monitoring the Scottish political media

Wings Over Poundland

Respecting the electorate, Unionist-style

Posted on March 05, 2013 by

We were oddly pleased to discover yesterday that the full iPad edition of the Daily Record is free five days a week. Partly because, regardless of content, reading the actual paper (albeit on a screen) is a much more evocative wee reminder of home than a generic website, and partly because the Record’s online presence carries only a fraction of the stories of the print version.

One such print-only item is today’s small piece – in fairness quite prominent at the top of Page 2 – about last week’s vote of a large Scottish branch of the CWU (the trade union which represents postal workers) in which the branch decided by a huge majority to campaign for a Yes vote in the independence referendum.


Oddly, the vote has attracted far less media attention than the “mock referendum” held at Glasgow University recently, which got near-blanket TV and news coverage. We’re sure the different outcome has nothing to do with that whatsoever.

But in all the reporting and discussion of the Glasgow Uni vote, we’re pretty sure we don’t recall Blair Jenkins or Nicola Sturgeon responding to the result by saying “Well, they’re just a bunch of stupid know-nothing kids, so screw them”.

So we were a little surprised and disturbed to see the quote attributed by the Record to Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie. Calling people who disagree with you “turkeys voting for Christmas” is the sort of thing normally heard on less-civilised internet forums and comment threads from pseudonymous activists or fanatics.

For the elected leader of even a minority fringe party like the Scottish Lib Dems to so openly insult a substantial group of voters by suggesting that they’re just a bunch of idiots who don’t know what’s good for them shows a contempt for the public that politicians usually do a much better job of keeping hidden.

The Royal Mail has been butchered in the Union. The profitable parts have been forcibly hived off to private companies, Post Offices under the last Labour government endured a brutal cull on the scale of Dr Beeching’s infamous railway massacre of the 1960s (which the coalition plans to continue), over 42,000 jobs have been lost since 2002 (with another 20,000 under threat) and stamp prices rocketed by an astonishing 40% last year as the government prepares the service for complete privatisation.

Regulators Ofcom concluded last year that “There is a very real risk to the universal service”. It almost beggars belief, then that the No campaign is actually attempting to use the Royal Mail as an illustration of the benefits of the Union in the first place. But much more astonishing still is that Willie Rennie is doing it in such a crass, arrogant and offensive way. We’re going to go ahead and assume that the members of the postal-workers union understand the reality a little better than he does.

78 to “Respecting the electorate, Unionist-style”

  1. Craig says:

    I’ve still not heard any mention of the Posta workers vote on the BBC. Only the Herald and the Record seem to have covered this.
    Quel suprise!

  2. Craig says:

    I see ther is no mention on the BBC of this vote by the Postal workers. Only the Record and the Herald carry the story; nothing in the Scotsman!
    Quel suprise!

  3. Ray says:

    What a guy. Is Mr Rennie the best man the Scottish Lib Dems could find for the leadership? Blimey.

  4. pmcrek says:

    “For the elected leader of even a minority fringe party like the Scottish Lib Dems”

  5. Macart says:

    No the sharpest knife in the drawer is he? How to win friends and influence people. :) I’d send him a book on the etiquette, but somehow I don’t think he’ll be receiving much mail in the near future. 😀

  6. Davy says:

    Willie Rennie says ” like turkeys voting for christmas “, what the hell does voting for the lib-dems feel like. A bit of an own goal there willie boy.

  7. Embradon says:

    Ray says:
    I think it was less a case of the “best” they could find than that he was the only one left!

  8. sneddon says:

    You can be sure the CWU know where he lives :)

  9. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The Sun and The Daily Express carry the news also

  10. BillDunblane says:

    Wouldn’t want to be Wullie Rennie waiting for photies to be delivered after his verdict on the posties.You know the bit on the envelope that says ‘Photographs – Do not bend’?
    Well, they DO!

  11. Luigi says:

    Postal workers only deliver genuine articles. Parcels of rogues are not accepted. No wonder Willie Rennie is fuming!

