How you can tell it’s Christmas Eve in London..

1)…..you can get a seat on the train.

2) There are ridiculous queues at our airports…

3) Ros is on holiday and so are all the World Service suits….

4) The World Today are already running “lookback” items… 

5) There’s not much in the papers…. 

The two stories i enjoyed the most were this one about a French writer who’s spent a long time sitting in bars and writing down people’s words of wisdom. They all sound good, (for example “I never know what to say, but that doesn’t stop me from talking” ) but probably better when you’ve had a few.  What gems have you heard over a glass ?

The other story was , of course, the Hammers brave win over Middlesbrough on Saturday . It’s all the sweeter for the fact that Martin (or “Tommy” as we call him) on our team is a Boro fan (or “smoggie” as we call them). I sent him a text message which was childish and will only mean  something to our British readers… “Ray Mallon, Bob Mortimer, Chris Rea….your boys took a hell of a beating”. To which Tommy replied…”your forgot Paul Daniels !”

However, in the real world, some stories which may even get talked about at our editorial meeting in just over an hour- and Fiona is editing, fresh from her triumphant work on the 75th anniversary season, so it won’t be quiet. :

– we were on air an hour or so after the Thai coup, hearing from people in Bangkok as the tanks rolled in. Now it looks like the ousted Thaksin Shinawatra could come back  after his PPP won the most seats in the election, but not enough for an outright majority.

– the Nepalese have agreed to abolish the monarchy in the interests of peace and national unity…

– the most e-mailed story on the BBC site was written by a colleague of ours, Dan Damon (who presents World Update) about the people who have fun with the so-called 419 scammers  in Nigeria by turning the tables on them…it’s a good read and will make you smile i guarantee…

– a few of you have sent e-mails and press releases about the situation beween Israel and Hamas.. with Ehud Olmert ruling out any chance of talks. Our own Katya Adler has written a piece about the thoughts of Christians in Gaza preparing for their first Christmas under Hamas rule..and a tradition at this time of year is that every paper must have something about Bethlehem inside..and apparently, all the rooms at the inns are taken this year… 

Michael Gove wrote a piece  in the Times a few weeks ago about anti- Israeli media coverage of Bethlehem which has angered a few people…

Perhaps, because of the photos, the newly-crowned Miss France, Valerie Begue gets a fair bit of coverage today…, she’s from Reunion, won the title this week and some photos of her from her past (one, bizarrely, where she’s apparently eating yoghurt “suggestively”) have emerged and some people want her to quit..when should whatever you’ve done in the past be forgotten ?  

and what will be the best and most successful new websites of 2008 ? The Guardian picks, among others ,  etsy.com ( a place where you sell/buy hand made crafts ) and moshimonsters.com , a site described as “Tamagotchi meets Facebook for 7-12 year olds “….do you have better tips for new websites ?

54 Responses to “How you can tell it’s Christmas Eve in London..”

  1. December 24, 2007 at 15:03

    The results of the elections in Thailand must be a personal victory for ousted PM Thaksin. Far away from his country, he was still able to command influence despite the grip of the military on power. The vote for his party is partly a vote for him. It’s a message for those seeking democracy that the military’s place is in the barracks and not in government seats.

    This means democracy can be a reality if the military step aside and leave elected institutions exercise their political powers. In view of the history of coups in Thailand, the military will probably continue to stand by for any possible intervention in the Thai political affairs. Thailand remains stable despite political shakeups thanks to the influence of the King who seems obeyed by all. But this isn’t enough for the Thai people to enjoy a better life. They also need effective leaders who can deal with their urgent problems.

    It remains to see if former PM Thaksin will be able to return to his country or he will be the dragon behind the throne. His being kept outside the country as a kind of political refugee will put into question the validity of the elections and who’s really in charge of the country despite the facade of elected institutions.

  2. 2 steve
    December 24, 2007 at 15:52

    I don’t know about wisdom, but when I know I really really want to drink a lot (which is rare) I pay homage to John Paul Jones when I say “I have not yet begun to drink”

  3. December 24, 2007 at 18:34

    I congraulate u all on the gala day of Chrismas falling tomorrow and wish eternal happiness and peace. Pal-Israelis need to step up efforts to promote durable peace dnd understanding in the region particularly in Bathelehm.

