483 thoughts on “Blog Housekeeping Point

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  • J Galt

    I have nothing whatsoever to say in favour of Marine LePen, however I’d like to hear a wee bit more about your reasoning behind what some may view as quite a radical stance.

    Again I am not arguing against your stance – after hearing a bit more I may well agree with you.

    • craig Post author

      No great intellectual process. Rather of late the blog has acquired a collection of regular commenters, many of whom I suspect are motivated by views even more obnoxious than those they regularly express.

        • craig Post author

          I think it is beyond dispute that I grew a conscience before they sacked me. I would argue that was why they sacked me.

          • Thorson Bloodaxe

            But while we were listening to John Lennon songs and protesting outside AAFBs you were studying to be always right thus eliminating the need to listen to the wishes of the voter. The FCO in action.

          • Mencken

            Indeed so.

            ‘A clear conscience? And when did you acquire this taste for luxuries…?’ (Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1988)

          • Thomas Howard

            Exactly they the powers that be at the time (Mr Stwar Wars etc) sacked the Ambassador because he refused to turn a blind eye to torture and murder.

          • Neil Anderson

            I’m in a bit of a quandary here Craig. I appreciate your zeal for Scottish Independence; I am very much of the opinion that this is the way forward for my country. However, the poster above makes a very valid point. What made you think – in the first instance – that it would be a good idea to work for the british state (absence of capitals my deliberate choice, of course)? You’re an educated man. Did you think you could reverse their fascist tendencies (developed over several centuries) single handed? Why did you even consider working for such a heinous regime in the first place? The british state are – probably – the worst entity in the history of human history. I can’t think for a second why you might have wanted to support them. Please tell me what you were thinking.

            I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 years now and have commented sparsely. Mainly due to the bullying which goes on for new contributors. However, I think I may just join the fray and to hell with the consequences.

          • Wolsto

            Neil: That is an absurdly black and white view of the world, and rather childish. Many people in the civil service do important, necessary and excellent work that creates net benefit to the world and to our country. The idea that anyone who works for the British state are cackling fiends hell bent on evil is just silly.

        • craig Post author

          You have frequently announced your departure Trowbridge, but you never actually leave. Nor do I wish you to.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            The last time the reason I came back was after Clark vollunteertered out of the blue that I am a nutter like the neocons, and he continued his rants, resulting in 10 pages of the comments, some of them mine, on the 9/11 thread being deleted to hide his lies

            Before, responses to my comments about conspiracies and covert weapons caused me to try to leave, but they got me to change my mind which I often do.

            Now you have made absurd threats, so absurd about supporting Marie Lr Pen that you can’t keep them.

            You shape up, and I shall try to, provided other posters don’t volunteer ad hominem attacks on me.

      • Habbabkuk

        Craig

        On a point of information (less for myself than for others, including “Laguerre”, who the other day called me a Le Pen supporter and a racist) do you include me in that collection?

  • Dave

    If you suppress fascists then you cant oppose them and you drive them underground. Like woodworm they will burrow secretly till the house falls down.

    • Shatnersrugi

      Dave,

      That’s nonsense – no platforming fascists has kept them at bay all these years, until the BBC thought it was clever to invite nick griffin into question time – they opened a whole can of worms that won’t be put back in its box.
      Yes no platforming drives fascism underground – but as we can see from the last 30 years, the underground fascists couldn’t find their arse with both hands. Once griffin and then the nudge wink version farage were allowed on tv it gave many in the wider public an excuse to blame everyone of there small grievances on whatever scapegoat was close at hand.

    • Neil Anderson

      Driving fascists underground? Are you awake? Where do you live? Is Trump a fascist? Is Putin a fascist? Is May a fascist? Is Le Pong a fascist? Is Jong OOOOn a fascist? Where does it end? Kaboom?

  • Chris Rogers

    Funny old world, Craig made this site a EU Referendum Free Zone last year, which worked out rather well.

    Further, and as political observers, how can one discuss political shift within the French electorate if said shifts are towards the Right.

    Given the Democratic Party’s National Conventions inability to get to grips with Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Trump last year at the hands of the ‘Deplorables’. How does one comment and draw conclusions if by stating facts they are deemed as pro-Le Pen.

    Perhaps its best just to ignore the French election and concentrate on human rights issues for the next month, suppose we can ignore the UK Election whilst we are at it!

    • Habbabkuk

      But what would be the use of such a platform on this blog, 99,90% of whose readers are not eligible to vote in French legislative and Presidential elections?

  • Mencken

    Indeed she is. But in censoring contributions you are doing precisely what a fascist would do to you.

    • craig Post author

      If I owned a pub I would not be obliged to allow the BNP to hold meetings in it. I do not believe people ought not be allowed to support fascism. I just do not wish them to do it on my website.

      • Athanasius

        That’s fine as regards meetings in the pub, but you could not legitimately refuse someone a quiet pint just because he happened to be a member of the BNP. That’s a publican’s “product”, it’s what he’s in business to sell, and a public, politically active blog is in the business of ideas. THAT’S your equivalent of the quiet pint. What would you say if your local refused to serve Jews?

        • craig Post author

          If they drank sociably I would not ban them. If they made racist and BNP supporting comments I would ban them from the pub. Seems a perfectly good parallel to me.

          • Habbabkuk

            It is your blog, Craig, and you are perfectly entitled to ban people who argue for her (in the grounds of not wishing to give a platform to racists and fascists). I entirely approve.

            But there does seem to be a practical downside owing to possible difficulties of interpretation (both textual and of intention): how is one to discuss Mme Le Pen (and, for that matter, M.Macron) in here – in this case in the context of the election – without running the risk of falling foul of your ban?

            Just two practical examples: is it to “argue for” Mme Le Pen if one were to suggest that not all of her voters vote for her for racial reasons and that some of her vote is an (albeit unthinking) protest vote or for economic reasons? Is it to “argue for” her if one suggested that there might be a considerable difference between what she says now and what she would/could do if actually in power?

          • reel guid

            In that case either they’d had too much to drink or their anti-racist comments were fake and intended to disarm people while they advanced their fascist agenda.

        • Neil Anderson

          A “quiet pint” is not a meeting. It could be argued that this is some sort of meeting place but if you use it to expound racist or fascist ideas, then you can GTF. Aye? If you’re here for a “quiet pint” then knock yersel oot.

