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The Glass Box for Monday

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Eddie Mair | 16:48 UK time, Monday, 19 November 2007

is the place to comment on tonight's programme.


  1. At 05:01 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Today in the markets

    Just part of our continuing service ;-)

    "My life is a soap opera, but who has the rights?"
    -- MadameX

  2. At 05:11 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    OK! Here's the international stuff!

    INTERNATIONAL MARKETS | See all International Data
    12:15 p.m. EST 11/19/07Major World Indexes(Roll over for charts)
    Last Change % Chg
    DJ World Index 296.08 -4.41 -1.47
    DJ World exUS 268.43 -4.11 -1.51
    DJ Asia-Pacific 158.80 -0.71 -0.45
    Japan: Nikkei Average* 15042.56 -112.05 -0.74
    Hong Kong: Hang Seng* 27460.17 -154.26 -0.56
    DJ Stoxx 50* 3692.59 -40.46 -1.08
    Germany: DAX* 7511.97 -100.29 -1.32
    UK: FTSE 100* 6142.70 -148.50 -2.36
    DJ Americas Index 369.43 -5.38 -1.44
    Brazil: Bovespa 62659.75 -1949.63 -3.02
    Canada: S&P/TSX 13357.34 -173.02 -1.28
    * at close

    Enjoy the wild ride!

    People need good lies. There are too many bad ones.
    -- Bokonon, "Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

  3. At 05:11 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Martin Wisse wrote:

    Really, the Catholic Church should keep its mouth shut on all issues regarding sexuality, the family and children until they get rid of all the pedophile priests, apologise and make steps to prevent them from re-entering the church.

  4. At 05:18 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Joe Walker wrote:

    Northern Rock and the State Bankers

    There is a rule of thumb which is a key point in this whole Northern Rock affair. It is that the State and tax-payer will always and inevitably step in when a dire situation threatens the economy and confronts us all with disaster, regardless of the underlying processes that are responsible. Northern Rock has shown us that this rule remains as true as ever. And thank God it does!

    The fact that the Government's inevitable response to the crisis has illicited anxiety in some who claim this sets a bad example and will only provoke further irresponsibility within other institutions has, while being true, more to do with their inability to confront the horrible and inescapable reality of the situation than it has with their fantasies of a truly independent financial system, that is, by some miracle, incapable of destroying itself and taking us all with it.

    This is a text book example of the inevitability of State economic intervention and makes ideologues such as former Northern Rock head Matt Ridley who loudly supports (supported?) the sort of capitalism that creates Northern Rock-type fiascos in the first place and then equally loudly screamed for help when it blew up in his face appear hypocritical and foolish.

    If this affair isn't quoted time and again as a real-life example of the nonsense of UK-style economic 'management' and the short-term folly of its supporters I won't be in the least bit surprised, because so far I've not heard a single BBC economics editor make the point. Well I didn't expect that...

  5. At 05:18 PM on 19 Nov 2007, JimmyGiro wrote:

    He was brought up by two feminists, how can you expect him to answer a question about fathers?

    He was brainwashed from infancy. Would his father have allowed that, if the father were not relegated to the position of a mere 'biological prognosis'?

  6. At 05:34 PM on 19 Nov 2007, David Traynier wrote:

    Rory Bremner recently said that sending Tony Blair to promote peace in the Middle East is much like sending a mosquito to cure malaria. I agree.

  7. At 05:35 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Joe (4),

    I refer you to

    No where did I put my violin....

    Humor in the Court:
    Q. And lastly, Gary, all your responses must be oral. O.K.? What school do you go to?
    A. Oral.
    Q. How old are you?
    A. Oral.

  8. At 05:49 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Ashley Inglis wrote:

    Oxford Union and free speech - pull the other one.
    Three weeks ago this same 'bastion of free speech' bottled at the last minute and rescinded its invitation to controversial US academic Norman Finkelstein (he'd been invited to debate the solution to the ISrael-Palestine conflict). So what had Norman Finkelstein done wrong that Griffin and Irving have not?
    He got bad press from some Oxford students who didn't like his views on Israel.
    Tryl says he's for free speech...actually he's for snappy headlines and easy controversies!

  9. At 05:52 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    test 1756

  10. At 05:53 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Joe Walker wrote:

    You either believe in free speech or you don't.

    It is typical of a former Government Minister like Edwina Curry not to believe in free speech. In any half-decent democracy it is not enough merely to claim that an argument is not credible without having the confidence to test and re-test that claim in the public arena. In a functioning, healthy democracy, Nick Griffin's politics will always be shown incapable of holding water.

