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Eddie Mair | 05:52 UK time, Monday, 3 September 2007

This is the place for serious talk.

Comments

  1. At 08:08 AM on 03 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    So the news comes out that the US Air Force and Government will definitely refuse the give evidence to the coroner’s court at the hearings over the recent 'friendly fire' incidents.

    Yet another reason for us to distant ourselves from the US and align ourselves more closely with the European nations?

  2. At 09:52 AM on 03 Sep 2007, Charlie wrote:

    DI Wyman @ 01

    The US & British Govts claim that a special "Relationship" exists between our two countries.

    And clearly, It does.

    Unfortunately, until THIS Iraq war, we, the British public, may not have realised just how special the "Relationship" is.

    Basically, "we" give the US all the military and political support "we" can and in return, even when US Forces have killed and injured our fighting forces in what might now be better termed "un-friendly" fire, the US gives us the square-root of sweet-bugger-all...

    God forbid the US military should be accountable for any adverse action, even if it's against an ally.

    Relationships rarely come more special than that...

    I can't help feeling there's an almost masochistic element to the "Relationship" and successive British Govts, for some unexplained reason (after all not all Cabinet members went to Public Schools), continue to enjoy being on the receiving-end.

    Strange


  3. At 10:12 AM on 03 Sep 2007, Piper wrote:


    Eddie

    John Humphrys reported in the Independent on-line 03 September 2007

    http://news.independent.co.uk/media/article2919835.ece

    ...JH in a well argued article paints a damning picture of flag-ship News and Information programmes such as "Today" being neutered at best, possibly becomming extinct, as a result of forthcoming BBC funding cuts

    Can you, or one of your colleagues let us know how "PM" presently sees its' future..?

  4. At 11:48 AM on 03 Sep 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    The irresponsibility of the media

    This one causes me much concern (so much that I may well have raised it here already).

    As a liberal, freedom of speech is obviously important to me. But it is generally acknowledge that there are limits to freedom of speech – the example usually given is that I may not shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded cinema (unless of course there is a fire).

    What troubles me is that the behaviour of some parts of the media pretty well amounts to shouting ‘Fire!’, with no justification. Look for example at the MMR row. We are in a position where children may well die unnecessarily due to low take-up of the vaccine (not to mention those who will suffer other problems). The media are obviously not responsible for the original wonky science – but they are responsible for continuing to trumpet the story when it has been shown beyond reasonable doubt that the original research was so poor that we cannot attach any value to it.

    So what do we do? Stories about bent bananas I suppose we have to put up with, even if they’re not true. But stories which affect the way parents deal with their children’s health, with potentially fatal consequences – should we just allow the media to shrug their shoulders and claim immunity?

    I suppose what I’m wondering is whether there ought to be some kind of media ombudsman who can rule on such irresponsibility ... would that do any good? Part of me thinks we get the press (and TV) we deserve, so perhaps we just have to put up with the daily stream of trivia and lies. Ho hum.

    Sid

  5. At 12:09 PM on 03 Sep 2007, David McNickle wrote:

    I see the anti-US bias of the BBC is carrying over to this blog.

  6. At 12:12 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Charlie wrote:

    The true spirit of the US/UK "Special Relationship" also extends, it would seem, to the London Congestion Charges...

    Although the following data relates to the latter part of 2006, it's Interesting to note that Singapore and the City of Oslo may may actually enjoy a more 'Special" relationship with the US than us in some respects...

    http://www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=9148

    US Embassy Congestion Charge Debt Hits $1.6m
    8-9-2006   444

    The US Embassy in London now owes £891,000 (that is $1.6 million) in unpaid congestion charges and fines, for the first time making the USA by far the worst offender in tems of unpaid charges and penalties.

    Since the US government unilaterally decided to stop paying the congestion charge in July 2005 their debts have rapidly risen.

    The US claimed that it did not have to pay the congestion charge because they claimed it was a tax from which diplomats are exempt.

    *They have never explained why their embassies pay similar congestion charges in Singapore and Oslo*.

    The UK government has repeatedly told the US Embassy that the congestion charge is not a tax under British law, it is a charge, and that the Embassy must pay it

    http://www.london.gov.uk/londoner/06may/p5c.jsp?nav=news

    New York Times says US embassy should pay the congestion charge

    One of America's most influential newspapers has urged US diplomats in London to pay the congestion charge.

    Embassy staff stopped paying last July claiming diplomatic immunity gives them protection against paying taxes.

    But the New York Times has stated that it sides with the view of the British government and Transport for London that the charge is not a tax, but a payment for a service And in a leading article the newspaper declares: 'We don't buy the idea that diplomats are immune to the surcharge.

    'This is one war the United States government doesn't need to take on.'

    US embassy staff owe more than £160,000 in unpaid congestion charges and claim the Vienna Convention says they do not have to pay.

    But legal advice for Transport for London has dismissed this view, pointing out that American diplomats pay similar charges in Singapore and Oslo, in Norway.

    The New York Times, which is read by America's leading decision makers and has a circulation of more than 1.6 million, compares the situation to the argument made by Mayor Bloomberg of New York that UN diplomats should pay New York parking tickets.

    It also points out that British diplomats regularly pay tolls on American roads and bridges.

  7. At 01:27 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    David, well give us some pro-US bias then.

  8. At 01:30 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Gillian wrote:

    David (5) Please do not assume that Charlie speaks for us all. The blog is open to all, so we all have to tolerate Charlie's right to air his views, in the same way that we are all at liberty to disagree with him publicly in the same place.

  9. At 01:40 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    David McNickle, (5)

    Well said.

    Yes, when I pointed this out Eddie Mair said that he would not read any more of my contributions on this blog. In Eddie Mair's opinion there is no anit-US bias in the BBC. However, as I have pointed out on more than one occasion both external and internal reports have shown bias within the corporation.

  10. At 02:04 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Chris Williams wrote:

    David McNickle thinks the BBC is biased against the U.S.A. but it is the British people and not the BBC who are the critics in this blog. Legitimate criticism is not bias.

    The U.S.A prides itself upon the honour of its government and people. It would be honourable for those who accidently killed British soldiers to testify at their inquests and explain why the incident occurred and what solutions they recommend to prevent further incidents. I suspect the MOD would wish that even less than the Pentagon. Few have ever accused the MOD of acting honourably in relation to our troops. It is almost certain that the MOD knows what happened and what the solution may be but they will neither inform us nor implement them.

    Similarly, it would be honourable for the U.S. Embassy to pay its congestion charges or failing that, tell why the U.S. pays such charges in other countries but not in London.

    There has been an erosion of U.S. honour under this administration and it would be good to see that reversed, sooner rather than later.

  11. At 02:28 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Rachel G wrote:

    David - I'm not going to enter the argument about whether the BBC is biased against the US or not, but your comment makes little sense. Bias might be something to complain about in a corporate body such as the BBC, but in an individual it is merely opinion - and that is what this blog is about. If you have an opinion, pro or anti, then air it here. One line grumbles do not contribute to the debate.

    I am relieved that British troops are finally leaving Basra. There is nothing more they can achieve there. Our responsibility for the mess will not end with our withdrawal, but we need to find other ways to help the Iraqi people than by occupying their country.

  12. At 02:28 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    Chris Williams (10)

    Are you suggesting that this blog is representative of the British people as a whole?


    I have seen numerous comments on this blog which suggests that it is indeed, the BBC who are biased which in turn attracts likeminded (groupthink) people. I agree entirely with those comments.

  13. At 02:28 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    Chris Williams (10)

    Are you suggesting that this blog is representative of the British people as a whole?


    I have seen numerous comments on this blog which suggests that it is indeed, the BBC who are biased which in turn attracts likeminded (groupthink) people. I agree entirely with those comments.

  14. At 02:35 PM on 03 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    ..it seems, I have 'stirred up a hornets nest'!

    So why is it that so very many Europeans ARE seemingly anti US?

    Or is it perhaps like a lot of US citizens, just anti Bush administration?

    DIY

  15. At 04:03 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    Di Wyman (14)

    Or could it be that as we have a mostly leftist liberal media we get fed on their bias?

    Where is the evidence that so very many Europeans are seemilngly anti American? Or a lot of American citizens are anti-Bush.

    What I hear mostly from the media on the subject of America and Bush is one sided comment, speculation and spin.

  16. At 04:13 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Pro-U.S. bias? How about the fact that they’ve produced rather a few good television programmes? They also produced one of my all-time favourite acting talents - a gentleman by the name of Oliver Hardy, in fact.

  17. At 06:01 PM on 03 Sep 2007, David McNickle wrote:

    It appears that I have stirred up a hornets' nest I am a US citizen who has lived in St Albans, England for 23 years and have resided in England off and on since 1970. I am a left-winger and am no supporter of GW Bush or the US government. I am a long time member of the Liberal Democrats and did not support the war in Iraq. I read The Independent and have done so since it started.

    Having said that, there is an anti-US bias at the BBC and has been for some time. Jeremy Bowen's reports from the middle east have been anti-US/west ever since I can remember. If anybody thinks that Robert Fisk of The Indy and John Pilger of The Observer/Guardian are anything but anti-US, I must be missing something.

  18. At 07:29 PM on 03 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Paul (15)

    Its quite remarkable....we can still understand you, even though ones head is 30cm under the sand.....surely a first?

  19. At 08:29 PM on 03 Sep 2007, mittfh wrote:

    Talking of heads buried in the sand, how about a well-known politician who thinks that pupils shouldn't be allowed to leave primary school until they've reached the expected standards:

    BBC News
    "Failing students should repeat the last year of primary school, Tory leader David Cameron has proposed.

