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The Glass Box for Tuesday

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Eddie Mair | 16:40 UK time, Tuesday, 7 August 2007

What did you think of tonight's programme? The stories we chose..how we told them..

Comment here!.


  1. At 04:44 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Sitting patiently in front of the wireless, hands folded, waiting for this other rubbish to finish before PM comes on.

    Pass the barley sugars, please...


  2. At 05:38 PM on 07 Aug 2007, tammy wrote:

    Foot in mouth carried on the air or by birds?

    Does this mean its curtains for the old hooty owl who hoots in the tree?

  3. At 05:40 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Jo Munro wrote:

    Can't believe the attitude of Anne Mud: those selfish farmers ruining her evening stroll out of mere concern for the safety of their livestock!

    "not very friendly" was here comment.

    Not very considerate of you Anne

  4. At 05:43 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Jannie wrote:

    Please do not get rid of the Bongs.

    My brother lives at Bushley, near where your guest reported from last night. He has not been back to his cottage since the flood.

  5. At 05:47 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    An hour after my (1) and everybody else is too stupefied to comment....?

    Oh well.

    FINALLY the real news of the day: what will replace the Bongs.


  6. At 05:49 PM on 07 Aug 2007, A. Smale wrote:

    I am absolutely sick of muslims using every excuse to live in this country, the latest is that they have 4/5 children born here!!

    No wonder we are the laughing stock of the world.

    Perhaps we get what we deserve.

    If these people are challenging our way of life, why can't they go back to their own country?

    Who asked them to come here?

    A Smale

  7. At 05:54 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Frances O wrote:

    Loved the 'bongs' piece.

  8. At 05:55 PM on 07 Aug 2007, debbie reynolds wrote:

    Of course not!

    No hooty owl worth its wisdom would be seen dead in Surrey.

  9. At 05:55 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Jo H., Lancashire wrote:

    I've just been listening to suggestions for the'bong' sounds slot. The absolute absurdity and ridiculousness(is that a word?) of some of the suggestions have brightened my day. May the lunacy continue!

  10. At 05:59 PM on 07 Aug 2007, bp wrote:

    Just listened to the PM weather and now I'm wondering: where's "Scollund"?

  11. At 06:04 PM on 07 Aug 2007, brian boughton wrote:

    The sound of seagulls on PM? Forget it

    What sounds do you propose?

    irrate residents whose new house paint job has just been defaced by seagulls?

    scared holiday makers who have just had their heads split open by an attacking 7kg animal flying at 50 mph?

    angry parents whose children have just had a £2 icecream snatched frtom their hands by a hungry gull

    the local council who has to sweep up the domestic refuse scattered by seagulls on dustbin day

    the farmers whose livelehoods are at stake from the foot and mouth disease spread by seagulls

    the 100,00s of humans who will die from bird flu when it come to the UK and is spread by seagulls

    leave seagulls to Desert Island discs and dont lets have them on Pm please

    Brian Boughton
    Dartmouth Action Group Against Seagulls

  12. At 06:09 PM on 07 Aug 2007, the real debbie reynolds wrote:

    Someone should (chief) vet these comments.

    Is (8) a reply to (2)?

  13. At 06:10 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Jo Munro @ 3, yes, my jaw too dropped as I listened to that item. People ducking under police tape that said "Keep Out", as well. Self-centredness is a norm in society these days, but that really does take the biscuit.

    OK it may be unneccesary worry that has caused farmers to ask people not to walk on their land for the time being (let's all hope hard that it turns out not to have been needed), but it is very *real* worry, and a heartbreaking one: who gave this wretched woman, and the selfish man on his bicycle, the right to make that worry worse?

  14. At 06:11 PM on 07 Aug 2007, M.J. Frizell wrote:

    Religious confessions as entertainment at the Edinburgh Festival confirms a predudice I have always held. That is: all religious belief and ritual is pure repetative theatre, entirely designed as Marks once wrote as "an opiate for the people."