  • ThrowAway

    This makes sense the internet has more than enough places for such unpleasentness; the BBC website for example.

  • Loony

    Steve Keen, a respected but marginalized economist, has warned that a continuation of current EU policies will inevitably result in Greece morphing into a European version of Somalia.

    Oh what can be done to avert this disaster? Unless of course the answer is nothing since it is absolutely intended to hurtle Greece into the third world.

    • Chris Rogers

      Loony,

      Steve Keen is not a ‘marginalised’ economist, quite the reverse he’s highly respected by many, just not the neo-classical that he undermines continually with all his work – he’s highly connected and one of the leading lights in the Heterodox School of Economics, which is growing in both size and stature, i.e., see Stephanie Kelton.

      • Loony

        Steve Keen, Michael Hudson and others are all marginalized in so far as they are allowed nowhere near policy and their views are simply ignored by actual policy makers.

        Some may think it strange that “diversity is our greatest strength” except when it comes to economic and monetary policy and then only rigid and narrow group think is acceptable – any deviation from the prevailing orthodoxy and you are out.

  • Ian Seed

    Craig Murray also states on record that people who voted for Brexit are racist – again with no evidence.

    • Chris Rogers

      Ian Seed,

      In Craig’s fantasy World all who voted for the UK to exit the EU for whatever sound reason then they are RACISTS. So, in solidarity with the nearly 20% of those who voted in the French Election for Melenchon – who’s anti-EU, anti-Nato – I’m proud to associate myself with these racists, as I too as a Left-winger am racist.

      I’ll go further, I’m utterly opposed to neoliberal economic prescriptions being imposed across much of Europe, much of it by EU Institutions themselves, namely both the ECB and the Commission – so opposed am I that if my opposition to neoliberalism and neoconservative/interventionist foreign policy makes me a Racist, then I carry the charge with pride, as do many on the Left, many of whom voted for Melenchon on Sunday. We’re all happy racists according to Craig, but can he prove it. My Arse!!!!

      • craig Post author

        Not all who voted to leave the EU are racist. A very large majority are. “Left-wingers” who wish to see social justice within a xenophobic community from which outsiders are excluded, and who have no concern for the economic well-being of those outside that community, are but a different sort of racist.

        • Chris Rogers

          Craig,

          Please address the issue central to growing anti-EU sentiment across the member states of the EU and especially applicable to those on the Left of the political spectrum, namely, that international socialists who oppose the EU are by a clear definition RACIST. This despite the fact that this body of international socialists comprises most ethnic groups and extends beyond the borders of the EU itself and seeks social justice for all wherever they may reside, which means opposing the present Capitalist order and all it stands for, namely war and repression of the majority of persons on our planet. The EU is nothing but a capitalist cabal imposing draconian economic measures across the EU, and by extension globally. It is, much as the IMF and World Bank, an Institution completely and utterly infected with neoliberalism and one opposed to the economic wellbeing of not only those who reside within the EU, but globally. Of course I’m a racist for wanting all those on our planet to have decent lives in whatever part of the world they reside in, lives free from poverty, disease and hunger.

          • craig Post author

            Very simple, Chris. Arguments about particular economic policy are not racist. Arguments about immigration are. As I demonstrated on this blog a couple of days ago, Brexit voters do not actually believe that jobs or the economy will get better after Brexit. They just want to keep foreigners out.

            You can oppose neo-liberal economics without xenophobic attitudes to immigration. Those who do exhibit xenophobic attitudes to immigration are racists.

          • Habbabkuk

            I think that those who display xenophobic attitudes towards immigration – or economic policy – or transnational flows of cultural goods – are xenophobes.

            Racists – as i have said on several occasions – are those who believe that the members of one race (race, not nationality) are intrinsically superior (or inferior) to those of another, irrespective of the characteristics of each individual. Racism is…racial.

            It is however true that it is more effective to call someone of whose positions or policies disapprove a racist rather than a xenophobe; it is of course also dishonest.

          • Chris Rogers

            Craig,

            Many thanks for conceding that important point, namely there were/are valid reasons for many to vote for the UK to exit the EU, which by clear definition does not mean exiting Europe.

            Further, and in consideration of your position on Le Pen and the French election – one’s had a change of heart, and agrees with you, namely, perhaps its better to concentrate on our own impeding general election and allow the French to concentrate on theirs.

            With this in mind, perhaps you’d consider opining about Keir Starmer’s views with regards Brexit, specifically in relation to all EU nationals within the UK and our future engagement with peers in Europe post Brexit.

            Whilst I understand the French Elections are important, our own election is also important and I for one don’t want another 5 years of Tory Britain, which no doubt would lead to more racism and advances by fascism as the economic carnage takes its toll. Indeed, my interest with economics is to prevent the rise of such extremes, which is why I can’t for the life of me understand why the EU and its member States ram neoliberalism down our throats, which inevitably will lead to fascism.

        • J

          ““Left-wingers” who wish to see social justice within a xenophobic community from which outsiders are excluded, and who have no concern for the economic well-being of those outside that community, are but a different sort of racist.”

          Perhaps a period of calm reflection will do wonders.

          You’ve successfully articulated why so many disenfranchised people voted as they did. Not merely to piss you off Craig, they were denied their serious misgivings about the neo-liberal agenda at the EU, ceding complete control of the European economic climate to bankers, in effect to corporations, and the subsequent employment, environmental and social consequences, some of which we’re now seeing because the debate was never had. And so we are where we are.

          The ‘xenophobic community’ was a layer of opinion added on top to prevent this discussion with the complete collusion of large sections of the press and with the full approval of the Tory government. Everyone involved knew exactly what they were doing and should take full responsibility today and in any histories of our time. I’m surprised that you don’t feel in part culpable given that this xenophobic community, because it certainly does exist, now feels empowered and in the majority when they are nothing of the sort. All of those with conscious and conscientious objections to the EU were lumped in by you and others at every juncture, and now you cannot even discuss the issue because you refuse to acknowledge criticism of the EU as an institution.

          You have helped, in this instance, to create the perception of a vast unified block of racists where only some exist. Misguided perhaps. Economically illiterate perhaps.

