The politics of jealousy is not proving popular for the Lib Dems

 

            The Lib Dems seek to differentiate themselves from the Coalition’s policies. I have no problem with that. The two Coalition parties are different, and need to offer choice to the electors come another election.

              What suprises me is how they wish to be different. They think a benefits cap of £26,000 is too mean, when a large  majority of the electorate and a majority of their own voters think it is an important improvement in our welfare system.

              They think the UK should not stand up to the EU, but should go along with more or less any further transfer of power, tax imposition and other humiliation the EU should want to visit on us. Around 80% of the UK public disagree with them.

               They want a mansion tax , to tax people who live in the more expensive parts of the country, regardless of their incomes, mortgages and circumstances.

                Put this altogether and they end up with just 9% support in the latest polls. No amount of banker bashing rhetoric seems to work to make them more popular, but then they are in government and are paying RBS executives large sums whilst losing  they lose  taxpayer money. No amount of pro EU rhetoric seems to lift their poll ratings. Nor, I suspect, will voting for more benefits for people not in work as these matters are put before the Lords.

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47 Comments

  1. Sue
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Let them carry on. They will simply cease to exist and that’s fine by me!

    • APL
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Sue: “They will simply cease to exist and that’s fine by me!”

      You think?

      We are still governed by ‘The UN High Representitive for Bosnia ” despite him not in the last twenty years being elected.

      Peter Mandleson is still part of our government, despite not having been subjected to democratic election for about a decade.

      And to entrench themselves further, the Parties would like to get the British tax payer to entirely fund their activities.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        No, they never die.
        “De mortuis nil nisi Bonham Carter.” (1960s joke about the Liberals).

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Actually I am coming around to the Lib Dem way of thinking on economics. There should be a minimum wage of £35,000 and no one below this should work, the state should keep them. The same applies for all pensioners- a minimum of £26,000. Of course being fair all immigrants and asylum seekers receive the same and get additional hardship bonuses from coming from poor countries where there is no welfare state. This will increase immigration. Public services will be swamped as will natural resources. Huhne’s lunatic wind farm energy will not sustain the domestic needs nor provide cheap energy for industry to make the UK competitive in the world. That does not matter, the EU target is more important even though other countries will not abide by it. Where the money comes from does not matter. Socialist Cable will try to bash CEOs and bankers rather than cut local authority pay head.. I don’t think that will bring enough tax revenue so the UK should borrow more and be like the rest of the southern EU countries. Germany who has all the sweets from their EU deal and will continue not to want to share from their greed, it is better to ask everyone else in the world to contribute to the economic folly they created with France. More EU commissioners who work for a couple of years and get a huge life pension paid for by all EU states. No elections required only the boys club that Clegg said he was going to stop but fanatically supports when it comes to the EU. (personal attacks on Mr Clegg removed-ed) I know I can rely on chocolate tea pot Dave and his cast iron U turns to support the Lib Dems strategy.

  2. lifelogic
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Indeed the politics of envy and jealousy are the staple diet of the left (Labour, Libdems and about half the Tories). That and total hypocrisy.

    It is however always amusing & interesting to see the unelected Bishops, with their interesting golden fancy dress and hats. They clearly think you should get more for not working than for working (This should I assume help growth and job provision?) . Also that those earning say £15,000 should have money taken off them in tax and handed to claimant being given more than £30,000+. So the later can afford more children and the former can not (I assume).

    I wonder if the Bishops think they should pay tax on the true value of the benefits in kind, of their palaces and outfits – perhaps this would help the government receipts a little. Indeed why do they think they should have any role in the government of the country at all (being unelected, not even appointed and clearly rather mad)? Especially when they all have such absurd, lefty opinions on almost everything. Anyway they freely admit they are taking instructions from some mystical, imagined higher authority which should surely mean they are unsuitable.

    It rarely takes long for nearly all lefties to show the natural hypocrisy of their impractical beliefs. We see Tony Blair’s (doubtless legal) but interesting & complex tax structures with little tax actually paid, we see their children sent to private (or worse back door, state funded, selective schools) and and we see them race to become Lord Prescot or Mandelson. We also see Gordon Brown, having one of the best pension schemes going, and yet very happily mugging everyone else’s pension to fund his and his state sector friends.

    We see them happy to brand people as racist, at the drop of a hat, and yet keen next minute to say “white people love playing divide and rule”.