  15. At 06:16 PM on 07 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    bp (10) - I know exactly where "Scullund" is. It is to the east of "Norn Iron"!

  16. At 07:08 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Beat me to it, RJD (12).

    You're so sharp you'll cut yourself, you will!



  17. At 07:21 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Brian Christley wrote:

    Eddie – Reference to your Tuesday’s PM programme, when we were touring Sicily I popped into the confession box of almost all the churches we visited, as I had nothing to confess they gave me credits! By the time we returned to the Italian mainland I had accrued 27 credits. Although that was some years ago I still have, because of my almost pure lifestyle, 14 credits available, so Eddie, if you do know of any attractive young females who would like to help me take advantage of them, I would be most grateful.

  18. At 08:10 PM on 07 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    the real debbie reynolds (12) - Whilst they are (chief) vetting these comments they should ensure that the Chief Vet Debby Reynolds spells her forename correctly.

  19. At 08:16 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    A. Smale @6:
    "If these people are challenging our way of life, why can't they go back to their own country?"

    Why did we take over theirs for several hundred years, and entirely alter their way of life?

    "Who asked them to come here?"

    Who asked us to go there?

    Fair play now, eh, the British didn't exactly stay in Britain, we went and lived in a lot of places where we had no particular entitlement to be apart from "we had the guns and they had not". For all I know, this chap's father fought beside my father during the 1939-45 war: a lot of Muslims did. If he's a criminal, charge him with his crime and bring him to trial. If he can't be brought to trial, it's time and long past time that he was let out of prison and allowed to come home.

  20. At 08:32 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Mike wrote:

    Tombstoning eh!

    When I last tried it, it was called Coaststeering. Check out http://www.tyf.com/?c=act-coastering for more info.

    Its a great sport/activity and safe enough if you go with an experienced guide.

    Of course if you want to throw yourself off a cliff without having a clue as to what lies below the surface of the water then who am I to stop you, its called Natural Selection - you can find plenty of examples on http://www.darwinawards.com

  21. At 09:26 PM on 07 Aug 2007, debby reynolds wrote:

    Did you mean: debbie reynolds?

  22. At 09:29 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Part of our continuing service ;-)

  23. At 09:36 PM on 07 Aug 2007, pedant wrote:

    (15), (18).

    I'm sure that should be 'Northern Ireland' and 'Scotland', you know.

  24. At 10:58 PM on 07 Aug 2007, RJD wrote:

    pedant - Aye - Ah wiz only slabberin fer a geg! Sucken deezel, soyar!

  25. At 11:24 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    A Smale (6) I have to agree with that unbiased, unleftist, unliberal, unacademic point of view. Apologies if you are any of the above.

    As for Mr & Mrs McCann. I wasn't interested in how they 'felt' regarding recent news reports on the disappearance of their daughter. However, I would be interested to know how their remaining children feel about being left on more than one occasion without an adult in attendance, about losing their older sister and about not returning home and being denied all that was familiar to them.

  26. At 11:28 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    I was a tad disturbed by the differences in treatment according to religious persuasion (sic) alluded to by the priest in charge of "Confession as Entertainment" in Edinburgh. How is a non-Catholic going to feel the guilt that is essential to a true existence if (s)he doesn't get the full works, penance and all?

  27. At 11:37 PM on 07 Aug 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    A Smale (6) frightens me -- I thought that kind of bigotry came from only the uber-stupid, yet (s)he appears to have enough intelligence to type. Not enough to realise that the "own country" of many of those to whom (s)he refers is the UK, however.

  28. At 07:35 AM on 08 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    I wonder why PM didn't report on the poverty gap which the Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealed is at it's wides in 40 years? The wealthy have become disproportianately more well-off while an increasing number of families find themselves below the breadline. I refer to absolute poverty e.g, where the family weekly income, the ability to purchase food and heating often runs out by the end of the week.

    I only managed to hear the first half of the programme. I would have thought this story deserved some prominence. However, if the above was mentioned later in the programme I apologise.

