The judgement of Santa (Part 3 of Christmas present?)

Santa was still getting over Ed and Dave’s performances. He sat down and weighed it all up. He had to think about staying popular himself. How he hated having to decide what presents to give the politicians, when they all made such a mess of being friendly to enough people. Why this year was there no clear winner with a majority of the vote in the polls?

Last year had been easy looking back. Nigel wanted to win the European elections, and none of the o0thers bothered to ask for that, so he got what he wanted. Nick, Dave and Ed all wanted the same thing, a Yes vote in Scotland. Alex said he was none too happy, but he did get the present he used to ask for, more devolution, so in a way they were all happy. This year they all seemed to want the same thing, but only one could have it.

Santa could see no way out. Back any party leader  for Prime Minister and he would alienate more than two thirds of  the country on current party polls. Back Nicola or Nigel having strong influence over the new government and again he would annoy far more than he satisfied. In an age of facebook and twitter Santa ruminated that one false present and his brand could be instantly damaged in an orgy of tweets or electronic comments.

So here is what Santa decided to do. He wrote back to all the Leaders and said they might like to reconsider their present requests. They should understand how limited their popularity was, and ask for things that the public would accept. He was not saying Dave or Ed were wrong to ask be PM, but would they just check that with the public mood as the winner  had to show enough support.

In the meantime the answer to his conundrum was to give no one of them presents this Christmas. Far from coming early as Nicola hoped, Christmas is being postponed. In May Santa will reconsider, when he sees how the public think about it all. As far as Santa is concerned, giving no presents to any political leader on December 25th is  a win win. After all, the polls that matter to Santa are the ones showing how popular he is. He mustn’t damage his eternal brand with a rash decision.

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42 Comments

  1. Sandra Cox
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Good morning John, many thanks for reporting back on Santa’s meetings – very amusing. I posted this late yesterday, but realise it’s more appropriate for today. So, with a bit of editing …

    Santa Claus, that well known European, flopped down in his big armchair. “Did you see those naughty boys today Darling? ” asked his wife.

    “Indeed, they were extremely tedious, but I’m not moaning, it’s nothing compared to the hardship they have inflicted upon the people of the United Kingdom. I’d also have liked a strong word with the Merkel girl, but as usual she was too busy ensuring that the European Project is on track, ensuring it’s working to Germany’s advantage, and that the United Kingdomers foot the bill wherever possible. Do you know something Mother – it’s surprising how alike she and the Sturgeon girl are. David and Edward don’t stand a chance against either of them! Pity the poor English!”

    Santa settled down with a glass of sherry and a mince pie, and started to assess that day’s meetings …..

    …. He woke up with a start – had he dreamt about the utter selfishness and hypocrisy of the past couple of days? Unfortunately not, but he had come to a decision …

    …. He wasn’t going to promise any of them anything – they didn’t deserve anything – most of them had been such naughty boys and girls who had behaved atrociously, and had gone back on their promises to the people who elected them ….

    His mind was made up. He would not give any presents this year. He would let the people of the United Kingdom decide who got what. The only present he wanted to give, mainly for his own peace of mind, was to the long-suffering British public – he would not allow Cameron and the bully boys and girls on both sides of the House to pull the Christmas woollies over the voters’ eyes any longer!

    Enough of this time-wasting nonsense! Santa needed to get back to his real job – delivering the latest trainers, iPads, smartwatches, and mobile phones to the “poor” children of the UK. First stop – Benefit Street.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Conservatives and UKIP have about 48% about the vote the same as Labour, Libdems & the Greens. But labour have the system in their favour as do the SNP.

    This suggests the probability of a hung parliament is about 50%, Labour (with the state sector unions pulling the strings and his idiotic rent act II) 42% and a Conservative majority only 8%. What a depressing present for everyone next year in May next year. The best we can get is more soft socialism, continued ratting, higher taxes, pro EU, green crap, socialism from Cameron and that has only an 8% chance.

    All for lack of a leader with any vision or sense of direction, the throwing of the last election and the failure to correct the constituency boundaries.
    Unless UKIP can get enough seats to force Cameron’s hand it looks hugely depressing.

    Still some good news and a superb Christmas present for Africa & indeed the World. It seems Malaria deaths halved since 2000 saving four million lives. Three cheers for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and all the other organisations and scientists who have helped to achieved this. A better investment than the renewable energy nonsense millions of times over. Indeed the renewable energy “investment” gives no real positive return at all.

