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back to article Lords debate airline liquids ban

Who remembers the deadly liquid bomb airliner plot? Most of you, we're guessing, as there are still a lot of fairly mindless restrictions on taking liquids aboard planes - no matter that the plot was actually rather far-fetched. But fear not, UK readers, as your unelected representatives are alert to your interests. Yesterday …

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Ash

Idiocy at its finest.

Anybody in a position of power with a title that is not a reflection on a specialisation or expertise in a specific field, but rather based on who daddy did the old in-out in-out with, should be immediately flown out to Uganda and left there with a poity stick and a sharpened mango.

Queenie, bless her exorbitant cashmere socks, does nothing much but smile for pictures and talk at Jeebus's birthday party. She is of course obsolved.

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Anonymous Coward

Thank you Lewis

I shouldn't really be laughing at work... I shouldn't *really* be laughing at the process of government, but it's just so preposterous that laughter is the only medicine.

Short of armed insurrection.

Lewis Page, thank you for saving me from committing treason.

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Boffin

How gummint works

Major Premise: Something must be done.

Minor Premise: This is something.

Conclusion: Therefore, it must be done.

QED

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Black Helicopters

Fortunately...

most politicians actually sound this stupid during debates, listening to "question time" when a respective government is in session reminds me of 12yr old's fighting at the local playground..

It's a wonder that we manage to have a functioning country at all although i do believe that this is more due to the fact that a lot of the laws we have today were formed when men were men and politicians were not an analogy for time-wasters and money guzzler as they are today...

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Anonymous Coward

Has anyone noticed...

... that circumventing the ban on liquids usually involves the following interaction when they hand out the little transparents bags for your liquids:

"Do you have any liquids in your bags?"

"er... no"

Then you pass through security as they also ask you the same thing, again you just say "er.. no"

With this ruse, I manage to carry my drinking water on me and have passed through a dozen times since the liquid ban without problem.

sadly, I see no end to this.

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Nev

Why so long for this ban?

Can anyone explain why there was a gap of more than 10 years between the first and only attack with a liquid based bomb (Philippine Airlines Flight 434 On December 11, 1994) and this ban being put into place!?

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Happy

Science? Science!

see e.g. http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i320/willwillwritehiswill/issue76.jpg

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Unhappy

Morons

It makes me sad to be a part of the UK when idiots who are completely abstracted from common sense play such a large part in the running of this country. I mean it's only an island. How badly can it be run.

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cor
Coat

So the new...

...hipflasks of the gentry are 99 cl?

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You missed the best bit

"Lord Elton: My Lords, what damage can be done by 105 millilitres of liquid that cannot be done by 100 millilitres of liquid?"

"Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, my briefing does not extend to that extra 50 millilitres, but I suspect that this is based on science. "

His grasp of arithmetic isn't much stronger than his scientific understanding, it would seem.

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Pirate

Oh My GOD!

Exploding Marmite? I just bought a box of Marmite biscuits. Are they going to explode? Should I panic and demand that my local supermarket withdraw all Marmite products immediately? But I LIKE Marmite! <LOL>

You comment about the House of Lords is a little unfair as since the House of Commons stripped it of any real power it's just an expensive debating society.

So here in the UK we have a system that now has no checks against the excesses of Parliament. It was a great move that explains our rapid degeneration into the repressive, restrictive state that we are becoming. Oh, but it's all done for you, to help keep you all safe from the nasty evil men that want to blow you up with their exploding Marmite!

I can't think of any language bad enough to describe how I feel about these people.

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Marmite, world terrorist threat

A year ago, my Marmite was deemed a potential threat:

http://www.ilovemarmite.com/2006/10/23/marmite/22939-7055.asp

Exactly what I was supposed to be able to do with my half empty 150g jar I don't know. Threaten to force feed the passengers and crew? The problem with that is half of them would come back for more.

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Gotta love the HoL

Gotta love the HoL. I know they look down on us as mere cattle, but damn they can be funny sometimes.

I think Lord Eltons question was a tad harsh tho'. I mean what can you do with 15kg's of U-235 that you can't do with 14.5kgs of it? Ummmm turn Coventry to glass. Pretty glowy glass, but glass all the same.