  29. At 08:43 AM on 08 Aug 2007, silver-fox wrote:

    Thanks Eddie.

    What a hoot. :0)

  30. At 10:54 AM on 08 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Aperitif @ 27, well, yes. The thing I find most frightening of all is when someone I have every reason to think intelligent launches for some reason into a diatribe against say "the Jews", and then realising that the friend to whom she is voicing bigoted and appalling opinions happens to be Jewish, adds, "I don't mean *you*, dear -- you're *different*."

    Intelligence is no guarantee of decency or tolerance, or even of enough common-sense to be tactful.

    Paul @ 25, you say of A. Smale's post @ 6 that you "agree with that unbiased... point of view." Are you able to explain how a point of view about "muslims", one assuming that every follower of that religion has four or five children and is challenging our way of life and has some other country that they come from and ought to go back to, is *unbiased*?

    Would you be able to explain the lack of bias in such a point of view to a childless celibate most of whose ancestors for about a thousand years have been resident in England but who happens have chosen Islam as her or his religion?

  31. At 01:53 PM on 08 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    Chris Ghoti (30)

    I think A Smale makes a good point. There are clearly many Muslims who are here but do not like the culture/way of life in this country. This is made crystal clear in the many Polls reported on over the past few years and has been the focus of discussion for many social commentators, some of them Muslims themselves. A Smale doesn't seem to indicate that Muslims are a homogeous group.

    It is well documented that we have allowed preachers of hate into this country rather stupidly, for too many years, Indeed, recently it was reported that there remains a lack of English speaking Imams who are not in a position to tackle possible radicalisation among young Muslims. In the same report it was also said that these Imams are seen as 'wise' by many Muslims, a rather confusing situation I would say.

    On the case of the five former British residents the US had insisted that they should be kept under 24 hour surveillance. The Foreign Office said the Government will of course take all necessary measure to maintain national security and the Tories demanded assurances that the public would not be put at risk. I have to say that the level of concern that there is about the intentions of these 5 individuals is obvious. Clearly, their children who will of course have been influenced by their parents actions will no doubt take on a similar radical mindset. So yes, even if such minded people have 1 child it has the potential to put our way of life at risk.

  32. At 02:17 PM on 08 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    Chris Ghoti (30)

    I would like to add that while some Muslims are obviously second, third or even fourth generational it seems that
    'own country' has been reduced in many cases to enclaves within this country. We hear that this may be due in part to the fact that we are not adequately hospitable. Yet, in recent polls it has been made clear that marriage, relationships outside their 'community' are considered to be so abhorrent that people who chose to act on their freedom do so at great social and physical risk to themselves. For example, so called honour killings, it was reported that there is now a well organised network of contract killers who are prepared to act in order to restore 'honour' to families.

    So I would suggest that the concept of country of origin in far more complex than is being discussed here.

  33. At 02:55 PM on 08 Aug 2007, Roger Sawyer wrote:

    Hello All

    I was editing yesterday.

    Sorry for the late posting. I did put something up on the site last night at about 11pm, but somebody or something decided it couldn't or shouldn't go on. A shame, because - even though I say so myself - it was quite, quite brilliant: inspired, insightful, witty, pithy. However, as some technological Person from Porlock dumped a spanner in the works, you'll have to make do with this instead:

    It was a frustrating day really, waiting for the HSE Foot and Mouth report. If I had a pound for every time someone told me it was "imminent, within the next hour", I'd probably have about four pounds now. So, in the end we didn't really say very much new - but the farmer was quite good I think.

    On the footpaths issue, I think the point was that there was evidence that some farmers in the far north of England - hundreds of miles from the exclusion zone - were unilaterally and without any authority, taking it upon themselves to shut off public footpaths. The Haskins report after the 2001 outbreak said the risk of spread from walkers was very low... and that every effort should be made to keep the countryside open to minimise the negative effects on the rural economy. I don't think anyone was complaining about shutting the footpaths in Surrey.

