Unionists – An Apology 428


I have been much criticised for referring to Unionists – and No voters are precisely Unionists – as evil or stupid. I have given this much thought, as a number of very well-intentioned people have urged me to apologise. After a great deal of angst, I have decided to offer a heartfelt apology. Not all Unionists are Evil or Stupid. Some are just Cowards. There, I think that covers it.

My analysis runs thus:

Evil

The United Kingdom has become a force for ill in the World. In invading Iraq against the express wishes of the UN Security Council, Blair and Bush did to the United Nations what Hitler and Mussolini did to the League of Nations. The UK was up to its neck in complicity with extraordinary rendition and torture. Its foreign policy is based on resource grabs for the benefit of a few wealthy corporations. Even this year it is in Court still defending the atrocious deportation of the entire population of Diego Garcia to make way for a US airbase, and still preventing their return. It is actively preparing to do the same to the Ascension Islanders. It supports the hideous dictatorship of Bahrain and was implicated in the overthrow of Egypt’s only elected government by the CIA’s General Sisi. It constantly works against the interests of the Palestinians at the UN.

This week the UK has been passing still more laws attacking fundamental liberties in the name of “counter-terrorism” and increasing surveillance. It has an economy dedicated entirely to the interests of very wealthy people in the City of London. Its wealth gap between rich and poor is massive and still growing. The UK has 100 billionaires, and malnourished children, living on a small island. It is dominated by corporations run on a low wage model and has systematically destroyed workers’ rights.

On balance, the government of the UK has become a force for evil in the world. not a force for good. To support it in full knowledge of the above is evil.

Stupid

Given the existence of the tremendous communications possibilities of the internet, and given the wide range of information available above all in Scotland where a new political consciousness has developed, there are few excuses for having been ill-informed in the referendum. The failure to inform oneself, given the resources available, was itself evidence of a lack of gumption.

Some people are Unionists not because they support the policies outlined under Evil, but because they fail to perceive them. This group overlaps heavily with those who do not believe the Labour Party is now a fully paid up neoconservative party subscribing to everything above, and with only a sham concern for social justice. Despite the Red Tories’ open pledges to be tougher on welfare reform and immigration than the Blue Tories, these stupid people believe social progress is possible within the UK under Labour. They also actually believed that The Vow on Devo-Max would be delivered. This group of Unionists are incapable of perceiving evil when they see it, even when it comes certified with membership of the Henry Jackson Society. These people are stupid.

Cowardly

I have added this last group. These are people who did perceive the evil of the UK, and thus weren’t entirely stupid, but were too scared of social change to abandon unionism. A substantial section of the cowards should in fact be grouped under evil, because the cause of their fear was entirely self-centred. They could see the evil the UK does, but cared rather more about their own pension, job, mortgage etc. than they cared about anything else in the world. This combination of selfishness and fear of social change is of course classically Tory. But not all cowards fell into the Tory category. Some were genuinely fearful that things might somehow get even worse for everybody. They would not have boarded the first trains in case their heads were blown off by the 30mph winds.

Conclusion

After four months of constant thought, I cannot think of any hypothetical unionist position which does not fall into one of those categories. I am grateful for the criticism which led me to realise that I had left out the cowards. Some of that criticism came from nationalists who do not like politics to be described in moral terms, and for whom national independence should rouse no more passion than a change in local council boundaries, being a simple question of the best technocratic management of broadly similar political systems. That is a position I wholeheartedly denounce. For me national independence for Scotland is a great ethical choice for good – and against evil.

Fortunately a great many of the stupid are realising their mistake – being slower on the uptake does not stop you getting there eventually. So now there is a definite majority, for Yes. I am pleased about this, and view Independence as absolutely inevitable in the near term. I shall certainly live to see it. I don’t see converting No voters as part of my personal mission in life. The Wizard of Oz could give the Coward a medal and the Stupid a diploma. I shall content myself with being the one who throws water over the Evil.