          • craig Post author

            But the problem is, in every individual case I have come across so far, all that has been window dressing. I have no problems at all with people objecting to the EU’s democratic deficit nor the neo-liberal nature of its current economic regulations (though I would argue that is to do with current member policy and not intrinsic to the institution). You can make what criticisms of the EU you will, freely. But unless you are going to surprise me by saying you support free movement of peoples, everybody else who has spouted the same highfalutin’ principles as you turns out at base to be objecting to Polish people coming to live here.

          • Bayard

            There was a strong incentive from both sides of theBrexit debate to push the immigration/xenophobia line (no, Craig, it’s not racism, Poles are the same race as us, “Caucasian”). The Leavers wanted to push it because they knew it would get votes, the Remainers wanted to push it because it both enabled them to demonise the opposition (“all leave voters are racists”) and feel superior to them (“unlike us”). So there is every chance that this particular line of campaigning was drastically oversold, leaving the impression that the country was overrun by racists, when in fact only a minority were even xenophobes. This has had the adverse result of emboldening the few real racists (“hey, there’s many more people who think the right way like us than we thought, lets go and beat up a few foreigners”) to commit various hate crimes, which of course, the Remainer press gave the maximum possible coverage to, thus exacerbating the problem.

          • Chris Rogers

            Craig,

            So, us who voted for the UK to exit the EU Institutions, which as with Westminster, are riddled with neoliberals pushing their dodgy elixir of economics, are not racists if we support the four pillars of the EU, but are opposed to full membership of the EU. Well Sir, I’m very happy to support the Norway model, which implies I’m happy to accept the Four Pillars in order that the UK has access to the European Economic Area, which, according to research undertaken in early 2016 would cost the UK £1 billion pounds more than full membership and all that entails. Now Sir, am I still a racist given I’ve not mentioned immigration, nor am I concerned with immigration. I am however concerned with the wellbeing of all who work and reside within our borders, and by extensions my peers across Europe and very much believe in an economic level playing field, particularly as regards the EU is concerned – of course that would mean putting bankers in their place, which is a price worth paying.

          • J

            Of course I support free movement of peoples. I’m surprised that free thinking gets one a racist reputation here, especially after you demonstrated the injustice and the effect upon the quality of debate within the Labour party of labelling people like Ken Livingstone with anti-Semitism.

            I was one of the early members of Diem25 and wholeheartedly support their ideas and a reformed EU. As I’ve already said, I didn’t vote leave but I know many who did. I’m sorry to disabuse you, they aren’t racists and they have a perfectly rational view of Europe.

            You might enjoy this, it’s brilliant. My friend Sergio on drums at a Polish wedding. I’m reliably informed that everyone on the dance floor (and drums) had drunk at least a litre of vodka by this point.

        • Stu

          Opposition to Freedom of Movement is the orthodox Marxist position. This position has nothing to do with race.

          Something to think about Craig. There are five million, mainly low paid, immigrants working in the UK who will be unable to vote in the upcoming election. One of the many reasons why Hayek influenced right wingers love freedom of movement is that it has led to the partial disenfranchisement of the working class.

    • Iain Stewart

      Ba’al seems to be rather keen on the “préférence nationale” too, putting “full” citizens first.

      • glenn_uk

        For slightly different reasons, though. Questioning the loading up of all British people moving to, say, Lancashire would raise the very same problems and concerns. Anon1 and so on don’t like the idea of mass immigration because he simply hates foreigners.

  • Alexandre Takacs

    I can to a certain extent agree that Ms LePen holds views close to fascism or racism, but would it be then that we are next not to speak about the BNP or some Tories… ?

    Now if we want this blog to be LePen free… well, that’s your prerogative !

      • fwl

        Exactly. Curiously Lysias & Habba are the two who are making sense on this thread.

        Craig’s pub landlord rule is understandable save his pub has, like a newspaper become a public forum and having created, from his private resources, a public forum Craig should recognise it is more than a pub and it is not appropriate to fetter speech in a public debate. Especially to say no supporting one of two candidates. Blimey it’s the sort of thing that will search for an argument for Le Pen. Difficult, but .I’ll give it a go.

        If Craig thinks people who disagree with him are lying and are at heart monsters then he should engage and not censor. It’s not as if this place is blatantly obnoxious. It’s fairly orderly. Anyway, don’t want monsters to self identify as such?

  • Loony

    Speaking of racists – Donald Trump has been accused of racism because he wants to build a border wall between the US and Mexico.

    Seems that border walls are bad – unless of course they are being built by the EU and then they are good. Consider the awesome sound of silence regarding the border walls being constructed by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia along their borders with Russia. Apparently they are doing this in order to fulfill their obligation to protect the EU’s external borders (don’t laugh my Italian, Greek and Spanish friends).

    Consider that the populations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania comprise 27.6%, 16% and 4.9% ethnic Russians respectively. Should go down well.

    I would be surprised if the English – Scottish population mix in either England or Scotland is comparable with these figures. Imagine the mixture of outrage and perplexity if there was a serious proposal to erect a border wall between England and Scotland.

    Still I guess when your aim is to initiate WW3 all things seem reasonable.

    The lack of protest and lack of outrage would seem to indicate that the general population want war – and your leaders are your servants and they will bring you that which you demand.

    • Bob

      Orkney and Shetland are the Northern Isles not the Western Isles. Hard to take someone serious who seems to know nothing about the geography of Scotland. Orkney identifies with Norway and I am never quite sure about Shetland.

      • reel guid

        At least he didn’t call them “the Orklands and the Shetneys” as a Tory MP of the shires once did a few years back!

      • fred

        They had a couple of Syrian refugees hiding on a ship in Lerwick during Up Helly Aa this year.

        They handed themselves in at the police station and asked to go back to Aleppo.

    • michael norton

      Then there is our new Prime minister of
      The United Kingdom
      I refer to Islamaphobic Theresa May

  • Sharp Ears

    How about the stream of anti-Muslim/anti-Islam invective on p 3 of the previous thread this morning? I don’t come here for that muck.

      • fwl

        I see where your coming from but it’s still a harsh rule. Le Pen’s support is strongest at the borders and over characterising differences is what happens at borders. Odd though when you consider that her support is stronger when it’s closer to Germany?

  • Bayard

    Is an argument against Macron going to be taken as an argument for Le Pen, given the binary nature of the election, and therefore lead to a banning? Much as many on this blog and elsewhere would wish it, they can’t both lose.