    Most fun was the item on what we should use to replace the Bongs. Personally, I rather liked the suggestion about the sound of Ambridge burning down. That theme tune induces panther-like speed in me as I race for the off switch.

    Cheery bye


  34. At 05:02 PM on 08 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Paul (@ 31 & 32) Thank you for clarifying your use of the word 'unbiased'. I had not previously understood it to mean 'carefully selecting only those opinions and statements that conform with and support one view, the one with which my sympathies already lie'. Now I know that is how you intend it to be understood, I will be careful not to make the mistake of suggesting that you are not unbiased again.

    I just hope you pay 'unbiased' extra when the words come round to your door on Friday for their wages.

    Oh, and 'wise' too must be given a bonus for working overtime. I didn't know that meant 'English-speaking', but clearly anyone who thinks that a non-English-speaker could possibly be wise is confused, so there's another definition that I can't find in any dictionary. (Isn't it lucky that Plato, the Christ and the Buddha, unlike those silly old Imams, were fluent in English, so we aren't confused by their teachings having been uttered in a foreign language.)

  35. At 06:08 PM on 08 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    Chris (34)

    Re the Imams. These are not my words but the words as spoken in the news and current affairs programmes that I refer to.

    Yes, I agree that there seems to be a lot of confusion on the subject being discussed. However, my use of the word unbiased, unliberal, unleftist, unacademic referred specifically to the sentiments of many people who take a view on several issues using the application of one ideology. I take each issue at face value without prejudice.


  36. At 10:40 PM on 08 Aug 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Paul (various, particularly 32), Could you please stop with the postings that sound like sweeping generalisations? Surely you don't believe that all Muslims behave in the way you describe? That all followers of that faith behave in the way that sections of the media would have us believe is widespread? Are you really that bigotted?

  37. At 08:46 AM on 09 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    Aperitif (36)

    Firstly, no I won't stop expressing myself as I wish. If when you read my postings you perceive that I am generalizing about all Muslims that's your problem.

    secondly, I mostly, refer to polls newsreporting and interviews so therefore, I am reflecting a sample of the Muslim population which ought to be obvious. thirdly, many people take the approach that discussing what's going on in the real world is far healthier than reflecting what's going on in the liberal, leftist acadmenic world.

    Fourthly, what are your view on the recent reports showing how poverty has increased significantly in this country? Maybe, these people are underserving of media coverage or could it be that's it's not a particularly fashionable subject to cover.

    Finally, In regards to your post (27) comments on A Smale (6) "he/she appears to have enough intelligence to type". This is a personal attack on an individual who is voicing their opinion. Not a sign of intelligent behaviour on your part.

  38. At 09:16 AM on 09 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    Aperitif (36)

    When I refer to the 'real world' I do not include people who 'partake in soft drinks, sit around a lovely little camp fire before going for a ride on a camel' all in cyberspace ( The Beach 27/7/07). Get my meaning. Innit.

  39. At 04:58 PM on 09 Aug 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Paul (assorted comments), may I make a few points? You state that the intentions five men currently being held as Guantanamo must be a cause for concern. May I ask why? There has not been any evidence made public about these men, nor have specific allegations been levelled against them. All that has been said is that they are "evil-doers". It is very easy to call bpeople names without basis. If there is evidence against these men, fine. Bring it to court, try, and convict them. I have no problem with that. However, to say that they are a cause for concern without any facts backing this up is, I would suggest an untenable position. A few facts that are in the publc domain are:
    1. Two of these men were not in either Afghanistan or Iraq when they were detained. In fact, one wasn't even on the same continent.
    2. One of the men detained was detained with a second man on the same basis during a trip to Gambia. The other man was released without any charge being made over 4 months ago. MI5 had specifically asked the CIA not to detain the man who is still being held (Jamil El-Banna).
    3. The offer of a bounty to Afghan warlords ended up with a large number of people being handed over who were released (often years later) with no charge made against them and no restrictions on their movements.
    4. It has been widely reported in a number of different news outlets (Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Times, Telegraph newspapers, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News cable news, Sky News, and the BBC to name but a few) that a common method of rounding up suspects involved looking at their watch. If it was the same make of watch as that used in some IEDs, then that person was immediately to be considered a suspect.
    5. Those still in detention are not allowed to know what (if anything) they are being held on the suspicion of doing, not what (if any) evidence is being used to make this allegation. They are not allowed to bring evidence in that may refute the allegations.

