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The Glass Box for Wednesday

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Eddie Mair | 16:16 UK time, Wednesday, 1 August 2007

The Glass Box is the place where you can comment on what you heard on PM. Did we get the right lead story?

Were the interviews terrible, or the reporting bad? Or was it all great?

Just click on the "comment" link.

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

BTW: The PM Blog has now had more than 47,000 comments...


  1. At 04:26 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Donna wrote:

    Re: Twitter

    Don't wonder- They did! The point is, what are we going to do about them, and all the parasites of that ilk? Just tut, shake our head, and carry on being used and screwed.

  2. At 05:03 PM on 01 Aug 2007, zeno wrote:

    You report that the Scouts are suffering from a lack of leaders.

    Perhaps if they removed their anachronistic ban on atheists being leaders (and Scouts, for that matter), they would have sufficient.

    They will accept belief in any god or gods. They're not at all fussy and will change their Scout promise to suit any belief - as long as you believe in some kind or other of higher power.

    They continue to discriminate on the grounds of religion and that cannot be acceptable in the 21st century.

  3. At 05:09 PM on 01 Aug 2007, JimmyGiro wrote:

    It's good of the FBI to drag a British company through the mud for price fixing.

    Will they follow up and admit that FDR's Lend-Lease was nothing short of carpet bagging?

  4. At 05:18 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    The Malcolm and Barbara story rather underlines what I was saying a few weeks back about the difficulties that may be caused by using euphemistic phrases instead of "dying", "dead", "death" and "died", doesn't it.

  5. At 05:20 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Peter Bolt wrote:

    Could the Alzheimers row really be, I wonder, a subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) attempt to keep the programme of the air ?
    The best definition of Religion I ever heard was that :
    "It makes ordinary nice people capable of doing nasty things"

  6. At 05:25 PM on 01 Aug 2007, JimmyGiro wrote:

    The Malcolm and Barbara tragedy risked becoming a macabre version of the parrot sketch.


  7. At 05:26 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Just a wee quibble:

    Straight after the excellent piece on Malcolm and Barbara (my hat goes off to that woman: so dignified and fair and generous) the 5.15 headlines led with the same story.

    Yes it's still news. Yes some listeners might have missed the whole piece. But it felt crass to sum up the Barbara interview in a headline, immediately afterwards.

    I sat in my car and said: "Ouch!"


  8. At 05:28 PM on 01 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    Not my area (as if I had one) but trying to understand the new doctors situation:

    1. Isn't it true the Labour Party knows of old about doctors ,fro mtheir opposition to the NHS in the 40s to Charles Hill and now Fox.

    2. So asymmetric information is the only way to play them.

    3. More med school places but (to med students' surprise (??)) fewer quacks needed on site 'cos of the same day slash and burn revolution in surgery.

    4. A points based tightly defined quesy selection procedure.

    As a result, an excess of quacks onto the market and the most suitable candidate selected instead of the one with the most doctor relatives.

    The rest sent abroad I hope where they're most needed, (anywhere but the EU and the USA eg Africa) .

    Result: one up for the Labour Government.

    But I still think the quacks conned us blind by negotiating extra money for the conversion of GP surgeries to clinics nad converted it into extra pay.

  9. At 05:28 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Donna wrote:

    The figure/chances for depression in an individual at some stage in the UK is 25% is it not? 5% sounds quite reasonable.

  10. At 05:36 PM on 01 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    Yeah, lets follow Captain Cameron to the Nato killing fields in Afghanistan.

  11. At 05:39 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Sarah Haden wrote:

    Re Effect of new doctors all changing on one day.
    I'm one of those few doctors who has not changed jobs today. We have been preparing for this day for weeks. All out-patient clinics were cancelled so as to make the consultants available to take over the work ususally principally done by juniors- ie seeing actuely unwell patients. To do this, seniors have had to come in on their day off, or postponed other commitments. In my department we will have no new doctors on the wards until Friday 3rd and then the additional support will still need to continue until they have found their feet and can function effectively in a new organisation. This is not a case of one day of chaos. Meanwhile we will have ongoing vacant posts to somehow cover for an indefinite time. Those in charge of immplimenting this system need not only to appologise but also thank those who told them it would cause chaos and who are also picking jup the pieces!

  12. At 05:44 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Tony Volpe wrote:

    No - Craig Logan doesn't 'need to make a splash,' as he puts it, he needs to stop his arrogant lecturing and behave in a sensible and lawful way. Better still, he might devote his energies to working at a proper job; less fun than disrupting airports, but more productive for sure.