    He said the move could form part of a "genuine schools revolution" improving literacy, numeracy and discipline."

    -oOo-

    Meanwhile, it would be interesting to know whether 85% of all pupils in any given cohort are capable of reaching the "magic" level 4 in Literacy and Numeracy - or that, given sufficient tuition, 50% of all 18 year olds are intelligent enough to attend university.

  20. At 08:30 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    Di Wyman (18)

    When you say 'we' are you refering to the core users who adhere and promote the BBC's anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Bush and anti-Blair stance?

    I don't affiliate myself to any political ideology. However, along with many other contributions I have read on this blog I agree that what's lacking is balanced reporting.


    In my opinion, burying one's head in the sand is being in denial when there is evidence (external and internal reports) which show the BBC is biased.

  21. At 11:20 PM on 03 Sep 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Paul (19):

    'Balanced reporting' does not mean equal amounts of time or applause for opposing sides. Does it?

    That sort of 'mathematical' balance is what allows creationists to thrive in the US and for Andrew Wakefield to become a martyr here. Sometimes ideas are just wrong, and giving equal airtime to them is daft.

    Sid

  22. At 06:01 AM on 04 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    Sid Cumberland

    So what have creationists in the US have to do with impartiality in the BBC newsreporting? This is well documented. To suggest that some ideas are just wrong and are not entitled to 'equal' airtime is in my opinion fascist, becuase what is being 'fed' is one particular skewed version of news and current events.

    Your comments prove my point.

  23. At 06:11 AM on 04 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    Sid Cumberland (21)

    I would also like to add that seeking impartiality in newsreporting and current events is not the same as asking for equal airtime. This difference has already been established.

  24. At 08:33 AM on 04 Sep 2007, Piper wrote:


    What on earth is going on..?!

    A blow to the head can kill or cause severe injuries

    Do we really allow Guards in UK institutions to administer this sort of violence on inmates in order to restrain

    Frankly, I really can't believe what I've read...

    How can anyone condone, let alone legalise violent assaults of this nature. There are many other less harmful ways of restraining.

    From today's Independent:

    Boy's suicide sparks call to review restraint methods

    http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article2924448.ece

    The teenager (being held in a secure UK Govt. Training Centre) was restrained with a controversial "nose distraction technique" which involved him being hit in the face. The blow left his face "covered in blood" and he felt his nose had been broken...

    The technique involves a sharp and painful strike to the base of the nose

  25. At 11:32 AM on 04 Sep 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Paul (15) for details on the opinions of US voters on the current incumbent of the Oval Office, I refer you to the latest Fox News poll. Of those likely voters who were polled, the following was the response regarding Mr Bush's job approval:

    Do you approve or disapprove of the job George W. Bush is doing as
    president?

    Approve 33%
    Disapprove 56%
    Don't Know 11%

    Or you can reference RCP (Real Clear Politics) that averages the latest polls inot a "poll of polls). Their figures are:

    Approve 32.6%
    Disapprove 61.5%
    Don't know 5.9%

    I would say that is a very good guide that a majority of voters in the US disapprove of the current President.

    (you can find the Fox News poll in their politics section, as well as a link to the RCP site)

    Regarding the issue of the congestion charge, can anyone provide links to the status of the charges in Singapore and Oslo and the US Embassies' decision to pay these charges?

  26. At 01:02 PM on 04 Sep 2007, RJD wrote:

    Paul (various) - 3 comments from you at various points on this thread:

    1. “both external and internal reports have shown”

    2. “So what have creationists in the US have to do with impartiality in the BBC newsreporting? This is well documented.”

    3. “I would also like to add that seeking impartiality in newsreporting and current events is not the same as asking for equal airtime. This difference has already been established.”

    I don't know what your "sources" are because you seem unable to share them with us. Just because you say it, doesn't actually mean that "reports have shown."or that something "is well documented" or "already established",

    I think you should put a bit of effort into backing your "opinions" with some of the actual evidence that you continually allude to on this threads and on others in the past. Take a look at Fearless Fred’s comment at (25) – that’s arguing with evidence – you should try it.

    And, as a last point, quoting other opinions to back your own opinion, doesn’t count as evidence,

  27. At 01:35 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Charlie wrote:


    Fearless @ 25

    Re your final para, you could start here:

    Congestion Pricing: International Examples

    http://www.transalt.org/campaigns/sensible/congestion/international.html

    The site links to London, Stockholm and Singapore congestion charge sites. I'm sure, amongst these, you'll also find cross-links to the City of Oslo

    As I understand matters, the US Embassy in any host country will pay "service charges" under which heading congestion charges are generally accepted.

    For some reason, the US Embassy in London considers the UK congestion charge to be a "tax" and foreign embassy's are, as a broad statement, host nation tax-exempt.

    I also understand, individual US Ambassadors have the authority to agree or deny payments such as these

  28. At 02:16 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    RJD (26)

    My sources are so well documented and recent you will have no problem finding them on the internet.

    Recently, Jeremy Paxman likened the BBC to Stalin's Russia. Today in the Telegraph John Humphries says Don't cut budgets, shut down BBC 3. Perhaps if the BBC moved to a less arrogant, elitist and more balanced viewpoint they wouldn't have a problem with potential funding.

    And you think I have a problem with my sources. Please don't make me laugh.

  29. At 03:09 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Basically, it's a road toll. Do American Embassies normally pay road tolls? There aren't that many about - yet - but the Severn Bridge and a certain tunnel under the Thames come to mind.

  30. At 04:25 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Paul, please be specific about the titles or authors of the reports you are referrring to. That will allow us to discuss this on an even footing.

  31. At 05:16 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    David M & Paul;
    Because you're anti-idiocy doesn't make you anti-American.

    Gen. Mike Jackson spoke the truth regarding US policy post-invasion in Iraq. Their policy has been nothing short of disastrous since Saddam was toppled. They now inhabit small patches of territory in the midst of an increasingly hostile nation.

    The US Army has an absolute regard for raw firepower, none for subtlety or delicacy, as enunciated in the Powell Doctrine. (Powell expanded upon the original Doctrine, asserting that when a nation is engaging in war, every resource and tool should be used to achieve decisive force against the enemy, minimizing US casualties and ending the conflict quickly by forcing the weaker force to capitulate.) Well they did that against Saddam, but can't do it against the insurgency.

    They are resolved never to commit troops unless their overwhelming firepower can prevent any loss of US lives. Black Hawk Down, coming after 9/11, USS Cole, Nairobi, the Beirut Embassy, taught them a terrible lesson. But their focus upon overwhelming force, whilst appropriate in the NATO context is idiocy in a counter-insurgency, where very often the enemy is unknown and can't be found.

    They fought and won WW2 because of firepower, drew in Korea because of firepower, lost in Vietnam because of firepower. They are losing in Iraq because of firepower

    The Brits won in Borneo, won in Malsia, won in Oman, won on the Djebel Akhdar, won in the Falklands. Not too often with firepower, but with guile, with understanding, with alight touch,by living with the people in their villages, with sympathy, and only in the last named because they were professionals on home soil against a conscipt army.

    The US Army is certainly the one you'd want on your side if you were fighting a 'hot' war like Desert Sabre or invading Iraq. The best thing to do once they've won the war is find someone else to win the peace. They've trained to fight the Warsaw Pact in Europe. They're still equipped and trained for that war. They have no concept of how to fight a war 'amongst the people'. The Iraqis welcomed the US Army and Marines as Liberators. Now they hate and despise them and wish that they would leave.

    The Yanks would probably like to go home, but there's a problem, if they do then there's a good chance that Iraq will align with US enemy no. 1, Iran.

    The best thing they could do now is to partition the country along religious and ethnic lines. A Shia part, a Sunni Arab part and a Sunni Kurdish part. Only problem is that the Sunni Arabs who used to run the place won't like that because they get no oil, no jobs and no income.

    The war was right. Everything since has been wrong. Saying that is not anti-American. Don't take a broad brush to smear over a well-defined point.

    Si

  32. At 05:52 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Fifi wrote:

    * rolls up sleeves and looks stern *

    Now then you 'orrible lot.

    Will froggers PLEASE refrain from name-calling, just because people disagree with your opinion or wisdom?

    The blog is a place for informed debate. It's not for converting people to a different point of view; that's called a Political Hustings and this is the wrong forum for it.

    The Furrowed Brow is indeed the place to take serious subjects that Eddie hasn't raised on other threads ... but that does NOT mean we attack each other.

    If you can't keep your passion for your subject in check, long enough to be civil to each other, then basically this blog may not be right for you either.

    Nobody is seeking to ban anybody. This is not the BBC moving to stifle either side of any debate. Nor is it Fifi trying to turn robust debate into a fluffy chat about knitting.

    It is respectfully reminding everyone to show basic good manners to the majority of us, who come here to speak, to ask for more information, to listen, and ultimately to learn.

    Don't make me say this again.

    * Retires, disgusted, from the scene *

    Fifi

  33. At 05:59 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Paul (26) You have spurred me to search out the entire text of Jeremy Paxman's speech (available here, registration may be required). May I point out that the uote you have used both here and elsewhere is not the complete quote from the speech? The entire quote is:


    Extract of the MacTaggart Lecture - Jeremy Paxman
    But the bigger question is whether the BBC itself has a future. Working for it has always been a bitlike living in Stalin’s Russia, with one five-year-plan, one resoundingly empty slogan after another. One BBC, Making it Happen, Creative Futures, they all blur into one great vacuous blur. I can’t even recall what the current one is. Rather like Stalin’s Russia, they express a belief that the system will go on forever.