    How do these lefties sleep at night with all these hypocritical and illogical views pumping through their veins?

    Reply: As Mr Duncam Smith pointed out effectively this week, the Bishops employ clergy on pay well below £26,000 a year tax free that they think is too little for benefit recipients.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      There are few things in life more destructive, demotivating and pointless than envy and jealousy. Parties and organisation that play, encourage and incubate such feelings cause huge damage and pointless disharmony not least amongst those whose side they claim to be on.

      To do so for pure political advantage (or indeed just to boost religious congregations) is surely the hight of immorality.

  3. alexmews
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Is it possible to compile a list of our current Business Secretary’s achievements in supporting UK business? I cannot think of any.

    • Nick
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Hold on a moment. He did change the regulations on Belgium liquer chocolates.

      Oh yes, your right. That’s supporting Brussel’s businesses, not British businesses.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        Indeed that was about all I could think of.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      I am not sure his proposals for better control by shareholders of top pay (which I support in principal) are very well thought through either. Will they work in practice?

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      He should have been sacked for his vanity for inappropriately talking to young ladies about NOTW and being a (disurptive force-ed) in government. We could do with him to combat the problem with Iran.

  4. Martyn
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    But wait! That’s not all! What you get when you take up this special Lib-Dem offer is more windmills, increased transport costs, a set monthly electricity target (cut-rate candles available for when target is exceeded and your new ‘smart meter’ cuts you off), restricted hours for use of your car, a driveway tax if you park on your drive and so many other Lib-Dem benefits for saving the planet, the Euro, the EU and driving us back to the middle ages that it is impossible to list them all. Vote for Lib-Dems, an irresistable bargain package of benefits!

    • APL
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Martyn: “a driveway tax if you park on your drive and so many other Lib-Dem benefits for saving the planet”

      A new one on me, but entirely consistent with the Marxist ideology that infests our political class.

      A person doesn’t own anything in this country. Everything is rented from the State.

      • Martyn
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        I was being parochial re driveway tax – several years ago when there was a fairly strong Lb-Dem team in at District level in Oxfordshire, it was discussed as a potential source of income and quickly dumped in the face of common sense. But I certainly wouldn’t rule its reappearance at some point!

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      The fact we all pay just under 20% for our energy bills for the government’s obligation to the environment and VAT is a disgrace. As the energy companies point out, fuel poverty could be cut over night if the government only directed the winter allowance to those in need. The government and DECC will not tell us how much the green agenda has cost the taxpayer even though they have the figures. This does dove tails with the Lib Dems economic plan.

      • Mark
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        I believe that DECC and OFGEM now consider it to be illegal under the Energy Act 2010 to reveal the true cost of green policy, which is now deemed to be THE most important thing:

        http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/27/part/3

        See 16 (3) (1A) and 17 (3) (1A)

        If people knew what the real costs were it would interefere with their deemed preference to cut GHG emissions coûte que coûte.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Indeed vote Libdem for the new green religion, pointless HS train lines and engineering that simply does not work.

  5. NickW
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    The starting point for the EU elite is that the people cannot be trusted to govern themselves; it follows that any measure which has popular support has to be condemned because it must follow that if anything is popular, it is wrong.

    Being an outpost of the EU, the Liberal Democrats judge all their policies against the litmus test of popularity; they know when they have got a policy right when absolutely nobody supports it and it is subject to outright condemnation.

    It follows that none of the Lib Dem Ministers or MPs expect to continue in democratic Government; they all of them expect to be rewarded with European sinecures handed out by a grateful Cameron and an EU elite proud of the exploits of their little children.

    • APL
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      JR: “The two Coalition parties are different,”

      Two bald men fighting over a wig.

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Dr Leigh was recently given a knighthood for services to enlarge the EU. Recommended by Maud and approved by chocolate tea pot Dave.

