« Previous | Main | Next »

The Glass Box for Friday

Post categories:

Eddie Mair | 16:56 UK time, Friday, 17 August 2007

The place to talk about the content of tonight's programme.


  1. At 05:06 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    All this liquidity will just run down the drain of inflation....Remember when Chancellor Barber flooded the UK economy with liquidity? I do, and I remember the seventies and eighties inflation.

    I also wish you'd ask the economic correspondent what is backing this new cash. He said it was against 'collateral'. WHAT collateral?


  2. At 05:12 PM on 17 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    1. Glad the Fed has made so much money available, 'cos it means share sellers will certainly find the banks honour their cash positions.
    So carry on selling.

    But are they supplying a currency, dollars, that the exchange markets have been devaluing?

    2. The Tory John Redwood is worth listening to CAREFULLY.
    He wants a successful economy 'cos it prices people whop haven't got work into jobs.

    Which means that people presently resisting offers of awful jobs 'cos the pay is too bad for words are right to hold out. Accoring to John and that's neo con gospel.

    So Melanie Philips, etc, the only work-shy are members of the chattering Tory classes who won't get proper jobs.

  3. At 05:38 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Frances O wrote:

    I'm afraid I can't take anything John Redwood says seriously.

    (harp music; screen goes all wiggly. It's a flashback)

    Interviewer: And, Mr Redwood, would you please sing the National Anthem of the country of which you're Secretary?

    John Redwood: Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah....

    Interviewer (stifles cough, or at least that's what it sounds like): Thank you.

  4. At 05:47 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Blimey! Read out on air!

    ...in an ENGLISH accent?

    Maybe I should have phoned in ... oh no we can't can we.


    Fifi ;o)

  5. At 05:52 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Frances O wrote:

    OOH, feefs, love your English voice (giggle) on tonight's 'a listener writes' slot.

    And Chris! Fantastic news about the spawn. (Is that what a baby fish is?) Good for her.

    And RJD and Roberto.

  6. At 05:58 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Zebedee wrote:

    Is this extended 'arts discussion' a permanent feature of PM? Yesterday we had a long and tedious debate about female crime writers and today we have had an extended chat about famous landmarks. It's not that these items are of no interest, but the amount of time devoted to them is way out of proportion to either their importance or interest. If we want to listen to arts we can tune in to Front Row.

    Or is it a little break for Eddie to nip off to the loo? I notice that having set the conversation going he leaves them to get on with it.

  7. At 06:08 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Poor SO was having a rant about his cordless mouse having stopped working.

    He was most put-out when I bellowed: "Shushshshsh!" from my neighbouring office ... because Eric was talking about Roberto and battening down the hatches in Miami.

    Mollifying SO meant I missed the rest of the letters and emails.



  8. At 06:18 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Rupert Allman wrote:

    From Rupert, tonight's editor. Couple of highs - the discussion about how we enjoy or don't enjoy the places we visit. Does every attraction need to be interactive and push button friendly? Err no, not really. And Nigel's report about the rebuilding of the Berlin Wall in a secret location south of the Thames. Probably should have ditched the caravan story ( insert your own joke here )

    I note the comments about our lack of Scottish voices to voice up our correspondence on independence from earlier in the week. Apart fromr our presenter, we do struggle on national diversity - at the last count the team has not only a Rupert - but a Nigel, a Jasper, a Jeremy and a Roger. ( again please insert your own joke here )

    Thx for all the comments this week - much appreciated.

  9. At 06:24 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Rachel G wrote:

    As you promised, Eddie, great interviews about the daft tourist survey. I could have happily listened to those two all evening. I think you'd have a good evening in the pub with them.

    Tried to explain to my usually left-wing, politically interested 10-year-old about inheritance tax. She was appalled when I told how much she and her siblings will have to pay when the time comes! I told her it was all in a good cause and NEVER to trust anything John Redwood says.

    Lovely shout outs for the froggers.

  10. At 06:26 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    There has been quite a lot in the news recently regarding how migrant workers face expoitation. There appears to be an assumption that many of these jobs which are in the service industry and such, are jobs that UK workers wouldn't want to do because, they often involve working very long hours for low pay.