    I can almost forgive Bill for his dreadful, irritating, over complex and time wasting software.

    • Vanessa
      Posted December 9, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic – You write as if you presume the other parties will be happy to do a “deal” and join a coalition. What if none of the parties wants to be destroyed as the Libdims have been by betraying their electorate and getting into bed with Cameron? Then a minority government will have to preside and b….ger the 5 year term law.
      Why does parliament now only make laws for itself to abide by – climate change / 5 year terms etc. rather than making laws for us ? Answer: because the EU makes all of those and there is nothing for government to do !!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        We can should leave. Eventually we will, but we will clearly not do this under ratter/long grass Cameron. We need a UKIP balance of power, it is the only way. Though I suspect it will not happen yet. Cameron had such on opportunity but threw it all away with his EU & IHT ratting, Clegg on TV, his endless tax and regulation increases, his potty green craps, his damaging war(s) and his love of uncontrolled low wage immigration.

        In short he should be in the Libdems as he very clearly is one.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 9, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Well UKIP are not going to do much without some agreement or other – what can a hand full of UKIP MPs do on their own?

        • Hope
          Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          I think you will be surprised, as politicians were in Manchester. The tide is turning. People I speak to are fed up with LabCon and consider LibDumbs a waste of space. Media still doing its best to smear UKiP and Douglas Alexander saying business should do its patriotic duty to keep the UK in the EU! How can it be patriotic to give away the UK sovereignty and independence to an unelected socialist construct called the EU where the electorate has no say over how they control us! The only patriotic act is to vote UKIP. The other parties are different coloured lemmings.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            Indeed broadly I, like most people I know, want the opposite of what the Libdems stand for, so ever more EU, endless greencrap, ever larger government, ever more regulation, ever more unselective immigration enforced equality, no democracy and less liberty.

            It seems alas that Cameron and Miliband want virtually the same for some inexplicable reason.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 9, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Just think what more could be achieved if we cancelled HS2, cancelled all the green crap, the climate change act, the EU costs, the cost of all the daft regulations, the counterproductive wars, the pointless space trips to Mars and flying rocks in space and all the other pointless & endless government waste and spent it on something useful like clean water, basic medicine, preventing wars, nutrition, advance nuclear power, well directed science and medical research, buildings that resisted earthquakes and hurricanes where appropriate ……… but the government prefer to waste it on fashionable fake green nonsense and trips to Mars.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 9, 2014 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Then even more millions of people could have a real Christmas present.

        • Hope
          Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Worse still Cameron gives away our taxes to other countries so they can fund their own space programmes ie India. Look at the recent report on overseas aid only about a £2 of £12 billion of it gets spent on vaccinations and hungry people. The rest is wasted. That is Oxbridge PPE graduates for you.

  3. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    And the moral of the tale children is that business, commerce and brands decide government policy to its own ends.

    Tax credits, the EU and other subsidies/ competition killers.

    Santa decides, not you children.

  4. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I note that the behaviour of Santa Claus is governed by polls rather than conviction. That seems to have been the case since November 1990.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Santa keeps up with the times, and he now uses GPS for physical navigation when making his deliveries while using a different form of triangulation to navigate his way through the vagaries of public opinion. By next Christmas he should have his tracker system up and running, so if you’re still awake you’ll be able to go on his website and follow his movements minute by minute and know when to expect him to arrive at your house, when of course you must pretend to be asleep.

  5. Shieldsman
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Christmas is a time for time for largesse, but using your credit card only delays the bills until the New Year.
    The UK Government is not paying off its debt, whilst borrowing at exceptionally low rates and printing money.
    People in financial straits have to cut their cloth according to their means, you cannot afford to be a member of two clubs.
    UK Citizens have to pay for two Parliaments – Westminster and Brussels/Strasbourg.
    Two administrations – Whitehall and Brussels.
    Two High Courts – London and Luxembourg.

    Don’t you think we could save money by being a member of only one.

    Despite the welfare State we do have people who have to choose between buying food and paying for expensive energy. Why is energy expensive – ask Mr Davey.

  6. nigel
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Santa takes off his large red coat, his hat and false beard; and who is it underneath?……………..BORIS!

  7. oldtimer
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    And, Santa wisely reasoned with himself, they were all charlatans and didn`t deserve any of the presents they were demanding for themselves.