I despair at the silly ban on liquids because of the laughable plot that triggered its inception, not because of the possibly arbitrary volume of liquid that was chosen as a maximum.

It also overlooks the fact that Sheikh n'Vac can take 100ml of binary nerve toxin/explosive/death juice on board and his ten mates can do the same and....ummm...well not a lot really unless they're on a long and *really* steady flight, with a labs worth of gear to hand.

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Alert

*sigh*

British parlimentary politics is all about courtesy, you are welcome to call you're opponent an arse as long as you're polite about it. It may sound silly to people who just like to drivel on (myself included) but it helps keep things proper.

Also as much as some people like to ignore it the lords have been a haven of reason in this era of maddness. Acting as a stopper to the "yes machine" that is the Labour party (and often the Tory party.)

I used to think the lords were a bad thing, but of late they've proved that wisdom and high resistance to media pressure are valuable things. As they don't need to worry about being elected they don't need to worry about being popular.

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Boffin

The measures have proved effective indeed!

The measures have proved very effective in the light of there being no successful liquid explosive attacks since they were brought in.

I have invented (by "invented" here I mean "found") a device ( by "device" here I mean "rock") that protects one against attack by religious extremists. Since I invented it, some months ago, I haven't been attacked by religious extremists of any denomination. Not once. Given it's evident effectiveness, I look forward to a substantial research grant from the MoD.

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Wouldn't be a big deal but...

Sadly many airports (see Schipol) have security at the gate. I've heard more than one story of people buying lots of duty-free cosmetics only to be told they have to dump them or they cannot board the plane because they're going to the UK.

Kind of lame, doesn't protect anyone from anything and makes air-travel that much more annoying than it already is. Thankfully I have no money for holidays abroad for a couple of years, so I'm spared it unless I win the lottery. Hopefully that won't happen soon...

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Anonymous Coward

@Nev

"Can anyone explain why there was a gap of more than 10 years between the first and only attack with a liquid based bomb (Philippine Airlines Flight 434 On December 11, 1994) and this ban being put into place!?"

Presumably because the first one wasn't targeted at the Merkins, so they didn't care. Just like when the money they were sending to the IRA was being used to kill people.

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Paris Hilton

and you're surprised, why?

The 'Ouse of Lords has always been like this - a cozy club for old codgers to snooze away the afternoons in. Old Hailsham was regularly to be found dozing away on the Woolsack, having to be woken by Black Rod at division time.

They're only given stuff like this to make the peers aged under 70 think they're still doing something that matters. Even if it is only rubber-stamping the Politburo's decisions. The House of Lords is a bit like the old Supreme Soviet but without the hour long standing ovations.

Even the delectable and talented Paris Hilton would fail to elicit a response in the Lords.

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Pirate

@Nev

Probably because the chances of making such a bomb, while on board an aircraft, are incredibly low, even with the right equipment brought with you.

From the evil wikipedia -

'The explosive used was liquid nitroglycerin, which was disguised as a bottle of contact lens fluid. Other ingredients included glycerin, nitrate, sulfuric acid, and minute concentrations of nitrobenzene, silver azide (silver trinitride), and liquid acetone. The wires he used were hidden in the heel of his shoe. At that time, metal detectors used in airports did not go down far enough to detect anything there.'

That's just the ingredients.

Time, equipment and skill needed to construct this - in flight -, would be rare indeed, and more likely to kill the bomber, than do any other harm.

Any terrormuppets actually trying this would probably have more success by launching fireworks at aircraft engines as they take off..

If there are bombers out there with the skill to construct this type of device, these airport checks are not going to stop them... they'll just get a contact who is a baggage handler instead.

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Flame

@ Ash

Sadly, the reality of the situation is that the hereditary Lords are about the only ones in the chamber who are prepared to stand up to the more ridiculous nonsense that the executive want to inflict upon us - a role that backbench MPs have singularly failed in their duty to do.

Surely only a coincidence that the Government wants to do away with them?

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Unhappy

*sniff*

I had a jar of marmite taken from me last year on a trip to Eastern Europe.

I must admit I hadn't spared a thought about it as I popped the tiny (sealed) jar into my hand luggage.

I offered to stick my finger in it and eat it... I offered to let them stick their finger tips into it and taste it... To no avail.