    I live in a so-called well to do, seaside town where these low paid jobs are mostly done by UK workers. There are many care/rest homes hotels and guesthouses. I know from first hand accounts that some young people are working nightshifts in care/rest homes and are paid 5pounds 35 pence per hour. In many cases they receive very little or no training and may have to deal with older people suffering the end stages of dementia.

    My son is a listener for a well known voluntary organisation he also is aware of the strain this sort of 'culture' has on the lives of some young people.

    It's very sad that people come to the UK as economic migrants only to find they are treated with the same contempt and abuse as some of the indigenous poplulation.

  11. At 06:47 PM on 17 Aug 2007, seamus mcneill wrote:

    I couldn't believe the "artist" who is reconstructing the Berlin Wall when he said that he did not want to be judgemental. How can you not be judgemental about a regime which walled its citizens in and then shot them if they tried to exercise a very basic right.

  12. At 07:48 PM on 17 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    Brilliant interviews with Gormley and Adam (?).

    Staggered and thrilled that Gormley didn't agree his statue was crap.

    Didn't going through the jungle not touching things that kill you sound great!

    And making a den with natural materials

    And looking up at 200 foot columns, exciting or what!! What will they think of next!

    Tate Modern takes some beating. Many a time and oft I've been there, it empty the cafe choca.
    'Course recycling 19th centuary brick structures seems so innovative if you come from Britsol, Nottingham or Liverpool.

    Anthony and Adam reminded me of the L. Cohen phrase
    These heros must always live there
    Where you and I have only been

    Wish they'd put places I like top then I'd be in the company of people who take their lead from real cultural indicators when i go next.

    Didn't it just make you want to get straight along to Anthony's London exhibition! His sense of space in a sarcophagus. Him watching seagulls at night under the sydney harbour bridge. That must have been an eyeful

    Thank you Eddie, thank you PM , thank you BBC, thank you British Gas (for the electricity)thank you thank you

  13. At 08:22 PM on 17 Aug 2007, irene edwards wrote:

    this is the second time I have sent this message and a previous message I sent also got rejected.
    I am writing to say that I agree with Zebedee about the amount of Arts coverage on the pm programme. The same happens on the 'Today' programme that used only to cover this subject on Saturdays. The arts are well covered on radio 4, so why is there such extended coverage on what are supposed to be news programmes.
    I also agree with Paul regarding the issue of migrant workers working conditions. It would make a change if unions focused on the issues affecting the majority of their members, but I don't suppose the BBC would cover these issues. For example, English nurses who haven't yet had a pay rise this year. If working conditions are so terrible in this country, it's a wonder anyone wants to come to work here

  14. At 10:05 PM on 17 Aug 2007, UptheTrossachs wrote:

    The piece about being burgaled as you sleep in a caravan/motorhome was a bit scary. Oxygen depletion? Nitrogen injections? (Did he really say that?) They can't do that if you're in a tent - can they??

  15. At 10:36 PM on 17 Aug 2007, Paul Evans wrote:

    US Fed Reserve Move

    I think your reports tonight were a little unclear and hence the concerns from some PM listeners [see Ed's comments above]

    The US Fed has not cut base interest rates which drive charges to retail consumers. I understand from other reports that the US Fed have cut the rate at which banks can borrow from the US Fed into their balance sheets to ensure banks carry sufficient liquid assets to cover their obligations.

    It seems a very astute move that does not involve any direct market intervention and merely shores up market confidence by promising to lend money reasonably cheaply to any institution that struggles to find credit from the market.

    The move will not affect money supply unless institutions start taking up the loans. However, the money has only been made available in the short term - for 30 days - hopefully just long enough to ride out the uncertainty of sub-prime exposures, but not long enough to feed back into inflation before they loans are repaid.

    The only gamble is on whether the credut confidence returns to the market within 30 days. If not then the US Fed will have to decide whether to extend the facilities and risk inflation or rescue the casualties of the credit squeeze directly!

  16. At 12:48 AM on 18 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Congrats Fifi - I did hear but fofgot to praise you earlier :-)

    Peter! - Lack of Scottish accents! - fortunately I love them - but lack of?

    What exactly is the percentage in the population divide - these days?

    I say bring in a few more Essex accents to balance the counties up a bit :-)

  17. At 12:54 AM on 18 Aug 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Congrats Fifi - I did hear but fofgot to praise you earlier :-)

    Rupert (Did the Peter one leak through) ! - Lack of Scottish accents! - fortunately I love them - but lack of?