  8. agricola
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Nigel got the EU election because the people wanted it. Nothing to do with Santa or the Tooth Fairy. So far Santa has marked time with the wishes of the electorate. Nick, Dave and Ed have always ignored them, so despite a small shower of gifts or should we say bribes from Dave’s mate George, the electorate will increasingly ignore them. Nigel knows what they want and is the only one able to articulate it. Via Santa I will ask that he becomes the king maker in May while retaining his independence.

  9. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    “In an age of facebook and twitter Santa ruminated that one false present and his brand could be instantly damaged in an orgy of tweets or electronic comments.”

    Well, yes and no. The impact of the newer “social media” would be very much less if the older mass media, especially the broadcast media, refrained from selectively repeating and amplifying some of the things that were being said.

    After all, there could be an article in the Guardian claiming that Santa doesn’t even exist, but relatively few people actually read the Guardian and the other 99% or whatever of the population would only know about that claim if other larger media, especially of course the BBC, chose to give it undue prominence; and it’s the same if some politician unwisely dashed off a tweet questioning Santa’s existence, hardly anybody would know about that unless the mass media chose to repeat it and make it into a big story.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Santa simply said to all of the politicians.

    Sorry there will be no presents this year for any of you.

    The reasons are simple.

    The roads are too crowded due to the lack of sensible investment, the proliferation of chicanes, humps, yellow lines, box junctions, road repairs, cones and traffic lights, and should I park anywhere near to any of you, I may get fined or my sleigh towed away.

    The railways are far, far too expensive and crowded to travel on, due to lack of general investment in sorting out established track.

    Planes are no use because of the lack of runway capacity which you have all known about for years, but done nothing to redress..

    So until you all get together and resolve some of the problems above, it will be an austerity Christmas for all of you, after all, we are all in it together.
    So what is good for the majority, is good for you to.

  11. Bert Young
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Santa finally came to the conclusion that living so far away in Lapland made it difficult for him to judge what was going wrong in this country . He had always been able to rely on the traditional past as the guide to his presents , now he was faced with the dilemma that the public had changed . He knew that people had turned against the establishment , he knew that people wanted good , trustworthy and experienced people at the helm , he knew that this had been sadly lacking .

    Stroking his beard and deep in thought he came to the conclusion that ordinary folk had a right to be listened to and were probably right in rejecting the class who thought they knew best . Their wish for independence and control over their affairs was entirely proper ; he knew that change was on the cards . Turning to Dasher and Rudolph offering the best carrots he could find he said “Well we won’t have to travel all over Europe on our way to the UK in the future ; re-programme your Tom Toms to take us straight there ” and looking at his elves he added ” Change the wrapping on the presents so everyone will know its the ordinary folk who matter . That special silvery stuff can be binned “.

  12. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    So all decided to get series 7 BMW’s , disregard Santa, take what they want and play the game whilst the goose was fatting , the turkey looked scared, the cooks and helpers were preparing the menus and a private Santa was hired to help the few king pins.

  13. stred
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Santa was worried about his ‘eternal brand’ because of his weight problem and the size reduction or absence of chimneys in many houses. The burglar alarms had also become too difficult to avoid and some children had been left without their latest gizmo and had complained to Trading Standards.

    He had noticed that, when any large firm or quango (messed) up, it turned to spending a huge amount on public relations. (name left out ed|) What he needed was a professional person who could be economical with the truth and draw attention to other matters.

    But who had he just been dealing with, and were hoping that Santa would have something to offer, so may be eager to do a deal. Who should he approach this postponed Yuletide for the best service?

    Eddie seemed a funny little chap,though he seemed to be good at covering up his involvement in inventing expensive electricity but seemed to be either too dim to realise the effect on poor people who were freezing in the winter, or perhaps he was really quite clever but a good tactician. This did not seem too likely, as he had not shown any interest in books on the subject.

    Little Nick had seemed clever and confident but 95% of the customers seemed to think he was talking nonesense and was just trotting out what he had been taught at EU university in Belgium and really wanted a job there when he had left his present one. He had been given a going over by that rough boy who had asked for a crate of Ratbiter Porter and seemed a bit dazed.

    But little Eural Cameron has performed incredibly well. He has hardly stopped talking, glossed of his late arrival and not mentioned that his roof windmill had been faulty or asked for a refund. What was more he had worked in public relations briefly before becoming a politician and had risen to the top by saying one thing and doing another since he had started. It was incredible how many voters still took him seriously. And, when he had chosen his assistants, he had often picked politicians who had only worked in public relations, and knew nothing about the task before them but seemed good at presentation. Even better, if he found out that any of them did know or had any independent ideas he had sacked them. Who better to pull the wool and get rid of awkward customers.