      • Iain Stewart

        Except that, as you will recall, Jean-Luc Mélanchon is against the “droit d’installation” (which caused a lot of negative comment from the rest of the French left and could cause problems for you and me) and wants an all or nothing reform of the EU with the threat of withdrawal (alienating the likes of Dany Cohn-Bendit) which some (Olivier Besancenot for example) interpreted as fishing for FN votes. His ambiguous (and for once barely comprehensible) election night speech tends to confirm those criticisms. I know more than one of his supporters who will abstain from the 7 May election, thereby in effect giving their vote to Le Pen. Others want concessions from Macron first, to avoid the repetition of Jacques Chirac’s dishonest appropriation of a popular mandate in 2002.

    • MJ

      Perhaps Craig should also ban people arguing in favour of neo-con placemen who coo comfortingly liberal words on same-sex warming and the like but do the bankers bidding when it comes to real nuts and bolts matters.

  • Tom

    Bad economics leads to bad politics. Le Pen might not win the next election, but she (or someone even worse) will win the next one. There are reasons why her kind of politics has grown so much in popularity; neoliberalism has provided fertile ground.

    • glenn_uk

      I was arguing this point yesterday. The concerns that get supporters going for Brexit, Le Pen, Wilders and Trump are not even being acknowledged as existing by the mainstream parties. If they win, it’s a disaster. If they come a narrow second (as with Wilders), the attitude is “Phew – dodged that bullet! Now… it’s back to business as usual.”

      Anyone with sympathies for Le Pen or Wilders need only look at their supporters – real, genuine Nazis – to appreciate one shouldn’t go near them. The only reason they attract the success that they do, is because they’re willing to openly discuss problems that such a large number of _non-racist_ people genuinely worry about.

      • Tom

        You articulated that a lot better than me. I would understand why a French person may believe that voting for Macron is simply ‘kicking the can down the road’, and choose to face things head on, because next time her support could be even stronger.

  • reel guid

    Rather than looking at Marine Le Pen who cleverly makes herself and her party seem less extreme than they are, it would be more instructive to consider FN politicians who have managed to get elected.

    David Rachline, the FN mayor of Frejus and a senator for the party, stopped the building of a mosque in his town after construction had started.

    Robert Menard who is the FN mayor of Beziers attempted – in violation of French law – to have the religion of all schoolchildren in the city put on record. He also publicly said in 2015 that no more kebab restaurants would be allowed to open in Beziers.

    Marion Marechal-Le Pen is an FN National Assembly member and the niece of Marine Le Pen. She says publicly that French Muslims can’t be considered French if they don’t follow the Christian culture of France.

  • Pyewacket

    With the amount of upset in the UK since last June by the voter split over the EU referendum; 48/52 and the incessant splits and name calling since. I have some sympathy for the French people in what they are about to probably go through with the four leading candidates all scoring roughly 20% a piece. For the eventual winner in a fortnight it may well be claimed that 60% didn’t vote for them at all.

  • David

    Bit irrelevant as she cant win anyway. I think she would have needed 40 ish % of the vote in the first round to have had any real chance of winning. Her defeat will be by a large majority.

    The French now seem faced with almost the same choice the Americans had, an establishment hack promising more of the same or an open islamophobe who wants to make France “great again” ( where have we all heard that one before ?)

    If you ban folks for supporting her you do lose the opportunity to challenge their views, and maybe change or moderate them. When people stop talking… they start fighting !

    • reel guid

      Fascists are very good at putting a stop to civil unrest and fighting once they get into power.

      • Loony

        Are they?

        Why not explain at what point and for what reasons Pais Vasco ceased its resistance to Franco.

    • Chris Rogers

      David,

      I believe the point of the exercise is to stop honest comment and analysis on what is happening in France, specifically why approx. 40% of the voting electorate have moved to parties opposed to the present status quo in France, and by extension within the EU. Craig is of the opinion that anyone who opposes the EU on whatever sensible grounds they may hold – grounds backed up by a plethora of academic research, is at one a RACIST, and this label is attached to both the Left and the Right of the political spectrum. Indeed, Craig believes the Euro is a great success, despite the economic calamity it causes to millions across the EU, and this includes France and Italy. Indeed, one of Germany’s most respected Central Bankers and economists, Dr. Jurgen Stark, who also was a member of the Governing Council of the ECB, is of the opinion the Euro is dysfunctional. Alas, Craig, a Diplomat by profession, knows bette!

      Unlike Craig, many of us are keen to enquire why we have seen a dramatic rise of the Right comparable to what happened in Europe during the interwar years, and the fact remains as then, that economics is at the heart of the problem, a point highlighted by both Galbraith’s – still, its all racism to Craig pure and simple.

      • craig Post author

        Nobody is preventing you discussing the matters you just in fact discussed. You are being prevented from expressing support for Ms LePen. If that bothers you, you should leave and not return. My suspicion is many of the so-called “left wing” Brexiteers who comment on this site are in fact supporters of LePen and her ilk. I am calling them out.

        You have only to condemn Ms LePen and her racism, and you can discuss what you like about globalisation in relation to the French election.

        • Chris Rogers

          Craig,

          Your answer is highly disingenuous and worthy of Habbabkuk. For the record, as all my social media posts will attest too, I have been an avid proponent for the economic message Melenchon was offering the French electorate and acutely aware that the MSM, as with Mr Sanders, more or less ignored Melenchon until forced to face his growing numbers – only then were they interested in him.

          The fact remains that France is suffering huge economic dislocations and Melenchon offered Leftwing economic prescriptions to these pressing issues. It so happens that Ms Le Pen is also offering economic prescriptions that are aimed at addressing the ills of France, which funnily enough are most similar to Melenchon’s, and as Mark Blythe the economist attested too, are of a Leftwing origin. By recognising this fact, am I endorsing Ms Le Pen, or am I highlighting that the economic policies she advocates are certainly not neoliberal, and, as such from an economics perspective cannot be derided, that is if France want to address its economic ills.

          I’ve stated elsewhere I’m glad I’m not French and forced to vote in the next Presidential run off, for I can assure you I’d not vote Macron, which means, as others believe, many Melenchon supporters will stay at home – unless of course Macron offers some decent economic policies, rather than the platitudes highlighted by the media.