  13. At 05:48 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Chris Butterworth wrote:

    The interview with the Scout Leader should have pointed out that one of the reasons many adults do not come forward as potential scout leaders is the movement's insistenece on a belief in god. Many adults in the UK no longer havea belief in a god in common with many young people who are also excluded from joining the movement (unless they are prepared to lie about their beliefs which I do not think the Scout movement would want to encourage!) Surely the movement should recognise that that there are not only many adults who could offer something to the movement (and not just in a so-called support role where the full promise is not required) but there are also many young people facing similar discrimination.

  14. At 05:54 PM on 01 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    Again not my area (does it show, Aperitif?). But does 'No summer' affect the rate of carbon accumalation in say forests (wood) and heather lands (peat).

    Aperitif, that was just for starters cos I usually talk slightly less nonsensically when its not my area, so, again NMA:

    Hasn't that dreadful Location, location woman talked us into requiring the hip lawyers to act like judges and offer something good enough for the buyers too.

    OK, Aperitif, I dont have one, so:

    Whats happened to the reports about the FTSE chaos? No way of reporting it whilst protecting Beedb pensions?

  15. At 06:08 PM on 01 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    What do the leaflets Nato has dropped in Afghanistan say? 'Release the South Korean hostages or our bombing raids will do huge unavoidable civilian co lateral damage'?

    Please tell us Mr. Cameron.

  16. At 06:12 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Hello Eloise Twisk!

    Good programme, and I approve thoroughly of stopping airport development.

    A picture is better than a thousand words!


    Aerolicious indeed!

  17. At 06:16 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    Regarding the markets chaos, try this.

    or my namelink.

    Roll on the great collapse!

  18. At 06:38 PM on 01 Aug 2007, The New Blog Prince aka Marc wrote:

    Fifi @ 7

    I was listening at home (in the shower, in fact, but please try to remove that mental image) and from memory, the 5.15 headlines *didn't* lead with the Malcolm/Barbara story, but in fact began with what was the main story of the day, the British Airways price fixing row.

    So your ouch was in vain. Unless you ouched at the thought of my in the shower, in which case it was totally merited.

    On the (rarish) occasions when the main story on PM goes from 5.05 to 5.15 and the first set of short headlines, we try to ensure the newsreader says something like "as we've been hearing", to help provide a natural transition.


  19. At 07:47 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Paul wrote:

    Regarding the Pointon story. I heard Barbara being interviewed on Friday. She made it clear that the documentary broke the taboo on death as it included the scene of the actual point of dying. Barbara had plenty of time to make the media aware of any misrepresentation but failed to do so.

    The only reason this came to light was because a family member decided it was the right thing to do.

    I'm afraid I don't see anything groundbreaking about a retired, professional, articulate, well supported couple dealing with Alzheimer's as it fails to show the reality of how the majority of people are left to deal with the ravages of such a disease in a mostly hostile environment.

    Why are Doctors still griping about the online recuitment procedure which sadly almost ruined their terrible lives? Could it be because it was in part an attempt by the Government to end the odious system of the old boy network?

  20. At 09:02 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Anthony Parsons wrote:

    I heard the piece about the expected chaos arising from many new doctors on my way back from an appointment at the John Radcliffe in Oxford. I was called in for my 4pm consultant's appointment at 4pm, then had 2 separate tests and returned to the consultant to talk about the outcomes at 4.50. A really positive NHS experience and I told them so. What's more I'm going to be OK!

  21. At 09:31 PM on 01 Aug 2007, CJ McAuley wrote:

    I have a problem with this "Media Watch" group and their hyperventilating over an, in effect, "parsing of words"! I doubt that I will ever see the program in question (the Malcolm/Barbara story) for I am in Canada. The seeming hyperbole of this would seem to take away from the importance of the very subject of the documentary. This is "reality TV", not crap like "big brother" or fill-in another name for one of these truly disgusting "reality shows"!

  22. At 09:40 PM on 01 Aug 2007, Veronica Wilkinson wrote:

    I heard the interview with Malcolm's wife and listened very carefully because I thought it was strange to film and broadcast someone at the point of death. It was very clear from her interview that the film was to show the actual moment of death, there was plenty of opportunity for her to correct any misunderstanding about what was actually filmed. It is my opinion that there was every intention to deceive by all involved in this program and no amount of denial by anyone, including the wife, is going to make me change that opinion.

  23. At 10:38 PM on 01 Aug 2007, john-the-red-isn't-at-all-sure wrote:

    One for Thursday. The Dow up 180 odd in the last hour (from 30 down).