  12. Bob Howie says:

    Still shows they have no good forward thinking idea to put to the public so he insults then instead. The Unionists will NEVER come up with a positive case for the Union because there isn’t one…..there is only the tired old Empire to bolster like a buttress on a church

  13. Jeannie says:

    Just back from a morning of pushing Yes leaflets through doors.  Since I started leaflet duty a couple of weeks ago, I’ve gained a whole new respect for postal workers, I can tell you.  My knees are sore from going up and down stairs, my back is sore from bending down to ground-level letter boxes, my eyes are sore from trying to read tiny notices on people’s doors, my fingers are sore from trying to open and close gates, my neck and shoulders are sore from humphing around a bag of leaflets and the cold air makes my eyes and nose run, so everybody thinks I’m having a wee greet, to boot.  And the posties do this on a daily basis, too, rain, hail or shine.  As I said before, I’ve a whole new respect for them……..and so glad they’re supporting Indy.

  14. muttley79 says:

    These comments by Willie Rennie are strikingly similar to Patricia Ferguson’s remarks about the Labour Voters for Independence group.  Ferguson basically said you could not be a Scottish Labour supporter and support independence.  It was basically a two fingered gesture like Rennie’s.  Ferguson did not attempt to explain why they were wrong to support independence, she just said they were wrong in very dismissive fashion!  Like Ferguson’s reaction Rennie has refused to say why the branch of the CWU is wrong.  So no attempt is being made by the No campaign to even pretend that there is a positive case for the Union.  All they are doing is denouncing anyone who supports independence.  Not exactly inspiring eh… 

  15. Marcia says:

    O/T The National Collective website has come on since it was set up and has a host of articles from the various artists who are backing a yes vote. One of their articles made me laugh – the Scottish daily scare:

  16. Turnbull Drier says:

    It seems that if you don’t agree with Better Together then you are simply stoopid
    I’m not sure that there will be much of the electorate left who haven’t been insulted in some shape or form come next summer which is good, the more name calling goes on the more the “No” vote decreases…

    Sorry if this appears multiple time, having issues posting… <sigh>

  17. Doug Daniel says:

    Ray – to be fair, I don’t think anyone else wanted the job. It’s a problem befalling Labour in Scotland too, as the few people who would be capable of turning Labour around know better than to try and steer that particular sinking ship.

  18. Jiggsbro says:

    There’d be no ‘Royal’ Mail in a separate Scotland. If Glaswegians wanted to send a letter to Edinburgh, they’d have to hang around Queen Street station and ask people if they were going that way and could they pop this through a letter box.
    And they wouldn’t find anyone to help, because there’d be no trains either.

  19. cath says:

    Aye, Scotland is uniquely incapable of running a mail service, as it is uniquely incapable of running a country. And even if it could run a mail service, it would be little use as it would stop at the border, because rUK won’t even countenance working with an independent Scotland. And neither will any other country either so nah-nah….vote Yes only if you never want to send mail again.
    Also, in the event of independence, the Scottish government had better hope none of the negotiations will require sending items by mail because vital legal documents pertaining to the ending of the treaty of Union will be stuck forever in limbo somewhere by Berwick upon Tweed.

  20. Indion says:

    See my 12:14pm ‘at Monsters live in the dark’.

  21. John Lyons says:

    Wasn’t Willie rennie rejected by the people of Dunfermline during a UK election and then rejected again in the Scottish elections only to sneak in at the third attempt on a list seat?
    Take a hint rennie, nobody likes you!

  22. Doug Daniel says:

    Is it just me, or does it seem that it is in fact Westminster who are uniquely incapable of running a country, rather than Scotland?

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    What bothers me is that with independence we’d be unable to send letters to England, just as we’re currently unable to send letters to France, Germany, the USA and Australia.

  24. Marian says:

    Labour’s Achilles heel is its normally docile core support in the Trade Unions who are becoming disillusioned with Labour’s trying to out-bid the Tory/LibDem coalition in attacking the working class to please the right wing that they are courting in Southeast England in order to try and win the next elections for Westminster.
    For years Labour has managed to look both ways at once but the advent of independence has been a game changer.
    Labour are therefore between a rock and a hard place.

  25. Doug Daniel says:

    Indeed, Stu. There would be no letters to or from America if we were separate.
    Perhaps the Proclaimers might like to think on that one for a bit the next time they go out campaigning for separation.