          • craig Post author

            Chris,

            There are two reactions currently evident across the developed world to the effects of neo-liberalism. One reaction is socialism, as evinced by Corbyn, Sanders, Melenchon. One is right wing populism, as evinced by Trump, May and UKIP, LePen. The right wing variety is heavily allied to racism, as foreigners are scapegoated for falling living standards for working people. Really stupid people fall for this narrative and adopt harsh anti-immigration views.

            This right wing populism also rejects economic liberalism – as in Trump and his New Deal style economic stump promises, and May flirting with electricity caps etc, and Le Pen’s mimicking of Melenchon’s economics. At some point on the continuum from May to LePen, this right wing populism becomes actual fascism. If people like you are stupid enough to support fascists because of their interventionist economic policies, I am very sorry.

          • Habbabkuk

            “Your [ ie Craig’s ] answer is highly disingenuous and worthy of Habbabkuk”

            ____________________

            On a point of order, Mr Chairman, my answers (and questions) are never disingenuous! 🙂

          • Chris Rogers

            Craig,

            How can I be supporting Ms. Le Pen, when I shouted for Sanders, shouted for Melenchon and will be physically canvassing for Corbyn’s Labour Party in Wales very shortly. Unlike others, when it comes to barricades, I’ve always known which side I’ll be on, and it’s the same side as the Communards – are you suggesting Ms Le Pen is a Communard?

        • Chris Rogers

          Craig,

          And as a big matter of interest, do you now regret making your Blog a ‘no discussion’ zone for last years EU Referendum, given the plain knowledge we all have that the actual dialogue presented to the Electorate by both official camps was deplorable?

          • J

            “And as a big matter of interest, do you now regret making your Blog a ‘no discussion’ zone for last years EU Referendum, given the plain knowledge we all have that the actual dialogue presented to the Electorate by both official camps was deplorable?”

            That.

        • fwl

          For the same reason they supported Trump.I suppose the difference between Le Pen and Trump is that he probably has no attachment to any policies and switches where he sees personal advantage ie he would stop being racist if it suited him. I hope there is some footage of Trump pretending to be cool at Studio 54. Some posters here support both Le Pen and Trump because they want to stick it to the establishment whatever the price and see Macron as pseudo independent if the establishment. They are deluded. Those who supported Trump too.

  • DiamondFish

    Good for you Craig. I’m really shocked by the pro Le Pen arguments being advanced in The Guardian’s comment section. I strongly suspect an organised astroturfing campaign and I can understand why you would not want to deal with that in your own blog.

  • Andy

    I respect Craig and love the blog but totally disagree with this stance. Le Pen has a lot of support and the key issue is to find out why. The people who support her may have reasonable views and beliefs which are simpy not catered for by the other candidates, for example Macron is pro EU but Le Pen is against it. I read an interesting article the other day about nationalism, and how in the 20th century the poster boys of the left were often fighting for independence. Funny how that is now seen as a rabidly right wing objective.

  • Tom Welsh

    While I haven’t seen you, Craig, say anything I could call overtly “racist” – underlying attitudes are not quite so straightfoward, though – you seem to have forgotten that the suppression of free speech is one of the classic hallmarks of fascism.

    I decline to participate in, or to read, a blog that is written by an opinionated authoritarian who can issue such threats. Goodbye.

    • craig Post author

      I am not suppressing free speech Tom. I am limiting what is acceptable on my own blog. The entire internet is open to you and I wish you well on it. I appreciate you are not a Le Pen supporter anyway.

      • Peter Beswick

        The irony!

        How deep rooted is banning comment in a Fascist community?

        And not all Fascists / Fascist Systems are necessarily bad as a Opus Dei combatant might say.

        But Craig does lack a exhibit a certain intellectual guile when he bans something / someone for reasons best known to him but not explained by him.

        All Fascists are bastards except me!

        • glenn_uk

          Banning hate speech isn’t the same as banning free speech, Peter. Preventing someone using your platform to promote fascism isn’t in itself an example of fascism.

  • Jarek Carnelian

    This is exactly the conundrum. In no case is supporting a fascist acceptable BUT, for now the alternative is typically what you outline, and the drift towards the FAR right is inevitable as long as the window of political normality shifts the “center right” further rightwards under the onslaught of 24 hour propaganda-news.

    The conversion of educational institutions into factory farms for a commercialized intellect leaves fewer citizens in each generation engaged enough to invest the time in forming a considered opinion. Who gains from this political fear-factory?

    This creeping fascism is accelerated by the poisonous degradations of a tattered social contract now littering our deflated communities like so much radioactive confetti.

    People are very strongly motivated, however unconsciously, by the memes and expressed ideals of those they admire. Culture is reinforced by such communal ties and conversations, so we attempt to rebuild the atmosphere of our local pub in boards like this – and like a good publican, list owners must do their duty.

    None of the candidates in the French election have offered an ideal agenda. I doubt that this election will go to the fascists, but the trend is worrying – after some years of austerity and further ruination heaped upon the bottom end of the normal distribution, the risk is that it could well go their way next time.

  • J. Barber

    Solid arguments have no need for censorship of contrary ideas, be they obnoxious. Freedom of speech is an empty slogan unless all arguments are allowed to be pronounced and discussed. Being a Pirate Party member, I feel no affinity whatsover with MLP, but I fear that she spreads only cholera while Macron is a puppet spreading the bubonic plague. With proper treatment the mortality rate of cholera stays below 1 per cent. I spend a lot of time in France and I really pity my friends overthere.

      • lysias

        My comment, which has apparently been suppressed, did not express support for Le Pen, but only asked a question about what we are now allowed to say about Le Pen and Trump. Apparently, we are not allowed to point out similarities between comments expressing support for each of the two.

        • glenn_uk

          You certainly supported Trump, Lysias, with your words on this blog and with your vote.

          • lysias

            I voted for Jill Stein, but I certainly prefer Trump to the intelligence agencies that opposed him, and have now forced him tochange his noninterventionist policies.

            I was asking whether, in view of the fact that comments preferring Le Pen to Macron are now not to be allowed, whether comments supporting Trump are still permitted, and, if so, why.

          • glenn_uk

            A vote for Jill Stein, or writing in yourself, or indeed any vote except for Clinton was a vote for Trump. Anyone who campaigned against Clinton, was campaigning for Trump.