    The way you have written the quote has made the implication that Jeremy Paxman was considering the BBC to be far left organisation. Reading the entirity of the quote, it's fairly clear that the implication you make is not the meaning that Mr Paxman was making. He was bemoaning a lack of flexibility in planning, and an inability to react to changing scenarios (in this case, the whole two pages of the report in which this quote resides is regarding the funding of the corporation in the past, present and future. The whole paragraph before is regarding the cuts in Newsnight's budget, while the paragraph after is regarding whether the BBC can expect a Licence Fee settlement in the future. Please don't misuse partial quotes like this. It muddies the waters of debate considerably, and mis represents the views of others.

  34. At 06:20 PM on 04 Sep 2007, RJD wrote:

    Fifi - What is the problem?
    Who is name-calling and who is not being civil?
    I can't find anything on this thread that warrants your remarks.

  35. At 06:23 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Fifi wrote:

    RJD (34) : You're made of sterner stuff than I, then.

    If this is what the Furrowed Brow has become, and everyone but me's fine with it, then I think I shall be avoiding it in future.

    In the past it's been a super place to learn all sides of many fascinating subjects ... but the scratchy tone is horrible to watch.

    Maybe it's more fun for the participants; I don't know.

    Fifi :o(


  36. At 06:28 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Paul (22 & 23): I'm not quite sure wehat you're getting at here. First you say denying equal airtime is fascist. Then you say impartiality doesn't imply equal airtime. You don't really think that impartiality is fascist, do you?

    All I'm saying is that when someone comes along with a crackpot idea, giving them lots of coverage may imply that they are thought by those who know to have a point.

    I suppose what I'm really asking for is a bit more hard work from those who present the news.

    Fearless Fred (33) - thanks for digging out the original.

    Sid

  37. At 06:33 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Paul (15): "Or could it be that as we have a mostly leftist liberal media we get fed on their bias?"

    I don't suppose you have any evidence for that remarkable assertion?

    Sid

  38. At 06:40 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Peter Borough wrote:

    I expect it's well documented and universally agreed, Sid.

    Go on Paul! Say it!

  39. At 06:51 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    Fifi (35)

    Super indeed.

  40. At 06:59 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    The death of Adam Rickworth in a secure training unit reinforces my belief that we really need to take a look at our prison/secure unit provision. I've never heard of this 'nose distraction technique' before. Can it be right that adults in charge can punch children on the nose to restrain them?

    Sid

  41. At 07:35 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Fifi wrote:

    (Apols if this appears twice. Mouse trouble!)

    Well, I LIKED it. That rhythm was such fun, it was totally irresistable ... to me.

    My SO was stony-faced throughout, although even he has eventually become a fan of Andy Sheppard, which is a lot more challenging than tonight's offering.

    So-called 'free jazz', a cacophony where nobody even tries to make a cohesive sound, is an abomination; I can't get on with it all.

    But that doesn't stop me digging out SO's Henry Cow LP every few years and having another go. I can very nearly listen to the first track now....

    And even terrible jazz does have its uses. We once didn't like the look of a couple viewing the house For Sale next door. We put on Side Two of Henry Cow, up loud, and went out for a lovely walk..............

    ;o) Fifi

  42. At 07:38 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    When it comes to opinions, I prefer to listen to those who are relatively well-informed, and those include Jeremy Bowen, Robert Fisk and John Pilger. I know opinion when I see or hear it, and I recognise fact as well, especially when the purveyor is possessed of considerable first-hand experience.

    To be anti-us (government/administration) and anti-Israel is only to have moral ethics.

    Salaam/Shalom
    ed

  43. At 08:38 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Ed;
    Pilger and Fisk make no attempt to be impartial, that's part of their attraction / repulsion, depending on your point of view. I tried reading a couple of Pilger's books once at the behest of a good friend. He was so utterly partisan that I couldn't even finish the first 50 pages of either.

    Bowen I find very impartial, as I've discussed with you before regarding one of his books. That was such a good exposition on the '67 war that it ought to become a set text for anyone studying the topic.

    I think even the saintliest and most impartial man on earth would find his mask slipping when his friend & translator was blown to pieces next to him though, as happened when Bowen's car was destroyed at the Israeli border by an Israeli soldier who knew that they presented no threat.

    The Israelis were retreating from Lebanon, in advance of their timetable, and lashing out at anything that they took a dislike to. Bowen was covering the story and got into the wrong place at the wrong time.

    You need to be a little more selective though. The Government in the USA is now split, with the Executive and Congress from opposite sides. So to say that you are anti-government is to descry both sets of politics. Which leaves you with no realistic base to work from.

    To be anti-right/left/centre is not to be anti-American, to oppose one or all of the policies of any particular government is not to be anti-an-entire-nation, which is where the usual argument falls apart, as it does above. It's vacuous and simplistic in the extreme to declaim someone as anti-American because they don't agree with its protectionism of its farming industry. So it is with any other policy, including Iraq.

    Being anti-Israel falls into the same category. You and I have travelled this road a few times now. Being anti-Israel is an absurdity. Whatever you may think it has it's right to exist enshrined in law. Even the fact that it refuses to obey the resolutions of that same body which created it doesn't not remove its right to exist.

    As comparison; a murderer may have committed heinous crimes, but is entitled both to due process and protection from those who would seek to harm him.

    You may not argee with the policies of the Government of Israel, but even you have conceded its right to exist.

    Si.

  44. At 11:20 PM on 04 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Si,
    "Being anti-Israel is an absurdity. Whatever you may think it has it's right to exist enshrined in law. Even the fact that it refuses to obey the resolutions of that same body which created it doesn't not remove its right to exist."

    Assertion does not make anything true.

    I have still to learn from where such a "right" is conferred, especially when the implementation of the very UN resolution (181) upon which it claims to be based never happened. Indeed that resolution itself abrogated the founding UN and League principle of self-determination of peoples, and was IMPOSED against the expressed will of the entire neighbourhood with the exception of the tiny "israeli" minority.

    It is not absurd in the least to recognise these facts.

    Salaam/Shalom
    ed

  45. At 02:05 AM on 05 Sep 2007, perplexed wrote:

    (31)

    I thought the Americans acknowledged that the Bush surge would result in increased US casualties.

    Your lines 14 to 15 seem to say exactly the opposite.

    So:

    (32)

    Should Fifi be complaining about name calling or about STYLES which seem downright offensive if one is at the recieving end of the rhetoric, and rather pretentious and silly if one is a dispassionate observer.

  46. At 02:13 AM on 05 Sep 2007, joshua wrote:

    (43)

    Usually any group has the right to exist as a nation if it so chooses. Like Scotland for example.

    But there the land itself is not in dispute.

    If the Welsh were to clear England and ship the English to the borders of Scotland and declare the land they then occupy to be Wales, would that Wales have a right to exist?

    So which Isreal is it that it is claimed has an undeniable right to exist?

  47. At 02:57 AM on 05 Sep 2007, heretic wrote:

    Just been lstening to Camilla Batman Geller on Hard Talk.

    For her, its the way we treat our kids that makes them lawless.

    We should be punished for it, they not.

    But, but, but, is that a tenable position?

    Why isn't lack of love the problem in the adults' lives if it is the problem in the childrens' lives?


    I think what she says about kids is OK. But what she says about adults is awful.
    It would just about be passable as a way of helping kids see that being an adult does not put that grown up in the right.

    But as it is, she adds power to the elbows of the hang 'em and flog 'em type of approach - in her case provided they're adults.

  48. At 07:33 AM on 05 Sep 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Fifi (32):

    "Will froggers PLEASE refrain from name-calling, just because people disagree with your opinion or wisdom?"

    No, because you have rotten taste in jazz, you big poo.

    ;o)

    More seriously,Fifi has a good point. This blog is not a live debate where we have to sling soundbites at each other to get our points across. Due to the nature of this particular medium, we have (the opportunity to have) a perfect balance between fast response and time enough the prepare a cogent argument backed up by references and cites.

    This is a great place to have reaasoned debate, why let it slide into "You're stinky", "I know you are but what am I?"

    On the subject of anti-Americanism:

    I love America's regard for the rights of the Individual.
    I hate America's disregard for the Individual's responsibilities to all other Individuals.
    I love America's "Can do!" attitude.
    I hate America's "Will do, whatever the cost" attitude.
    I love America's belief in the future.
    I hate America's entrapment in the past.
    I love America's belief in equality.
    I hate America's fear of anything different.
    I love Americans; they're some of the loveliest, most polite and caring people in the world.
    I hate Americans; they're some of the rudest and most arrogant people in the world.

    Am I pro- or anti- America?

    I have broadly similar feelings about Britain, Israel, China, England, Scotland, jazz-fans, science-fiction-fans, etc...

  49. At 08:38 AM on 05 Sep 2007, toim wrote:

    Paul (28). I agree with you. You appear to be making the point which Jeremy Paxman hinted at. That he feared the BBC was losing its journalistic teeth, because news was "less about uncovering things than it is about covering them."

    So therefore, anti-anything bias is essentially what is excluded rather, than included.


  50. At 08:41 AM on 05 Sep 2007, Gerry wrote:

    Fifi @ 32

    Perhaps your proscriptive mantra ought to be written in bold next to POST A COMMENT section.
    Yarvol.

  51. At 09:40 AM on 05 Sep 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    My brow is furrowed by this one:

    I am lately noticing a strangely high number of motorists using their headlights in broad daylight. Have you noticed anything similar, and what on earth is this all about?!