  6. Robert K
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I have no truck with the libdems, with their silly mansion tax plans, their europhilia, their banker bashing and generally sanctimonious tone – I couldn’t stomach watching Clegg on the Andrew Marr programme on Sunday.
    However, the GBP 26,000 cap is one of those sops to public opinion that will have little net effect on the social security budget, that will hit some families unfairly, and that doesn’t tackle the big story. The big story is that more goes out in social payments than comes in to the Treasury in income tax. When you look at your PAYE statement or fill in your year-end tax return, little of that money is going to hospitals or schools – most of it is going to people who do not work.
    I do not blame people who live off benefits – they are making a rational economic choice. However, a life of idelness is a disaster for the individual, their families, for the taxpayer and for the country as a whole. For those who have structured a life on benefits, getting back to work must be all-but impossible.
    One solution is to change the root of the system. Change the rules so that kids coming up through school are told that they cannot go straight on to benefits. Perhaps say that benefits are not available to anyone under the age of 18 or 21. Create a lifetime maximum number of years that an individual can claim benefits – three or five years, maybe. Policy wonks could come up with better ideas, no doubt. Whatever the structural changes are they must do two things: reduce the total spend on benefits as a proportion of income tax; and recognise that the blame for the benefits morass lies with the state – s0 however radical the changes are, they must be made fairly.

  7. Nick
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Banker bashing. The new antisemitism, the post modern racism.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      Much truth in this bankers this time rather than the money lenders, porn brokers often landlords too. Much cheered on by the BBC needless to say.

  8. John Page
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    They think the UK should not stand up to the EU, but should go along with more or less any further transfer of power, tax imposition and other humiliation the EU should want to visit on us. Around 80% of the UK public disagree with them.

    Unfortunately that’s pretty much the PM’s policy, though he adds PR waffle.

    Incidentally, today the latest Guardian/ICM poll has the LibDems on 16%, up 1%, further undermining this post’s analysis.

    • Mark
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Take your pick:

      ICM 16%, Populus 13%, Angus Reid 11% or YouGov 8% all reported in today’s press. Average is 12%, which is way down on the election.

  9. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    David Cameron is soaring in the polls by all accounts. The welfare cap and for defending the City against the EU.

    I support both enthusiastically.

    Clearly a failure to cap child benefit will result in welfare dependents having more children to maximise their income.

    My brother’s step daughter was allowed to stay out until the early hours every weekend aged 13. Innevitably she fell pregnant aged 14.

    My brother and his wife (he on disability, she having not worked for decades) live in a 3 bed house similar to my own provided by the state.

    Even with the grandchild they were not living in overcrowded conditions.

    Aged 18 the daughter in-law is housed in a two bed house with garage and fully appointed and bang up to date furnishings. I have colleagues on the magic £26k pa who struggle to share a dingy rented flat in a similarly provincial area.

    She was able to stand guarantor for her (adjective removed-ed) brother when he wanted to buy a mobile phone. He first became a father aged 17 but left the mother.

    A remarkably similar story for our next door neighbours three countys away.

    Need a new washing machine ?

    There’s an interest free loan for than payable at your leisure and deductable from your benefits in repayments that you won’t even notice.

    Need driving lessons and a car ?

    Yup.

    That’s all covered too.

    As a previous commenter said. To make it all equitable the Government needs to tell every worker earning less than 35k to stay at home.

    In fact I think the cut off wage needs to be higher than that !

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      If I can see it why can’t the Lib Dems ?

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        PPS, Don’t knock the ‘politics of jealousy’.

        It’s jealousy that is stirring up ordinary workers earning below £35k pa. (And many of those above that figure)

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          No not jealousy or envy, just a sensible sense of fairness and an understanding that work needs to be encouraged and rewarded relative to non work. Simply that the working poor should not pay taxes to fund rather richer people on the dole.

          • JimF
            Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            Yes but the working poor have a tax allowance of £10000 coming along. And fairness means everyone having the same, whether you’ve worked all your life or just turned up from Transylvania.

          • Adam5x5
            Posted January 25, 2012 at 12:13 am | Permalink

            fairness is not everyone having the same.

            fairness is everyone keeping the fruits of their labour.
            if you work more, you get more.
            if you spend your days doing naff all, you get nowt.

            simple isn’t it.
            how is it fair if one person has to work doubly hard so that some feckless wonder can enjoy the same quality of life as the worker?

          • uanime5
            Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

            I thought the working poor were net tax recipients? If so then the working poor are one of the main beneficiaries of the high levels of benefits.

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

          Sorry about the spelling mistakes.

  10. Caterpillar
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    But no snap election allowed and three & a third years to go.

  11. frank salmon
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Mr 9% wants to lead from the front on unpopular policies. Surely he should set about coming up with popular policies first, then try to sell the bankrupt ones.