            There were two possibilities for President – Trump and Clinton. A binary choice. Work for one, you’re working against the other. Work against one, you’re working for the other. It really is that simple.

          • lysias

            And I considered Hillary worse, and still do. Apparently we are now allowed to make similar comparisons about the French election in one direction.

          • Habbabkuk

            Glenn is right. As Orwell would have said: by voting for Ms Jill Stein, the no-hoper, you have objectively helped Mr Trump into the White House.

          • Habbabkuk

            Lysias

            There is something highly suspicious- and ambiguous – about you and the posts you make, starting with your rather curious biography, drip fed to readers over time.

            You are unlikely to be whom you claim to be. As to your true views, they are murky. As murky as the reasons why you – not British – should post assiduously on a blog situated 3000 miles away in a foreign country.

            If Craig’s line has the effect of curbing or eliminating entirely your presence on here that would be reason enough to welcome it.

            PS – before you leave, don’t forget to tell us which Oxford college you read Greats at.

          • J

            Beware Glenn and haberdasher:

            In your eyes, voting for a better alternative than ‘any of the above’ is a thought crime, equal to support of the agreed ‘bad guy.’ In this cowboys and Indians world view, this is called comfort to the enemy, to which the only recourse is a steadfast declaration of status quo. Each from their own side insist that nothing shall change.

            Of course I don’t really believe that. Glenn is just confused whereas haberdasher is actively trying to muddy the issues.

            Both would ban evolution if they could, judging by their arguments, change isn’t just impossible, it is immoral.

          • glenn_uk

            J: There are only two candidates with any chance on the ballot. One of them is a fascist.

            Since only these two candidates have the faintest chance, why vote for anyone BUT the candidate who ISN’T the fascist?

            That is, of course, assuming you don’t want the fascist to win.

          • lysias

            Since I am asked and am now retired from work, I will answer. I studied Greats at Worcester College (and got a First). My Ph.D. in Classics is from Harvard. My law degree is from Yale Law School. Before my active duty military service in the U.S. Air Force and my time at Oxford, I got another undergraduate degree from Princeton, magna cum laude.

            Since my military service was as a German linguist in Berlin, I am well aware of the evils of fascism and, I think, able to make comparisons with other evils. The similarities between earlier totalitarian systems and American and Western so-called democracy are daily becoming more apparent.

          • glenn_uk

            Given all that, Lysias, it’s very curious that you were too dim to notice that Trump was a fascist. And that you failed to realise that by not voting for his sole viable opponent, you were helping him into office.

          • lysias

            I judged Hillary’s faults to be worse. From his posts, I think Craig did too. Which makes this new policy mysterious.

        • info

          Craig hasn’t thought his new policy through properly.
          I made a short post earlier which disappeared.
          Just posting this to see if I have been banned!

    • Jarek Carnelian

      J. Barber at 15:16 writes that “solid arguments … allowed to be pronounced and discussed” have no need for censorship. There is only so much bandwidth to allocate, and the ratio of noise:signal can soon drown out solidity of argument and turn discussion into diatribe.

      How much of pro-fascist ranting is even an invitation to debate? It is largely a one-way soap box opportunity from a closed mind. There are MANY places to engage with that perspective, such as the comments section of the Telegraph where it was suggested that bigger fires be built at Calais to burn the migrants! (The moderators appeared happy to let the hate speech stand).

      I don’t read Craig’s posters to hunt for solid arguments in defense of fascism or other varieties of divisiveness and hatred. I come here because the gravity of the place continues to draw a good deal of solid and reasoned argument about many crucially important issues. The signal:noise ratio is well managed, with high fidelity.

      Disagreement and debate are vital. We would all lose if this space became yet another bubble fed with self-reinforcing perspectives that scarcely differ, but noise is noise, and if it is not filtered we will all become information-deaf.

  • Loony

    Here is Winston Churchill:

    “If Hitler invaded Hell I would at least make a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons”

  • reel guid

    Craig banning pro-fascist views on his blog is considered by some as bad.

    But the BBC clearly sifting out pro-Corbyn and pro-SNP views on their vox pops is fine.

    • Chris Rogers

      real guid,

      I think you’ll find most of us the Left have been decrying the fact that not only the BBC, but most of the UK’s MSM has been blatantly anti Corbyn, as well as blatantly anti ‘Yes’ vote in the 2014 Scottish Referendum. Indeed, Craig had a large thread running here dealing with this blatant bias, specifically with regards the BBC’s Chief Political correspondent not very long ago – and she’s been at it again, as Robinson has.

  • Sharp Ears

    O/T but important for all of us. Does anyone care about Julian? I can’t remember seeing anything on here lately.

    Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
    by Nozomi Hayase / April 24th, 2017

    US authorities are reported to have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This overreach of US government toward a publisher, whose principle is aligned with the U.S. Constitution, is another sign of a crumbling façade of democracy. The Justice Department in the Obama administration could not prosecute WikiLeaks for publishing documents pertaining to the US government, because they struggled to determine whether the First Amendment protection applied in this case. Now, the torch of Obama’s war on whistleblowers seems to have been passed on to Trump, who had shown disdain toward free speech and even called the U.S. media as “enemies of the people”.

    Earlier this month, CIA Director Mike Pompeo vowed to end WikiLeaks, accusing the whistleblowing site as being a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”. He also once called Edward Snowden a traitor and claimed that he should be executed. This declaration of war against WikiLeaks may bring a reminiscence of George W. Bush’s speech in the aftermath of 9-11, where he said, ‘either you are with us or against us’, and urged the nation to side with the government in his call to fight global ‘war on terror’.

    /..
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2017/04/prosecution-of-assange-is-persecution-of-free-speech/

    • craig Post author

      I wrote a long piece about Julian this morning and it vanished just as I was about to press publish. We can’t rediscover it so I have to write it again.

      • glenn_uk

        Most annoying when that happens.

        I find the best thing to do upon such occasions, is to immediately write it again (once a sufficient number of curses have been uttered). Quite often the original is more fresh in the memory than appreciated, and the result is often better than the original. (At least, I like to think so.)


        Another wise precaution is to periodically copy&paste the entire thing to a separate notepad and save it. Takes literally seconds each time, it becomes second nature, and you’ll be very glad you do so on occasions like this.