  52. At 10:25 AM on 05 Sep 2007, David McNickle wrote:

    Ed, Simon, et al, I didn't say that I don't read Fisk or Pilger or listen to Bowen, only that they are anti-US/west. That is my opinion just like their opinions are theirs. Bowen has become more reasonable since shaving off his mid-east looking moustache.

    I also read Bruce Anderson in The Indy, but realise he is a right-winger. I don't agree with most of his writing either, but his columns are just opinion. There is a difference between news and opinion, but the BBC seems to blur the difference.

    I recently left a forum because of posters becoming more nasty. I hope that doesn't happen here.

  53. At 10:40 AM on 05 Sep 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Dr. H:

    Re Headlights.

    Could they be Volvos, etc., i.e. cars which are set to have their headlights on at all times? Could they be Danes (other nationalities are available) who live in a country where you have to have your headlights on at all times? or could they simply be idiots, I wonder?

    On another matter, I am hopeful that Jonnie may have a little treat for thee and me, and also I have some news to impart about Flywheel. Watch your Flickr post as I'll share that with you there.

  54. At 11:32 AM on 05 Sep 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Thanks, Sis. I will.

    I have no evidence to suggest that these vehicles are exclusively made by Volvo - and I don’t believe it’s the case. But why is there such a thing as a motor vehicle which is set to have the headlights on at all times? If this is indeed a Scandinavian-related setting, why have it set that way in the UK? The brow is still furrowing.

  55. At 11:54 AM on 05 Sep 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    No probs, Dr. H. I will email you promptly.

  56. At 11:56 AM on 05 Sep 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Dr. H - Email sent.

  57. At 12:09 PM on 05 Sep 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    So a judge thinks it's unfair that a few innocent people are included in the DNA database and thinks the logical conclusion for that is that everyone should be on there.

    I expect he also thinks that since innocent people are sometimes sent to prison - clearly unfair - that *everyone* should be put in prison.

    You have to admire him; not just reversing the presumption of innocence, but destroying the tourist industry in the same stroke since he says that even weekend visitors to the country should be recorded.

    Eddie, if you're going to cover this tonight, is there any chance of digging up statistics about the proportion of criminal cases where DNA evidence has a significant effect on the verdict? Is it worth the expense and cost to civil liberties?

  58. At 12:09 PM on 05 Sep 2007, Wonko wrote:

    Dr H (54) - The headlights thing is a safety tip commonly recommended by organisations devoted to such topics. Their arguement runs that a vehicle with its headlights on can be seen better and further away than one without headlights on. By implication this makes the roads safer for drivers and pedestrians because they have more warning of oncoming traffic. Some safety minded car makers (such as the previously named Swedish chaps - other car makers and Scandanavian countries are available) have decided to make their vehicle headlights come on when the ignition is on, whatever the time of day, in accordance with this advice. Other drivers who do not drive such vehicles do it because they think it's a good idea. Personally I don't mind people doing it, though I tend not to myself.

    I get more annoyed by people who:

    1) Drive around at all times of day and in all weather conditions with their front fog lights on. I've lost count of the times I've been dazzled - and not in a good way - both fron the front and behind by fog lights. It's arrogance and a lack of regard for their fellow road users of the highest water.

    2) Drive along unlit motorways at night with their full beam headlights on, causing similar problems to other road users (in both directions) as described above. You can't see any further with full beams on, and yes, I have tried it. The light beams are aimed higher to illuminate your surroundings. Guess what? on a motorway there are no surroundings to illuminate! If you can't see far enough in front, slow down!

    3) Do not turn their headlights (normal beam) on in rain or spray. Having your headlights on in such conditions definately makes you easier to see, making it much less likely that you will be run into by someone else.

    Rant over.

  59. At 12:36 PM on 05 Sep 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    Thanks for the info, W.

    I’m not sure that I agree with every aspect of ‘their argument’. Perhaps not unlike yourself, I suffer from the dazzle effect when confronted by vehicles with headlights ablaze - even in daylight, at which times I therefore find it particularly unneccessary. Dark glasses do not shield from this kind of glare sufficiently for my liking. I think it might be interesting if Eddie and the team were to despatch a reporter to cover this story, but perhaps I am the only one.

  60. At 12:58 PM on 05 Sep 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Wonko/r H -

    I suffer greatly when driving at night from the dazzle from some car headlights. I remember someone telling me that there is a certain percentage of the population who sre sensitive to those types of light/light sources, although this has nothing to do with any eyesight problems. Sorry, thats a bit vague but almost pertinent.

  61. At 01:46 PM on 05 Sep 2007, Humph wrote:

    I would add to the list of car/light gripes the apparently increasing habit of some people who drive after dark with no lights on whatsoever. Although the main roads around the city where I live are well lit, and it is possible to see these cars coming, many of the back-streets are not. It truely is a case of "you will hear them before you see them".

    H.

  62. At 03:23 PM on 05 Sep 2007, Wonko wrote:

    Glad to see it's not just me who has these problems.

    I have heard that there is a coating that can be put onto ordinary glasses, i.e. not sunglases. Whether this helps reduce the dazzle or not I cannot say having never tried it. I imagine there is also a cost implication.

    ;o) []

  63. At 04:18 PM on 05 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Joshua (46),
    "If the Welsh were to clear England and ship the English to the borders of Scotland and declare the land they then occupy to be Wales, would that Wales have a right to exist?"

    Or, say Bradford??

    SSC, Right On! And I hate the fact that I left America some 35 years ago because of her bad behaviour, and settled in Scotland, which I love, only to find that the UK, which I admired for refusing to follow USA into the Vietnam quagmire, no longer has such wisdom, and that its erstwhile leader was able single-handedly to change the image evoked by the phrase, "shoulder to shoulder" from shoulder-rubbing solidarity to ankle-grabbing submission.

    I MAY NOT UNDERSTAND IRONY, BUT I CAN WRITE LONG SENTENCES.

    Will the brown dog approach the Shrubbery with a more appropriate posture, I wonder. I hae me doots!

    Salaam/Shalom
    ed

  64. At 04:33 PM on 05 Sep 2007, David McNickle wrote:

    Wonko, My glasses automatically come with the anti-glare coating on them. It is a pain in the arse, because when you you wash them drops leave spots when they dry like you get on glasses that come out of a dishwasher.

  65. At 08:42 PM on 05 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    When I drove to Finland earlier this summer there was one country in which it was a legal requirement for me to have dipped headlights on at all times when I had the engine running. I can't remember which it was, but you can choose from England, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland... and I am fairly sure it wasn't England or France. :-)

    A while ago (possibly decades by now), a large new Volvo did indeed have its headlights set to come on whenever the engine was running. I think that was sidelights rather than headlights, though.

    The lights I find hard to stand are the blue-looking ones mostly on BMWs, which I find dazzling even at dipped beam.

    Full beam headlights if one is sharing the road with other cars are simply an offence against good taste, common sense and old-fashoined good manners, and those who use them for no good reason should be strapped down into chairs with their eyes taped open and subjected to the same degree of light for twenty minutes or so, then denied any treatment for the condition in which their eyes end up. The same should apply to the users of any vehicle (lorries, vans, 4x4s) whose headlights are sited at a height that means they are pointed directly into the eyes of those driving ordinary cars...

    Oh, was that a rant? Sorry. But hey, it was only my opinion, it wasn't biased at all. No, really. It has nothing to do with the flexible and directional spotlights I am thinking of getting fitted to the roof of my car so that I can respond correctly, or the various armament I am looking at installing at some point just to make the point properly!

  66. At 10:03 PM on 05 Sep 2007, RJD wrote:

    Ed I (63) - Ed, when you reply to "joshua", I hope you realise that you are writing to "heretic", "perplexed", "mac" and all the other aliases that he has!

  67. At 12:19 AM on 06 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    You wouldn't be joshing me would you RJD?

    xx
    ed

  68. At 12:31 AM on 06 Sep 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    RJD;
    I'm slightly curious. Who is/was the 'perpetual student' around a few threads last week?

    Are you able to shed light on the matter?

    Si.

  69. At 07:35 AM on 06 Sep 2007, RJD wrote:

    Si -
    Not sure about 'the perpetual student', but you may well be right. 'Nightwatchman' on the beach I'm pretty confident is 'mac' as well. There are probably many others too.

  70. At 08:57 AM on 06 Sep 2007, PAul wrote:

    How paranoid can you get? Here's my contribution.

    What about Anil? He can't make his mind as to being Muslim or Hindu. Sometimes he speaks in broken English sometimes his English has a rather Scottish flavour I would say. Typical BBC always confront others but never show transparancy yourself.

  71. At 10:26 AM on 06 Sep 2007, Molly wrote:

    AS someone who always reads and really appreciates the chance to learn from so many differing poinnts of view, can it be that there are peeps around who are simply out to cause ripples and disrupt the Brow?

    I do hope not. Not the place to be silly!

    I must say, RJD and Si have really got me thinking.....

    Mollyxx

  72. At 11:07 AM on 06 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    I like Simon Worrall's view of the US soldiers in Iraq.

    The more troops there, the bigger is the perimeter of the military force and so the more difficult it is to defend(????)

    What got the Americans out of Vietnam was the casulty rate. That rate varies with the size of the occupying force when the population refuses to aquiesce.

    The US ARGUMENT in Iraq is that it is not subduing the population but occupying areas to keep them free of incoming fighters.

    But that just pushes the fighters to the perimeter of the US force and provides them with more targets.

    So has the US casualty rate gone up or down or stayed the same since the surge?

    No doubt I could find out on line, but what has happened to it seems to me to be news, and its news I ain't been getting from the Beeb. Maybe 'cos not enough of us are saying it's of interest.