    Santa pointed his sleigh towards Downing Street and switched on the stealth antler deflectors.

    • stred
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Oh dear. Second reading reveals typos, repeated verbs and phrases, wrong conjunctions, and tenses. Must write it out longhand and not write and post instantly.

  14. bluedog
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    ‘Alex said he was none too happy’

    Why not? Look at what Salmond is doing. There was once a statute that prevented an individual from holding two offices of profit under the Crown, now largely ignored. But it should not be ignored as devolved parliaments and elected mayoralities become more common.

    There is a clear conflict of interest when a politician holds two, or even three, offices in over-lapping constituencies. Now we read that not only is Alex Salmond refusing to surrender the (figure left out ed) resettlement allowance he received in 2010 after resigning his Westminster seat, but also he will for a period be both an MSP at Holyrood, and an MP at Westminster if elected in May 2015.

    For those without the manners to understand the annoyance of the electorate at this sort of thing, some prompt and effective statutory restraint is required.

  15. Oscar De Ville
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Lacking your creative literary abilities, I can only suggest that SOMEONE (if not Dave) should receive two long overdue heavyweight puzzles from Santa`s bag – NOW :-

    PUZZLE (1) :-
    After the Scottish referendum farce who can doubt that the biggest threat to the durability of the Queen`s realm, or the UK, is so-called “devolution” ?
    So, annul Blair`s 1990`s laws and replace those hungry “parliaments” by councils comprising elected “Lord Mayors” of their cities and counties who, together with the counterparts from England, could also comprise a new House of Lords.
    At the same time , via the House of Commons, lay down firm rules for any referendum in the future (i.e. no daft give-aways before you even start – and also when you “win” !)

    PUZZLE (2) :-
    The second main threat lies in uncontrolled mass immigration and timidity or apathy on the question of EU membership and a weak-kneed foreign policy.
    So, actions to be taken to limit this danger could include :- reinstatement of the influence of Services Chiefs over inexperienced junior ministers and drastic pruning of M-o-D civil servants ; restoration of a selective “East of Suez” capability ; clarity on “no feet on the ground” warfare without House of Commons authority .
    Also, we need blunt speaking on EU membership and commitment to referendum ; meanwhile bolder withdrawal of unwarranted fees, fines and aids ; avoidance of concessions before “negotiations” have even been spelt out or begun ; strong concentration on “New World” trade ; cultivation of relations with Russia by respecting Putin`s genuine slav ideals every bit as much as his KGB “cold war” instincts.

  16. Max Dunbar
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    ‘Nick, Dave and Ed all wanted the same thing, a YES vote in Scotland.’

    So, as they secretly agreed with Alex, they decided to dress up as The Three Wise Men and bear gifts to him in the faraway land of Scotland. The journey was difficult as the natives were restive and they had the added challenge of following the North Star as the clouds and rain prevented them from seeing it clearly. Nevertheless, the desert of Southern Upland was navigated successfully and they descended into the valley of the Clyde wherein lies the city of Glasgomorrah.
    Few people were encountered on approach to the city and those that they asked for directions spoke in an unintelligible tongue and wore strange two-piece suits made of a thin nylon material. They later discovered that these people were from the ancient Jakey tribe.
    Finally, the eastern end of the great city of Glasgomorrah was reached and a friendly local who had had an education in English (long since proscribed) guided them to a pub called The Haggis and Rant. There, their journey ended for some considerable time as they were taken hostage by………

    • stred
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      The Broon Gang?

  17. Elliot Kane
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I greatly enjoy your Xmas stories, John, I must say 🙂

  18. Stephen Berry
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    This is easy.

    1. No present for Ed as he got one early when Carswell and Reckless defected to UKIP.
    2. Ditto for Nigel unless he can find some more daft Tory MPs.
    3. Nicola got her wish when Alex decided spend time with the Southron folk.
    4. Nick will jump over the Star of Bethlehem if he can actually hold his seat next May.
    5. Dave would be happy if George could come up with a few intelligent and popular tax cuts of which Stamp Duty was just a beginning.

    As for me? I will feel a sense of justice done if the party which left a huge millstone of budget debt for others to clear up, is not rewarded at the next election.

  19. David Edwards
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I asked Santa last year for a more direct democracy and it appears he was listening:) And a PS4 but he wasn’t!