    People like Curry and others from various parts of the political spectrum who insist that certain arguments should not be allowed to see the light of day fundamentally do not trust democracy and should not be trusted with it.

  11. At 06:05 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Sid Cumberland wrote:

    Excellent prog tonight, folks. Keep it up.


  12. At 06:06 PM on 19 Nov 2007, A E Ross wrote:

    The Oxford Union has a long tradition of encouraging free speech. I seem to recall a pre-WWII debate " This house will not fight for King and Country "

  13. At 06:15 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Ashley (8),

    The point about Professor Finklestein is well made,

    Namaste -ed

    Heller's Law:
    The first myth of management is that it exists.

    Johnson's Corollary:
    Nobody really knows what is going on anywhere within the organization.

  14. At 06:18 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Joe Walker wrote:

    Ed (7)

    Hi Ed, (it's been a long time).

    Thanks for that. Sums the whole ugly pantomime up very nicely.

    I can understand the survival instincts of these people kicking in when their coveted market disappears from under them and they rush to the last remaining lifeboat in the form of the State, but I wish they'd stop going on about how wonderful these same markets are when they happen to be raking it in.

    With hindsight, I begin to suspect they and their earlier insistent claims were less than credible.

  15. At 06:27 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Chris wrote:

    As a father I can’t help agreeing with the sentiment of JimmyGiro (5).However if my daughter wanted to reduce my role in her life to that of ‘biological prognosis’ then that’s her prerogative. Letting a lunatic legislature make a similar option available to anyone else, regardless of their sexual orientation, is proposing the degradation of my humanity and incidentally yours too. Extremist proposals like that need airing out. May be when the Oxford Union have done cocking their collective legs up over David Irving they can get down and dirty with a few more dodgy ideas. May be Pm could supply some helpful suggestions. Thank you for trusting that we aren’t too naïve to cope with them.

  16. At 06:31 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Joe Walker wrote:

    Ashley (8)

    The appalling treatment of Norman Finkelstein and his views in the U.S., which has now it seems infected this country is a case in point. Whenever the expression of a point of view, no matter how controversial, is silenced we should consider it a measure of the declining health of our democracy.

  17. At 06:50 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    An alternative to Holocaust Denial?


    Clarke's Conclusion:
    Never let your sense of morals interfere with doing the right thing.

  18. At 07:40 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Kate wrote:

    re the Oxford Union invite to the person who denied the Holocaust, and to Nick Griffin.

    Is this a free country? Is there freedom of speech?
    Give the holocaust speaker enough rope, and he will hang himself with the nonsense of his unbelievable arguments.
    As for Nick Griffin, since when did we stop a political party from freely expressing its views? Have I missed something? A great deal of what I see and hear on a daily basis is not in line with my personal views, but I would defend the right of anyone, however much it may irritate me, to speak freely and without fear, providing that violence is not being promoted.
    This is Great Britain is it not, thought to be a free nation,but,
    without freedom of speech you may cross off the Great.!
    The Oxford Union is I believe making a stand for freedom of speech as a fundamental principle in a civilised society, if the intellectuals give up on this freedom, we are doomed!

  19. At 09:28 PM on 19 Nov 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    It strikes me that holocaust denial gets an easier ride than it deserves, and when I try to work out why I wonder whether some of it may be because people get fed up with what I would call 'holocaust exaggeration'. The Holocaust was unforgivable and should never be forgotten, but the more we dwell on it, the more people who would rather not dwell on it are going to say something like 'oh, that old thing' and be open to the insidious suggestion that maybe it wasn't that bad, maybe the people who say it was are making the most of it for their own reasons, and so on.

    People do so often abreact to being lectured about the sins of their grandfathers. Many of them would disagree with him heartily if only some outsider didn't tell them that they should -- it isn't until that point that they have to try to find some defence for his behaviour, against all reason including their own.

    just a thought...

  20. At 02:37 AM on 20 Nov 2007, JimmyGiro wrote:

    Indeed Chris @ 19.

    The innate cussedness of the individual is part of what makes us react in different ways.

    When a group of people become so distraught that they will forgo their individuality, they are prone to orthodoxy in a 'collective defence'. They may also collectively delegate guilt of their crimes against others (c.f. Eichmann).

    Consider the experiments by Milgram, Asch, and Zimbardi (spelling?).