  26. MajorBloodnok says:

    Next thing they’ll be saying is that email won’t work in an ‘separate’ Scotland either.
    By the way, my eyesight’s not so good so I read the picture caption (from across the room) as DEVIANT Willie Rennie.

  27. Jeannie says:

    @Doug Daniel
    ……there would be no letters to or from America…..Perhaps the Proclaimers might like to think on that one the next time they go campaigning for separation…
    They could campaign as the Pro Claim of Righters and a wee song to help them along might be: (You can guess the tune)
    When we go, we will send back your weapons from America
    Take the nukes down the railtrack from Faslane to Kensington
    Well I read it in the Scotsman, the other day
    When Independence bleeds us dry we’ll be as broke as North Korea
    Glenn Campbell says it, so it must be so
    It’s the Gospel truth says Sally Mag-nuss-on
    When we go, we will send back your MPs to Westminster,
    All your Lords and your Ladies
    But especially David Mundell
    Cameron no moah
    Milliband no moah
    Darling no moah
    Blair no moah
    Alexander no moah
    Harris no moah
    Curran no moah
    Moore no moah
    Polaris no moah
    Trident no moah
    Afghanistan no moah
    Iraq no moah
    You can then add all the “no moahs” you want. If you’re one of the Proclaimers and reading this, no need to thank me, you can have it….it’s copyright-free :)

  28. MajorBloodnok says:


  29. Vronsky says:

    Super.  A candidate for national anthem, I’d say.

  30. Jiggsbro says:

    Next thing they’ll be saying is that email won’t work in an ‘separate’ Scotland either.
    We wouldn’t be able to keep any .uk websites or email addresses. We’d have to have .separate instead. If we could even afford an internet and find anyone to work it.

  31. Jeannie says:

    @Major Bloodnok
    Thanks guys.  Now I’m off to hatch a cunning plan to get the Proclaimers to sing it at the 2013 March and Rally for Indy.

  32. Brian Ritchie says:

    I absolutely agree about postal workers – the first time I delivered leaflets I had the same thoughts as you. They do a cracking job!

  33. mogabee says:

     Never mind all that. What about all these food banks opening up…
    We can’t even feed ourselves!!! 😉

  34. Dal Riata says:

    The Scottish(!?) Daily Mail also has this story – but not on its front page, obviously: that’s reserved for the smears, FUD and outright lies: it’s back on page 12.
    Today’s good-news-for-Scotland-so-bad-news-for-the-Union story is shamelessly ‘hidden’ (but given its own little ‘boring’ headline, “Postal staff vote vote to back Yes campaign”) within an article given headlines almost as big as the entire contents of yet another Daily Mail non-story, “EU nations ‘wary of breakaway Scotland'” …(Yes, [sigh]!)
    On the same page, there is another good-news-for-Scotland-so-bad-news-for-the-Union story squashed in on the side so it’s easy to miss. It tells how more than 8500 lives have been saved since the introduction of the Scottish Patient Safety Programme scheme began by the Scottish government and that NHS hospital mortality has fallen by 12.4% since its introduction in 2008.
    Health Secretary Alex Neil described the news as excellent, adding, “Thanks to our world-leading patient safety programme, Scotland has some of the safest hospitals in the world. They are small changes but they make a big difference and they save lives.”
    Now, that’s terrific news for Scotland and its NHS and reassuring for people who may be nervous of having to be in hospital-care in Scotland, surely. Who could disagree with that?…
    … Step up Lib. Dem. health spokesman Jim Hume! “Alex Neil shouldn’t try to hide from dismal figures published only last week which showed…” There’s more, but I can’t be bothered repeating the usual unionist negativity, FUD and blah, blah, blaaaghh!
    So there you have it, the UK unionists and the MSM colluding daily to do Scotland down and mock and discourage any aspirations we may have.
    Scotland, vote ‘Yes’ in 2014 so we can rid ourselves of this bullshit weighing us down and we can move on to be the country we can be.

  35. Jeannie says:

    Is it just me or is there something a bit ironic about calling the places where impoverished people queue for food  “banks”, given it was the behaviour of the other kind of banks which caused the problem in the first place?  It’s almost like rubbing salt in the wound.

  36. G P Walrus says:

    The headline could have been: “Willie Rennie shoots the messengers”.

    • Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “The headline could have been: “Willie Rennie shoots the messengers”.”

