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Interview with John Bolton
Catholic Priest
Media Response to disappearance of Madeleine McCann
Watching Cheese Mature Online
Interview with Gordon Brown

Interview with John Bolton

I was staggered by the rudeness and un-professionalism of John Bolton today. Looking for something else on Google I came across a cartoon which nicely summed up his extreme position, whenever any one asks a question accuse or insinuate that the question is illegitimate because it is simply this really representative or is he as moronic as he sounded?

I just wanted to make points about the John Bolton interview this morning. As a piece of knockabout entertainment, it was great fun. I couldn't help thinking of Kevin Kline in a Fish Called Wanda when he started talking about "superior Brits". And I wonder where he draws the line between Left and Right - anyone to the left of Tebbit in the Conservative Party would be suspect! More seriously, however, I think there is a need to get some moderate intelligent US opinion on the programme. Bolton was an extremist in a polarising administration - surely there must be someone willing to communicate with Today audience whose idea of 'diplomacy' is more advanced than talking about public opinion in America "which is the only place that matters".
Nick Edstrom

In defending the in-defensible, the Ambassador resorted to personal insults - John, Brilliant, made my day. Grace Coen

I caught the end of John Humphrys' interview with John Bolton this morning. I was surprised at how rude and dismissive Bolton was at any criticism of US foreign policy (though with his reputation, it should have come as no surprise.) John Humphrys put his finger on it when he described US foreign policy as "a busted flush;" after today's interview, I'm inclined to add " the hand of a bad loser."
Steve Kimberly

I thought the interview with the above by JH was really excellent and showed the Ambassador to be typical of what is engendering dislike of the US people at present. Unable to accept any criticism. John did so well and certainly put him in his place. It was obvious that this man was not used to being challenged by anyone. Certainly not ambassadorial material in today's climate.
Mrs G Leighton

John Bolton behaves like a tired and naughty toddler brought in to say goodnight to the grownups before going to bed. Or perhaps he's more like a villain in a Victorian melodrama. One waits, aghast, to see just how rude and offensive - and silly - he will be. As for his denigration of the State Department and Foreign Office - how much worse might things have been if a few wise and experienced voices hadn't managed to tone things down slightly?
Ann Roberts

I found the views of the United States Ex UN Ambassador John Bolton frightening! All that was missing was a Dr. Strangelove accent! If this is an indication of the thinking around the US President and his team, doesn't it just make the point for the need of extra controls on the Executive in the US?
Barry Watson

I thought that John Humphrys showed himself to be a 'superior Brit' during his interview with John Bolton. John Bolton appeared to be only capable of personal attack and childlike insults. It was entertaining though, to hear John Bolton embarrass himself, show his lack of compassion and intelligence; could John Humphrys interview him everyday.
M Sheppard

Hopefully, Bush's spin doctors will recall John Bolton for PR lessons after his smug, petulant performance this morning. John Humphrys stood the insults well and was more controlled than when Brian Redhead was accused of being left-wing years ago! From what John Bolton says, I'm left with the impression that the US is content to impose its warped view of democracy on the rest of the world because ordinary Americans - those same folk that believe the capital of Canada is Chicago - think it's OK. Do the rest of us have no say in the matter? How arrogant!
Carrie Ruxton

Warmest congratulations to John Humphrys for upholding the highest professional standards of Today interviewing and for the calm, dignified yet persistent way in which he conducted his interview with John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN. Mr Bolton was obviously rattled with the questions about Iraq and Iran but to his credit John Humphrys refused to be swayed by Mr Bolton's baseless accusations about the provenance of John H's questions. Well done, John for yet again exposing the arrogant, blustering nature of much of US foreign policy!
Gwyn Rees

Great to see John Humphrys put in his place by John Bolton this morning. Martin Head I tuned in half-way through. Is he the current American Ambassador ? If so then he represents a frightening American view. More of a zealot than a thinking being. Did the usual politician's trick of attacking the questioner when faced with awkward questions.
Mark Horton

Mr Humphries at his best, and having fun. Wonderful stuff. But as usual illuminating. If this is the level of discussion from a senior level us diplomat no wonder the world deeply distrusts that country. Basically he embodied all that is despised about America. A bully reduced to name calling when people question their methods and intentions. Eyes firmly closed to reality,and with a barely controlled sense of inferiority. Of course the ambassador is right that not everything was destroyed. Obviously the oil still flows! Which must be a great comfort to the average Iraqi with limited water ,electricity and living in fear for their families lives.From a listener who is proud to be seen by the ambassador in his words as a superior Brit.
Garry Taylor