Finally, for those who cannot get their heads round the purpose, style and conventions of political polemic, plainly you don’t have to be a No voter to be stupid. I have No voters in my family and among very close friends, including some without whose assistance I couldn’t keep this blog going. An attempt to introduce intellectual rigour into political discussion and test positions as part of political debate in no sense equates to personal animosity. As I have repeatedly stated in the context of the hundreds of political issues this blog has debated over ten years, I do not choose my friends by their politics. Otherwise I guess I wouldn’t have any 🙂 !


428 thoughts on “Unionists – An Apology

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  • Iain Orr

    Fred @ 2.43 pm I’m no expert on Germany, so my comment was based on what I think is a widely shared interpretation, that Hitler used democratic institutions as the stepping stones to take himself across to the totalitarian side of the political river. He was appointed Chancellor by President Hindenberg in 1933 following the adoption by the Reichstag of the 1933 Enabling Act (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler's_rise_to_power). Are you disputing my general point that democratic votes and decisions can be deeply flawed; and there is no reason for those who have lost one election/ referendum to give up their fight. That’s as true for those who want Scotland out of the UK, those who want the UK out of the EU, those who want the NHS to be privatised and those who want the UK to get rid of its nuclear weapons. For what it’s worth, I prefer systems that impose constitutional/ legal limits on the tyranny of the majority; and I would therefore prefer a vote for the change to Scottish Independence to require at least a 60% majority of those voting.

  • Iain Orr

    Tony M @ 12.24 pm. You make some good points and I am happy to accept that a different name from my mischievous suggestion would be better for Craig’s party, if he decides to contest Berwick-upon-Tweed. Let me have another go at a name that might have useful resonances. What about the “Fredome Party”? That spelling would deliberately hark back to John Barbour’s “The Brus”:

    ” A! Fredome is a noble thing!
    Fredome mays man to haiff liking;
    Fredome all solace to man giffis,
    He levys at ese that frely levys!
    A noble hart may haiff nane ese, 5
    Na ellys nocht that may him plese,
    Gyff fredome fail; for fre liking
    Is yarnyt our all othir thing.”

  • Iain Orr

    Boindub @ 3.47 pm – I like your honey/ vinegar metaphor/simile. For me the classic story that makes this same point comes from my earliest primary school reading book, the one that also had the story of the Billy Goats Gruff. It describes the battle between the wind and the sun, trying to get a man to take off his coat. The wind blew and blew, and the man only pulled his coat more tightly around him. The sun shone and shone, so that in the end the man had to take off his coat. Who won? If that story had been copyrightable, cognitive behavioural therapy would never have got off the ground.

  • fred

    @Iain Orr

    Democracy can be manipulated and indeed it was manipulated by Hitler.

    However if you look at Craig’s blog entry and subsequent events since the referendum it’s clear that it is Nationalists who have been doing the manipulating.

    http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/oil-shock-hits-scottish-economy-1.787298

    I don’t believe it would be right to say that because the Nationalists failed to cheat the electorate once they should be given another chance. The case for keeping the union is far stronger now than it was in September.

    If the referendum had gone the other way would you be using your arguments to campaign for another bite of the cherry for the Unionists? They would apply just the same.

    Are you saying the people of Scotland should be made to keep going to the polls till they get it right? Would that in your opinion be a fairer form of democracy?

  • Tony M

    Iain Orr: In the case of such a 60% rule, I’d argue that a future vote should be whether to continue in the existing abandoned, void, breached, shot full of holes, union between Scotland and England-Wales or to let it fall by the wayside, legally by desuetude. The unionists claimed 44% support (of turnout), with every strong-arm tactic, the deep-state fully committed and the media and Broken Broadcasting Corp. rats at ‘propaganda strength’ underpinning it, has fallen like a stone since September 19th and no sign of it ever hitting bottom yet, they’ll have a hard job hitting 40% next time, much less 60%. Your idea could well boost the morale of older Independence supporters convinced they’d never now see a chance of Independence in their lifetime, and who’ve declared politics impossibly rigged against meaningful beneficial change.

    Alternatively.