    What exactly is the percentage in the population divide - these days?

    I say bring in a few more Essex accents to balance the counties up a bit :-)

  18. At 02:00 AM on 18 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Thank you Paul Evans (15)

    You add detail which I hadn't got. I hope the loans get repaid rather than extended, but I fear it's unlikely. I reckon the markets will go sideways at best, though I expect a 0ed540 ter0 trend d6wnwards from the present levels which are still at least 20%, if not more, overpriced.

    I doubt the central bankers will know how to deal with a downward correction if it comes too quickly. Printing more money will achieve a slowing, but at the price of effective devaluation. At times the US seems sanguine about a declining dollar, and sterling is even more overvalued at present than the dollar. Perhaps why the BoE isn't joining the party. They don't want a falling pound.

    Things still resemble 1929, but actually more overstretched with leverage (borrowing), both corporate and private. When the notes begin to get called in, all hell could still break loose.


    Batten your hatches, the wind is rising and the skippers aren't all that skilled, or so it seems.



  19. At 02:54 AM on 18 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Industry Fact: When Elvis Presley died in 1977 there were
    37 Elvis impersonators in the world.

    Today (Oct 1993) there are 48,000.

    If the current trend continues,
    by the year 2010, one out of every three
    people in the world will be an Elvis impersonator.

    -Audio Village ad
    Oct 1993 _MIX_ magazine


  20. At 06:32 AM on 18 Aug 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Jonnie (16 & 17):

    As a Scot I say "more Welsh accents please!" They're lovely.

  21. At 08:19 AM on 18 Aug 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Eddie and team.......brill piece on places to visit, bits had me LOL, will listen again and probably again just for the sheer enjoyment of 'good radio'....well done.


  22. At 09:05 AM on 18 Aug 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Loved the piece with Anthony Gormley and Tim Smit, thanks for just letting them get on with it. Unlike some PM listeners I'm more than happy to listen to 'arts' pieces alongside the more serious (usually more miserable) news items, though I did wonder about the supposed artistic merits of the Berlin Wall piece - as art not as radio reporting.

    And if the caravan story is typical of a lot of attacks then Rupert (8) it was worth carrying just to warn people to be careful. OK there's a bit of silly season about a lot of coverage at the moment, but then it is August.

  23. At 09:17 AM on 18 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The ice is melting!


  24. At 12:05 PM on 18 Aug 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I enjoyed the programme, but then, I like the silly season. ;-)

  25. At 01:09 PM on 18 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Part of our continuing service


  26. At 02:03 PM on 18 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    The service in a slightly easier form. Well worth reading if you want some insight into the financial chaos....


  27. At 09:26 PM on 18 Aug 2007, sacrebleu wrote:

    Really enjoyed the piece where Anthony Gormley and Tim Smit were having a good-going conversation.

    And d'you know? I never even noticed that the Scottish blog bits weren't done in a Scottish accent.

    I had to do a double take though on the thought of having to fit oxygen depletion detectors for any future caravanning holiday in that part of France. Bizarre.

  28. At 10:23 PM on 18 Aug 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Sacrebleu - have you spotted that Tim Smit is a palindrome?


  29. At 10:26 PM on 18 Aug 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    I've just remembered that I heard 'pled' as the past tense of 'plead' - I think it was on PM. I rather liked it.


  30. At 02:32 PM on 19 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    Exactly Ed, 26, and that's nothing compared with what will be said when Alan Edleson gets back off holday.

    For a differnt view try

    Has any dust settled making things in international financial markets clearer to see over the weekend?
    Well, yes but that dust still seems to be in the eyes of the authorities here obscuring their vision and showing them to be very far from understanding the crisis. Governor King says he refuses to help out those who have made unwise loans.

    The immediate problem with that is this. How does he propose to distinguish the voices of those who have not made such loans from those who have but protest they haven't.

    The widespread recognition that market traders and shakers are being completely dishonest about their books (rather than just not know what's on them) is just one part of a jigsaw of immoralities at the heart of the crisis.