Dear Mr. Humphries (or should I say Comrade?) - great to see John Bolton's feathers getting ruffled - excellent interview.
Alex Buchan

I would just to congratulate the programme, and in particular the interviewer on great radio.The explanation on what interviewing is about was a classic moment that made me smile!
Leticia Golubov

Thank you John Humphrys for what I believe was a balanced interview on the Today programme. The views of those directly affected by regime change are the ones which really count, especially when making judgements about the aftermath and effects. Of lesser importance are the opinions of nations which instigated change in the first place. The rational for change and the consequences may conflict, particularly if the purpose and objectives were unclear or were at best questionable. There is the issue too of the moral right to seek change. Iraq, regrettably, is the prime example. It is to be hoped that Iran is not the next victim. Stuart Sherring

I felt the interview with John Bolton was a wasted opportunity. He is a man with widely known and entrenched views, as are many of the people interviewed at other times. John Humphrys' interviewing style was overly aggressive, and whether right or wrong John Bolton pegged him as a "lefty" and one of those people who will not listen to your views no matter what you say. So he (Bolton) stopped trying to persuade with his argument and resorted to defensive blocking and simply repeating his well known views.I think that a more sympathetic interviewing style, where the interviewer appears to be listening and understanding the point of view, would encourage people with an entrenched position to consider the counter-arguments in return, and would open the possibility of interesting changes of view. As it was, we learned nothing new at all this time. Ben Staveley-Taylor

Whilst I admire John H's great skills and excellence I do NOT agree with him that he has no political views in his interviews.Whatever you might think of the ambassadors views Mr Humphrys views were just as strong, only more implied and subtle. I do however strongly commend him for the exploration of spiritual issues that he has recently been involved in.
Lesley Pilkington

I found his comments to John so disgusting and insulting, I have complained to the USA State Department. Has anyone else, apart from John, felt outrage?
Kim Wood

I expect that I am one of thousands of reasonable listeners who were appalled by the extreme right wing views of the US Ambassador interviewed this morning and his smug, arrogant and offensive response to the questions put to him. His retort that he is a lawyer only added to the disgust I felt. I know numerous US lawyers and I believe that they would be as upset as I was to think that the US legal system can produce such a mindset as the US Ambassador displayed. I can only trust that his views would be considered extreme by most of the US public.
Justin Bere

Thank God for the 'Devils Advocate' (John Humphrys). This ambassador clearly gets an easy ride from a sycophantic media in his own country. Accusing Mr Humphrys of being a 'absolutely wrong' repeatedly and a 'Superior Brit'' to fend off his difficult questions only reveals insecurity, ignorance and self righteousness - qualities the listener is familiar with in American foreign policy.
William Mollett

THANK YOU to John Humphrys for wonderful interview with John Bolton. You kept your calm and was at your most diplomatic (and sarcastic, but did Bolton pick that up, I wonder? )when interviewing an American whose views and manners represent all that's bad about America.
Mrs. Toril Eidsvold

I missed the start of the interview as I was driving, but what an entertaining interview, I may be compelled to use the listen again for the first time. John Humphrys is a fine journalist and I have a lot of respect for him and his work but it made a refreshing change to hear his points countered so effectively and with such humour, you should have the american chap as a guest presenter, or better still get him and John to conduct joint interviews, the contrast in approaches would make for an excellent programme.
Tony Collier

I was very impressed at the way John Humphrys conducted the interview this morning. How he managed to stay cool when accused of being left wing/liberal etc I do not know. He proved that we obviously are a superior race!
Paul Fosh

Congratulations John Humphrys for pulling no punches and skillful questioning to which the ambassador had no answers. You exposed his blind dogmatism and limited intellectual and moral fibre. How tragic that such politicos have such an influence in our world today.
Pete Wardle

WOW! What a display of arrogance from this chap. He has done his country no favours what so ever. If the state department think that this is how they want to represented abroad they have made a serious error. This mornings display must have set many more in this country against America and what it stands for. I was amazed and appalled, and this from someone who is pro American.
Paul Crowther

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Catholic Priest
In my parish we have a Catholic priest that is married with two children. He is an ex-church of England vicar that changed sides and has been allowed to stay married, please pass this onto that poor French priest mentioned in the today programme.
David Simpson