    Milgram showed how most of us can be easily persuaded to do nasty things to others 'because we are told to'.

    Asch showed that people will generally follow the majority of their peers, regardless of reason.

    Zimbardi showed from the 'Stanford prison experiment', that people will revert to prejudice and denigration by institutional regime.

    The problem isn't holocaust denial by celebrity speakers; it's believing that we won't do it again.

  21. At 11:27 AM on 20 Nov 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Jimmy (20),

    "The problem isn't holocaust denial by celebrity speakers; it's believing that we won't do it again."

    I and the public know
    What all schoolchildren learn,
    Those to whom evil is done
    Do Evil in return.

    -- W.H. AUDEN, "September 1, 1939

    The problem is denial, full stop. never mind, just hop a jet to Bali and let's talk about it....

    Namaste -ed

    It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.

  22. At 11:43 AM on 20 Nov 2007, mac wrote:


    yeah, well, on this blog one Simon Worrall was telling us capitalist markets were the best thing going whilst you've been away.

    must be that his mea culpa is blogged down at 502. along with the one retracting how tough post apartheid is for whites in rsa.

    now merve king says 'expect a stock crash', its less fun all the way round but still one tries.....

    1. merve, is the crash the right move on the part of markets?
    Is the new lower valuation economically correct?
    is the path markets take to get there (the crash) the best way?

    2. how come everyone else knows its going to happen but not the price setters in the city apparently? They are not shouting 'Rotten fish! Get your over priced and ready to crash stocks here'

    3. how dishonest is it to overprice and sell rotten fish anyway?
    Given merve can tell us how, with just a few boffins at the bank why don't we adopt a planning system for financial matters instead of paying these crooks to rob us?

    4. merve, where should the spending come from to keep demand up during the slump?
    Where is your policy advice to the G8 governments in terms of development spending and the creation of hydroelectric power across the globe that would keep demand high and do GOOD?

    5. why isn't the US government being advised to keep the sub prime borrowers in their homes with exceptional welfare payments, merve?
    Big government for little guys isn't bad government, guys.

    6. v. Cable says nationalise Northern Rock. Have we heard our brave Lib Dem leadership contenders on that?

    personally I think we need the '45 programme of public ownership restored + the financial institutions nationalised, a genuinely egalitarian tax policy and huge G8 initiatives to get us through this one.

    yours, more in hope than in anger (though those more in anger than hope may heve it right),


  23. At 12:15 PM on 20 Nov 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    JimmyGiro @ 20, thanks, yes: that adds some clarification to my somewhat inchoate thought.

    The pitfall about assuming we won't do it again is clear -- we can see all about us that people will behave unpleasantly with very little encouragement, and to think otherwise is plain silly. Its opposite seems to be to assume that collectively we will do our worst, that this is inevitable, and that to strive against it is futile. The sensible course probably lies somewhere between the two: remembering wrong and trying not to allow it to be repeated, but continuing to say that it is wrong without saying so in a way that makes people stubborn in its defence.

    Just uttering a blanket condemnation isn't really going to get anywhere, as far as I can see. The response is always likely to be 'why?' from the person being told something and not given a reason, and saying 'because' has never been enough. ('Because it just is' and 'because I say so' and 'because it's God's will' and 'because it stands to reason' count as being the same: no real reason given, no automatic belief probable.) The 'because' may eventually brainwash someone, if it is said often enough and no possible alternative offered, but if an alternative *is* then offered it may have more effect than if both sides had been there to begin with and been argued through instead of one being ignored completely.

    As in, I can be told forever that slavery is plain wrong, but until I have heard someone saying it is right and needed to think about it in order to argue against him I may concur (because that's easier than arguing) but I may not really *agree* about the wrongness or know *why* it is wrong.

  24. At 01:50 PM on 20 Nov 2007, Lesley Poole wrote:

    I cannot believe that I've just heard Ken Clarke says on The World at One (yes, I know it's not you, but you will be covering the unfolding Inland Revenue scandal tonight) that he thinks nationalisation is the way forward for Northern Rock.

    WHAT?? These two stories segue into one another - it was that manic Thatcherite push to privatise everything in sight that has led to the Revenue's difficulties today; private companies obviously cut as many corners as they can in order to make profits and keep shareholders happy...at the cost of staff morale and good working practices.

    Look around you, Mr, Clarke, at the fiasco that the privatised utilities have become, and now at this latest catastrophe in the Revenue, and hang your head in shame.

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