    'Market fixing' doesn't cut it. Its proof positive (we get such proof every day) that markets measure nothing except their capacity to get away with whatever they want.
    Ultimately they don't measure objective market conditions. In booms they merely measure how much money the rich think they can award themselves .
    In slumps they measure how much punishment the rich think they need to inflict on the poor to bring them to heel.

    The rules of capitalism are dishonesty in action anyway but this sort of manipulation is breathtaking.

    (When markets fail we get offered a few people who have clearly been behaving like everyone else on Wall Street nad the World Trade Centre but are sacrificial 'victims' - like the Enron crooks)

    A good historical example was picked out by Brecht. British America punishes 1930's Germany for competing with us, and......

    Compare it with the punishing of first Japan then the Asian Tigers, now China in the last 30 years.
    Three cases of 'Produce our goods but keep in your place'

    Whats going on at the moment then? Well, three years ago (before the current round of nonsense began, fundamentals suggested a FTSE at 4,600 which suggests 5,200 now.

    So the truth is markets are trying to protect about 1000 points worth of spending power by huff and puff.

  24. At 11:08 PM on 01 Aug 2007, mittfh wrote:

    Re: the latest moans and whines about HIPs.

    It would be interesting to hear a response to your interviewee who claimed that HIPs would cause duplication, as the buyer's mortgage company wouldn't accept searches, surveys etc. undertaken by the vendor's solicitors, so buyers would still need to undertake their own searches/surveys.

    Can this really be true? It would be helpful if you could contact a few mortgage companies and find out their position "from the horse's mouth".

  25. At 12:08 AM on 02 Aug 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh dear, I've been malicious.
    It was rather poignant listening to the explanations being made about the Malcolm and Barbara story, and something of a shame that recent hullabaloos about spinning of television programmes has intruded into what has been a very noble attempt by programme makers and members of the public to try to raise awareness of the problems of Alzheimers and dementia for both sufferer and family members.

    I take my hat off to both the producer and Barbara for doing what they have done. It's a pity it had to be sullied like this and I hope the world will remember the programme (and it's forebears) for the dignity of Barbara and the suffering of Malcolm rather than the sensationalist publicity-seeking of ITV.

  26. At 12:28 AM on 02 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    mittfh. right u r. See (15) confused point 2.

  27. At 12:56 AM on 02 Aug 2007, Anil wrote:

    Obama has thus spoken

    "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will"

    So Kunta Kinte has spoken. Will he walk the walk? Kunta Kinte is a bit thick. if there was "actionable intelligence" best to covertly bomb the area and then deny it. If Kinta Kunta becomes Comander in Chief. God help us.

    The Islamists in Pakistan will get even more extreme and Kunta Kinte has just given them a head start and an incentive to further arm the Taliban.

    G W who is also a bit thick will bomb some empty caves before Kunta Kinte. We will even need more help from god

    The US foreign policy is run by lunatics and hopefully a would be lunatic

  28. At 12:59 AM on 02 Aug 2007, admin annie wrote:

    mac - who is the 'deadful ' Location Location' woman to whom you refer. Can't be Kirstie Allsop , the only dreadful thing about her is her dress sense.

  29. At 01:16 AM on 02 Aug 2007, mac wrote:

    admin annie, (28)

    Touche, overemphasis, caught out.

    How would '...that dreadful, dreadful, dreadful woman... ' have run for you?

    Too Blair and Cameron for words?

  30. At 01:33 AM on 02 Aug 2007, Anil wrote:

    Obama!!!!!!!!!! Kunta Kinte has forgotten that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. G W might not provoke a 3rd world war Kunta Kinte just might

  31. At 08:28 AM on 02 Aug 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Who are all these people who are misled by TV programs? Haven't they seen 'Drop The Dead Donkey'? Do they imagine that when Ray Mears says 'I'm just going to make myself a little bed up here out of reach of the alligators', the cameraman and his assistant are just going to stand in the water all night filming? Good grief.


  32. At 09:11 AM on 02 Aug 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Before I forget, or get distracted by other posts. that giggling school boy did himself, and his cause, no favours whatsoever! If he is typical of the people joing this camp (which I sincerely hope he isn't) you can see why BAE are doing what they are. Well done for questioning why he was laughing. It was a little disconcerting and I'm not sure I'd feel safe flying from Heathrow if he was anywhere near the runway.

  33. At 09:24 AM on 02 Aug 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    mac, Ed I & john-the-red;
    Pension funds are the biggest investors in the world. Millions of ordinary people have their pension money invested for them in funds, bonds, stocks and shares. Their hope is that they will get a comfortable retirement in their old age, which they expect those pensions to provide. They have no expectations of becoming rich.