    I don’t however agree with your idea on in principle or on this issue, the 40% majority (of electorate, not just turnout) rule hastily introduced for the 1979 Devolution Referendum was a sneaky enough trick, but only usable once, 60% is just going too far. I presume you’re simply not a supporter of independence, if you fail to see the importance, the necessity, the justice of it and would like to place further hurdles in its way.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I’m open to suggestions of any other publications, the Smith report on very little or nothing, maybe? all the spare ballot papers and those filled out still lumbering in some desks? the bible, because we can?

    Everything by Jeffrey Archer, ‘A Journey’ by you know who, all DC Thompson’s publications?

    Relevant, perhaps to an occasionally and thankfully sensible discussion on the struggling NHS – both sides of the border –

    http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/media/medianews/nhs-locum-doctor-spend-spirals-as-eu-regulations-bite

    http://careers.bmj.com/careers/advice/view-article.html?id=20010943

  • Tony M

    Oops I was mistaken, it was apparently 55% No, 45% Yes, and not the other way around, though it still feels like it was the other way around. I’m probably getting sleepy. Change the figures where necessary, the point still stands.

  • Tony M

    Oh goodie we got ourselves a book-burning.

    A Journey … Samuel Johnson? An anti-Scots racist, his tirades against the Scots and abuse of his Scottish biographer/secretary Boswell and low opinion of the Scots who gave him hospitality on his travels were legendary. As for “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”, it’s not a truism, but it was uttered by an absolute scoundrel, though he did keep some waifs and strays in his entourage provendered. I’ve always thought Robbie Coltrane’s vain and bombastic portrayal of Johnson in Blackadder was spot-on.

    DC Thomson yes, Sunday Post yes, but not Dudley Watkins Oor Wullie or The Broons.

    I nominate all the ‘holy’ books and Walter Scott’s Minstrelsy of the Borders.

  • Fedup

    Shameful cover-up of the racial attacks on Asians by beebeecee at its best;

    Racial motive theory in Tesco store attack in Mold

    A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after an attack at a Tesco supermarket in Flintshire which police say could be racially motivated.

    A 24-year-old man suffered “serious but not life-threatening injuries” in the attack while shopping at the store in Mold at 13:39 GMT on Wednesday.

    No-one else was injured during the incident.

    A local man was arrested in the store, said North Wales Police.

    Police said the store has been closed while crime scene investigators gather evidence and officers speak to witnesses.

    The injured man is from Yorkshire.

    Det Chief Insp Alun Oldfield said: “Initial indications are this is a racially motivated attack and as such management of the community impact will feature significantly in order to provide public reassurance.”

    A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We responded with a rapid response vehicle and an emergency ambulance and a man with serious injuries was taken to hospital.”

    The supermarket said the store was likely to remain closed for the day.

    Not a word about the Asian origin of the victim and nothing about the racist screaming; “white power” as he chased his Asian ie Pakistani victim in Tesco, armed with a huge crocodile Dundee style knife.

    Although the same outfit has been relentless about the fears of another minority (obviously not Muslims, Asians, Pakistanis, Chinese, Indians) and their future in UK, and fact that there should be armed guards assigned to protect these from attacks.

    Mold Tesco ‘racist knife attack’: Man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of 24-year-old

    Detective Chief Inspector Alun Oldfield, of Wrexham CID, who is leading the investigation said: “At 1.40pm this afternoon a 24-year-old man was shopping in the store when he was attacked.

    “As a result the man sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries and was conveyed to a local hospital.

    “Initial indications are this is a racially motivated attack and as such management of the community impact will feature significantly in order to provide public reassurance.

    The investigating officer is busy playing it down too, if it were one of other minority individual’s (the chosen kind of course), the hues and cries can only be left to imagination.

    Obviously the Asian victims is; “je suis nobody”, hence no one in beebeecee gives a flying fuck.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    ALL of Walter Scott. Thanks for reminding me. No, ‘A Journey’ was penned by or on behalf of a Mr. AC Blair, and is , judging by the extracts I have been unable to avoid, the most self-congratulatory portrait of an arsehole ever written. Oor Wullie/Broons? I dithered about them, but as they perpetuate an unhealthy stereotype and really when you come down to it are only marginally funnier than Russell Brand (yup, his booky wook is for the pyre too) – in they go.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Node : “OK, DO you think Caithness NHS services would be better off NOW under Westminster than the SNP?”