  12. oldtimer
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    The LibDems are a drag anchor on progress to resolving the nations debt crisis.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      As are the BBC, the Bishops, most of the state sector, much of the academic world, most of the state subsidised “Arts” and Dave Cameron – whose fault it was failing to win the election against sitting duck Gordon Brown due to his, soft left, pro EU agenda.

      I see the BBC would like to find a cheaper (currently 670K plus huge pension I understand) Director General. I know at least four people who could do a better job for under £100K and many would do a better job for nothing.

  13. Jon Burgess
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to think that Cameron is planning to wait for the boundary changes to take effect, engineer a spat with the Lib Dems (shouldn’t be to hard), call a snap election and win a thumping majority.

    That’s what I’d do, but then again I wouldn’t have gone in with the beardy weirdos in the first place.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      The problem with that plan is that the Conservatives would either need to become very popular with the public (they were unable to get a majority despite 17 years of Labour Governments and Brown being hated) or use a lot of gerrymandering for the new boundaries.

      The failure of the Conservatives to provide growth coupled with unpopular policies on public sector pensions, NHS reform, HS2, tuition fees, and trying to sell off the nation’s forests means they are unlikely to get a majority and will be very luck if they don’t do any seats.

  14. Monty
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Electro-Kevin, rancour can hardly be classed as jealousy when it is aimed at someone who obtained his material benefits by filching them from you.

  15. Barbara Stevens
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the £26,000 cap in principle, the disagreement whether the child benefit should be included in this cap appears, again to be led by the Lib Dems and the Bishops, with the help of Labour. Myself, I think the government missed an opportunity here, they should considar giving in to the Child benefit remaining outside of the cap, but, decrease the number of children they pay child benefit to. May I suggest the first three children only. Why are we paying people to have children? The country is over populated as it is, schools cannot cope with such a increase, and most of the babies born are from EU countries. The child benefit again should cease for non-British children foreigners should claim in their country of origin. This would bring a bigger decrease in cost than what the present formula is.
    This may sound draconian, but necessary for this nation, and these choices have to be made whether we like it or not. Paying for women to have children as resulted in some women having children as meal tickets, and that cannot be that. Some have as many as five or six with different fathers and the state houses and feeds them for most of their lives. If this incentive to have children was removed we may see more self responsiblity. Mr Redwood I believe this option would be far better than arguing who loses, and most of us who pay taxes think it’s about time we stopped keeping others off springs. If they want them they should be prepared to keep them. After all, birthcontrol is available as never before.

  16. De Recardo
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I think the lib Dooms still have highly talented politicians

    Chris Hoon
    Vince Babel

    to name but two

    what could go wrong ?

  17. JimF
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I guess if the Conservatives are so different they should go to the Country on principle.
    From this viewpoint it looks as though both Coalition parties want to be nicey-nicey to the beleaguered bankers, the welfare underclass, and all other comers.
    At some stage, you have to stand up and say NO.
    NO to paying tens of thousands a year just because you moved to Kensington with your kids on welfare.
    NO to benefits because you moved from Romania to sell the Big Issue
    NO to large bonuses when your Bank is going down the tubes

  18. Monty
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    One of the things we really need is a standardised measure of poverty for those wholly dependant on benefits. In absolute terms. It should take into account the necessities of life, the food, water bills, fuel, clothing and shoes, cost of a telephone landline, maybe TV licence, and give them some kind of pass to get free dental, prescriptions, spectacles, and bus travel. It is a question of catering for their genuine needs, not their wish list. The needs list is a lot shorter and cheaper.

    With regard to social housing and housing benefit, those wholly dependant on benefits should not be allowed to choose where they will live. They should be allocated council or HA accomodation based upon children sharing bedrooms. The rents should be capped. Choice should be reserved for low paid workers who need to live close to their job. However there would be more scope for all if the tenancies are correctly means tested, sub-letters and fraudsters are chased out of the system.

    There are a lot of low and modest earning taxpayers who are very angry about this. Feeling scorned and humiliated, their noses rubbed daily in an iniquitous mess, as their money is seized to be given to make the idle richer than they are.

  19. uanime5
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Given the rate at which house prices are rising £26,000 will soon become too mean. Especially for those who work low paid jobs in high cost areas.

    The way to reduce the welfare bill is for the Government to stop subsiding low wages with increasing levels of benefits and instead raise the minimum wage to a living wage. The state should not be subsiding big businesses.

    Even if 80% of the population doesn’t like the EU, a figure I believe you’re greatly exaggerating judging by how poorly UKIP polls, that doesn’t justify ignoring the opinion of a significant portion of the electorate.