      Best Debut Comment Of The Day :)

  37. Doug Daniel says:

    Jeannie – love it!
    I think the original (“Skye no more, Lochaber no more” etc) must have been a list of towns that will never get communication from anyone else in the world ever, as they’ll be totally cut off from the rest of the world when we separate.

  38. fitheach says:

    From the Scottish Parliament website:
    Willie Rennie MSP
    Member for: Mid Scotland and Fife

    From the Daily Record:
    “The branch includes workers in Edinburgh, Lothians, Fife, Falkirk and Stirling.”

    So, Mr. Rennie has not only insulted some of his constituents but possibly even people who voted for him IN THE PAST.

  39. velofello says:

    If Rennie shoots the messengers does that mean that post the referendum pigeon post across the border wouldn’t work either -” the fluttering gory pinions”.(ex Westlin Winds, a hot favourite of mine).
    And whilst Wings is soaring above Scottish politics Jeannie is sore-ing for the Yes campaign.

  40. Jeannie says:

    I certainly am……thank god for Deep Heat (no innuendo intended).

  41. Craig P says:

    Jeannie – brilliant!
    Jiggsbro – won’t the internet in Scotland be .kp for North Korea or .bd for Bangladesh?

  42. cath says:

    “the internet in Scotland”
    Will Scotland even have electricity post indy? Isn’t that a union dividend?

  43. MajorBloodnok says:

    We’ll have electricity but the lightblub will be de-invented. And we’ll be forced to rely on whale oil for lighting and whelk stew for sustenance after our economy collapses when our subsidies are withdrawn. Mind you, they won’t even have stew south of the border…

  44. lumilumi says:

    Wee Wullie Rennie is quoted as saying “One of the big strengths of the UK is the universal service – postage anywhere in the country for the same price. The SNP have not given and are unable to give guarantees that this will continue if  Scotland leaves the UK.”
    That made me check how and at what price a small independent country such as Finland is able to provide domestic and international postal services.
    Domestic, up to 50 grams:
    1st class: 0.80 euro
    2nd class: 0.70 euro
    Europe, up to 20 grams:
    1st class: 0.80 euro (up to 50 g: 1.20 euro)
    2nd class: 0.75 euro (up to 50 g: 1.00 euro)
    Rest of the world, up to 20 grams:
    1st class: 0.80 euro (up to 50 g: 1.90 euro)
    2nd class: 0.75 euro (up to 50 g: 1.20 euro)
    Two ordinary A4 sheets + envelope weigh 18 grams (just checked with my digital letter scales) so 1st class postage is the same the world over,  2nd class is 0.05 euro cheaper domestically.
    Finland is a small country populationwise (5.4M) but quite a large country areawise (338,424 km2, compared to Scotland’s 78,387 km2 ) and mostly sparsely populated (16/km2 compared to Scotland’s 67.5/km2 ), so very expensive to run a universal postal service.
    It must be all that Baltic Sea oil that allows us to run it. 😉 

  45. Gaavster says:

    Brilliant Jeannie
    How about this wee ditty?  It’s called SAORSA (Freedom) by Matt Johnston

    <Hat tip to Chic Mac on Fb for inadvertently pointing me in the general direction of this>

  46. ianbrotherhood says:

    After independence we’ll have no clothes, hair or teeth, and be living in enormous herds on Cairngorm, being periodically culled by the global Great & Good.

  47. Jeannie says:

    Ooh…thanks for the link…..I enjoyed that!  It’s stopped the other song that’s been going round in my head all day…the one I get everytime I see a picture of Willie Rennie –
    “Why was he born so beautiful, why was he born at all………you know the rest!  Alltogether now……….

  48. AnneDon says:

    This explains why Malcolm Bruce was on twitter last night havering about a UK-wide postal service. I pointed out that, often, English companies charge those who live in the Highlands and Islands extra, so it wasn’t a universal service.
    He hasn’t answered me yet. . .
    And as an example of Turkeys voting for Christmas, surely the LibDem support for Tories has destroyed their party as an electoral force?

  49. Braco says:

    you worry too much. As long as I am in the enormous blue herd and you are in the enormous green herd who cares what the global great and the good do?