    So whilst you're all praying for a market meltdown, simply to prove that Capitalism doesn't work and Marx was correct, you're also praying for those countless millions to have their retirement utterly ruined and be forced into penury.

    Well that's going to win a lot of votes and people will flock to your banner. I don't think.

    Some small numbers of people will become stinking rich through their management of these funds, it's somewhat unfortunate but if their skill and knowledge provides for millions of people to enjoy their twilight years then they might well be worth the money they get paid.

    Oh, and Marx was wrong. He expected that the first stage of the global communist revolution would happen amongst the industrial proletariat of Britain. He was wrong about that and everything that followed too. Marxism died in the USSR and Eastern Europe because it couldn't put food on the tables of the workers. It also took no account of the wish of peoples to improve their conditions by their labour or intelligence and to see reward for their work.

    We hear from China this week that 90% of their food comes from only a quarter of their land, that being the quarter which is farmed for profit. Give people an incentive to work and they respond. The Chinese I heard interviewed dared to voice the opinion that being a State employee meant low productivity because their was no reason to work harder and achieve more.

    China itself has embraced a curious form of market capitalism whilst claiming to be a Communist state. In reality it's more of a one-party fascist dictatorship There is no true Communism, even there. They tried and failed.

    The true problem of the political Left is that, whilst its ideals are noble, wherever they have been put into practise they have ended up in dictatorships, where true equality has been removed at the point of a gun. Think of Hungary 56, Prague 68, Tiananmen Square. If this form of Government is so ideal and wonderful then why does it have to be administered at the point of a tank cannon and backed up by a political police? Why do the peoples not embrace it whole-heartedly and joyfully?

    So don't rub your hands gleefully over the prospect of countless millions being forced into destitution simply to prove a political point. The last time that a major Western nation saw the savings of its populace (and especially the middle classes) wiped out the result was the accession of Hitler and the Nazis to power and a Global War of domination. Don't wish for it, you might just get it.

    And a reminder of an old adage; Those who do not learn from history will be doomed to repeat its mistakes.


  34. At 09:54 AM on 02 Aug 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Sorry BAA, freudian slip?

  35. At 10:44 AM on 02 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Do you accept that the operation of "free market capitalism", including the investment of pension funds as described has steadily widened the gap between the rich and the poor?

    Is that a necessary price for our hoped security in retirement? Is such security a certain fact, a hopeful outcome, or an unlikely outcome?

    Is the present state of continued consumption based upon endlessly increasing personal and corporate DEBT sustainable in the long term? Can it be brought back towards true solvency in some other way than meltdown?

    Can growth continue endlessly in a finite system? On a finite planet?

    You Can't Eat GNP

    Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.
    --Kenneth Boulding


  36. At 10:46 AM on 02 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Sid Cumberland @ 32, hear hear! All those surprised people opening their doors to the TV presenter, being filmed from *inside the house*, didn't noticed the camera men in their hall? Really?

    I've been filmed for a documentary. I had to arrive at my destination and be greeted with surprise and relief that i had made it through the traffic, then I had to arrive again, twice, so they could film it from two different angles. How "real' was my arrival third time round?

  37. At 11:21 AM on 02 Aug 2007, JimmyGiro wrote:

    Simon (34) - Thanx for the history collage, dose Enron and the wall street crash figure in the lesson?

  38. At 11:28 AM on 02 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    And Simon, Mac, & John-the-red,

    Please note the links are to material from Rupert Murdoch's newest acquisition, not noted for its left/liberal bias.

    Here, and at my namelink.


  39. At 11:53 AM on 02 Aug 2007, JPA wrote:

    Hello John-the Red.

    Glad you found the 'blog, because I retired a few weeks ago. Just remember, on this blog, certain people are unaware of surplus value, and believe value can be created without them lifting a little finger. It's just like 'magic'. In the same way the British believe they can carry on living their lifestyle as if there were three planets.
    In the Tibet they say, "You should not feed milk to serpents"

    That's All, Folks!

  40. At 12:00 PM on 02 Aug 2007, Brian Christley wrote:

    The media, particularly the BBC and a certain newspaper, must have realised that their daily propaganda on one possible cause of climate change would provoke a predicable reaction among extremists. According to the web-site of some of these malcontents the chaos they hope to cause at Heathrow is just the start, power stations, refineries and even 4X4’s, street lighting and shops with their lights left on are all targets. Some believe, as they do when they have their ‘animal rights’ or ‘G8’ hats on, that the end always justifies the means, and that casualties among the innocent only helps to focus attention on their cause. Inciting violence is a crime in this country, even if the incitement is subliminal.