  20. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    To return to the vulgar topic of Xmas present, George Osborne is of one of many issuing pie charts of what our taxes are spent on.

    One version that I have printed off includes:
    5.21% on debt interest
    4.21% on implicit bank subsidies

    Together, these two items are about the same as the annual fiscal deficit.
    Any comments?

    Reply The government is not spending anything on subsidising the banks this year so I do not follow your question.

    • acorn
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Lindsay, the BoE Quarterly Bulletin has an article that refers to the UK implicit bank subsidies. http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/quarterlybulletin/2014/qb14q402.pdf

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 10, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        The Bank of England Bulletin says:

        “The implicit government subsidy arises because some banks effectively receive insurance from the government without fully paying for it. Specifically, unlike with most other firms, holders of certain banks’ debt have historically not faced sufficient risk of loss because they expect the government to prevent banks from failing, as they did in a number of cases in the recent financial crisis. To the extent that banks and creditors do not pay for this guarantee, it can be considered an implicit subsidy (Noss and Sowerbutts (2012)).”

        I can easily understand that those banks are benefiting financially from the government guarantee that they will never be allowed to fail, and so their creditors need not worry about that possibility and demand higher returns; those banks are so to speak making at least some use of the UK government’s credit rating when they borrow, in much the same way that previously some of the eurozone governments were effectively making use of the German government’s credit rating when they borrowed, despite what it said in the EU treaties, so they could borrow at unduly low interest rates converging with those for German government borrowings.

        And I can also see that because the UK Treasury has assumed very large potential liabilities through the guarantee that will tend to have some negative effect on the UK government’s own credit rating and so increase its borrowing costs; but I don’t see why those extra borrowing costs should turn up as a separate item equivalent to over 4% of taxes, compared to just over 5% for the whole of the debt interest itself.

        There was the Asset Protection Scheme, but that was wound up in October 2012 and so shouldn’t figure in the breakdown for later years.

        • acorn
          Posted December 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Denis, I think this is not a “cash” item, in a budget sense. It is more like a tax relief on a pension contribution or capital gains tax relief on a primary residence. As far as the treasury is concerned the tax is not a 100% efficient due the reliefs that have diluted its yield. Caused an “opportunity cost” situation. ???

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 11, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

            But going back to Lindsay’s original post, he recounted that “4.21% on implicit bank subsidies” was included in a pie chart of “what our taxes are spent on” along with “5.21% on debt interest”, which suggests that it is in fact cash being disbursed in some way. How that is I don’t know.

  21. Al Philp
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    I liked the Christmas story.

    Any chance that the PM will seek to pass a law before the election stopping MPs from Scotland voting on English matters?

    Reply That’s what I am trying to get him to do – pass an amendment to Standing Orders.

    • stred
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. What do Conservative MPs think is the reason for Eural McCameron dragging his feet on your proposal?

  22. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Do you write your blog the night before and have someone else post them early am?

    Reply I write them them when I have time and post them on a time release.

  23. Jon
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    It seems none of us know what Santa will give us to unwrap in May, how exciting! What ever it is, it may still be a pair of socks!

  24. William Gruff
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Have we lost our distinct sense of identity to the extent that we have forgotten that our mythical Christmas spirit is Father Christmas, and not the entirely artificial and effectively meaningless American amalgam of European traditions called ‘Santa Claus’.

    They have ‘Senna’ / ‘Sairna’, or ‘Senna’ / ‘Sairna Clarse’ in the USA and ‘Sant’ee’ in Scotland but in England we revere Father Christmas, and to hell with imported traditions.

  25. William Gruff
    Posted December 9, 2014 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    … Christmas is being postponed.

    ‘Nudging’?

  26. Kenneth
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    If anyone builds a large amount of capital, this points to a distorted market.

    Most market distortions are brought about by force, whether that is the mafia taking a slice of your profit or the tax man doing the same. Both are forcibly confiscating your money and redeploying it.

    In a free market, free of forcible confiscation, there is a natural brake on large capital build ups. Thus, the rich cannot get very rich and the poor cannot get very poor. I admit that this is theoretical. However, there is no reason why it should not work.

    On the other hand, the distortions caused to the market by forcible interventions such as taking tax or enforcing copyright (a way of earning money for doing absolutely nothing), leads is to a gulf between the super rich and the super poor.

    The more we go down this high tax socialist road the wider this gap will become.

    Right wing politicians should stop living in the corner painted for them by the left wing media and proudly speak for the poor and under-employed: lower taxes = less poverty!

  • 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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