  50. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Braco –
    No blue or green mate, we’ll all be covered with random lumps of wiry orange hair, like rusty brillo-pads.
    But you’re right. I do worry. Way too much.

  51. Inbhir Anainn says:

    As an aside, if you as a person had the opportunity to directly put a question to the Member of Parliament for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Scotland Office) what would it be?
    Heard through the grapevine that he is paying a visit to my workplace sometime this week.

  52. Braco says:

    no change for me then! Come on The Well.

  53. ianbrotherhood says:

    Ask him to tell you his job-title without checking with a flunkey.

  54. Braco says:

    p.s. Ian,
    welcome aboard!

  55. Jeannie says:

    @inbhir anainn
    Ask him why he’s such a total w_ _ _ _ r

  56. Jeannie says:

    @inbhir anainn
    I know it’s bad language from a lady, but to be honest, I can’t think of a more appropriate term to describe him.

  57. Jeannie says:

    @ian brotherhood
    we’ll all be covered with random lumps of wiry orange hair, like rusty brillo-pads.
    And what’s wrong with that? I’ve been told I’m quite attractive, I’ll have you know.

  58. tartanfever says:

    I see Paddington fairly regularly as he uses the village hall within 20 yards of my front door for surgeries. Last year he was outside the hall on the phone as I drove past honking my horn shouting FREEEDOMMM, at the top of my lungs. Juvenile I know. I wish something witty had come to me that instant but I failed. He did drop his phone though and looked a little taken aback.
    This year I’m planning to dress up as a ‘Scottish ghost’, which means rather than a white sheet over my head with two holes cut out for my eyes, I’ll use a saltire. I plan to erect a small sign next to me saying “I really do exist and have done so since 1707′. I’m just going to sit there, deathly still, and not say a word.
    Maybe I should try and get a photo of me and Paddington.

  59. Morag says:

    He’s my MP too, despite my having done my damndest to prevent it in 2010.  I usually try to forget he even exists.

  60. DMW42 says:

    @Inbhir Anainn
    Ask him why he tucks his shirt into his pants.

  61. Ask him what he plans to do for a living if Scotland votes yes. He will waffle and avoid it but if pushed, should be interesting. Actually, that would be a great question to ask all Scottish MP’s.

  62. ianbrotherhood says:

    @Braco –
    I am honoured indeed. Last time I was in that neck of the woods was Forgewood, for a local radio charity event. We brought a blow-up castle and a minor DJ. The power had to be sourced from a bloke’s ground-floor kitchen – he only charged us a fiver, disappeared, then returned with a bottle of Bucky which he generously shared with all. Two hours later we had to deflate the bouncy castle as the weans were outnumbered by alsatians.
    Hmmmm! Curiouser and curiouser…I’ve an enormous stock-pot that needs scrubbing if you’re free…

  63. Morag says:

    Ask him what he plans to do for a living if Scotland votes yes.
    YES!  That’s the one.  Go for it.

  64. CameronB says:

    If he wont answer that one, ask him if he is credits Aardman Animations for his political acumen. And if he wont answer that one, ask him about tucking his shirt in to his pants.

  65. Inbhir Anainn says:

    Surely it should be – What he plans to do for a living when Scotland votes YES.

  66.  @Inbhir Anainn 
    Ask him if hypocrisy is mandatory in the LibDem hierarchy.

  67. Morag says:

    Why ask him that?  He’s not a LibDem, he’s a Tory.

  68. Maybe his name is Manda!

  69. Doug Daniel says:

    John Boothman is BBC Scotland’s Head of News & Current Affairs.
    John Boothman is husband to former Labour minister Susan Deacon. He is a former (or is that “former”?) Labour activist.
    Boothman was once censured for offering media training to Labour candidates, along with current BBC Scotland online editor Tom Connor.

  70. lumilumi says:

    I must congratulate Jeannie on her absolutely brilliant new lyrics to that Proclaimers’ song.
    Thanks to Jeannie, I went to Youtube and put on “best 100 Proclaimers tracs” as background music while I did other stuff. Until I heard this:

    Wait a second, I know that one! It’s a song my favourite Finnish band used to sing at gigs! A cover of “Whole wide world”. Eppu Normaali covered it in 1978!

