aren't we horrid to you?

  3. At 03:05 PM on 30 Jul 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Chris (2) : Here! here! [sic]

    Beat me to the punch.

    There's still a few ladlesful left though...

    Fifi ;o)

  4. At 03:48 PM on 30 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I suppose punch does come by the ladleful rather than the lashing... Sounds like a good plan to me, lashings of ginger beer gives me hiccoughs. Cheers!

  5. At 11:19 PM on 30 Jul 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I hate, hate, hate the normalistaion of cosmetic surgery pushed by all kinds of programmes and publications (the TV Programme "Ten Years Yonger" is the ultimate example). That is very serious and is on my mind tonight.

  6. At 12:04 AM on 31 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Appers @ 5, with you all the way on that. Apart from the very minor caveat that there is room in this world for facial surgery to correct the results of injury, so that the unfortunates who have for instance been badly burned can be given a face they feel able to go shopping with (I knew one who wore Islamic dress when she went out, for two years until the surgery could be done, because her face frightened children and she couldn't bear that) but I cannot for the life of me see the justification for messing about with a healthy face...

    Don't get me started on people who get holes made in perfectly good teeth to insert gemstones in them. They don't *deserve* to have good teeth! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!

  7. At 11:14 AM on 31 Jul 2007, Martin Scolding wrote:

    Hi Eddie

    I'm getting increasingly tired of these "Doing X increases your chance of getting Y" stories (eg drinking/bowel cancer today). Admittedly, my annoyance is mainly because I often do Y a lot and so my wife has an excuse to have a go at me.

    Anyway, there's an interesting article here that explains that these headlines are not quite what they seem :


  8. At 12:28 PM on 31 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Martin Scoldin @ 7, there are lies, there are damned lies and then there are statistics. Being alive is a high-risk occupation, and sooner or later has proved fatal in 100% of all reported cases apart from a few unconfirmed individuals such as Elisha and Elijah. :-)

    As far as I can make out *everything* has been claimed at some point or other by some expert to increase one's chances of getting *something* wrong with one, so one might just as well pay no attention and go on doing what one wants to. Well, maybe not jumping off the tops of tall buildings, which increases one's chances of fatal impact with the ground by as much as 99.9%, but short of such extreme action...

    One lot of specialists says a glass of wine a day is good for you in one way, and another lot says it is bad for you in a different way, so I feel that the decision ought to be made on the basis "do I like wine and enjoy drinking a glass of it a day?" rather than any other.

    Mind you, wine comes by the bottle not the glass, and after about two days what is left in the bottle is not very pleasant to drink, so those who live alone may have to decide whether they'll drink a bottle all at once every few days, or go to the pub once a day and drink a single medicinal glass, or perhaps invite a few of their friends round every evening to share one bottle between them... Does anyone else get the feeling that some people who tell us how to run our lives in a healthy way don't consider the practicalities when they make their recommendations?

  9. At 04:34 PM on 31 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Martin Scoldin @ 7,

    Thanks for the very informative link!

  10. At 08:02 PM on 31 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Ooops! Sorry, Martin Scolding @7, I spelt your name wrong...

  11. At 09:51 AM on 01 Aug 2007, Member of the public... wrote:

    To the Eddie Mair Show.

    When Gordon Brown was warned that Labour's plan for devolution in Scotland and Wales would lead to the Balkanisation of the UK, he pooh-poohed the very notion. When it was argued that the costly "wee pretendy parliaments" would just give another opportunity for failed politicians to climb aboard the gravy train, Mr Brown laughed like a drain at the very idea.

    When it was said that breaking up the UK would diminish our role on the world stage, yet would do nothing for ordinary members of the public in Scotland and Wales, Gordon stopped up his ears.

    But has anyone noticed recently that the full electoral implications of Scottish independence has finally dawned on Gordon – particularly with reference to his own career – and suddenly he has become a born-again Unionist?

    What Gordon Brown seems to have belatedly grasped is that if Scotland breaks away, the more powerful Westminster parliament will probably have a permanent Tory majority, and Gordon will spend the rest of his political career in impotent opposition.

    There is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who need no repentance. But I think its a sad reflection on modern politics that when the national interests of the UK were at stake, Gordon Brown sat on his hands and said absolutely nothing. Yet, when his own political skin is at stake, he can't shut up about the benefits of the Union or for that matter flying the Union flag from every public building in the land.

  12. At 11:21 AM on 01 Aug 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Member of the Public (11):

    About a Scotlandless UK having a guaranteed Tory majority, I used to think that, but someone on a politics newsgroup put me right my pointing me at the actual figures for the last few elections. I can't remember the link, but it seemed that even without Scotland, Labout could well have a majority all other things being even.