  41. At 12:18 PM on 02 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Brian (41),

    "power stations, refineries and even 4X4’s, street lighting and shops with their lights left on are all targets."

    Anything wrong with that?

  42. At 12:41 PM on 02 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Brian @ 41, Even those who are not eco-warriors may occasionally agree with the people who want a bit less conspicuous consumption, just because the conspicuous consumption is a blasted nuisance to everyone not doing it.

    Shops with their lights left on after they have closed for the night are a bore. Nothing to do with energy use: I just hate thinking the wretched things are open, and then finding that they aren't when I get to them.

    As for 4x4s, to blazes with the energy use, the people who drive them always seem to need two parking-spaces in supermarket car-parks, and in this street, instead of the one space everyone else manages to get by with. I wish they'd get minis instead: just as trendy, I am told, and ordinary vehicles might have a better chance of parking in the same town. Since I never see these gurt wagons with more than two people in them, a mini would be just as much use to the owners.

  43. At 01:29 PM on 02 Aug 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    O.K. Ed. So if free market capitalism doesn't work (although it has done for centuries!) and the Marxist view has been demonstrated as a busted flush then what's the answer?

    Do I think that pension funds are responsible for wealth inequality? No. They simply take money from the 'Haves' who can spare a bit and invest it on their behalf, looking to grow that investment on their behalf. The 'Have Nots' never had it to invest in the first place, but that's not the fault of a pension fund manager in London, is it? That's workplace inequality and pay differentials you're dealing with there.

    Is the wealth gap a necessary price for security in retirement? Darned if I know. Some people have no such security (including my parents). The reasons are manifold. My parents raised four kids, all their income went to that end. There was nowt left over to save. Some people blow all their brass foolishly and don't save for their future. Some are unable to save for all sorts of reasons. So some have security, some have it to a degree, some have nothing at all, save the basic pension. Who's to blame? No idea. Society perhaps? Personal foolishness? 'All the above'?

    Is consumption based on debt sustainable? Almost certainly not. Is a meltdown the only way out? Not necessarily. The French banking system makes it illegal to be overdrawn. The penalty is to have your banking privileges suspended or entirely withdrawn and to be blacklisted. Undesirable and draconian? Maybe, but there are alternatives.

    Can growth continue endlessly? No. So persuade those nations where population growth is explosive and unchecked to install systems of birth control. Stabilise the planetary population and you can make a start on stabilising resource consumption.

    I suggest that you start with India. I don't expect you'll have much joy, persuading that entire nation to reduce it's population growth to zero, but you can try.

    It doesn't answer my two core points though. Firstly; Are you willing to pay the price which the world paid from 1933 - 1945 because the middle classes of a formidable nation lost their savings and were ruined, so turned to extremists for succour? Is THAT an acceptable price to pay? Would you be willing to live under a Fascist or Marxist system?

    What should those millions of people have done? Kept their savings under the mattress? Indulged in a black market to boost their savings and income (thus denying the Tresury of Tax revenues to provide essential services? Or should we ditch the Welfare State altogether, thereby reducing taxes and enabling people to save more? I don't think a return to the Poor Law and the Workhouse is the way to go.

    Secondly; If Capitalism ain't it, and if anti-Capitalism (or Communism) ain't it, then what is?

    Living in anarchistic communes wherever we please is not the solution. And it may be worth reminding you that you own shares yourself, so you've indulged in a little free-market capitalism of your own. If you hate it, then sell them. Put your beliefs into action.

    Yes. Enron was the greed of a few individuals willing to commit fraud and grand larceny to bolster their shaky company. They were caught out and (largely) punished for their crimes. The free-market survived them.

    Wall Street was a collapse in confidence (but then so was the 'run on the bank' in Mary Poppins!). Many suffered unspeakably as a result. Things DO get overheated, often for little reason. 'Corrections happen', the Crash was the worst such example. But the free-market survived it, and the recession of the early 90's and the dot.com bubble and the South Sea bubble too. It's a very resilient mechanism, unbroken by wars, crazy speculation and political revolution aimed at destroying it.

    Good to see you back here. Surplus value is a result of people departing from sanity when assessing the true value of something. It doesn't happen too often, thankfully.

    Value can be created without lifting a finger. The true value of any object or commodity is what someone is willing to pay for it, freely and without coercion. If I pay £10 for something at a jumble sale and five years later someone realises that it's a valuable artifact and pays me £1million for it then value has been created without any physical exertion and without any additional manufacture. As the financial adverts say it can go down as well as up. If you want to speculate then you have to be aware of that.