    But the original sub prime loans don't look like a part of that immorality to me. These lenders had the audacity apparently to lend money to people to buy HOMES for themselves at historically very low rates of interest on their loans.
    How these bad risks at too low interest rates can have been incurred by lenders in a spirit of greed and avarice I just do not know.
    (In 2004 they were at 6.3 percent, cheap by historical PRIME rate standards).

    George Bush has come out against such sub prime loans suggesting regulation (prevention) but it being America the proposal that government help exactly those poor home owners with some sort of financial package (a home owners bank set up with adequate resources, tax credits for low income
    mortgage payers etc) is not top of the agenda. (Its something that occurs naturally in the thinking of honourable but numerically small American traditions - people who still remember Woody Guthrie, Wobblies, good folk like that).

    The people who lent money for the poor to buy their homes are the villains of the piece, are they? Leave it out Guv, please. Say something decent or say nothing at all.
    But he's willing (the help is automated these days) to help the banks. (We may not know we cannot tell how much advantage has been taken of the Governor's new hole - in - the - wall facility for big banks.)
    Yes, Gov. M. A. King is making it clear he supports 'honest' market dealers in their attempts to shore up the FTSE at 6000 and hopefully return to 6,700.
    The only trouble is at 6,000 the market is hugely overvalued anyway. The true evaluation is a great deal closer to 5,000. And the dealers know it.

    Why is this dishonesty tolerated and encouraged by the Governor? We really should be told.

    Its clear enough why people with shares like it.
    Its not some arbitrary act of dishonesty designed to make a lot of market traders who think they are so much more clever than the rest of us feel smug at getting away with something.
    There are two very 'good' material reasons for their total dishonesty. For their consistent overvaluations in the market do not count as just some strange accounting irregularity.
    For in so bidding up the value of their own assets they

    1. make the rate of return on such assets look distressingly low for a given volume of profit.
    Managers of such overvalued firms love it. It helps them set the wage rate - profit rate bargain firmly in favour of shareholders......and managers and executives!!!
    (It is this repricing of every component part of their acquisitions which the private equity firms use to bid down the price of labour in their companies)

    2. ensure that the rich themselves have a widow's cruse every year. The shares they hold now have gone up 10 percent in the last year. Back to 6,7000 and compare with 2003 they have a licence to print money.

    The beauty of it is that the cash well is bottomless. After a 10 percent rise you sell 10 percent of your stock and you've still got the same amount of capital that you had last year.

    Its that spending by private fat cats that makes Gordon and Darling unwilling to raise the state pension, increase tax credits and raise benefit levels above those of misery. Both sorts of spending or the threat of it as markets recover would be imprudent we are told, inflationary and we know what King thinks of that.

    So how did the crisis begin? Well even crooks like the ones running the financial markets get, if not attacks of conscience. at least periods where they feel they've been seen through, the game is up. (After all they've been pricing their assets on the simple rule - inflate their price by as much as you think you can get away with)
    Then they experience a loss of nerve. ('For how long can we get away with this?')
    During the subsequent crash they usually pick on some organisation that is doing nothing much different from them and hold it up as a sacrificial lamb - a model of dishonesty (!) the punishment of which will cleanse us all. Thus Enron and probably a certain newspaper owner now lost at sea.

    This time they've found the most decent part of the market to blame for their loss of confidence. Every observer sees the repayments short falls in the sub prime market as a small and fairly easy to cope with problem. The real 'problem' is the classic 'how much longer can we get away with this?' that every market suffers from at the
    end of boom bubbles.

    When that feeling of dishonesty grips market traders nothing can save their bacon for them,. Every piece of news looks like confirmation that the game is up for them.

    And King is standing firm to help this dishonest system recover is he?

    Anyway. its the Fed that has buckled. And in an America far more anti - government than here, that is going to look like inflation - stoking, interference with markets and government resorting to the printing presses.

    So, 5 hours of false optimism tomorrow morning then whether the confidence tricksters are back in charge when NY opens tomorrow.

    Hey, Si have you seen how the Wiki account has change? Why can't they remain monothematic (to coin in a phrase)

  31. At 09:06 PM on 19 Aug 2007, sacrebleu wrote:

    Hi Sid,

    Never spotted the palindrome. Clever parents! I wonder how many others there are in the world. Can't think of any offhand.

    I think 'pled' is a particularly Scottish (and also American) usage.

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.