    Fred : “I know for a fact they were a lot better before devolution. We had some top rate consultants.
    I was listening to the radio yesterday and who should be on but Tony Blair, he was giving evidence to some inquiry about the peace process in Ireland. He was asked about something, not sure just what but he replied that he didn’t even know about it at the time but he was Prime Minister so he takes full responsibility.
    As far as I’m concerned the health service in Scotland is the Scottish government’s responsibility, the buck stops there and these attempts to shirk that responsibility, to pass the buck, just lowers my opinion of and my confidence in the the Scottish government.”

    OK . . . you’re not claiming that the NHS in Scotland is worse than in England, or that it spends proportionally less on the Highlands than Westminster did, or that Caithness NHS services would be better off NOW under Westminster, but you are claiming that Tony Blair is a role model for responsible leadership, and you conclude that the SNP is in charge so they should do something about it.

    What do you suggest?

  • Tony M

    Fedup, thanks, sad and sorry to hear of that, I hope he makes a full recovery.

    Ach Oor Wullie/The Broons was a kids-world view and audience, but yes some now correctly thought intolerable violence portrayed in the shape of ‘slipperings’ and such, as with many of the Beano/Dandy characters also from DC T.

  • Spikedport

    This is cringeworthy stuff. This kind of “anyone who disagrees with me is an idiot” approach to politics is absolutely woeful at winning people over. The idea that you can spend every waking hour berating people for being idiots and then get them to vote for you is about as stupid as it gets.

    The “real life” (if we can call it that) Yes campaign was one of the most refreshing things I’ve ever witnessed. I barely saw an argument in three months of campaigning. On numerous occasions we had someone turn up at our stall as a No voter and go home a Yes. Even those who didn’t change their mind almost always left thinking we were decent people who simply disagreed with them on one issue.

    Yet every time I see someone share an article like this on Facebook it’s some barely coherent diatribe with all the political nuance of a 14 year old Rage Against the Machine fan. Can someone please, for the love of god, start a pro-independence site with some sensible academic arguments? We’re drowning under the weight of angry morons in their bedroom who seem to think being as obnoxious as possible is a valid campaigning strategy.

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Now Moderate Me..

    I think The Daily Telegraph may be about to go bust…but what a Brilliant Name…Under the New Management it will be a Gradual Transition and we will keep some of the existing journalists..just to keep The English Flavour..This is not a Sell Out of Cadbury’s Chocolate..but I would just well simply keep the Best..Do you want to go into a Partnership..like a Co-Op..where you get paid absolutely nothing..if you are not an investigative journalist..and get out there and write what you find from your own experience rather than rewriting someone else’s shiite??
    Tony
    • Edit• Reply•Share ›
    Avatar
    tony_opmoc • 24 minutes ago
    Look If The Daily Telegraph’s Management wants My Son’s Business to Host Their Web Servers..He has Got Serious History..and He will Offer 99.9% availabilty if you pay his rates for Dual Hosting From the UK..and Triplicate From The USA if you like..He has no Interest in Politics..so Long as You Pay Your Bills on Time..If You don’t he may slowly Degrade your Service until you do.

    He’ll save you a lot of Money. That is My First and Only Advert.

    ENGLAND – don’t you trust us English?

    Tony

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Well. I might as well say what I think???

    How Much Do You Think Any Of These Journalists are Worth…

    Unless They Investigate Themselves..ask questions and think..well I will just phone up the guy and talk to him..and everyone else you can find the “news” or its just a story..It is Down To You..If You Want To Be a Journalist..and take your heart with you..are you involved..do you care..are you within or are you just doing a sniper shot from far away…take your mobile phone with you with a decent wide angle lens too..or a tiny keychain..Just ‘kin do it if you think you want to be a journalist go out and find and record, photograph and interview

    Ask the questions just you and him…the sound and the photography is now awesome..you can carry it in your pocket and directly upload it (even live if you want)
    in exceedingly good quality

    I see what you kids are doing..and I am trying to keep up with you…

    Tony xx

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Tony M – My quibble with The Broons et al wasn’t really to do with the ‘violence’ (which was part of my upbringing too and never did me any harm other than making me a dysfunctional sociopath) or its ‘kid’s world view’, but the perpetuation of bland 1950’s comic-Jockery, and know-your-placeism. See also, Peoples’ Friend etc. Though on reflection I’d spare the Beano, up to, say 1970.