    In this matter I think only one message to the Beeb per person rather than one per pseudonym.

    My name IS mac. Since my mother died there is no one on the planet who knows me personally by any other name. When I get letters addressed 'Dear 'First name',..' or phone calls from someone who calls me 'First name' then I know straight away they they're from people who have never met me and doesn't really know me.

  73. At 11:09 AM on 06 Sep 2007, Molly wrote:

    AS someone who always reads and really appreciates the chance to learn from so many differing poinnts of view, can it be that there are peeps around who are simply out to cause ripples and disrupt the Brow?

    I do hope not. Not the place to be silly!

    I must say, RJD and Si have really got me thinking.....

    Mollyxx

  74. At 11:36 AM on 06 Sep 2007, RJD wrote:

    Molly (71)
    &
    Ed I (67) - Sorry Ed, I didn't see your response earlier.

    No, I'm perfectly serious.
    Post 45 'perplexed'
    Post 46 'jjoshua'
    Post 47 'heretic'
    all on this thread - all the same person.

    Post 16 'Gray', on Tuesday's Glass Box - same person again.

    Probably others as well, but they are all 'mac'

  75. At 12:36 PM on 06 Sep 2007, walk on by wrote:

    Some ideas for you to....walk on by.


    1. On reflection would it be a good idea to let the prisoners have an extra week of remission for every day prison officers are on strike?

    2. Are there ettiquette probs on the beach?

    One wo/mans meat is anothers poisson.

    We've had a mass masseur (a sort of 60s rub-in).
    Whilst that might be great fun for the women posters who gladly rubbed along with it I've heard from several non-bloggers that they found it all a bit tasteless.

    Our private fun should be private? Public spaces need lcd rules, surely.


    3. The same old gang (Anne P. listed the 27 - odd regulars) of froggers post post unto each other.

    This IS off-putting for outsiders.

    If you're not one of them are you supposed to enjoy their daily debates as a visitor?

    Well, there are lots of problems with that too.

    a. The contributions are earnest, most of the time but scarcely ever of themselves of encyclopedic reliability.

    b. Why does this frog family (hold your horses, I'm on Anne P's list too) think others outside the family should find exactly their opinions expressed in exactly their way, in the least remarkable?

    Why should the family think the endless repetition of their eating drinking and sleeping habits of more than the most passing of interests?

    c. There is bound to be a spillover from the serious blogs onto the beach. Mr. X believes we should hang rapists. Whether we are glad that he is enjoying fine wine on the beach must be coloured by our view of his views.

    d. We could argue that the whole blog is indeed the daily diary of a family, like the Archers, and of general interest.

    (How many of the 100,000 - odd hits the blog gets in a month are from one -offers, how many from 'regular readers' and how many people does the 100,000 or so hits represent?)

    But the Archers and East Enders have two sorts of characters who unify audiences - fools and villains.

    Both make us act in unison, laughing at them and booing them respectively.
    Precious few of our family, if any, are prepared to sacrifice their personal diginity to be the clown or rogue that script writers can create without personal compromise.
    Unseemly squabbles put people off. They think of them as real, not like a row between East Enders which are positively enjoyed.

    In particular almost all attempts to be non - serious on this blog seem to me to be obvious and thin disguises (well meant) worn by very serious people with very serious opinions. Which poke out sideways as the hippies used to say.

    The alternative seems to be to find a scapegoat whom the family can blame all its structural problems on. Wanted, a villain, to be Wanted, dead or alive, real or virtual.

    e. There remains then the prospect of lcd salaciousness -- lavatory humour to unite one and all.

    But see 2 here above. This week we have had jokes about venereal diseases and various sorts of manual stimulation. If you are in to such jokes they are fun. If not they can seem extraordinarily tasteless and crudely done.

    Its a bit like families who use swear words. Fine when they're by themselves. Awful at the bus stop or in the restaurant. Or on the beach.

    I reiterate this blog is a fully public space and is BBC run.

    f. We are currently battling with the monopolies of style that Today and Newsnight and.... (other BBC news programmes are available) seem to exercise over us.

    I think it would not be an unreasonable listener/ reader who came to the conclusion that a new blog monopoly (of the 28 - they ARE growing all the time) was emerging.

    g. Now the new BBC blog programme may change all this so that the 29 frog saints get their own programme. (The music would be wonderful). But then the 28 (I'm probably off the list after this) would be (semi) professional bloggers.

    Do I worry about this? After all a blog prog of 27 bloggers diaries is a great deal more populist than a single script writer's imaginary world.
    Whats more a lot of the bloggers are (semi?) professional artists with real talents who deserve to be heard more of - as musicians, singers and poets.

    But it seems to me the danger is that people become alienated even more from their own lives in order to read/listen to the lives of others.

    This has been mentioned before. Examples, John Peel using publicly broadcast family anecdotes which lose all value to the people who they happened to precisely because they have been made so public.

    Books, theatre, film, blogs etc are supposed to enrich life not be a substitute for it.

    I hear you say 'Whats wrong with spending the whole of one's life listening to Radio 3? Bach is probably more rewarding than anyone in your own life you could listen to.'

    But the blog advertises itself as life itself. (I feel the same about newspaper articles (of which there have been many recently) claiming blogs impoverish life. Well so does merely reading articles by 'Opinions' (like 'Suits' only wordier)).

    And even, dare I say it, the Eng Lit cannon itself can impoverish life if it is consumed at the expense of real life.

    It is surely our family and friends, our daily real lives which ultimately give quality to our own lives.

    No matter the formal arrangements the 1.3 million visitors to the blog in the last year will necessarily be getting most comment from the prolific 27 or so.

    People who should be expressing themselves to each other and in public spaces are in danger of thinking they are doing exactly that when in truth they are merely READING the blog entry of a fairly close knit group. To make one's own life as rich and interesting as an Archers script or a good blog requires a skill that Archers scripts and good blogs don't really help with.

    Some bloggers may need the sympathy of the many, and I for one offer it wholeheartedly. Were offering that comradship the AIM of the blog I for one would be less worried about it.

    What do you think?

    I hope I have upset no one. (That's a bit like Say's Law. The only comments I'll get will be from peole really upset by this post)

    I hope too that I haven't lit blue touch paper.

    Anyway, that's my furrow and I walk it as straight as I can.

    3. India v England, Saturday. I hope Panesar bowls brilliantly but for the losing side. W.A.Y.?

  76. At 12:39 PM on 06 Sep 2007, walk on by wrote:

    Some ideas for you to....walk on by.


    1. On reflection would it be a good idea to let the prisoners have an extra week of remission for every day prison officers are on strike?

    2. Are there ettiquette probs on the beach?

    One wo/mans meat is anothers poisson.

    We've had a mass masseur (a sort of 60s rub-in).
    Whilst that might be great fun for the women posters who gladly rubbed along with it I've heard from several non-bloggers that they found it all a bit tasteless.

    Our private fun should be private? Public spaces need lcd rules, surely.


    3. The same old gang (Anne P. listed the 27 - odd regulars) of froggers post post unto each other.

    This IS off-putting for outsiders.

    If you're not one of them are you supposed to enjoy their daily debates as a visitor?

    Well, there are lots of problems with that too.

    a. The contributions are earnest, most of the time but scarcely ever of themselves of encyclopedic reliability.

    b. Why does this frog family (hold your horses, I'm on Anne P's list too) think others outside the family should find exactly their opinions expressed in exactly their way, in the least remarkable?

    Why should the family think the endless repetition of their eating drinking and sleeping habits of more than the most passing of interests?

    c. There is bound to be a spillover from the serious blogs onto the beach. Mr. X believes we should hang rapists. Whether we are glad that he is enjoying fine wine on the beach must be coloured by our view of his views.

    d. We could argue that the whole blog is indeed the daily diary of a family, like the Archers, and of general interest.

    (How many of the 100,000 - odd hits the blog gets in a month are from one -offers, how many from 'regular readers' and how many people does the 100,000 or so hits represent?)

    But the Archers and East Enders have two sorts of characters who unify audiences - fools and villains.

    Both make us act in unison, laughing at them and booing them respectively.
    Precious few of our family, if any, are prepared to sacrifice their personal diginity to be the clown or rogue that script writers can create without personal compromise.
    Unseemly squabbles put people off. They think of them as real, not like a row between East Enders which are positively enjoyed.

    In particular almost all attempts to be non - serious on this blog seem to me to be obvious and thin disguises (well meant) worn by very serious people with very serious opinions. Which poke out sideways as the hippies used to say.

    The alternative seems to be to find a scapegoat whom the family can blame all its structural problems on. Wanted, a villain, to be Wanted, dead or alive, real or virtual.

    e. There remains then the prospect of lcd salaciousness -- lavatory humour to unite one and all.

    But see 2 here above. This week we have had jokes about venereal diseases and various sorts of manual stimulation. If you are in to such jokes they are fun. If not they can seem extraordinarily tasteless and crudely done.

    Its a bit like families who use swear words. Fine when they're by themselves. Awful at the bus stop or in the restaurant. Or on the beach.

    I reiterate this blog is a fully public space and is BBC run.

    f. We are currently battling with the monopolies of style that Today and Newsnight and.... (other BBC news programmes are available) seem to exercise over us.

    I think it would not be an unreasonable listener/ reader who came to the conclusion that a new blog monopoly (of the 28 - they ARE growing all the time) was emerging.

    g. Now the new BBC blog programme may change all this so that the 29 frog saints get their own programme. (The music would be wonderful). But then the 28 (I'm probably off the list after this) would be (semi) professional bloggers.