    So far there has been little to suggest that the vast majority of those being held in Guantanamo are guilty of anything. Even if they were fighting alongside the Taleban, can it really be considered to be a crime to fight alongside the government forces against an invading power? I know a lot of people where who would do the same for our country (I speak here as someone with close family members in the armed forcesa who have been in theatre during and after OIF).

    On a different note, I do think more should have been reported about the Joseph Rountree foundation report. I haven't had a chance to look into it myself yet, but from what you say, it does need looking into seriously.

    I also agree somewhat with what you posted regarding the McCann family. A lot has been made about the parents, but I do wonder about the effect it is having on the younger siblings of the missing girl. I'm also still not sure that having one such high profile child hunt doesn't push the other missing children under the carpet somewhat. By shining the spotlight so strongly on one case, the others would seem to be pushed back into the shadows.

    Finally, I would like to suggest that while you accuse Aperitif of a personal attack in (37), you seem to have done just the same yourself in (38). Yes, the Beach thread is a whimsy, a way of stepping out of the trials of the world. But then, so is the cinema. So are books, so is the theatre. So is TV drama and comedy. Who is to say that one is less valid than the others?

    Apologies if there are any spelling mistakes here. It's been a long day on the road for work, and I am sure bad spelling/typing has crept in somewhere!

  40. At 05:24 PM on 09 Aug 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Paul (38), Of course I get your meaning. Were you trying to disguise it? So you don't enjoy the beach. Great. Don't go there then.

    (37) Ah, I see you are that bigotted. You're right, my comment was not a sign of intelligent behaviour. However, neither was it a sign of unintelligent behaviour. It was a response to a clear comment that I found surprising in an otherwise generally intelligent forum. I'm afraid sometimes even intelligent people feel compelled to say things that others might take personally: Things such as "I really can't bring myself to talk to offensive bigots like you anymore".

  41. At 05:34 PM on 09 Aug 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Ah Fearless (39), You are so much more polite than me. I'm afraid that this Paul seems to have been hanging around trying to wind people up for a few weeks now and I have grown tired of it. I admire your forbearance.

  42. At 08:25 PM on 09 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    Fearless Fred (39) On the 5 individuals from Guantanamo I take your point but, if I read that the US government, the Uk government and the Tories consider these people to be a significant threat I have to say that I take their point too. I was actually attempting to make a broader point but, I have to repeat again that becuase it does not fit the approved ideology of this site it is dismissed.

    On your point regarding Aperitif. I was making an observation in response to his/her accusation that I was bigotted. I really do get fed up of the prevailing obsession with identity, grammar, spelling and opposing views. I don't intend to be pushed off this site.

    I would be interested if you would take time to comment on the glass box for Friday 27th July 2007 posts 19,20 which states Israelis are still playing victims of the holocaust. 21,23,24,25,26,28,31. Which also includes the statement 'Do you think we should the figures to the Jewish Board of Guardians just to put things into perspective like who suffered more pro-rata.' I would like to know why I am being accused of bigotry in light of these comments. Aperitif came in at 32 but made no mention of their anti-semitic nature at all.

    Aperitif. (41) Yes as you say I have been hanging around for a few weeks trying to wind people up. The subjects I have discussed include:

    Child carers
    Animal experimentation
    Racism aimed at Black children by teachers
    Chris Langham case

    On poverty, child carers, racism aimed at black children there has been no response. However, on comments regarding Mulims, well, the above is there for viewing. Political correctness gone mad I would say. If this blog is for public consumption why do the core users behave like they under attack, when challenged. It does not surprise me that you consider opposing views as 'wind ups'.