    Node (citing Fred) …he was Prime Minister so he takes full responsibility. Can you, or anyone, illuminate me as to what taking full responsibility means in this context? Doesn’t it mean initiating enquiries rather than doing his damnedest to weasel out of participating in them? Does it, indeed, involve any action on his part at all?

    Here’s Tony taking responsibility for PFI in 2012. Not.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9356942/Blair-defends-PFI-as-NHS-trusts-face-bankruptcy.html

    Labour brought the south London trust to “the brink of bankruptcy”.

    “Labour turned a blind eye to these problems for years. They burdened it with two unaffordable PFIs worth £61 million a year and they crippled the organisation with debt from the beginning,” the source said.

  • Mary

    Celtic Connections opens with homage to Martyn Bennett
    Front cover of Martin Bennett’s Grit album Martyn Bennett’s final album, Grit, was hailed as a groundbreaking piece of work

    Martyn Bennett: “Fearless” music legacy lives on
    Celtic Connections to honour pioneer

    The opening concert of the 22nd Celtic Connections music festival will pay tribute to visionary Scottish musician who died of cancer a decade ago.

    Martyn Bennett died in 2005, at the age of 33, but his blending of traditional tunes with dance beats revolutionised the musical landscape.

    The festival runs for 18 days until 1 February at venues across Glasgow.

    It will feature more than 300 events and about 2,000 musicians from all over the world.

    Highlights of the festival programme include a tribute to singer, songwriter, author, poet and activist Ewan MacColl, who established Scotland’s first folk club.

    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-30782066

  • nevermind

    Thanks for all the great suggestions, I hope my wormies can cope with all the heavy religious tomes, racial incitement and worn out arguments they have to turn into good soil improving matter.

    Blair took over the Tory’s PFI plans hook line and sinker, the NNUH is the best example. It operates with 60 permanent private beds and is carrying out BUPA’s operations. PFI is contractual robbery of taxpayers, inflexible contracts which demand high repayments and have high break up clauses.

    despite the audit committees comments that PFI’s are ‘not good value for money’ this outrage has not stopped, these days even small contracts under 2 million, totally against the initial thought that these should only be applied to major infrastructure improvements, are PFI’s, this legislature and model is being exploited by all and sundry.

  • Mary

    So much for a petition containing +124,000 signatures. I like the bit about it being impossible to take back the award. Why not?

    From the originator of the petition.

    Ask ‘Save the Children’ to revoke their annual Global Legacy Award given to Tony Blair

    ‘Save the Children’, please revoke the award given to Tony Blair in supposed recognition of his vanguard leadership on the world’s international development stage. As an international children’s charity the choice of Tony Blair is controversial to say the least, as many see him as the cause of the deaths of countless children in the Middle East with damning allegations relating to his role as Middle East envoy and businesses dealings with autocratic rulers and others in the region.

    ~~~

    ‘Dear Friends

    I walked down to the Save the Children offices accompanied by Miranda Landgraf and Robin Priestley from 38 Degrees to deliver the petition to the offices of Save the Children UK on Tuesday 13th January 2015.

    handing in the petition – photo

    We had a private meeting with Brendan Cox, director of Policy and Advocacy who listened and responded well although we all had to agree that it was now impossible to remove the award from Tony Blair, especially as the award was from the semi autonomous USA branch of the charity. However, Brendon did agree that it had been a misjudgement on Justin Forsyth’s part not to challenge the choice of recipient for their award or inform his staff, and that communication and consultation between members of the Save the Children Fund Global federation needs to be improved so that such internationally damaging choices are not repeated.

    We had a brief debate about the differences in the perception of Tony Blair and policy in the Middle East compared to that of the UK branch, as well as the shortfall in our own UK government’s response to the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the overall political situation of occupation and oppression.