It was 6am, and I decided not to point out the error of their ways when they said the 125g jar was over the 100ml limit... Maybe next time I should insist they measure the volume... Actually, does that mean I could take half a jar with me...?

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Boffin

on a lighter moment

on a lighter moment the boys from Oz down under "The Chasers War on Everything- Airport Security" has this one already covered in the following comedy caper !

Link = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3grHjibNdA

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Joke

No attacks because of security = Homer's bear tax

I leave you in the hands of Homer...

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The "Bear Patrol" is working like a charm!

Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.

Homer: Thanks, honey.

Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.

Homer: Hmm. How does it work?

Lisa: It doesn't work; it's just a stupid rock!

Homer: Uh-huh.

Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?

Homer: (pause) Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

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Make a point?

Surely the most recent and most effective liquid bombs were used for 9/11?

If the whole idea of air travel is to cicumvent the safety regulations and be proud of it, maybe you should reflect that the silently praying fellow traveller next to you may have got away with a bottle of nitro.

You pays your money and you takes your chance!

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Paris Hilton

Marmite

Frankly, blowing up jars of Marmite is too good for the filthy stuff.

What's Paris Hilton's take on this?

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Jobs Horns

Liquid bombs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9Y6wR7Xi44

You're all F*** morons, you want one of these going off in the cabin on your next flight?

a Yank

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Go

Paging Spike Milligan

I believe this alleged transcript is actually a lost Goon Show script. Just imagine Milligan, Sellers, et al doing the voices, and doesn't it all seem to fit now?

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Two Solutions

To raise the quality of debate in the HoL and to alleviate unemployment. Each 'peer' is paired with a large unemployed individual with a history of anger management problems. The peer has to pay the large unemployed individual half of the peer's daily allowance for showing up at the HoL and the large, unemployed individual has to accomany the peer on each visit to the HoL.

Each time the peer gets up on its hind legs and utters something so completely idiotic as to piss off the large unemployed individual, a recess is called while the large unemployed individual takes said peer round the back of the HoL and administers a damned good hiding.

"The fact that there has not been a serious incident involving liquid explosives indicates, I would have thought, that the measures that we have put in place so far have been very effective."

EXACTLY the kind of argument I put forward when I was the official lion hunter of Partick Thistle F.C.

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Jon
Stop

@Anon

Sure, maybe the person sitting next to your theoretical suicide bomber might be a bit deaf in one ear after that... but I can't see it doing much real damage, can you?

I guess it might give people nearby a bruise or two. Or maybe, if a fragment hit someone's eye, it might cause blindness. There's just not enough power there to do anything more.

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Flame

@Liquid Bombs

I'll have some of what you're smoking... those are not 'liquid bombs'.. it's just a plastic bottle bursting under high gas pressure. The gas being produced via a chemical reaction.

A true liquid bomb I would not want next to me. That was more akin to half filling a 2L coke bottle with water and then pumping compressed air into it.. those things can fly very high, but, and it's a BIG but.. it is not a bomb.

As for one going of in a cabin in flight.. scary as hell, maybe. Slight injuries as people try and get away from it, probably. Maybe some caustic burns from the chemicals, but seriously, I'd be surprised if that even ripped a seat cover, never mind puncture a cabin.

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Jobs Horns

mmm

I figure that they do it for the tourism industry.

once your liquids are disposed of you are then at the mercy of shops and air companies willing /happy to sell you drinks you wouldn't otherwise be buying for exhorbitant amounts of cash

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@Steve Evans

> It was 6am, and I decided not to point out the error of their ways when they said the 125g jar was over the 100ml limit...

It might have been nice to see the look on their faces as you scooped out the "excess baggage" and left it in a heap on their desk.

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Thumb Up

Marmite?

If Marmite is anything like Vegemite, it ought to be banned on the basis of being a poison.

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Moron ?

'You're all F*** morons, you want one of these going off in the cabin on your next flight?'

Wouldnt want to be sat next to it (probably sting a bit) but its unlikely to bring an aircraft down ? Unless it was upscaled to a good few gallons, but then security etc. may start to notice.

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@Liquid bombs

> you want one of these going off in the cabin on your next flight?