    If you live in a mansion in an expensive part of the country you probably have a high income, which is how you were able to afford the mansion in an expensive part of the country.

    • Monty
      Posted January 25, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      uanime5
      Posted January 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Permalink
      “Given the rate at which house prices are rising £26,000 will soon become too mean. Especially for those who work low paid jobs in high cost areas.”
      ============
      That is why we have this thing called public transport, and commuting. Everybody does it already.
      ============

      “The way to reduce the welfare bill is for the Government to stop subsiding low wages with increasing levels of benefits and instead raise the minimum wage to a living wage.”
      =============
      Hang on, that thing you call a living wage is rather variable, increasing with the number of dependant the worker has to feed and house. Were you planning on forcing employers to pay a premium hourly rate for family breadwinners, thus making them completely unemployable? And even if you set aside that problem and treat all workers as singletons, what is the living wage dependant on? The cost of living. Which is a function of the labour costs of providing the food, goods and services the worker needs. Push up the minimum wage, and you raise the cost of living. Bootstrapping. Of course, not all workers will get that new minimum wage , because it becomes more cost effective to invest in automated systems to replace their labour altogether. Congratulations, you just generated more inflation, more unemployment, and we are back to square one.
      =========
      “If you live in a mansion in an expensive part of the country you probably have a high income, which is how you were able to afford the mansion in an expensive part of the country.”
      =========
      Not if you’re on your state retirement pension, and that asset is all you have. And you don’t need to use guesswork to conjure up figures for income, we have an entire treasury department and system already doing that thanks. We don’t need you going round neighbourhoods with a clip board, adding addresses to your “to spite” list, just because you reckon folk of modest means who spent their taxed income on a nice home, shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy it.

      This may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t see anything virtuous about your outlook. It is no better than that of a shoplifter, or a car thief, protesting that “they’ve got deep pockets, they can afford it, so why shouldn’t I take it off them?”

  20. Jonathan Tee
    Posted January 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Its depressing isn’t it?

    The Liberal Democrats are not Liberal, not at all. Yet it seems to me that now is the time for more old fashioned liberalism. Look at how well Ron Paul has been doing in the Republican Primaries, despite offering Classical Liberal policies to a Social Conservative constituency.

    The neo-Keynesian idea that government should run massive deficits for some mysterious greater good is finally being recognised, even by Socialists (such as Lord Glasman) as foolish.

    The mean salary in this country is siting at roughly ~£20K before tax, that is about £10K less after tax than the benefit cap which the Lib Dems think so terrible. By opposing a benefit cap they are speaking against ordinary working people, not for them.

    Today’s under 30s are trying to climb a housing ladder with no rungs on the bottom, saddled by massive taxation and for many crushing university debts. These people are going to form a growing portion of the electorate, and I doubt life will get any easier for them in the next ten years. They are the beneficiaries of our glorious neo-Keynesian high tax high welfare big government utopia. I’m sure they feel grateful.

    A message of less tax, less government meddling and less lucrative sinecures for those who do not work, is not only liberal in the true sense, it is popular and rational. I also have no doubt it would bring about economic growth, just like it did when we followed those polices in the 19th century.

    The Liberal Democrats, should make themselves the owners of this message, with their 19th century heritage as the free trade, sound finance advocates. Instead they yield it to the Conservatives, and manage to look both detached from reality and inconsistent.

    The European Union is illiberal – it isn’t democratic, it interferes with free trade, and it does not respect national courts. Worse, its accounts are never signed off by the auditors, which gives it an air (fairly or otherwise) of graft. Anyone who used proper Liberal ideology as their compass would not support it.

    If the Liberal Democrats were more ideologically consistent, they wouldn’t get in this mess of supporting illiberal things, which also (surprise, surprise) happen to be expensive, unpopular, things.

    As for the rhetoric, no one cares, because there is no action behind it. The Liberals have been in government for two years. What have they actually done? Where is the great repeal bill that was promised? Where is right to recall?

    This is why their rhetoric doesn’t move the electorate. They are in a position to act on their rhetoric, but they don’t. They’ve not even managed to implement the things the Conservatives agreed they could implement.

    What a wasted opportunity. The Lib Dems position in the polls is deserved, they earned it. Like a debt and tax oppressed twenty-something might say, they are “epic fail”.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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