    Do I worry about this? After all a blog prog of 27 bloggers diaries is a great deal more populist than a single script writer's imaginary world.
    Whats more a lot of the bloggers are (semi?) professional artists with real talents who deserve to be heard more of - as musicians, singers and poets.

    But it seems to me the danger is that people become alienated even more from their own lives in order to read/listen to the lives of others.

    This has been mentioned before. Examples, John Peel using publicly broadcast family anecdotes which lose all value to the people who they happened to precisely because they have been made so public.

    Books, theatre, film, blogs etc are supposed to enrich life not be a substitute for it.

    I hear you say 'Whats wrong with spending the whole of one's life listening to Radio 3? Bach is probably more rewarding than anyone in your own life you could listen to.'

    But the blog advertises itself as life itself. (I feel the same about newspaper articles (of which there have been many recently) claiming blogs impoverish life. Well so does merely reading articles by 'Opinions' (like 'Suits' only wordier)).

    And even, dare I say it, the Eng Lit cannon itself can impoverish life if it is consumed at the expense of real life.

    It is surely our family and friends, our daily real lives which ultimately give quality to our own lives.

    No matter the formal arrangements the 1.3 million visitors to the blog in the last year will necessarily be getting most comment from the prolific 27 or so.

    People who should be expressing themselves to each other and in public spaces are in danger of thinking they are doing exactly that when in truth they are merely READING the blog entry of a fairly close knit group. To make one's own life as rich and interesting as an Archers script or a good blog requires a skill that Archers scripts and good blogs don't really help with.

    Some bloggers may need the sympathy of the many, and I for one offer it wholeheartedly. Were offering that comradship the AIM of the blog I for one would be less worried about it.

    What do you think?

    I hope I have upset no one. (That's a bit like Say's Law. The only comments I'll get will be from peole really upset by this post)

    I hope too that I haven't lit blue touch paper.

    Anyway, that's my furrow and I walk it as straight as I can.

    3. India v England, Saturday. I hope Panesar bowls brilliantly but for the losing side. W.A.Y.?

  77. At 01:45 PM on 06 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    Hey, you browsers, I'm writing a thing on politics in '68.

    I know David Caute has done it already and everyone else too, probably twice over, but those accounts are by survivors - indeed flourishers.

    I'd be interested to hear from anyone who stopped a bullet as it were in those times and found life tricky afterwards. One might say from unsung Robin Blackburns. (Though to hear from the 'sung' ones would be nice too)
    If you kindly blog here to say you are interested I'll arrange an email address letter box.

  78. At 01:56 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    walk-on-by

    You may be amazed to learn that the list of regulars is even longer than you think - In an exercise I did recently (for reasons I'll not mention here) I came up, with Fifi's help, with over 40 names of pretty regular froggers. And that was without the known duplicates.

    I agree with you that we could not reasonably say that we are representative of UK Plc, and I doubt very much any frogger would claim that. We MAY be representative of the Radio 4 listenership (though I doubt that, too).

    Anyway, the Blog is open to all. Like anything where you are not 'required' to take part, the space users will be selfselected, but I don't think there's any way around that.

    Speaking for myself, I'm always rather surprised when I find myself being referred to, either here or on one of the other places (e.g. Jonnie's webcam) in a way which denotes a kind of familiarity, other than from those froggers with whom I've been chatting over this past year and who I would now count as friends. But, then, that's part and parcel of being in a public space.

    Oh, and I'm no saint, and I very much doubt that any of us will 'make it' onto the Blog Prog, if I've understood its purpose correctly.

  79. At 02:20 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Walk on by,


    Hmmmmmmm.
    xx
    ed

  80. At 02:22 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    Walk on by (76)


    Spot on with your comments regarding the closed nature of this blog. I for one could not give a damn about being scapegoated. Eddie and his team do not read or respond to my posts when in fact many people share my opinions. The same applies to some bloggers who feel threatened by what they consider to be an outsider with opposing views. That's their problem.

    I place a post when I have something to say regarding news or current events, especially, if I think comment or speculation is being drawn into fact. Also, when I see inbalance or bias. It is obvious that 'outsiders' are put off by the treatment they receive when they step out of line, they don't return.

    True paranoia.

  81. At 02:38 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    RJD (74) and Si,

    Does it matter? If you know all that, you know I'm only me, but that's just lack of imagination.

    xx
    ed

  82. At 02:43 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Wonko wrote:

    Walk on by - forgive me if this comes across the wrong way, but I'm genuinely struggling to understand what you are writing, and hence your concerns. I will try to address some of your concerns below, my apologies if I misunderstand your points, please feel free to clarify as appropriate.

    From what I could gather from your lengthy post you seem to be suggesting that The Beach is full of inappropriate postings and is off putting for people reading it. I would suggest the contrary. I would evidence this from the very warm welcome I received when I first posted on there, not being an original Frogger, though perhaps now a "regular". Also, many new visitors to the Beach have specifically commented on how warm the welcome is. This is something that I have endeavoured to carry on, greeting people who have joined after me in (I hope) a similarly warm fashion. For me, it is a friendly place to relax and lose some of our worldly concerns. Yes it's a fantasy, but it does not pretend to be anything other than that, and I would venture that all those who use it treat it as such. I would also point out that the introduction to The Beach and the PM Blog FAQ do make it very clear what goes on there, including the inuendo, which I think is your main concern. Perhaps that is a reflection of the character of the main PM presenter - Eddie Mair - perhaps of those who post there. I would argue that along with whimsy, light-hearted banter and gentle leg-pulling it is part of the British sense of humour.

    Another of your concerns appears to be that "outsiders" could confuse the comment on this blog with being either a majority view, or an official BBC view. Again, I would dispute this. There is certainly debate on many of the topics, and many of the arguements made are well researched with supporting evidence sourced to back up those points of view. But they are simply that individual's opinion, up for discussion or counter-arguement. I don't see that anyone should make the confusion you suggest. If there is a point you feel is incorrect you are as much at liberty to make a counter point and challenge that point as anyone else. I would however strongly defend the blog as a place to challenge ideas, not people. Mature discussion, based around evidence and sourced material can only be a good thing surely?

    If I understand you correctly you are also concerned about a relatively small number of individuals monopolising the discussions. There is always a danger of any forum - on or off line - becoming a private club, a clique if you like. By it's nature a PM blog will tend to attract PM listeners, so in a sense you are correct. However, I would refer you back to what I have writen above. I feel that the Blog is welcoming of informed opinion, but those who post on it should be ready to robustly defend their position with supporting evidence and explore the logic of what they have said. Where they cannot do this I see no problem in that being exposed, that is what healthy debate is supposed to be about after all! Almost by definition some people enjoy the cut and thrust of debate (or have their particular hobby horses) more than others. I'm afraid that is human nature. Do not forget that there are many people who are quite happy to 'lurk' as it is often referred to. Such 'Lurkers' may or may not be put off by the regulars, we can never know. Ultimately we can't make people post!

    I would make one point in light of this posting. There is no shame in saying "You know what, you were right and I was wrong" - or at the least agreeing to disagree on a particular topic or subject. Sometimes no matter how well you feel you have argued, or how much supporting evidence you provide you will not change an individual's opinion. That's life I'm afraid, so draw a line under it and move on.

    I hope that I have answered at least some of your concerns, I remain, as always ready to discuss and debate these points. And I am not a bit upset, and I hope you don't think of this response as either being negative or "lighting the blue touchpaper" - it is certainly not meant that way.

    ;o) []

  83. At 03:07 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Paul (80),

    "True paranoia."

    On whose part, one wonders....

    Salaam/Shalom
    ed

  84. At 03:09 PM on 06 Sep 2007, RJD wrote:

    Ed I (81) - Well Ed it depends on why it is being done. I've had at least half a dozen names on a very temporary basis over the past year, but always to entertain or to make a comment/joke more relevant - you will recall the BreakingNews persona.

    But if the intention is to post a comment to agree with comments from another persona that you have created then I think that is unacceptable. Just as it is unacceptable to use anther poster's name and pretend to be them, which the person in question has also done.

  85. At 03:22 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I hadn't realised my efforts to be inclusive were contributing to the opposite effect!

    Everyone here was once 'new'. Some of us still feel 'new'. Even the earliest of us are only a year old.

    I know the FB is the serious place but ... aren't we starting to take things a little TOO serious?

    I'm off to be mean on another thread. Perhaps that'll come across as being friendly....?

    Fifi

  86. At 03:47 PM on 06 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Paul (80) and Walk on by (76)

    re Spot on with your comments regarding the closed nature of this blog.

    I'm sorry i don't see how can possibly say that.

    This blog is here for ANYONE to contribute to IF they want to. Its a free public space.

    What evidence have you that 'outsiders' are put off by the treatment they receive here?

    There may be cases where people who post comments that are really inflamatory get short shrift from bloggers, but by the by the 'Froggers' are a pretty tolerant bunch who are always welcoming.

    There are many in my close and extended family that only 'visit' and rarely post anything. Not because they are put off by other bloggers but because what they were going to say has probably already been posted.

    DIY

  87. At 03:48 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    RJD (84),

    I understand what you're saying, but can't see any need for concern. After all, it's only a frog or blog, and any 'cheaters' only really cheat (or amuse) themselves.

    Any arguments, statements, viewpoints are simply that. If one feels the need to agree with or support ones-self through the use of a second (or third, fourth) pseudonym, I don't see any real harm. I don't think the frog is likely to be audited or used in evidence.

    I'm with Wonko, though I didn't take Walkonby's ramblings as more than ramblings - ruminations questions to ponder and walk on by....