Yawn... So let's ban drain cleaners and tinfoil. Then it can't EVER happen.

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@Liquid Bombs / Anon

If one of those went off in the cabin of my next flight I'd probably soil myself. But give me bad seafood and the same things happens. It went bang and a little white gas was given off. I doubt it would do any damage to the plane even if taped to a window. It might disfigure one person's face but if you wanted to use personal threats to terrorise a plane, break one of the wine glasses or the bottle and hold that to someone's throat instead.

Not a yank.

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Is it just a coincidence...

... that since the advent of the no-toothpaste-in-your-hand-luggage regime, certain "low-cost" airlines charge you extra for checking in hold baggage? You want to brush your teeth during your weekend break? Apply deoderant? Shave? Shower? Shampoo? That'll be another tenner, thanks. Each way.

-A.

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Anonymous Coward

Keeping elephants away

This nonsense is like using antivirus software to keep the elephants away:

http://veroblog.wordpress.com/2007/10/01/using-anti-virus-software-to-keep-the-elephants-away/

Several times we have flown with our young son and had to take various pastes, gels, creams etc to look after his needs. Each one under 100ml. No problem. No-one checks to make sure they are not lots of small pots of the same stuff.

Bottles of water for him? We have to sip it to 'prove' it is not dangerous (missing the point that a suicide bomber who is prepared to take a child to paradise with them is not likely to baulk at taking a sip of nitroglycerine).

Sealed cartons of formula milk (carried in case the flight is inevitably delayed) - must be opened and tasted. This shortens the shelf life from months to hours. And you can't buy them on the other side of security in some airports.

Anyway, who would try to carry on an explosive device when a baby talc bottle of Anthrax would be easy to get through and have a pretty devastating effect via the aircon system of the plane.

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Restore the Hereditary peers!

Seems to me based on many examples, that the hereditary peers do an extremely good job. Many are experts in their fields, and those that attend(*) do so out of public service. Let's hope that the Tories bring them back.

(*)Of course, some fraction of any group in any field of endeavour will be incompetent or lazy. The nice feature about the H.O.L. is that people who don't care don't turn up. So, there never was much of an issue of "unelected, uninformed idiots making policy".

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Idiocracy

What do you expect from measures enforced by idiots?

Want to circumvent the 100ml ban? Give each of your family members or "team" members a 100ml bottle.

Considering that trained US agents are able to bring on board what they want and to build devices in the plane without problems they do it to test the effectiveness of security measures), I would imagine that if you are determined you can do damages even if you board a plane naked.

Wanto to talk about network cables? They are allowed, but thay can hold about 150KG, more than enough to strangle a person...

There is no added security in all of this and to be honest the goal of terrorists in my opinion is to terrorize and change the way we live.

I would say that they won, look at the paranoia in airports all over the world.

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Stop

Re: Anonymous Yank

"You're all F*** morons, you want one of these going off in the cabin on your next flight?"

What you are failing to remember is that the liquid ban was introduced because of the belief that certain everyday, harmless chemicals could be combined into a bomb. It has NEVER been ok to take any liquid you want onto a flight e.g. petrol, liquid propane, chemical cleaners or say liquid explosives!

The reason for the ban was because it was thought that you could combine common harmless chemicals like toothpaste and marmite to produce an explosive. My understanding is that these are less likely to produce an explosion than a couple of cans of baked beans and a good curry that you are still allowed to take onboard. Don't suppose you have a YouTube video of that? (and no I DO NOT mean the baked beans and curry!)

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PH

Liquids ban indicator of "US client-state" status

I have taken excessive (i.e. 100ml +) quantites of liquid on to flights several times since the ban, usually water or similar to drink. And these liquids have originated outside the "clean zone".

Why do I do it? To be honest, it's mainly because I feel the ban is designed to soothe largely "manufactured" fears, despite inconveniencing millions of people. I do it as an act of protest – though I am increasingly aware some trigger happy cop may be lurking with his dum-dum bullets and get-out-of-jail-free card.

What is fascinating, though, is that I can so easily "get away" with it. While at some airports the security staff jiss themselves stupid at the sight of anything moist, there are other airports where no one appears to give a flying fuck about liquids. (Note: I always declare, show and/or surrender a liquid IF ASKED by security.)