    Guldar Khan Wazir Peshawar Pak.

  4. 4 Lubna
    December 24, 2007 at 18:40

    Hi Mark! So the West Ham United Team has won, YEAH !:). What a perfect end of the Eid holiday! With my love! Lubna!

  5. 5 Chernor Jalloh
    December 24, 2007 at 18:41

    The hardship facing all the palestinians,particularly the Christians who are fearful for their lives, was created by President Bush.He has divided the Palestinian people and everybody is desperate and just woundering what to do next.

  6. December 24, 2007 at 18:51



  7. December 24, 2007 at 18:53

    Frank in England called to say:
    In the past year since security fence has been complete around Bethlehem only one suicide bomb success and that is the biggest reason for the sense of peace that has led to this improved Christmas season.
    The Christian exodus started after the Oslo accords gave greater control of Bethlehem to the Palestinian Authority.

  8. 8 Kolade
    December 24, 2007 at 18:59

    the bethlemians had said it all. the HAMAS are not as aggressive as the Israel. so blame not d HAMAS but the Israel 4 causing unrest always.
    Kolade 4rm Nigeria.

    December 24, 2007 at 19:00

    IT is easy to say Christion are not safe there but it is Palestine muslim who r suffering more.


  10. 10 Karanja
    December 24, 2007 at 19:01

    The solution to the middle east is to evacuate the israelis from the palestine territory.failure to do that,there will be an everlasting conflict.
    Karanja from mombasa, Kenya

  11. 11 Abson Powanga
    December 24, 2007 at 19:02

    Israel must recover the land as it was given by God.the war who continue until bible prophecy is fulfilled.
    Abson Powanga Lusaka Zambia.

  12. 12 Abraham
    December 24, 2007 at 19:02

    Dear,BBC.Israel and Palestinian christians and muslims should love each other and live in peace and harmony,for the founding father of both religions is.
    Abraham.From Babagana,Maiduguri,Nigeria.

  13. 13 Syed Hasan Turab
    December 24, 2007 at 20:05

    All Phalistanian were in peace without imported European Jewish, if Muslims hate Jewish & want to finish them they dont miss golden apportuity of Nazi Hitler, instead of killig they embress Jewish by Nazi time.
    Theory of Prommissed Land & Isriel’s expension policy is a big challange to Global peace as Master’s of Isriel are spending Billions to achieve the peace & security for there coutries, how long they support under pressure this is why Isriel suppose to uderstand the importance of peace in immediate region.
    Who so ever born has to die, this morning I receive the news of my closest friend’s death i.e. Izhar Qazi very popular Film & TV star of Pakistan’s film industry may god bless him, I always remember him a best friend & collouqe during my serving in Pakistan Steel Mills Corp.

  14. 14 Will Rhodes
    December 24, 2007 at 20:22

    Thanks Mark, for the facebook mail – I read the Times article and that, as many other things, saddens me this time of year – the politicising of faith.

    I look toward Bethlehem as the birth place of a great man, He, to me is the son of God. To others he is a prophet and to others still, he is a fairy story. As a Christian I respect all those beliefs – I am not the one who can judge – I treat all with the same respect , as I think we all should do.

    As a Christian I am humbled by what some can do – I am also annoyed at those who wish to advocate a certain political stand point will not think before hand and type that which can hurt others. This time of year should be respected for what it is – a celebration of Christ, whether you wish to enjoy it in church, do so – in the pub, do so but enjoy it all the same.

    We will never see peace unless those who can bring about peace decide to do so. I have said for a long time that you can sit and blame as much as you wish – but until those men and women sit around a table and say ‘No more guns, no more will either of us take up weapons to bring about the end to our grievance’ – a brokered peace, a peace that is made face to face – the world is not concerned. People want the Holy Land to be at peace. While some say that one side has to lay down their arms first – nothing will change.

    Let us all pray, in whatever way you do, that this year the Holy Land can ring in the day we celebrate the birth of Christ with a silenced atmosphere where no gun fire rings out and men and women with their children can come together and wish each other Merry Christmas and a peaceful new year.

    Merry Christmas all and may 2008 bring you a prosperous New Year.