    They’ve translated it into Finnish, very adroitly.
    Whole wide world
    Mä kierrän ympäri maan (=I travel all around the land/world)
    The singer/songwriter’s mother translated “Mother Goose” and all kinds of English nonsense nursery rhymes into Finnish nonesense nursery rhymes – every Finnish kid born after 1950 knows her rhymes. She’s a national treasure, and her two sons are the two biggest Finnish rock stars. The band Eppu Normaali started as a sort of punk, new wave thing in the late 1970s but later became more melodic and famous for their neat, rhyming, politically subversive but also humorous lyrics, and they became the biggest band in Finland. The only Finnish band that draws a stadium audience. Middle-aged people who grew up with this band (like me) and new, young fans of the Finnish legend.:-D

  71. Keith B says:

    Asking him what he intends to do for a living after independence is too easy to deal with. He simply says it wont happen and moves on.

    Suitably armed with a copy of Liam Fox’s “up to 7,000″ promise, ask him about his performance on Newsnicht (Tues 5 March) and his claim that Liam Fox never made the promise. Ask him if he thinks we all zip up the back. Ask him why we should believe any promise or commitment they make when they can be so dishonest about something so easily disprovable as this.

    *** warning – contains Mundell ***

  72. deewal says:

    I buy quite a lot of Computer parts and musical equipment from large Online Stores in England. They mostly advertise Free UK Delivery. They use National Carriers (DPD, Citylink, Parcelforce etc.
    According to their Delivery Information The Highlands of Scotland are a Non UK Mainland – 2 Day Service along with the Channel Islands, Eire (not part of the UK) and Northern Ireland which are all cut off from the Mainland by Water (Sea) and therefore carry a surcharge of anything from £10 to £17 !!
    I live in the Highlands of Scotland not far from Inverness which is a CAPITAL CITY OF THE UK and can assure you Is on the Mainland of the UK (unless there has been an Earthquake which has ripped the Northern part of the UK from the Southern bit leaving a very wide flow of Water which needs to be crossed by a Ferry).
    I have searched on Google Earth and read all the news and i cannot find this gaping chasm.
    As far as i can see on the Map the Highlands are connected by Main Road with no Toll Bridges or Border fees to pay all the way from London to John o’ Groats.
    I also find it very odd that their is a surcharge for delivery TO Highland Scotland from England but if i send something FROM Scotland to England i pay the normal rate using the same Courier!!                                                                                                       Could this be that it is downhill from Scotland to England and the transport can freewheel and someone has built some sort of ramp that the Delivery vans can pick up speed and leap across the gaping water filled chasm a la James Bond ?
    Scotland is on the Mainland of the UK. It is not an Independent Country YET but if this excessive delivery charge malarky continues it might as well be.
    Edit. I also use a Musical and Computer Dealer in Frankfurt, Germany. They will deliver as much or as little as i want for a flat Fee of 10 Euros (no weight or amount limit) Nasty Germans undercutting our Glorious English Carriers.

  73. Macart says:

    Ask him – What he gets out of it all? Turning a blind eye to what his party and Westminster do to partners in the name of the UK. What’s it worth to see food banks spring up? See people freezing in an energy rich environment? See the Bedroom tax set to reap a harvest of evictions or forced downsizing and moves for families? See Trident retained in a country that doesn’t want or need it? See ATOS torture some more disadvantaged people?
    Or simply just ask him why he bothers turning up in Holyrood at all?

  74. Juteman says:

    Ask him if he sleeps well at night, or does silver make an uncomfortable pillow.

  75. Craig P says:

    Ask Mundell why he votes on domestic English matters that do not affect his own constituents – there must be plenty examples of this on they work for you… press him into responding whether or not he thinks this is a fair situation. If he is smart he will waffle on about te glorious irrationality of the unwritten British constitution, but if you are lucky you will get him to admit the status quo is unfair and the Scottish parliament should be abolished…

  76. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Why ask him anything at all?

  77. Keith B says:

    @ Rev Stu
    Just noticed the wrong link with my post last night.
    Was having big problems trying to edit – each time I hit save some of the text, after the part I had just amended, disappeared. Ended up having to copy to another application, make the amendments, delete text in post, then copy and paste from other app. Don’t know how that URL got there. (embarrassed smiley thing) <feel free to edit this para out if you want>
    Here’s what I was trying to link to:-


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