    People place value on things, not just on the cost of labour. Making something is not the only way of creating wealth. Sentimentality, beauty, stupidity are all reasons why people will place large values on things.

    Why do people gamble on horses, dogs, cards, the Lottery? Why pay £50million for a Van Gogh that cost him a few francs to create (I dont get it!). Because they can, sure. Because they want to, that too. Because for them it is an investment worth making in the hope of a larger return. Or simply because they think that a picture of a pot of sunflowers is worth £50m.

    Brian & Ed;
    Yes there is something wrong with that Ed. The vast bulk of the population know that the green issues exist but could care less or are simply apathetic about them. We are not all as altruistic as yourself. Not all of us want to live in a treehouse on the western coast of Scotland, or a cave in Wales. Looking around I'd say that you're in a minority of very few.

    Destruction of personal property is a crime under the laws of this nation. Offenders should be punished accordingly. Threats of violence constitute affray. Restricting the right (yes, the right) of people to move freely in public spaces is also a crime.

    Unless the rights of free people in a free nation are protected you're on the road to anarchy. These people have a right to lawfully protest under those same laws. I understood from last nights programme that BAA have offered them a number of sites close to Heathrow from which to make that protest. They have declined and their 'spokesman' made certain indications of violent and obstructing protest, which is illegal.

    If you disagree with the law, raise a body of opinion and get it changed. Until then obey it, no-one has the right to take the law into their own hands.


  44. At 01:42 PM on 02 Aug 2007, mac wrote:


    Hi Si!

    These arguments go down the generations don't they!

    In China the best land is in the private sector. No surprise there then.

    Pensioners. Yeah, but, no but, yeah! Somehow, because they're old, apparently notions of equality shouldn't apply to them.

    You save when you're well off enough to.

    And every ready meal the old consume from a funded pension is made in 2007 not when the money was put aside. World market movers are not part of the productive effort. They're just financial confidence tricksters.

    How much the retired should get now is a question of what share of national and world income they should get, isn't it?.

    The same surely applies too to how much the rich and poor of this world should get.

    So cheer up, Simon. According to the Stern Report world average income doesn't seem very different from my life on Pension Credits.

    Why rely on a chaotic system to decide who gets what from the country's and world's cake?

    The state pension is the same for everyone and surely everyone should get the same pension.

    Who is it who thinks themselves worth more than the average, who is it who proposes giving or paying others less than the average?

    ('Effort' is a deception. Were the runners who came third and fourth behind Coe and Ovett not trying? Believe me we are all trying our damnedest).

    Glad you're a democrat, living in a country where 70 percent or more have an income below the average.

    But if you want to see how the West has played fast and loose with majority voting try Comments (30) and (36) in The Glass Box for Friday 20th July '07. Haven't you heard? Hamas majorities, RSA black majorities, Algerian and Egyptian faith majorities and the wretched majority of the earth don't have rights according to US - UK right wing doctrine.

    Simon I'd like to hear you on why the generous rich of the world can't do their work on a flat rate average salary (as the valuers and accountants who are the world's market makers could too).

  45. At 01:53 PM on 02 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:


    "It doesn't answer my two core points though. Firstly; Are you willing to pay the price which the world paid from 1933 - 1945 because the middle classes of a formidable nation lost their savings and were ruined, so turned to extremists for succour? Is THAT an acceptable price to pay? Would you be willing to live under a Fascist or Marxist system?"

    The sooner the bubble bursts, the less painful the reckoning, I reckon.

    "What should those millions of people have done? Kept their savings under the mattress? Indulged in a black market to boost their savings and income (thus denying the Tresury of Tax revenues to provide essential services? Or should we ditch the Welfare State altogether, thereby reducing taxes and enabling people to save more? I don't think a return to the Poor Law and the Workhouse is the way to go."

    The main problem was they weren't really 'investing' their savings, they were speculating/gambling with them, and they were increasingly doing so with extended borrowings, i.e. not just theri savings, but gambling with the entire system of 'money', which has its sole basis in BELIEF, thus the name 'credit'.

    The similarity of today's mania in the market with that leading up to the crash of '29 is remarkable, and the only real difference is that the reliance on 'leverage' and the creation of phantom money is much more overbalanced than then.

    "The vast bulk of the population know that the green issues exist but could care less or are simply apathetic about them."
    Is that a good thing? Does it bode well for the future? (see my namelink)

    "Destruction of personal property is a crime under the laws of this nation."
    "The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property"
    -- John Locke; Second Treatise on Government, 1690
    "Unless the rights of free people in a free nation are protected you're on the road to anarchy."