  15. 15 steve
    December 24, 2007 at 21:28

    I thought the show was very unbalanaced today, and the moderators didn’t read my comments that they normally would have to challenge the “blame Israel”. I’m currently listening to a repeat of a show on the BBC about the treatment of Christians in Gaza, where they are basically fighting for their lives there. They interviewed many Palestinians, who didn’t say life was peachy like was claimed on WHYS, where it was just a bash Israel festival, and political in nature, rather than focusing on what the christians are actually experiencing. So why did the WHYS crew refuse to mention the content of the show that occurred right before WHYS on Dec 24? I mean, the two messages could have been more polar opposite. The first show blamed Islamists for the treatment of christians, while the WHYS show blamed Israel for everything. Why the contrast other than politics. Sorry to break to you Palestinians, but blaming Israel for everything won’t make you any less of a failed state before it even becomes a state. Look to the real problem and stop blaming the Jews for all your problems. When you are indepdent and a backwards third world nation, under sharia law, will you still blame the Jews? Blaming the Jews doesn’t get you very far in life if you need to be reminded.

  16. 16 Mark
    December 24, 2007 at 22:44

    Hopefully, 2008 will bring an end to the lunacy in the disputed territories by bringing an end to the idiotic notion of a Palestinian state. What’s left of the West Bank after Israel defines its final secure border requirements can be administered by Jordan as a semi autonomous region. Gaza will likely become radically depopulated as the result of some horrible self induced or natural catastrophe such as failure of its water system which no amount of outside help can fix. What’s left of it can be administered by Egypt with a warning that any agressive moves against Israel such as importation of arms will result in all out war.

  17. 17 Ros
    December 24, 2007 at 23:04

    Holiday is a loose phrase for tending to a daughter and wife who’ve been struck down by the dreaded lurgy, but yes Cornwall is very Christmassy. Bass in red hats and so on.

  18. December 25, 2007 at 07:01

    hello: my wish and deepest desire, from a vietnam and kuwait conflict veteran, is:
    the US removes itself from yet another conflict we can not win nor seem willing to allow the local people to work out for them selves.
    no more of my brothers-in-arms need die for an unwinable, again, and pointless fight against a government which never warranted our attention, or even posed a creditable threat to the USA. The US should stop attempting to be the world’s policeman!! concentrate on issues of relevance within our own borders
    thank you
    R.L. Miller US air force/ret.,
    laguna beach, california, usa

  19. 19 Wiyual Nhial Both
    December 25, 2007 at 11:34

    I wish Mr Kevin and his team a prosperous New Year and a
    Happy Christmas for wins in the general election and also Labour wins
    majority seats in the Australian Parliament.
    Congratulations to new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

    Congratulations to the successful candidates regardless of political

    Congratulations to the outgoing Prime Minister John Howard and his team
    who make this country to be the land of opportunity and land of
    properity, with all the possessions we have.

    David Jock Nhial
    Africa Australia Adelaide

  20. December 25, 2007 at 12:51

    Bjay connotation with accent.

  21. December 25, 2007 at 14:36

    first of all i would like to say happy chrismas to all on this delightfull oppotunity,as regards my personal views on continuos confilict between palestine and Israel;

    I am not gainst Annapolis conference i understand it is good step to right directiton.such effort must be made years before it is too late to expect.But i am not hopefull about its success because an important charecter has taken out the drama story i am pointing to Humms.

    Efforts are being done to make the conference successfull without Hummas it is impossible absolutely impossible.It is also wrong to say Hummas is a terrorist orgnisation .In fact it is party, it can be said it is political party just like parties in other countries.Hummas won the election people voted it to power and ruled over the country.

    This party is consisting of fearless leaders playing their role with strong determination.They are struggling for their right.Hummas has great popularity among the people .if election are held it will take crucial majority so overlooking it will be a historical mistake.

    It is better to give Hummas reprentation that is indispensable for peace in the Middle East.

  22. 22 Farid
    December 25, 2007 at 17:27

    Dear BBC World Service,

    There is no surprise that the elections in Uzbekistan failed to meet international standards. The Western countries have been shutting their eyes on what had been going on in Uzbekistan until the Andijon massacres uleashed brutality of the Karimov regime. It shows again that more effort should be put in promoting democratization and not only before and during elections. Another country in the post-Soviet periphey to watch out is Azerbaijan, an oil-rich country on the Caspian, where the presidential elections are due next year.