    Have a Liffey on me and relax. I am curious how you check the proxies, and would love a clue.

    Slainte
    ed

    And remember what ruminants do ;-)

  88. At 04:01 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    Di Wyman (86)

    I would say the evidence is that several people have reached the same conclusion.

    What evidence do you have that this is not the case?

  89. At 04:11 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    walk on by @ 75 and 76 (I wish the moderators would take the time to eliminate duplicate posts!)

    It's a heck of a long post to reply to, so please excuse partial responses -- in the sense 'a bit', rather than in the sense 'biased'. Let's just assume that all posts here are biased, in fact, since ipso facto by posting here we are bound to display a bias in favour of for instance being literate, owning a computer, having electricity, and so forth. Some posters in the frog have other biases and cannot ever pass up the opportunity to shout "BIAS!" and be rude about the BBC... but we could agree to ignore them for the time being, perhaps.

    '1. On reflection would it be a good idea to let the prisoners have an extra week of remission for every day prison officers are on strike?'

    An interesting idea, but I doubt it would get past the people making the rules. It might depend on what the offence was that the prisoner had committed or was alleged to have committed, perhaps. I don't myself see the reasoning behind some of the sentences in the first place, but I don't think this is the place for that debate right now.

    '2. Are there ettiquette probs on the beach?'

    If there are (and you list a few) it's a shame, and can only really be dealt with by self-regulation. I have known groups that fell apart when the level of gunge rose too high for the majority to stomach! On the other hand you mention the 'mass masseur' on the Beach, and I didn't find that particularly offensive: it didn't happen to overstep my personal 'bad taste level'.

    I do ask, if the people who find it tasteless are non-froggers, how did they come to see and be affronted by it?

    'Our private fun should be private? Public spaces need lcd rules, surely.'

    I don't know what 'lcd rules' means, but if 'lcd' stands for 'lowest common denominator' I don't agree, because in that case the place would exist only to have umpteen zillion posts all saying 'Duh', which would be very dull.

    '3. The same old gang (Anne P. listed the 27 - odd regulars) of froggers post post unto each other.'

    Oh, no, not at all! I can't speak for others, but *I* certainly don't unless I start by saying a name and addressing a remark to that person in a most obvious way. Mostly I either sound off at random and hope for reasoned argument, which is *always* good, or ask specific questions t which if I'm lucky I may get intelligible replies, which increase my information on a subject.

    'This IS off-putting for outsiders.'

    Hmmm. I arrived here with a computer that could never get any thread longer than about 30 posts without crashing, and I certainly wasn't here when the frog started, but I wasn't made to feel an 'outsider'. Perhaps this is a case of those who consider themselves outsiders doing so whether anyone does it to them or not? (I discount the rude and stupid, obviously: I see no reason *not* to make twerps aware that they are being twerps if they make me cross enough, and I am unPC enough not to feel a need to defend that particular position.)

    'If you're not one of them are you supposed to enjoy their daily debates as a visitor?'

    It's called 'good manners': you don't barge into a pub and start laying down the law until you have stood there for a bit working out what is going on, or I hope you don't, and the same ought to apply to a frog. New names appear quite often, and stay. I have a feeling that eg 'mac' wasn't here when I arrived, for example.

    [snippage: the examples are not going to help, I think]

    'I reiterate this blog is a fully public space and is BBC run.'

    I don't actually find that the BBC have much to do with it at all: one might as well attribute the opinions of emails to the ISPs of the senders. I assume that if I tried to post an overtly racist or obscene comment the moderators (who are not part of the PM team, but an external organisation) would prevent my post from appearing, which seems to me no bad thing, but the opinions of the individuals on the frog are those of the individuals, not of the BBC, as far as I am able to tell.

    I was, I think, in the list of 27 or 28 or however many. I don't think that has anything whatever to do with anything, to be honest. I have things I think about, things I don't, and so forth: so do most people.... I have others I say nothing about at all. So do the others on that list, and I don't think they were the most frequent posters either, just the ones known to/noticed by one individual.

    'No matter the formal arrangements the 1.3 million visitors to the blog in the last year will necessarily be getting most comment from the prolific 27 or so.'

    Or the 40, or those with whom the visitors agree even though one post from that individual was all there was. I think what's being put forward here is a slightly simplistic view. What happens when the regular froggers disagree, as they frequently do?

    'I hope I have upset no one. (That's a bit like Say's Law. The only comments I'll get will be from peole really upset by this post)'

    Not so, in fact. I am not upset, I am interested, though I don't entirely see either what the problem is or what if anything ought to be done about the problem if any. It seems to me that the people who are reasonably happy are reasonably happy, and the rest either could be or can't be: if the former, Hurrah!, and if the latter, I don't see why I ought to be altering my behaviour to accommodate them when I don't actually know what they want nor, if I am honest, care particularly what they may think of me or of anyone else I like.

    Well, you asked. That's as honest as I am prepared to be, I think.

    '3. India v England, Saturday. I hope Panesar bowls brilliantly but for the losing side. W.A.Y.?'

    I'm afraid I don't have any information on this. What does 'W.A.Y.' mean?

  90. At 04:18 PM on 06 Sep 2007, RJD wrote:

    Ed I - Just by the style, the same layout, same spelling mistakes, same incoherent ramblings, same time in the middle of the night. I've no magic way of checking, but abviously the techies at PM can and do look at the originating ISPs.

  91. At 04:26 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Black Dog. wrote:

    So, Whip crack-away!, Whip crack-away!, Whip crack-away!

  92. At 04:38 PM on 06 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Paul (88)

    evidence.....just hang around long enough to get a true flavour of the blog and all the threads and you will see that we are attracting new 'Froggers' all the time.....and they stay.

    DIY

  93. At 05:05 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    DIW @ 92, when did Paul ever either give or accept evidence so's anyone else noticed? Save your breath to cool your porridge, or your electrons for whatever those are good for, and don't waste 'em on someone I have been watching argue black is white for *weeks* now, would be my advice.

    Does anyone happen to know where the immortal phrase 'Leave 'im -- 'e ain't wurff it!' first appeared, and who said it?

  94. At 05:13 PM on 06 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    BD (91)

    can you sit at the back please, you may have someones eye out with that!

    DIY

  95. At 07:00 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Paul wrote:

    The first comment on the Glass Box for Thursday is from Paul. It is not me. It would appear that someone is using other people's user names. Obviously, to stir things up.

  96. At 08:45 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Paul @ 95, how very unfair of whoever it was to trespass on your prerogative in the matter of stirring things up! You have my sympathy. I hope that you have complained to the moderators, or to Marc the Frog Prince?

    In fact that does seem to be one of the more important functions that a moderator should be fulfilling. Taking somone else's name in vain is something they ought to be able to deal with before it becomes a nuisance, I would have thought. Comments? Marc? Frogs who have been thus victimised?

  97. At 09:00 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Paul (95) Thanks for the heads-up regarding thursday's Glass Box. You may want to complain about the comment, or at least post on that thread making it clear that it wasn't you. I know we don't always see eye to eye, but I will happily stand up for your right to post here without being susceptible to such identity theft.

    FFred

  98. At 10:29 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Paul;
    I'll add my voice to FFred's at (97).

    Why not make yourself more distinctive somehow, 'Paul the original' or something?

    Si.

  99. At 11:38 PM on 06 Sep 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Blimey. I began to read hoping to catch up after m' hols, but, frankly, half way down I was put off by the groupthink. I mean, everyone just agrees about everything here, don't they?... :-)

  100. At 01:41 AM on 07 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Appy (99),

    Aye, that'll be right!
    xx
    ed

  101. At 08:50 AM on 07 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Paul (95)

    re identity theft, you have my sympathy, please complain to the moderators.

    DIY

  102. At 09:29 AM on 07 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    This post is very much in parentheses, but important to me. So as you will see, a double apology.

    I unreservedly apologise to Natasha Kaplinski for saying on this blog that her family came from Kenya, was involved in the ownership of the White Highlands and went to an exclusive Kenyan school. I had gathered completely wrongly that she came from Kenya a couple of years ago during some programmes she was doing and had been told 'details', again completely wrongly, of her life there.

    As I now understand it from what I was able to see of last night's BBC programme about her, her family came from South Africa where her father-to-be led an historic struggle against Apartheid.

    He led students at Cape Town University in resisting the government's attempts to block the appointment of a University of Cape Town lecturer which would have violated the Apartheid 'laws' that all lecturers be white. As a result of his courageous and fine stand he became the subject of so much government pressure that he was forced to leave South Africa and come to live in England.

    Ms Kaplinsk as I now understand it had and has no connection with Kenya of any sort and I would be grateful if everyone who read or reads those posts would completely disregard all that I said about her priveleged position in Kenyan society, all of which was untrue, in fact complete and utter nonsense.


    I can only apologise to everyone for this huge error on my part, to those who were misinformed by me, to those who were upset by what I said and in fact to everyone, as I say, whether they came across those postings or not.

    She was brought up in England.

    What is said or written cannot be undone but to the extent that anyone might have thought any the less of Ms. Kaplinski because of my spreading untruths about her, I unreservedly apologise to her and hope that this apology goes as far possible in undoing any harm I have done her.
    Her early life was not in any way concerned with Kenya, the White Highlands or indeed any exclusive white dominated Kenyan schools.

    My remarks did by implication most damage to her father who as I have said was engaged in a thoroughly admirable struggle with the then government of South Africa and had nothing whatsoever to do with Kenya, the White Highlands or exclusive education there. In fact he was hugely involved in the struggle to free education in South Africa from its cruel racial divisions.