        Alternatively, compose in your email editor, in an email addressed to yourself. That will probably save drafts for you automatically. Then C&P it into the wordpress compose box and fire it off.

        • Ex Pat

          Seconded.

          > Immediately writing it again. Saving it in a file (and its .bak second!)

          As you say, it does become second nature. Though if you have a lapse, and it recurs, it’s peculiar to this writer how often it occurs on a politically sensitive topic… ymmv.

      • Brianfujisan

        What a Bummer Craig. But sadly Your answer To Sharp Ears May indicate Proof of –

        !. They sure are keeping a close eye on you.

        2. They are indeed going to press charges against Julian.

      • Sharp Ears

        That’s a shame Craig. Look forward.

        I think of him often when I am out in the sun working in my garden or walking with friends, He has not felt the warmth of the sun for four years nor seen the seasons change in this still beautiful country. Unimaginable.

    • Habbabkuk

      “O/T but important for all of us.”
      ___________________

      Correction : it is not important for me.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~##

      “Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
      by Nozomi Hayase / April 24th, 2017

      US authorities are reported to have prepared charges….”

      ____________________

      I note the “are reported”. What is the status here of the site “dissidentvoice” and Mr or Mrs “Nozomi Hayase”?

      Is this not just another smokescreen put up to mask the fact that Mr Assange still refuses to leave his bolt-hole despite all the palaver of a few months ago?

      • Sharp Ears

        In reply to your disingenuous questions.

        ‘Dissident Voice is an internet newsletter dedicated to challenging the distortions and lies of the corporate press and the privileged classes it serves. The goal of Dissident Voice is to provide hard hitting, thought provoking and even entertaining news and commentaries on politics and culture that can serve as ammunition in struggles for peace and social justice.’
        It has been going since 2001.

        Nozomi Hayase, Ph.D., is a writer who has been covering issues of freedom of speech, transparency, and decentralized movements. Her work is featured in many publications. Find her on twitter @nozomimagine. Read other articles by Nozomi.

        If you could have been bothered to open the link you could have found out for yourself. You give me the pip.

  • lysias

    Fascism and Communism are defeated totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian ideology that now threatens all of us is laissez-faire free market fundamentalism.

    • craig Post author

      Lysias,

      Let me say this to you very clearly, and to Chris Rogers and to RobG. The undoubted tendency of what you keep posting and I have in many cases kept deleting, is that because of their economic interventionism, you would support a racist fascist against an economic liberal. I am prepared to ban you from this blog permanently if that is your argument.

      • lysias

        I very much dislike the economic views of neoliberals, but that is not what I most dislike about them. What I most dislike abiut them is their bellicosity and Russophobia, which I think threaten the very survival of the human race.

        You obviously have different priorities, but are my priorities so unreasonable that they should be banned?

        • craig Post author

          I don’t know. It is perfectly OK to dislike and argue against neoliberalism. But if you are saying that you prefer fascism, then yea.

          • lysias

            I certainly do not prefer war, above all an unnecessary, aggressive, and poentially exterminating one. As Robert Jackson said at Nuremberg, a war of aggression is the worst of crimes.

          • Habbabkuk

            Question (CM to L) : ” But if you are saying that you prefer fascism, then yea.”

            Non-answer (L to CM) : “I certainly do not prefer war”.

            Sans commentaire……

          • lysias

            In a police state, it is necessary to say things that suggest what one believes without explicitly saying it. People who agree — or pretend to agree — with the official viewpoint don’t have to worry about such things.

            That one now has to resort to such indirection suggests the extent to which we are already in a police state.

      • Chris Rogers

        How wonderful, by pointing out the fact that it’s the very neoliberal economic prescriptions doled out by the EU, IMF, World Bank, and by extension nation states, that are contributing to economic decline and political polarisation, we, that is RobG, myself and Lysias are allegedly giving support to Ms Le Pen, despite the fact, and as you are fully aware, many pinned great hope on Melenchon.

        Now, given that Melenchon has not made it to the second round, the political elite, that is those not suffering from the effects of the neoliberal economic prescriptions they push, expect those opposed to economic policies advanced by Macron, must now vote for him, that is equivalent to economic suicide.

        As I’ve made clear, and I don’t have a vote, the economist, Prof Mark Blythe, has quite rightly pointed out that it’s unlikely that Melenchon’s supporters will vote Macron, rather, they will either remain at home and endorse no one – the system being corrupt – or, move a full 180 degrees and vote for the person we are now banned from mentioning – it being a two-horse race.

        This is the great unknown, but as a political observer with an interest in French modern history and politics, it will be interesting to learn what transpires and how ‘pissed off’ the French actually are with the present status quo.

        Again, I have endorsed no Candidate, but according to you, I must endorse the neoliberal empty vessel known as Macron – such is democracy!

    • Habbabkuk

      Fascism and Communism are criminal conspiracies. Free market economies are not. There is no Western economy which can reasonably be described as laissez-faire fundamentalist and therefore you are guilty of setting up yet another straw man.

      • Loony

        If it is your intention to argue that no Western economy is a criminal conspiracy then you are in serious error. There is voluminous evidence to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the interwoven western economies are underpinned by a gigantic criminal conspiracy.

        Here is a link that sets out a list of fines that HSBC has agreed to pay in relation to various regulatory and compliance breaches and criminal activities

        http://www.corp-research.org/HSBC

        You can research substantially all major US, UK and European banks and you will find a similar pattern of behavior.

        Notwithstanding the vast catalog of fines it is the case that these entities essentially operate outside of the law, since they continue to exhibit a pattern of re-offending. If your hobby was smashing shop windows and despite fines you refused to desist then in due course you would find yourself incarcerated.

        • Bayard

          “If it is your intention to argue that no Western economy is a criminal conspiracy then you are in serious error. There is voluminous evidence to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the interwoven western economies are underpinned by a gigantic criminal conspiracy.”

          That still doesn’t make the economies themselves criminal conspiracies. For an economy to be a criminal conspiracy, every economic actor in it, that is every employer, every employee, every self-employed person, would have to be members of that conspiracy, be actively conspiring to…do what?

          • fwl

            We are beginning to understand something about state organised market abuse which is anti-capitalist, anti-free market and anti-liberal. A cynic might infer that free markets like democracy are often well crafted cover stories for what is essentially the real behaviour. Monkeying around and out witting others. In a civilized society intelligence is rewarded. The intelligence constructs complicated rules of social contract. Some use force and break the rules for gain. The intelligent use brains PR and culture so that one can not perceive the nature of their deeds.