Less than a year ago I was security screened for a London flight departing from Berlin Tempelhof airport. I had a large bottle of coke clearly visible in an outside pocket of my carry-on luggage. None of the three security officers so much as blinked. And last month I boarded an international flight at Kathmandu Tribhuvan airport. Same story with the liquids – in fact my hand luggage wasn't even x-rayed or visually inspected. Different story if I'd been boarding at these flights' liquid-hysterical destinations.

And who exactly do we have to thank for these rules? All around the world those various governments who shaft their publics just so they can get a pat on the head from kind Uncle Sam. Makes me puke.

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Its just a reflection of the decline in science education

In a movie the explosive is formed by mixing the red stuff with same amount of blue stuff with the resulting explosion able to take out a half a city block. Most of us with a half decent knowledge of chemistry realize that there are all sorts of things wrong with this scenario -- typically there's problems with mixing, reactions giving off heat and either causing a premature minor explosion or destroying the desired product before useful amounts are formed -- but knowledge is of no importance in this age of experts.

The thing I think they're afraid of is people carrying around concentrated hydrogen peroxide, its easily made by boiling over the counter dilute stuff to remove the surplus water (yeah, right....)(try it and you might find it disappearing before your eyes.....). But then that sort of stuff has always been banned on aircraft, its one of those 'oxidizing' agents that they mention in the poster describing banned stuff.

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Being a Baron

I just think that all legislators should have to take silly titles like Baron to make themselves more ridiculous.

Incidentally, what will happen when someone tries to blow up a plane with an exploding suppository?

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Gates Horns

Love it! Keep these laws coming.

Irrational fear of the bogeyman by the hoi polloi is an amazing thing to watch. This "War on Freedom" gets better all time...

Why beat around the bush (no pun intended) !?? Force all passengers to be put to sleep and handcuffed to their chairs for the entire flight ? Better yet they can also leave their wallets with the nice honest politician at the gate to look after until they wake up again...

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In the public interest

You're getting so good at taking the piss out of the latest 'must have' security idiocy, the myth-debunking and idiot ridiculing should be brought to the wider fear ridden public for their own good. Vulture Central ought to add a new title or two (anyone for regterror.co.uk regfear.co.uk or regpolitics.co.uk?) and give the bloody Mail a bit of a run for its money.

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Flame

Economies of scale

As 9/11 showed, the liquid aboard a plane most interesting to a terrorist is the fuel. Therefore I propose an upper limit to the total fuel allowed for any plane for any flight. Based on existing regulation which has proved effective I propose the limit to be 100 ml. Incidentally that will also improve on the airliners' carbon footprint. Hence both bushies and commies should approve of this.

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Boffin

Speaking as a Chemist (not a pharmacist for you UK'ers)

I'm just going to ignore that silly "exploding" water bottle, which is just a 2L bottle popping from excess gas pressure.

I believe that the main "liquid explosive" that they were trying to protect against was TATP (Triacetonetriperoxide). And, as anybody who's actually made this knows, it's not easy, especially if trying to do so in a plan washroom. The solid purified form is much stronger, and wouldn't even be screened out.

It utterly boggles my mind that this senseless ban is still in place as it is most definitely NOT based in science, ask ANY chemist (except for a chemist who might be working for an American/UK government think-tank of course).

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Happy

At least the Lords are discussing the issues

Having spent a few years commuting while "Yesterday in Parliament" is on, I've noticed that it is consistently the unelected house which is the main protector of my freedoms. It is also the place where real discussion of the issues happens, as opposed to the irrelevant name-calling and playing to the peanut gallery seen in the lower house.

It is the government peers who are shown not to have a leg to stand on when putting the government case (pushed up from the Commons) and have to fall back on that "science stuff which is outside my brief".

I would be far happier leaving my future to unelected peers who are there because they have interest and (possibly) expertise in the subject rather than those who almost certainly do not have expertise but whose jobs rely on frightening the public into giving them more power.

The peers may have an "unfair" distribution of power, some of them undoubtedly abuse the system, but they do seem to govern so much better than the elected lot.

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Anonymous Coward

Scientific fact

Marmite isn't a liquid. Or have I missed the redefinition of liquid?

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