    I think the real reason Westminster politicians want to keep the union - apart from the obvious reason of keeping their jobs - is that if Scotland and Wales broke away, England and NI wouldn't be the same United Kingdom that signed all its treaties, so they would have to be renegotiated.

    Those in England who dislike being in the EU may have an easy get-out clause if the consituent nations of the UK have to reapply to join, as I believe an independent Scotland would do.

    Can someone in the know confirm if this is so? I know a lot of English folks believe that England *is* the UK but what's the legal position?

  13. At 03:31 PM on 03 Aug 2007, JimmyGiro wrote:

    Ritalin works by allowing the dopamine levels to 'over-accumulate' at the synapse during neurone activity.

    Dopamine functions at the synapses during the "anticipation of pleasure", and is believed to be integral with the process of learning. Correspondingly, adverse stimuli such as bad food or unpleasant situations, will result in a decrease of dopamine.

    My contention here is that administering Ritalin to children must risk the perversion of learning, since the presence or absence of dopamine at the synapses, is nature's way of making a demarcation between the learning of pleasant as opposed to unpleasant stimulation.

    Or put another way, a kid sparked up on Ritalin may learn a bad lesson just as well as a good one.

    So what possible disincentive is there in the teaching profession to prescribe the drug wholesale, considering the potential crutch afforded to incompetent or corrupt teachers presented with a classroom full of brain-washable students?

  14. At 09:41 PM on 03 Aug 2007, 2020hindsight wrote:

    JimmyGiro (13) Many kids may learn a bad lesson just as well as a good one, not just those on Ritalin.

    I'm neither pro nor anti Ritalin - but those given it are done so usually because their brains cannot concentrate the way others do. They can't hear the teacher's voice over others, and a siren going past in the street, or another conversation nearby will interrupt them. Ritalin allows them to shut out unwanted noises, and helps them to take part in lessons just like the other kids around them.

    I'm not a supporter of drugging children, but those with ADHD-type problems lead a pretty lousy existence in the classroom. I'd rather we looked more at the causes of ADHD, which are well researched, well documented, and well brushed under the carpet by the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS - neither of whom want to get sued into oblivion.

  15. At 09:14 AM on 04 Aug 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    Just wanted to say something about the housing market. Have read the Guardian article today about repossessions and people in arrears etc. It ends with a Conservative spokesman saying something to the effect "All Gordon Brown's fault, no wonder he was keen to leave the treasury".

    The problems faced all massively pre-date Gordon. I was working in banking in the mid 80s in the run up to the last housing "crash". Over the years since 1979 the Conservatives had "deregulated" the mortgage market.

    Before then you could only borrow to buy a house through a Building Society. (Remember them? How quaint.) You had to be a "member" for a minimum period and stash away the equivalent of your monthly mortgage payments (building up things called "a deposit" and "a track record"). They would then consider an application from you to borrow some money towards the cost of a house.

    There were very strict salary multipliers applied - 3x sole income, 2.5x joint income - and minimum deposits - usually 20% - that you had to find. You could only borrow for 25 years or less. You could get "home improvement loans" aka remortgages provided you submitted receipts for actual work undertaken on the house (rather than buying a family car or holiday).

    On the advent of Thatcherism these things went out the window as they stood in the way of the "property owning and shareholding democracy" which was seen as the answer to industrial strife.

    Suddenly any financial institution could lend to you. You could borrow more (provided you paid a penalty rate of interest and bought a relevant insurance product to cover the difference in the event of default) for longer. You could defer the repayments. You didn't need a deposit. You didn't have to show how you spent your remortgage funds. Etc.

    Now look at the mess we are in. Repossessions are at an 8 year high. Over 125,000 people are 3 months or more in arrears. There is insufficient social housing to catch those who become homeless through repossession. Too many people have too much personal debt that is becoming unaffordable.

    When did being a home owner become an essential characteristic for the average person?

  16. At 10:04 PM on 04 Aug 2007, Bleeding Heart wrote:

    This site should return to being Eddie's weblog. I don't think it should be a forum. We should just "comment" here, and send "letters" through the other media available. I don't think this is what Eddie wanted to be burdened with.


  17. At 06:12 PM on 14 Aug 2007, stephen ray wrote:

    Yet again on tonight's edition of "P.M." a perfectly reasonable question from the interviewer received the utterly fatuous reply "Good Evening."
    When ever an interviewee insults the listeners with such a pompous reply, the interviewer should reply "Good Evening to you" put the phone down and proceed to the next item.
    I never know what the interviewee says in reply because I switch off for a few seconds when ever anyone replies in such an idiotic manner.
    Silly, but I always fel better afterwards!

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