    There is as I now understand it nothing in modern Kenya that has anything to do with Ms Kaplinski except the excellent and outstanding reputation of her father in South African politics.

    The apology then is double - for the original offence and for putting you to the trouble of this blog.


  103. At 09:29 AM on 07 Sep 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Paul (95) : Experience indicates that your best recourse is to visit the comment that is posing as you, and click on 'Complain about this comment'.

    You can then explain what the problem is, and a moderator will either look into it or alert Blog Prince Marc.

    It's been done before, where one frogger pretended to be another, and I believe a Quiet Word was had.

    (I'll be charitable and assume the imposter was also the 'Paul' who was a little brusque with me earlier on this thread, when I endeavoured to bring a little levity to what was becoming an unpleasantly tense dialogue.)

    It's in all our interests for this blog to work effectively, and it generally does although like anything else it's far from perfect.

    Fifi

  104. At 11:23 AM on 07 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    The use of a single, reasonably usual name is a problem and it may be 'stolen' by accident, I agree, but if someone of ill intent chooses to use a less usual name, as it might be 'Chris Ghoti', there's nothing to stop him or her under the system that operates here at present.

    I don't know what if anything can be done to prevent this sort of nasty behaviour other than more stringent moderation, and that would carry its own problems if one of the usual posters wanted for some reason to post under an alias far what is obviously a joke, as happened in the 'On Fifi' thread a while back.

    All one can really say, in fact, is 'what a shame that the world has crothounds in it'. We'll just have to live with them, and dislike them, I suppose.

  105. At 11:49 AM on 07 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Fortnightly refuse bin collections...do they have anything to do with improving recycling or are they just a means for cost savings?

    We have two bins, a green one (strangely enough) for non recyclables and a grey one for recyclable stuff. The bins are emptied on alternate weeks. But in the recent warm weather the green one has really started to stink after a week and it has also started to have maggots!

    Oh and yes I do compost as much organic waste as I safely can!

    So I think it is just the council saving money and giving a 'poorer' service.

    DIY

  106. At 12:12 PM on 07 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Well Done Mac!
    Slainte
    ed

  107. At 01:01 PM on 07 Sep 2007, JOHN P wrote:


    A State of parallel worlds determines almost everything that we do and how we do it. The word that once described it, class, is unmentionable, just as imperialism used to be.

    Thanks to George W Bush, the latter is back in the lexicon, if not at the BBC.

    Class is different. It runs too deep - it allows us to connect the present with the past and to understand the malignancies of a modern economic system based on inequity and fear.

    So it is seldom spoken about publicly, lest a Goldman Sachs chief executive on multimillions in pay or bonuses, or whatever they call their legalised heists, be asked how it feels to walk past office cleaners struggling on the minimum wage.

    Just as elite power seeks to order other countries according to the demands of its privilege, so class remains at the root of our own society's mutations and sorrows.

    In recent weeks, the killing of an 11-year-old Liverpool boy and other tragedies involving children have been thoroughly tabloided.

    Interviewing Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, one journalist wondered if "we" should go out and deal personally with our vile, mugging, stabbing, shooting youth. To this, the nodding Vaz replied that the problem was "values."

    The main "value" is ruthless exclusion, such as the exile of millions of young people on vast human landfills called housing estates, where they are forearmed with the knowledge that they are different and schools are not for them.

    A rigid curriculum, a system devoted to testing children beyond all reason, ensures their alienation. "From the age of seven," says Shirley Franklin of the Institute of Education, "20 per cent of the nation's children are seen - and see themselves - as failures ... Violence is an expression of hatred towards oneself and others."

    With the all-digital world of promise and rewards denied them, let alone a sense of belonging and esteem, they move logically to the streets and crime.

    And yet, since 1995, actual crime in England and Wales has fallen by 42 per cent and violent crime by 41 per cent.

    No matter. The "violence of youth" is the accredited hysteria.

    A government led for a decade by a man whose lawless deceit helped cause the violent deaths of perhaps a million people in Iraq invented an acronym - ASBO - for a campaign against British youth, whose prospects and energy and hope were replaced by the "values" expressed by Keith Vaz and exemplified by the current imperial adventures.

    Take Afghanistan, where the irony is searing. In less than seven years, the Anglo-US slaughter of countless "Taliban" - people - has succeeded in spectacularly reviving an almost extinct poppy trade, so that it now supplies the demand for heroin on Britain's poorest streets, where enlightened drug rehabilitation is not considered a government "value."

    Parallel worlds require other elite forms of exclusion. In Edinburgh on August 24, the BBC presenter Jeremy Paxman made a much-hyped speech "attacking" television for "betray(ing) the people we ought to be serving."

    What was revealing about the speech was the attitude towards ordinary viewers that it betrayed. According to Paxman, "while the media and politicians feel free to criticise each other, neither has the guts to criticise the public, who are presumed never to be wrong."

    In fact, ordinary people are treated in much of the media as invisible or with contempt, or they are patronised.

    Two honourable exceptions were the GMTV presenters cited and mocked by Paxman for their humanity in standing up for an ex-serviceman denied proper treatment by the NHS. Paxman called for a more "sophisticated" and "honest" approach that accepted the public's approval of low taxes.

    The same taxes are not rationed when it comes to propping up hugely profitable private finance initiatives in the NHS or waging war, regardless of the public's objections.

    Not once in his speech did Paxman refer to Iraq, nor did he tell us why Blair was never seriously challenged on that bloodbath in a broadcast interview.

    That the BBC had played a critical role in amplifying and echoing Blair's and Bush's lies was apparently unmentionable.

    The coming attack on Iran, led again by propaganda filtered through broadcasting, is from the same parallel world, also unmentionable.

  108. At 01:03 PM on 07 Sep 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    mac (102)

    a needed but just the same, a very noble deed is done!

    DIY

  109. At 01:32 PM on 07 Sep 2007, KEITH DAVIS wrote:

    That noise you can hear, getting louder all the time, is Keir Hardie spinning in his grave as an alleged Labour Prime Minister brags about really being a Tory.

    He's already bought off ex-CBI union-hater Digby "fat cat" Jones with a sinecure, and now he's toadying to Conservative MPs by offering them places in his administration.

    How low will he go?

    In the same speech, he trumpeted himself as a "conviction" politician, whatever that might be.

    I think that he picked the wrong word - on the sample evidence of having bankrolled Bliar's involvement in Bush's grubby oil war in Iraq and his continuing efforts to sell us out to the Brussels federalists with the three-card trick of the European constitution, all the while insisting the opposite, "Janus" Brown by far deserves the monicker of a "convicted" politician instead.

    And as far as his bread-and-circuses gimmick of "citizens' juries" go, I've no doubt that they'd unanimously and without any hesitation find him guilty as charged.

  110. At 03:29 PM on 07 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    That Sound you can hear is the credit crunch!

    lalalalalalalaaaaaa.
    xx
    ed

  111. At 03:39 PM on 07 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    That Sound you can hear is the credit crunch!

    lalalalalalalaaaaaa.
    xx
    ed

  112. At 04:12 PM on 07 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    In the right KEY this time ( I hope)
    xx
    ed

  113. At 04:36 PM on 07 Sep 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    JOHN P (107)

    I have quite a lot of sympathy with quite a lot of what you say. But: "That the BBC had played a critical role in amplifying and echoing Blair's and Bush's lies was apparently unmentionable."

    Do you really think it's the BBC's job to censor what the PM/President says?

    Sid

    (I don't)

  114. At 05:06 PM on 07 Sep 2007, JOHN P wrote:

    l
    suppose
    red
    is
    red
    in
    any
    language.....

  115. At 07:34 PM on 07 Sep 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    JOHN P @ 114

    If you happen to be colour-blind, of course, it may be grey. Or gray if you are American, I suppose...

  116. At 10:37 PM on 07 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Simply RED again!

    lalalalalalalaaaaaaa!
    ed

  117. At 02:46 PM on 09 Sep 2007, mac wrote:

    (109)

    And these appointments from Tory ranks are supposed to be about inclusive politics.

    What's missing from Brown inclusivity is the 30 percent of the population that has Old Lbour symapthies.

    They should become the New Socialists.

    They ARE to be found - languishing on the Labour back benches.

    We should start campaigns:

    'If Digby Jones is in the governmant why isn't......'

    A couple of Labour MPs, say Roger Berry who can still shake a socialist stick and PEter Soulsby who is to the anti War movement what Gorgeous George should be.

    And what about some real far out lefties - Gorgeous George or Tariq.

    The real problem I think is that because of the 60s and the hits we took over Vietnam the left got thinned out disastrously.

    The peopel who survived (people like Triesman, Hain and so on) were good liberal lefties but without real roots in ordinary working class politics.

    So many of the New Labour successes come from traditions for whom the water board, the gas board, the post office, the local trade union branch, the nationalised industires, the local authorities, council housing, the tube, the buses were mere theoretical entities.

    They are middle class well educated (and v. welcome) socialists but their instinct is not
    'How do extend producer socialism?'

    For them socialism is at best a theoretical construct. They are in the honorable Micheal Foot tradition, peope who care but not by instinct people who would welcolm a TGWU leader into govenrment (Frank Cousins or Ted Hill for example)

    Think how well Prescott and Johnson have progessed in the Labour Party. But they have done it with the ethics of the Manse (the home of Brown and Alexander) not the instincts of Bevan and the '45 generation.

    So socialists, TU leaders and back bench MPs --- who should be in government?

  118. At 06:48 PM on 09 Sep 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Our continuing SERVICE continues....

    Slainte
    ed

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