  43. At 09:43 PM on 09 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Could EVERYbody please take some deep breaths, and give one another the benefit of the doubt?

    Otherwise I may have to invite you all into the real Glass Box, with a webcam on, and sort you out!

    Four words, which in a civillised society will facilitate a mature discussion:


    * ducks *


  44. At 09:37 AM on 10 Aug 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:


    I must say that I hadn't spotted some of your other topics raised. Some, like the Chris Langham case I don't feel qualified to comment on. However, I would like to hear what you have to say regarding poverty and the racism. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to spend as much time talking here recently, as work has taken me out and about a lot recently.

    Regarding any sort of "group-think" on the blog, I think you will find that generally, people do have areas where they disgree quite strongly. The discussions have been full and frank on the Furrowed Brow threads, as well as some threads dedicated to specific topics. I think what I and others were annoyed by was what appeared to be an automatic assumption by you that because a lot of people disagreed with you that we were all members of a left wing, liberal, clique intent on pushing an agenda. I believe you will find this is far from the truth. We do hold differing views. It's that we agree to disagree, rather than shout about it. (BTW, I made some comments on a previous thread that left wing and liberal are far from the same thing. I would actually posit that the term "liberal" is closer to the right end of the political spectrum than the left. I would be interested to hear your thoughts...). There is a difference between putting an opposing point of view and berating others for not agreeing with you. I'm sorry to say that to a lot of posters here, myself included, your comments have often appeared to be the latter. If that was not your intent, my apologies.We do welcome people of differing viewpoints here, and welcome serious discussion. All I would ask is that ity's done in a calm and civilised manner (and I'm sure you would agree with this). As for the beach, as I said, it is no different than meeting friends in a pub for a night out. It's not meant to be something profound, as the pre-able makes clear. It's a place for friends to meet. I'm sorry it's not to your taste, but please don't denigrate it because of that.


    Again, apologies for typos and spelling.

  45. At 04:24 PM on 10 Aug 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    hmmm This is a little annoying. I posted a nice long reply to Paul's post at 42, hoping to continue our discussion, but it seemd not to have arrived. I'll try to re-do it later on when I get home....

  46. At 09:42 PM on 10 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    Fearless Fred (44)
    The word group-think, leftist liberal bias came from other contributers and was mentioned in an internal report commissioned by the BBC respectively. In fact, I only reiterate the points that others have made when I am on the receiving end of this 'culture'. In other words, as others have pointed out the problem is with the BBC and this blog. Peter North was spot on when he said this blog is a corporate blog.

    I think it would have increased my faith in the integrity of this site had you commented on the posts for 27th July as I requested. I appreciate that you have limited time but you did seek out posts that you interpret as negative on my part.

    I would also suggest that there is a difference between berating a person for making appropriate comments on say Muslims, whilst presenting endless reams of negative 'research' on Jews. That's what I call bigotry and that's what I and others have pointed out. The posts are there if you care to seek them out.

    I make no apologies for what I said about Aperitif on the Beach. She berated me and insinuated that I was a bigot because I mentioned Muslims in a way she did not approve of. When in fact she had contributed on the glass box July 27th at the end of a barrage of anit-semitic vile without making any comment at all. I'm afraid to say that a bigot is a bigot regardless of how polite they may appear.

    These critismsms of the BBC are well documented.

  47. At 08:57 AM on 12 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    Fearless Fred (44)

    I think I must make one more point. Which is, when you refer to style of posts for instance, "that it's done in a calm and civilised manner". I think there is a danger of the core users (who after all are only part of the invited audience of listeners rather than guardians of the site,) taking a rather unhealthy Orwellian stance.

    Outside of your group many different approaches and experiences of life exist. It is that, that ought to be treated with courtesy, rather than imposing unwritten rules and regulations on something that is essentially for public consumption.

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