    /….. e-mail

    Weasel words from Save the Children. Not ever another penny piece from me.

  • Calgacus

    Fred, we were cheated not defeated unless of course home rule is delivered as per the vow, promised by your friends in London.

    If home rule is not forthcoming then of course we are entitled to another referendum.

    P. S. The Courier is a rancid Tory rag just like the Scotsman, try the National. I’m sure you would find it refreshing:-)

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Completely OT…

    MORE than half of Jewish people living in Britain no longer feel they have a future here amid a rising tide of anti-Semitism.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/551863/Jewish-people-worry-about-future-fears-over-anti-Semitism-grow

    Fair enough, I suppose. Especially as a similar poll not restricted to one ethnicity/culture/religion/whatever it is would probably show that a significant proportion of Britons as a whole no longer feel they have a future here. But this is truly sinister:

    Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “Jews are an important part of the British community, and we would be diminished without them.

    “Anyone who peddles anti-Semitic views is attacking Britain and British values.

    And can by implication be arrested under terrorism legislation? If criticism of Israel is to be defined as antisemitism – as it is by the likes of Sacerdoti (see below)- what of freedom of speech?

    This report invites deconstruction. It is based on a poll carried out by the Campaign Against Antisemitism. Jonathan Sacerdoti is mentioned as a spokesman. Here’s Jonathan Sacerdoti, wearing some other hats:

    http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/who_is_jonathan_sacerdoti_the_bbcs_go_to_man_on_gaza

    So, a ‘committed propagandist’ for Israel. Acknowledged as such by the BBC, here:

    http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/blog/item/5620-bbc-finally-admits-bias-over-pro-israel-commentator

    Gideon Falter, the chairman of CAA, was widely reported when he shopped FCO bureau chief Edwin Laxton for allegedly shouting ‘Fucking Jews’ at a television showing a victim of an IDF attack on Gaza, got him arrested, and fined. The full details are here:

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2803

    The conviction was later overturned. More details on this obvious Zionist are scarce, but he was chair of Warwick University Jewish Society, and called for the anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish Neturei Karta to be banned from UK campuses in 2003. A relaxed attitude to freedom of speech, then.

    It is noteworthy that those most insistent on demonstrating that Jews do not feel safe in their own countries are invariably shills for Israel. And Netanyahu,on the back of the Paris atrocity, has just repeated his call for French Jews to move to Israel (Sharon also invited them). Why? There’s a demographic time bomb here. The population of non-Jews resident in Israel will soon be greater than that of Jews, and fulfilling the dual requirement of an exclusively Jewish state and something that can be passed off as a democracy will then be impossible.
    Cue recruiting Jewish immigrants by any means possible.

  • fred

    “What do you suggest?”

    A facts and evidence based system not ideology based.

    Pretending it isn’t happening, saying it would be happening worse under someone else, finding someone else to blame is just not good enough when people’s lives are at stake.

    Failed bankers in Edinburgh get free prescriptions while in the Highlands we don’t even get doctors.

  • Tony M

    Tell us about the roads Fred, how them in the lowlands have 10-lane freeways and you’ve only got dirt-tracks, that was a good-one.

  • craig Post author

    MickPork

    I repeat, had party members voted to select someone else as a candidate, I would have been perfectly content. It is ridiculous for you to say that my actions suggest otherwise, when I was never given that chance. And the reason I was never given that chance, as you know damn well, is that I would have won on a vote of members, because fortunately unpleasant people like yourself are a minority in the SNP.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    A facts and evidence based system not ideology based.

    I will enthusiastically buy that idea. Though I suspect the real answer will be to fire at least every other NHS manager – both sides of the border, and put the rest on reasonable salaries. If they can’t deliver the service, they shouldn’t be paid.

  • DoNNyDarKo

    Fred, it’s a bit like climbing mount Everest and complaining about the snow. Move FFS,

  • fred

    “Fred, it’s a bit like climbing mount Everest and complaining about the snow. Move FFS,”

    I couldn’t comment on Mount Everest, you are a lot closer than I am.

    I know as much about conditions there as you seem to know about the Highlands.

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