            Still this civilizing deceit had its advantages. Less violence, more superficial and sometimes real tolerance and the brain is exercised.

            Therefore civilization beats fascism. Just remember the civilized world is not what it says it is, but that its lies are preferable to the violence of the dim witted thug.

      • Bhante

        “Fascism and Communism are criminal conspiracies. Free market economies are not.”

        I am not aware of any genuine “free market economies” – all the ones generally so-labelled are criminally manipulated by the mega rich and the mega corporations. I consider the meaning of the word “fascist” is difficult to pin down without grave inconsistencies, especially in its emotive aspect, but I would consider the so-called “free market” conspiracies à la Macron, Clinton, Blair, Merkel and May to be the most fascist of the lot. The German-led rape of Greece is to me also the epitome of fascism.

        Trump is certainly a racist thug and a fascist. But Clinton – to me – is 1000 times more fascist and 1000 times more of a thug than Trump. Le Pen seems to me in many ways more problematic especially in view of the history of her party and her father, but having her in a two-horse race with Macron is a big conundrum. By way of analogy is a huge fascist country is fighting a war with a small fascist country – and you know that when the big one wins it will subsume the smaller one and become even bigger – do you hope that the big one wins or do you hope that the small one somehow holds its ground? Macron, after all, is just the local representative of the biggest, most powerful and most genocidal fascist empire in world history. Le Pen may be more racist than Macron at least at a superficial level*, but at least she seems to be sincere in wanting to put a spanner in the works of the larger and more genocidal fascist empire.

        (* The only doubt being, of course, not whether Le Pen’s racism is genuine but whether the implicit racism/difference-based-genocide is greater in Macron by virtue of what he associates with)

  • michael norton

    We seem to be speeding up the globalization -taking of British jobs away from
    The United Kingdom
    and giving to people in other lands.
    Macron would consider this a good thing.

    Blue Riband biscuit production to be moved to Poland
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39708689

    Remember the Ford Transit was made in Southampton for fifty years, it got globilized and moved to Turkey.

    In a few years there will be no jobs left.

    • craig Post author

      It makes a great deal of sense Michael. Were I a UK manufacturer I would move my production to the EU to protect my markets. It’s not caused by globalisation, it’s caused by Brexit.

      • michael norton

        Well, I am not so sure.
        I think Ford Transit got removed from Southampton and moved to Turkey about four years ago.
        About a year or so before Dave Cameron called for the Brexit referendum.
        I am willing to be shown that I misunderstand.

        • michael norton

          Fifty years ago I worked for Huntley and Palmers biscuits in Reading.
          They were based on the Kennet and Avon Canal, they moved to New Zealand.

          One day there will be almost no jobs left in
          The United Kingdom,
          because of Globalization.

          • glenn_uk

            And you know who supports this, Michael? The investor class. The likes of “Dirty” Desmond, and he promotes his interests and prejudices in that rag you worship, The Express. So while you accurately see the problem, your attitudes and prejudices are shaped by the people who want them that way, which directly furthers the problems you don’t like.

            It’s the usual right-wing methodology – get you all stirred up about stuff which is largely irrelevant, blame the wrong people for the problem(*), and get you voting against your own self-interests. You – personally – are a living example of the great success of this propaganda.


            (*) You can tell the “wrong people” by their skin colour, accent and curious manner of dress, most often.

          • Sharp Ears

            Were you the person who put the dead flies into H&P’s Garibaldi biscuits?

            Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. 🙂

          • michael norton

            Exactly, i put in the dead flies, good biscuits, eat as many as you like, while you worked there.

        • michael norton

          Staff at Ford’s Transit van factory in Southampton have finished their final shifts as it prepares to close its doors later.

          More than 500 workers were based at the Swaythling plant, which has produced two million Transits over 40 years.

          Production is moving to Turkey, where costs are “significantly lower” than in western Europe, according to Ford.

          Ford says its former factory workers have all taken redeployment, voluntary redundancy or early retirement.

          A new £12m vehicle distribution centre is being created at Southampton docks, while a vehicle refurbishment plant at the existing site will provide positions for 134 staff.

          A further 750 jobs have been affected by the closure of the tool and stamping operation in Dagenham. They have also either accepted redundancy, early retirement or been redeployed within the company.
          ‘Ghost town’

          Unions had called the closures a “betrayal” when they were announced last year.

          • glenn_uk

            ^

            From the BBC article I’d referenced. Credit where it’s due, eh Michael? :/

          • michael norton

            Indeed glenn,
            I was a little shocked how close to the truth, my memory was, i had guessed about four years ago.

          • glenn_uk

            Michael: I’m a bit ticked off because I’d bought a Transit, not realising that production had shifted from Sunderland by that point. Would have got a VW otherwise – at least they’re still made in Europe.

          • michael norton

            If we take a moment to consider de-indistrialization in
            The United Kingdom,
            if it may be caused by Brexit
            or ordinary cheap labour from abroad,
            what will be the near future for our youth,
            working for peanuts at Sports Direct, working for gang-masters picking cockles or strawberries for hooray henry
            at Ascot , Wimbledon or Henley.
            Working for AMAZON picking shite.

            Dire indeed, till we get off the Globilization Magic Roundabout.

      • Bayard

        Ah, yes, the holy trinity of blame sponges: If something’s wrong with the economy it must be because of Brexit, if it’s the weather, then it’s Global Warming that’s the cause and if there’s a problem in our politics, Jeremy Corbyn is the man to carry the can.

      • Wolsto

        I don’t know about that. There’s an excellent article in the last LRB about the way Cadbury moved production to Poland, and then on from Poland elsewhere, in search of ever decreasing staff costs… all pre Brexit. I think moving production to where there are the lowest wages and the fewest worker protections is at the very heard of globalisation.

        On the broader subject of the thread, you really have three choices in the modern political environment. (1) go with the Blair/Clinton/Obama style of free market bombing-with-a-smile politics (2) Go for the doomed yet morally upright socialism of Corbyn or Sanders (3) Go full nut job fascist with Trump or Le Pen. I personally think that handsome chap in Canada sits between (1) and (2) and May sits between (1) and (3).

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