  23. 23 Steve
    December 25, 2007 at 17:30

    Before this becomes a bash Israel topic, the reason why so many Christian Palestinians have left the middle east (I know many here in the US) is because of being oppressed by Muslim Palestinians. You could just listen to what life was like for Christians in Gaza, and you cannot blame Israel for that. Christians aren’t treated very well in the middle east except for in Israel proper. Sure, the Christians have problems with the Israelis, but they also realize that if Hamas or other Islamists took over the Palestinian government, in an independent Palestinian state, they will be living under Sharia, and thus will live in third world, slum conditions, and will face the wrath of islamists who might be having a bad day because they hate everyone that is remotely different than them.


  24. 24 Lubna
    December 25, 2007 at 17:31

    Hi WHYS! This is probably the most marvellous Christmas Baghdad has ever experienced since a long time ago! Iraqi Christians’ suffering since 2003 is a part of the suffering of the Iraqi society as a whole! My best Christian friend Maryam will attend the Christmas mass tomorrow’s morning in her church, something which she wasn’t able to do last Christmas! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! With my love! Lubna!

  25. 25 Tom D Ford
    December 25, 2007 at 17:32

    Anybody else see the irony in one of the places considered so holy being a place so filled with hate, murder, and overall disrespect for human life? Maybe, just maybe, Religion is the problem!

    Tom D Ford
    Bend, Oregon, US

  26. 26 CW
    December 25, 2007 at 17:32

    I wonder if those US military trackers will mention Santa’s little detour down to New Zealand that just took place? Apparently he and his helpers needed to blow off a bit of steam prior to this year’s present-delivery marathon…


  27. 27 Steve
    December 25, 2007 at 17:33

    Would Jesus agree to the ethnic cleansing of the Jews out of the West Bank like so many of your guests today have advocated? Remember, Jesus was a jew, and so were Joseph and Mary.


  28. 28 Fred
    December 25, 2007 at 17:34

    Contrary to BBC News bulletins tonight [24 Dec] I have heard from other
    News media sources that 400 Christian Arabs living in Gaza have gone to
    Bethlehem for Christmas and that 60,000 Christian tourists are visiting
    Israel and Bethlehem for Christmas .
    I have also seen and heard a local Jerusalem Priest saying that the Israeli Security Fence has helped to promote a feeling of safety for pilgrims and local inhabitants alike

    Fred Roberts

  29. 29 Lubna
    December 25, 2007 at 18:30

    Hi WHYS! Lubna! We ve missed you Rabiya! Iraqi Christians as all Iraqis have suffered a lot during 2007, but they re celebrating Xmas and hoping for the best!

  30. 30 Angugo Godfrey
    December 25, 2007 at 18:31

    Kibaki is cheating Kenyans cos all he wants is the Presidency! In 2002, we voted for change! And in his 2002 inaugral address, he attacked Moi s regime for misrule, but now they re buddies! Who se cheating who? Let Kibaki pay for his lies! Angugo Godfrey, Malawi

  31. 31 Hakim
    December 25, 2007 at 18:31

    Hakim: We want Free and Fair Elections. We dont want anything that wil bring Insecurity. WE WANT THE ASPIRANTS TO ACCEPT THE RESULTS 2 B MADE BY ECK. LETS PRAY PEACE

  32. 32 Moha
    December 25, 2007 at 18:31

    No doubt. Raila Odinga wil carry the day. Raila go, go 4 it; run, run. We are fed up with Kibaki. The incumbent must vacate. Enough is enough. Moha, Nairobi.

  33. 33 Meragha
    December 25, 2007 at 18:32


  34. 34 Isaac Maganga
    December 25, 2007 at 18:33

    Corruption & tribalism are the main problems in Kenya. I m sure the elections will be based on tribes & affected by corruption. ISAAC MAGANGA

  35. 35 Stamp
    December 25, 2007 at 18:33

    My name is stamp, Iam tutsi man, I think tutsi ideology is moving place to place in africa, 20 years ago kenya,was very clean country.

  36. 36 Betty
    December 25, 2007 at 18:34

    Sorry to have to say this but am not too sure about the ability of your debaters. They dont sound too knowledgeable. Betty from nairobi.