  46. At 02:35 PM on 02 Aug 2007, mac wrote:


    (24) for you.

    Sometimes I hear how capitalism provides the energy for growth. People want Elvis, mobile phones, blogs because of capitalist marketing energy.

    But capitalism snuffs out more energy than it creates.

    Where did the anti war energies go? Where did the 'Feed the World' energies go? Where did the Tsunami gift energies go?


    B..b.. but it was America calling in her debts from Germany on top of reparations that trashed the currency and savings. Who is saying 'Impoverish the middle classes'? I'm saying impoverish no one and enrich no one above the average, no one at all.

    Incidently you've stumled on whats really going wrong in Zimbabwe. A currency trashed and a skill strike can wreck any country.

  47. At 03:05 PM on 02 Aug 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    When everyone gets the same it had better be the best. Because each time it's been tried thus far everybody has been levelled down, rather than leveled up. Let's all be miserable together is not equality, it's misery.

    Personality cults have ruined every attempt at a socialist system to date, as commented on by Orwell in 1984. Someone always plays the system to their own advantage, even in a system supposedly 100% egalitarian in nature.

    Why don't 'the rich' do their work on a flat-average salary? Because they don't have to. it's self-evident. Incidentally asking the question about the 'rich' turns this into a 'politics of envy' question.

    Whether you like it or not, and you evidently don't, the nature of society determines that some jobs are more highly rated than others and attract a higher income. People only get paid what someone is willing to pay them. They get, in financial terms, what their skills are determined to be worth by their employer.

    From a certain point of view it might be deemed unfortunate that a 'Refuse Disposal Technician' (that's a binman to you and me) gets X per annum, whilst the council chief gets 5 times X. I don't see the binmen striking to get the same pay as the boss. There is an acceptance within society that this state of affairs is more or less equitable and just.

    Throughout history people have bartered, traded or paid for that which they want, according to the means at their disposal. Whether foodstuffs, spices and cloth, or apartments, computer games and cars people will pay a price which is deemed fair for their goods and chattels.

    It has evolved through time, each new innovation attracts a high price, but the price subsides as the novelty wears off. My first PC, in 1991, cost £1000. My current one is 1000 times better in every measurable respect, CPU power, memory, storage space. Yet it cost half the price. If I deem it a fair price I will pay it.

    The state provides the minimum pension for all. Why shouldn't people top that up if they wish to do so? Who's business is it what private individuals do with their spare £50/100/250 a month? If they want to make this provision why shouldn't they? Does anyone pretend that the basic pension is even adequate, nevermind good? And who is willing to pay a big slice more in taxation to double or triple the pension, especially with an ageing population?

    As noted in my comments about China earlier, state workers fulfill their quotas then earn vastly more on top of that in private enterprise. It was the same in the old USSR. State quotas were filled, but the real production was on the small private plots each person was allowed. Over half of all foodstuffs were grown in the back garden.

    Central planning and quotas don't work. People will do the minimum required to fill their quota, then stop. Energy and enterprise is wasted. Why have a good idea, no-one will reward you for it. Societies under those conditions stagnate and rot from within. In fact why bother to work at all? If I shirk then someone else will fill my quota and I get paid for idleness.

    It's not chaotic at all. Chaos would imply an anarchic set of conditions where no rules were recognised. There are rules, I ask for a salary at a job interview. 'They' either agree that I'm worth it and hire me or send me packing for asking more than 'they' deem I am worth.

    Yes I am a democrat and I'm glad of it. I believe in the rule of law. I believe in universal adult suffrage. I believe in the ballot box, not the rifle. Don't you?

    But is Fascism or Marxism an acceptable price to pay?

    Investment is a gamble, you're reminded of that in every advert for a financial product.

    Is that a good thing? No. But all the attention given to global warming, etc., etc. has done little to alter the reality of people's behaviour on the ground. Your railing against hypermobility is in reality a relatively small problem. The bigger issues revolve around consumption of energy in the household. Large-screen plasma TV's, huge US-style fridge-freezers, central heating etc. take enormous amounts of energy to run. Try to persuade people that they don't want them and you've lost the argument before you even rise from your chair.

    We've been through this before, you & I, and I once posed you a question, which you never answered, nor attempted to do so. 'What REALISTIC measures do you propose, which the public will sign up to, for solving the global warming/green debate'. You rail against us all for our stupidity and short-sightedness, but propose no solutions. Anyone can carp and criticise from the sidelines. What about a solution that people will 'go for'.

    How would you feel if someone who objected to your lifestyle entered your property and burnt your tree house to cinders? What if a modern-day Luddite objected to your use of the Web and this Blog and destroyed your computer? How would you feel about your private property then? How would you feel then about the rights of people to live their lives free from that kind of threat?

    Laws exist to protect society from its own wilder excesses. We give up a little of our personal freedom and agree to conform for the benefit of us all. That's the compact we have with each other. Each time someone takes the law into his own hands we all suffer as a result. These people want to protest, no problem. But they absolutely must remain within the law in doing so.


  48. At 03:34 PM on 02 Aug 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "Investment is a gamble, you're reminded of that in every advert for a financial product.

    True investment is an act of faith or neighbourliness, a cooperative act. Investment as gambling is closely akin to USURY. And gambling is widely considered a fool's game or a sin, depending upon whether one is a fool or a professional.

    "Your railing against hypermobility is in reality a relatively small problem."

    My railing is indeed a minor problem, but hypermobility is our major pathology. It has resulted in us spending the largest portion of our waking time devoted to supporting the habit, what with depending upon transported goods, services, and raw materials and maintaining our individual rushing about, we do very little else. See Ivan Illich.

    Mobility is the new nobility.

    "How would you feel if someone who objected to your lifestyle entered your property and burnt your tree house to cinders?"
    Didn't need to ;-(

    The Global Economy is INSOLVENT. Its liabilities exceed it's assets, and it has developed an addiction to spending its accumulated (God-given) wealth - the wealth of nature as expressed in 'life', topsoil, minerals, etc.

    The reckoning is going to be HORRIBLE, and the longer we put it off the horribler!


  49. At 03:50 PM on 02 Aug 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Oh, Si (@48), I wish.

    "Laws exist to protect society from its own wilder excesses. We give up a little of our personal freedom and agree to conform for the benefit of us all. That's the compact we have with each other. Each time someone takes the law into his own hands we all suffer as a result. These people want to protest, no problem. But they absolutely must remain within the law in doing so."

    Laws exist to protect some members of society from other members of society, and to control the behaviour of all members of society. In some cases, as with murder, that is entirely as it should be. In some cases, as with making it right in law for an old man to be arrested and manhandled for shouting "Rubbish!" at the Home Secretary, it's not. When the people taking the law into their own hands are also the government then it isn't as clear-cut as it ought to be.

    If a law is passed that says "It is illegal to receive an encrypted message via email and not be prepared to provide a decrypted version if required to do so", not only do I not see why I should obey it, I don't see how I *can* obey it: how do I stop a spammer from sending me an encrypted message to which I do not have the key?

    If the law says that I must test my horn before setting my car in motion on every occasion that I drive off, and the law says that I may not sound my horn between 10pm and 7am in a built-up area, which law must I obey when I set out from a house in a built-up area to drive to a hospital at midnight with an injured child?

    The rule of law is a fine phrase; the actuality isn't so simple. In what way is feeding pigeons on one's window-cill a 'wilder excess'? Or walking on a cycle-path? Or wheeling a bicycle along a footpath in a Newham park? All of these have led to the people doing them being arrested within the past five years. All of them are part of the 'rule of law'. I don't know about you, but I find that knowing this rather lessens my respect for the 'rule of law' as a whole.

  50. At 03:53 PM on 02 Aug 2007, mac wrote:



    The poor get levelled UP under equality.

    There's a lot of 'free association' in your Comments.

    Nozick said (sort of) 'We all freely gave Paul McCartney a dollar to hear his songs.' Well, as far as I'm concerned I want almost all of my dollar back.....

    ....Don't tell me, David Dimblebey has the right to waltz off with the Question time franchise for the summer 'cos it's his.....

    ....And Roy Plumley's heirs have the right to pull the plug on DID if they want....

    ....And Fleming to withhold pencillin patents.....

    ....If the prices aren't right..

    Then there's your salary.

    The London financial market high flyers argue that since everyone else in their line gets their whack, they're entitiled to it too. Then they argue that anyway people in NY get that much.

    I tell you Si, market prices are what the powerful think they can get away with.

    To you, I think, your rhetoric is marvellously self assertive - about self assertion. ('Cos I'm worth it.')

    To an outsider like me it sounds like the rhetoric of a Reality TV contestant. ('Cos I'm worth it')

    But reality is not a TV show.

  51. At 04:40 PM on 02 Aug 2007, JPAllen wrote:

    Hello Si.
    Haven't heard from you for a while, either. You have certainly made up for it though!!! Nothing like the lefties to get you going, eh? Have good one. See you soon.


    Hello Ed I. The goal is one, the paths are many.

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