For over a thousand years catholic priests had multiple wives and concubines, but this worked out rather expensive, so marriage was banned. Later all marriages to priests were voided, new priests had to divorce their wives, and celibacy was introduced (1022 - 1139 AD). This debate is not about bringing the church up to date, its about the Catholic Church removing yet another one of its traditional hypocrisies, that has little to do with God and more to do with its true traditional values of money and power.
Alan Griffiths

The Catholic Church has ostracised a priest in France for having a decent, loving relationship with another adult. Yet, the same church has been guilty of protecting priests found to have been paedophiles by surreptitiously moving them from parish to parish and allowing them continue to take mass. Hypocrisy indeed!
Nick Dellow

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Media Response to disappearance of Madeleine McCann
We heard this morning about how media editors pick a story like this for massive coverage, and about the way in which the public become interested and seek to become involved. Now could we hear about any negative aspects? For example if, as is suggested, the coverage aids the police investigation, is the excessive concentation on this one story resulting in many other equally tragic stories going unreported, the victims deprived of similar help? Is it reasonable that (as in the case of the mass hysteria over Diana) people who are more concerned about other matters,perhaps involving their own personal tragedies, find themselves being bullied when they fail to show sufficient concern for the popular story? Is this sort of thing, as some intelligent commentators have suggested, actually rather bad for us, on the whole? In which case, is the BBC right to get involved?
James Spurr

I heard the last email on the Today programme this morning. I think the story of Madelaine can, and I hope does, unify many people who feel deep concern for her and her family. Her story also provides an opportunity for us to check we share values with the rest of our society. through this one story we can feel a shared compassion for children who are mistreated and stand together against child abuse in all it's forms. I was also very moved by the story of the Congalese woman. I am not sure how to respond to this story except with prayers.
Liza Nahajski

I listened to your harrowing story about the Rwandan woman being raped,watching her children die and then forced to hang her own baby - No outcry. Compare this with the effort being made for one little girl who is lost ?
Joe Cant

The discussion on the public reaction to Madeleine McCann's disappearance bordered on the unbelievable - the stuff about yellow ribbons and text messages is only in the pages of the tabloid press out to make a fast buck, and trying to compare it with the death of Princess Diana is insulting to all parties. The most common reaction I have encountered is sympathy coupled with how could the parents be so thoughtless to leave three under four-year olds alone?
Mike Dennis

We can't fully appreciate the agony that Madeleine's parents are going through but I find it unbelievable that two, well educated parents left three children under the age of 4 alone in the apartment. It may be that due to the sensitive nature of this abduction this aspect of the case has not been aired. It has been reported that the children were checked every half hour which in itself implies that the parents were at the restaurant for a minimum of an hour. Half an hour is a long time for a child to wake and cry and get distressed and the consequences of vomiting or choking are unthinkable. In my mind I can't help transposing this situation to parents in, say, Nottingham, possibly drug addicts and wondering if the children would have been whisked straight into care. Madelene's parents appear to be sensible, educated and well off - why on earth didn't they pay for a baby sitter? When the news first broke this was my first thought. I am a mother and could not! believe the reports or imagine the guilt that the parents must feel.
Jennie Butler

In response to your contributors this morning, Madelaine's disappearance is not a "huge event" (as Hall called it). It is not "primal" (as Beresford called it). It is simply a story about someone that most of us have never met and with whom the huge majority of people has no relationship at all. Noone wishes any child any harm, of course: but that is hardly the same as the nation being touched and unified by events in Portugal. It is no sin to admit that, in cases like this, we wouldn't really care unless the tabloid press had told us that we had to and created a culture in which we all go through the motions of behaving as though we do care deeply. Sorry to be such a grinch.

The Today programme appears to look at this emotive case somewhat differently - to that of the society - whose prayers and thoughts are constantly for Madeleine and her family. Please remember to focus - not try to be critical or to focus the way you imply.
Philip Chalamers

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Watching Cheese Mature Online
just saw thw pics on the internet along with your commentary. words + pictures = a whole new experience. it might catch on... why not call it RadioVision?
John Walker

Fantastic. A great bit of radio. I watched it online although I hate cheese. More BBC more.......
Gordon Mewse

Quite obviously, the cheese is presenting a piece of performance art.
Eric Mawer

Hearing about a maturing cheese is fascinating, being told there is a webcab is interesting, but until such time as we can have a commentary with the vision of the QEII coronation, just saying 'there is his hand' is pretty boring. I have radio on in the morning because I cananot watch pictures, I need descriptions, not just being told to log onto the internet....

No, Jim! This is no mere cult; it is a veritable culture.
Robert Grimwood

Not many of us can watch the webcast in real time. Perhaps the BBC could secure the rights to broadcast the edited highlights?
Ian Bartlett

If I were an aspiring cheddar wishing to appear on a webcam, presumably I would need to apply for a cheese role. And if I'd paid up my actor's dues I could apply for a cheese and union role.
Crispin Longden

If CheddarVision can manage moving pictures of cheese maturing on their webcam why can we not have moving pictures from the Today webcam?
Mr. David R. Owen

The most exciting piece of radio in a long time! To hear James Naughtie watching a website view of a cheddar cheese being tested had me on the edge of my seat!
Richard Priestley

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Interview with Gordon Brown
"People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election." Otto von Bismarck
D J Brown

I listened with interest to the interview with Gordon Brown about the removal of the 10% rate of tax. In it Gordon Brown made great play of the fact that although this would penalise single low earners they can get increased tax beniftit. As my daughter is a single low earner I checked on the tax website only to find that you have to be over 25 to qualify for tax credits. So a significant proportion of those who now benefit from the 10% tax rate will now be paying more tax and are not eligible for tax credit.
Phil McNeil

I thought John did a good interview and was as polite as he could be. GB could not answer if he was well liked and tried to go off on other subjects again and again when asked a direct question on his being liked. I dread the thought of him ever becoming PM. I hope we get the chance to vote against him. I also come from Fife but don't want him as PM ever.
Dot Khoury

We now need to know Brown's general views on a wide range of issues.
D Gilbert

He keeps talking about only "trying"! After 10 years? "trying" is not good enough! Also, the cringy response to the questioning about whether he wants to be liked etc produced a response, continually reminding us that he has kids, and saying that he wants to do well by Britains kids. Humphrys did not jump in and ask him what he thought about the recent report saying that Britains kids are the worst off in Europe - after his10 years of "trying"? What a missed opportunity of a hard but fair question/comment. Perhaps little Holland, who came out best, does not just 'try' but gets on with it!
Sandi Alfresco

He used every opportunity to bring his children into the equation when being asked about his own personality, No doubt he will criticise anyone else who has the temerity to mention his children or family without his prior agreement. You can't have it both ways Gordon!
David Hopkins

Surely I am not the only person in the UK to be astonished, amazed and enraged by the Chancellor's repeated reference to "one pence". This is the fourth Budget Speech in a row in which he has made this ungrammarical error.. and he is in charge of the finances of our country! I suggest he gets hold of a one PENNY piece and reads the inscription every night before going to sleep. Lord preserve us from such ignorance!
Mike Smith

If Gordon Brown is to become Prime Minister, he will need to develop a clearer 'early morning voice' - I could hardly distinguish one syllable from another.
Gill Cameron

Point proven. The most important thing to Gordon Brown is his 'young family'. Fine. But people in their 50s without kids have concerns as well. We also have votes.
Pat Oddy

"Do the british people like you", silly question! How could he possibly answer it? Personality politics: when have we not been in an era of personality politics? Disraeli? Pitt? Elizabeth 1? Caesar?
Raoul Morris

Working Tax credits don't apply to couples - all that happens is money is taken from the lower earner and given to the higher earner. In general this is not going to help the pay equality between men and women but make it worse.
Robert Court

John Humphries asked Gorden Brown if thought he was liked by the population and when Gorden could not answer he then added that when Tony Blair was elected in 1997 he received by the population as wonderful I think that J Humphries should have put that in context with the previous 18 yrs of tory rule because I beleive that if elected my dog Fred would have receive an europhoric reception as welcome change. Therefore the situations are not equal
Reg Jones

Don't know about Stalin but Mr. Brown's use of the first person when talking about the wealth and income of the nation is jarring. Can you please remind him that he is the guardian of the treasury, not the proprietor.
Sue Kenel

I like you Gordon, I like you.

Who in their right mind would be able to take over the role of chancellor if GB became PM, and how on earth would gb be able to let go?
Sarah Husband

Dont like this interview. Lets hear what GB stands for, who he is, not endlessly ask him about this quite deploable celeb politics, what has been said about GB negatively, etcetc
Joke Kuipers

After 18 years as a teacher I quit my job to do a Higher degree so that I can work in educational research. I have to work part-time to fund my studies (I don't have a grant of any sort so must pay fees, the mortgage, buy food etc)and earn only £7,000pa. I don't have children. The effect of his tax change will be to worsen my take-home income. What advice can he give me?
Mandy Powell

The Chancellor says that the lower paid will be better off because of being able to claim working tax credit. This system is incredibly difficult to access by the self employed which may account for its poor take up. This benefit is also affected by interest on any savings you have,so once again the Chancellor is disouraging people from living within their budgets and putting aside money for old age or emergencies. The current system works on income and not means testing so the 10% tax rate should have been expanded, not removed.
C Jones

Have just heard John H. asking Gordon Brown whether he thinks he is liked. I for one like him immensely. He comes over as totally a man of character, a solid, reliable person who will not be swayed by transient fashion and spin doctors. Eminently trustworthy.
Moya St Leger

I am 55 years old, no dependant children and I earn less than £13,000 a year. This is my sole income. I have spent the past few years caring for elderly parents, hwo are now deceased. I have been unable to save enough out of this low income to pay into any private pension scheme. I am in the 10p band now...can the chancellor explain how I will be better off now this band has been abolished?
Andrea Porter

Can you ask Gordon Brown whether it is correct that the 2p reduction in basic rate income tax will result in approximately a 12% reduction in the amount charities receive from gift aid?
Tony Charles

Pity John didn't clarify with Gordon that childless people must work more than 30 hrs per week (and be pver 25) to claim tax credits. Thus students and part time workers will see their taxes double. Sean batchelor I am a 63 year old retired female teacher> I earn from 2 pensions £8500 pa. I WILL pay more tax, tell Mr Brown, it is indisputeable.
Therese Kirk

As a beleagured single person without any benefits, even with three part time jobs I still earn under £17500 per year - with one stroke the Chancellor, by removing the 10p tax band has reduced my income, this will not be rectified without a decent increase in my personal tax allowance.
Berry Stone

It seem that all the experts who've commented on the budget have missed the fundamental ploy. Mr Brown exits as Chancellor as the good guy with his 2% 'give away', but remember, it does not take effect until April 2008. Now,wind the clock forwards 12 months. New Chancellor, new budget. The Chancellor counters the 2% by some other means and takes a bit more whilst he's at it. Guess what? The new measures start April 2008. Upshot? Brown's hands are clean and the Government have not given away a penny. They're on the make again Or am I being too cynical?
Simon Silbourne

All the average voter has to do is calculate his personal tax liability before yesterday with a 10% starting rate and after with a 2p reduction and 20p starting rate you are worse off. Brown has said that tax credits for working familys will wipe this out. What about the millions of people who have a small occupation pension and are not yet state retirement age. Poorer that's what, victims of this government who's major priority is children and the middle classes.
M.J. Frizell

Did I just hear the chancellor say "he'd moved the environmental taxes to the personal tax system" surely this is not right? if he's raising taxes for environmental reasons (£300-400 per year road tax, etc) then it should be spent on environmental issues not given to people to fund a headline 2% cut????
Paul Miller

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Tigers in School

It may not appeal to the softies at the Daily Mail, but this appeals to a great many of the children I teach and solves two of the problems on today's Today: Tigers in school. Pretty simple really; the naughty children get to 'look after' the tiger as a reward for their naughty behaviour. Many of the children still ask, "When are we getting the tiger??" It is heartbreaking to have to tell them, that , because of woolly thinking children can no longer be torn to shreds by a huge carnivore for say, running in the corridor. When will the government learn???
From:John Clements

Mission to the Moon

Your report that the proposed Space venture will be the first from Britain must be incorrect- You have forgotten Wallace and Grommit.
From:Dr Robert J Leeming

Landscape Architects

Anthony Minghella was being interviewed by (I think) Carolyn Quinn about his new film Breaking & Entering - interviewer wrongly stated that main character played by Jude Law is an architect. Actually he plays a landscape architect - not the same thing at all! Maybe just a slip of the tongue, but if not please visit to discover more.
From: Neil Williamson, Vice-President, Landscape Institute

Our Weather Forecast

Jim, it's about time you and John stopped making these little snide remarks about the compilers of the weather forecasts. There is no confusion in the phrase "increasingly hazy sunshine" and many of the other standard met office phrases are perfectly understandable to everyone except the leading lights in the Today studio.
From: Bill Dixon

Super Hostels

If these are dangerous criminals, why are they being released into the community?
From: Anon


Your interviewees often throw around stats telling us what we, the British public, think about a particular issue. Lord Joffe tells us that 80% of Brits are in favour of assisted suicide. Perhaps when making such a statement you should demand to hear the exact phrasing of the question so many of us allegedly answered positively. I wonder how many of that 80% were aware of the particular twist of whatever question they were answering?
From: Ed Moran

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