  37. 37 Silas Nyambok
    December 25, 2007 at 18:34

    I will vote for for Raila come 27th Dec just because he represents change. Even though some positive change has been witnessed under Kibaki, he has failed to satisfy the Kenyan dream of 2002. Silas Nyambok in nairobi.

  38. 38 Carwolo Pewu
    December 25, 2007 at 18:41

    Elections in subsaharan Africa is a simple mathimatical formula that is always the same, mark by violence , allegations of vote raking and voters voting on tribal line other than platform. When will African begin voting wisely? From:Carwolo Pewu ,LIBERIA

  39. 39 David
    December 25, 2007 at 18:41

    C’mon BBC, you can do better at selecting debators. These guys have no idea what they are talking about. Please try and tell them to keep cool heads and vote for whoever. David. Kenya.

  40. 40 Baguma
    December 25, 2007 at 18:42


  41. 41 Anonymous
    December 25, 2007 at 18:43

    I remember last time when we had so much hope for a fresh start for our country and corruption being swept away. But the government has turned out to be just as corrupt. And I don t think the opposition will behave differently. We have a second rate, self serving, hugely overpaid political class in Kenya.

  42. 42 Godfrey Angles
    December 25, 2007 at 18:43

    Why did Kibaki reinstate Mwiraria, Kiraitu & Saitoti into the Cabinet? These are corrupt people who have forced Githongo into exile! Who is Kibaki cheating? Godfrey Angles, Malawi

  43. 43 Andrea
    December 25, 2007 at 18:48

    We need a Kenyan Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson. From a dispondent Andrea, now in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

  44. 44 Thomas
    December 25, 2007 at 18:52

    Where did all the aid go to?? Thomas, Germany.

  45. 45 Rajab John
    December 25, 2007 at 18:53

    Kenya needs a president who wil fight corruption and tribalism. The country is badly divided along tribal lines. Rajab John, Arua Uganda.

  46. 46 Patrick Obara
    December 25, 2007 at 18:53

    Governor of Central Bank kikuyu Chairman of Kenya Revenue Authority kikuyu.This is only ministry.Same is in ministry of Energy,ministry of Defence,ministry of justice, ministry of internal Security.kibaki has totally failed to unite kenyans.Call me. Patrick Obara. Nairobi

  47. 47 Momoh Bockarie
    December 25, 2007 at 18:53

    Tell Reuben that i prefer the Angel (Odinga) whom i don t know, than the Devil (Kibaki) whom i know.Devil is negative & Angel is positive. Momoh Bockarie

  48. 48 Jacob Mogeni
    December 25, 2007 at 18:54

    In summary, kibaki failed in four areas: 1. to tackle corruption, 2. To deal with Infrastracture, 3. Tribalism; and finally, safety issues. If these issues are addressed, kenya should grow at more than 10 %. Jacob mogeni, Nairobi, kenya.

  49. 49 Peter Karanja
    December 25, 2007 at 18:54

    Where do you get the idea that kenya elections have been so violent … your headline makes it sound like it been a war here … It s been one of the most peaceful campaigns i ve covered in africa and one of the most peaceful i ve covered in 12 years in kenya … stop the hype to try make your boring debate more exciting … Peter Karanja … Mombasa

  50. 50 Ruth
    December 25, 2007 at 18:55

    I m apalled by the behaviour of sme of my fellow Kenyans voting on tribal lines.Am a youth n 5yrs ago we voted in devt focusd leaders. Whats happenin 2 us? Ruth.

  51. 51 Anonymous
    December 25, 2007 at 18:55

    Unless BBC want to ignite violence in the name of news,it is the result of the election to tell who s gonna win.why rush for opinion at the eleventh hour?

  52. 52 Aden Ole Sahane
    December 25, 2007 at 18:56

    I hope the election will make difference in kenyan politcs. kenyans are not people who can easily be manipulated like other Africans im ADEN OLE SAHANE n ijara

  53. 53 Omar Hassan Ibrahim
    December 25, 2007 at 18:57

    Iam Omar Hassan Ibrahim in arefugee camp called Dagahaley This time the kenya election has effected 2 much may the almighty make thz election finish peacefully

  54. 54 Adam
    December 25, 2007 at 19:01

    Kenya could be a true leader in Africa if they could elect a less corrupt government.- Adam in Portland, OR USA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: