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"55% of Scots agree that England should subsidise Scotland"

Fancy asking if we would like to first? I remain a Unionist but I dislike this "GIVE US MONEY!" attitude.

Well dick, i don't think 'we' all have the attitude of "GIVE US MONEY". Anyway, the money we are so generously given by 'you' can be justified to a large extent by oil revenues, which 'you' only get through Scotland.

English Independence is more popular that than the Westminster bubble realises and burying their heads in their haggis won't help them to stifle its growing popularity.

I've never really thought financial arguments presented a good case for independence. On those grounds, independence for Hackney or Newham is no more or less logical...

Many divorces are brought about by financial matters Iain (Scots spelling). The main reasons are of course the lack of equal treatment, I'm not going to list the inequalities to which I refer because if you are not aware of them you must be living in a shoe in the countryside without electricity or newspapers.

I suppose their £447 for every taxpayer corresponds to Gordon Brown's fiction that England is subsidising Scotland to the tune of £11.2 billion a year, although recently he's moderated that claim and suggested that it might be as little as £2.9 billion a year ... meanwhile, the Scottish Enterprise Party pulls apart the GERS ("Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland") report and claims that Scotland is actually subsidising England, by about £9.6 billion a year:


and of the two, I find the latter rather more convincing. Of course both have a vested interest in getting the correct result from their calculations - Brown to prove that an independent Scotland would not be economically viable, the Scottish Enterprise Party to demonstrate that an independent Scotland could prosper mightily - but Brown is a proven liar, and the GERS is blatantly flawed.

With the English, its not about the money. We've always thought we've been subsidising Scotland anyway.
The issue in England is about fairness and equality and where's the fairness in a MP elected from Scotland imposing higher taxes on the English? What happened to equal rights to life under this government? Why are our sick and dying told to die cheaply, but Brown's constituents given the life saving drugs (and sightsaving these days) freely by the National Apartheid Service?

Scotland can keep its money and it can take back its nasty politicians. Independence is coming, whether they vote for it or not.

If this is the attitude of those South of the border, no wonder the SNP are riding so high in the polls. England does not subsidise Scotland, does no one remember Jan 97 when Waldegrave had to admit that Scots had paid 27b excess into the treasury than received in oil revenue alone?

Im no nationalist but the Scots are far from subsidised, they almost didnt print GERS this year because it was so politically influenced. The susidy idea is a myth told enough time people take it to be true. Im no nationalist but with opinions like these no wonder the Union is dead.

Scott @1931
"told enough times people take it to be true"

"I'm no nationalist" twice in one sentence.
petard and hoist come to mind.

Let me spell it out for you:
Scotland - Parliament.
Wales - Assembly.
N. Ireland - Assembly.

England - a choice of the following:
Grand committee,
Part time Parliament sitting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,
Barring Welsh and Scots MPs from voting on English only matters.

Now say you don't get it!!

Apologies for my sloppy spelling i was distracted, but that doesn't forgive the condescending tone of these comments to Scotland. Much is made of the Union being dead and over recent years I wonder if they are right. The constitutional settlement is not fair- i can, however, see no way forward for England that will not simply push Scotland on a quicker course to independence. The re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament came after long generations of democratic deficit. The people of England have had this deficit for a couple of years and are already hurling out the slurs.

I think the least controversial way forward is barring Welsh and Scots MPs from voting on English only matters. It is entirely logical. But, in the Scottish media view, it will come from a Conservative government and they will go wild in Scotland. The use of the word 'barring' says it all. The tories would no longer be accused of being an 'English Party', they actually would be. This would be the end of the Union in my opinion.

How many other Scottish Conservative and (unconvinced and not die hard) Unionists are there out there?

The Union is dead. I don't really care who is subsidising whom. It is a matter of fairness of treatment. All 3 political parties but especially the Conservatives, underestimate the importance of this issue. It is growing daily, despite an omerta by the Press and BBC.

We need a new constitutional settlement and we need a referendum, now.

The straight choice is between the 117 MPs elected outside England being treated as "second class MPs", as this government puts it, or the 50 million Britons living in England being treated as second or even third class citizens.

The fact that Labour ministers even put forward the specious argument about "there should only be one class of MP", and think they can get away with it, illustrates once again the total contempt with which they regard the English.

Five years ago I thought that an English Grand Committee in the Commons would solve the problem. But these bastards are simply carrying on with their euro-regionalisation schemes to break up England almost as though the "No" vote in the north east referendum never happened, and far too many Tories are conniving with that, as well as the Liberal Democrats of course.

So now I'm more inclined to believe that the only way to put a stop to that,
forever, is to have a separate English Parliament, preferably located outside London near the centre of England, and blow the additional expense involved.

As it would be uni-cameral it would have to be elected by PR, like the Scottish Parliament, but certainly not with any element of the regional list system.

Meanwhile the bi-cameral British Parliament would become as a kind of federal Parliament to deal with UK-wide matters - as long as the UK survives.

So let's have a referendum in England on whether we want our own Parliament, broadly analogous to the Scottish Parliament, and get it sorted out.

What a shame. I wonder if the English peopler who seek to encourage Scottish independence have thought through the implications of having a truly foreign country on our northern border. Or the implications for our armed forces, defence requirements etc.

Denis Cooper talks sense about democracy. However, sense and democracy are not Westminster issues in the 21st century.

Scotland has problems enough on its own doorstep, with the islands they stole and whose oil they are also stealing!


Independence for the Shetlanders who have been oppressed by the Celts and give them back their oil. It does not belong to Scotland.

A great shame it is, but can you look into the future and see the Scots returning a significant number of Conservative MPs (not that there is imho a Conservative Party worthy of the name as yet and even if there was not many Scots would be voting for it)?
In the south of England up until recently the Labour Party had a far crack of the whip with English voters. I don't see any party calling itself Conservative getting a bite of the cherry in Scotland regardless.

This situation makes life difficult for any party (allegedly) coming from the Right to gain power.

The situation has not been helped by the Scottish politicians, dominating Parliament, apparently bestowing advantageous perks on the Scots that are denied to the English.
But as you say, Malcolm, a great shame.
It is, however laughable that the machinations of Blair have unwound in his own back yard. He and Brown must think that there is little gratitude in Scotland.

Young fools..........

Fact is that England no longer exists. The Union with Scotland has no meaning. Scotland is an EU region, and has a future, but England is divided into regions now with government from Westminster only a sham to fool everyone. Kent is part of Northern France.

Devolution was Labour’s attempt to neuter Scottish independence and at the same time ring-fence a Labour stronghold that would be beyond the reach of the Conservatives. The outcome was to fan the flames of nationalism on both sides of the border.

We now have a Labour party that’s about to get a thumping in Scotland and a PM that has no mandate to steer a Government’s largely English legislation through the UK Parliament. Labour’s unfair treatment of England has brought Scotland into sharp focus (whereas previously they were only noticed on the odd occasion such as hogmanay) so much so, that two recent polls showed more English want Scottish independence than the Scots do.

Hopefully the Scots will go on to vote for independence after the election in May and England shall be richer for it.

I very much doubt that England would be richer after Scottish independence.

I can't understand why people who don't believe Gordon Brown about anything else so readily believe him when he says that England is subsidising Scotland!

In any case, as malcolm @ 22:38 has pointed out there would be ramifications which the more extreme English nationalists haven't even begun to think about, but which would cost money. Controlling the new land border, for a start.

Politicians don't give a damn about ordinary people in general or England's people in particular, once their votes have been harvested. Only by people voting "perversely", whether in Scotland or England, will there be any chance of mainstream politicians at least giving a nod to the concept being servants of the people rather than their masters.

Set England Free
Vote SNP

[... or BNP or anyone else that isn't part of the ConLabLibdem conspiracy]

Their aren't an things i hate more than Labour but the BNP would be one of them.

If Occasional Visitor truly belives that by voting BNP it will set the nation free i think he is a serously misguided whatever they say they are a racist party who serve no other purpose than to strain local communites with their bigoted views. Funnily enough i blame labour for their recent limited sucess with all the limitations on freedom of speech which have made them look more normal.

In terms of the break up of the uk. Give them their referendum i think the scots would reject it anyway Britains success is just that Britains

I wish people would calm down.

The union has endured for hundreds of years and there is no reason why it cannot be "reformed" to make it relevant in the 21st century.

As far as I can see, the union was brought about to ensure macroeconomic stability in the British Isles, ensure both nations didn't have divergent foreign policies, which worked against each other, create a large free-trade and customs union and to allow both nations to look outwards, rather than inwards, in their development.

Why can this partnership not continue?

Let's ditch the shrillness and insults.

All that needs doing is to make it fair to both parties. If Scotland had full tax raising powers, full discretion on spending, social policy and employment law - this would neutralise the argument of it not controlling its own revenues. It would have practical independence in all areas of domestic policy.

If English MPs only had the power to vote on English matters, this would neutralise the issue of unfairness. Cross-national subsidies could be eliminated entirely too - another area of dispute resolved.

The British parliament would be responsible for foreign/defence policy only and macroeconomic stability. Scotland would maintain its global influence, but have full powers to shape its economy/destiny within the union.

That seems fair to me. A "federal" solution is all that can save the union now.

To those English who want shot of Scotland I say this, the long-term consequences of the integrity of the Commonwealth, our membership of the UN and our global influence could be fatally damaged if the union were to dissolve.

The Union flag is still a potent symbol of Britishness and British values around the world (not to mention in many nations flags) and it means something. It is a beautiful flag which inspires many. Were Britain to dissolve it would only serve to weaken our influence and historic ties with other nations worldwide - including our own overseas bases and terrorities.

We mustn't let it happen.

Who subsidises whom is an irrelevance. The fact is Scotland gets 33% more public money than England because…well I don’t know why, they just do and Cameron has no plans to change it.

Scotland is not just the northern bit of Britain; it is culturally and politically different. The English like their independence, have a healthy distrust of big Government and prefer to spend their own money rather than entrust it to the likes of John Prescott.

The Scots, on the other hand, like being controlled by a big Government that has big taxes. They have parties to the left of Labour and people actually vote for them (the SNP being one). More than 50% of Scots are either on benefits, or work for public bodies; and turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

In other words, the English are natural Tories and the Scots are not. England would be better off, all round, if we could cut Scotland loose.

Unfortuantly for people like Peter Hatchet the 'Commonwealth' means squat to most in the country. What a load of bilge to state that if England separates from Scotland our influence will diminish at the UN etc. The UN was neutered by the good ol USA years ago! The union is dead, but as usual it will take the political elites years to come to that conclusion. As for a federal solution- it's a LDem policy. That says it all ( a disaster).

"the English are natural Tories" - really? - "and the Scots are not" - really?

What is it then? The air? The water? Roast beef v haggis? What twaddle.

Before anyone can advocate the maintenance of the Union between England (Wales) and Scotland (UES), they must first look to Britain withdrawing from the EU.

With Britain part of EU Ever Closer Union, the UES is no longer relevant. No laws are made in Britain any more. No political leaders survive without approval from Brussels - and none dares advocate EU withdrawal despite its potential popularity. England no longer has any meaning as a political concept.

The young voters see that there the UES wears no clothes. They want to see some real power established and exercised. That means England going it alone and fighting for freedom from the EU. Only then would the UES have any significance, other than historical. Why pretend any longer? The young can see the uselessness of the current situation.

Simon 10:45:

I see you are obviously not ready to ditch the shrillness.

If you wish to disagree with me, that's fine, but please try to do so without insulting my arguments as "bilge".

It does you no credit and is an insult to your intelligence.

The union is not dead *yet*.

If current trends continue, yes, it may well be, but at this stage there is everything to play for and the debate is not yet won.

A federal solution is the only solution I can see that would keep the UK together - and I see maintaining the union as a good thing. Not ALL Lib-Dem policies are automatically wrong and I'm sure we could improve it so it is palatable to Conservatives!

Our membership of the UN and our position as head of the Commonwealth are based on the nation of "Britain". We still have a permenant veto at the UN - the UN seat is worth retaining.

There is no guarantee that "England" would be automatically identified as the successor state and automatically inherit the UN seat. Neither is their any guarantee that the Commonwealth would continue if Britain, on which it is based, fragments.

I agree that the Commonwealth means little to most Brits. However, I believe they do care about our position and influence in the world.

Along with our UN, G8, NATO and EFTA membership it is based on Britain and British history. It would be jeapordised if Britain split and it was only "England" that was left.

Dennis Cooper and a number of other commentators are right, the English are being denied democracy. Whichever party agrees to a referendum on an English Parliament and the voting systems therein will have a very popular policy. If the form of PR adopted was to be the single transferable vote then we would see the demise of UKIP and the BNP as fringe parties would need to get either 20% or 25% of the vote in a 3 or 4 member ward.

NuLab promised a review of voting systems in the UK in 1997, 2001 and 2005. This report has been written but not published. Another example of the English being denied democracy.

tapestry @ 11:40 - "That means England going it alone and fighting for freedom from the EU."

Totally, mind-numbingly, illogical. It's not as if 5 million Scots are keeping the UK in the EU against the will of 50 million English - and if anything, attitudes towards the EU are even more hostile in Scotland than in England.


Saying “twaddle” does not constitute an argument.

The Conservatives perform better in England and they perform worse (or rather have almost been wiped out) in Scotland. Why is that? I don’t know, maybe it is the food or the weather…it doesn’t matter, all that does matter is the fact that it is a fact.

The centre of the political spectrum in Scotland is way to the left of that in England. A majority of people in England voted Conservative in the last election, but not in Scotland.

Look at this map* and tell me England is not largely Conservative and Scotland is!

*http://www.conservativehome.blogs.com/ about a third of the way down.

@Peter hatchet
We might lose the UN, the Commonwealth might break up but you are confusing me with someone who cares.
In a globalised world the UN the EU the Commonwealth are all traps. Post imperial guilt and liberal sentiment.
If the UK is to maintain its standard of living into to the 21st Century we need to get focused on economic growth without any inhibiting bureaucracy. We need to cut deals with countries with the same high moral purpose of the French. The UN, the Commonwealth and the EU only hold us back.

Sorry, Peter, but I just wanted to pick up your comment that the Commonwealth would collapse if the UK split up into its component Home Countries.

The Commonwealth doesn't simply exist around Britain anymore - it is a growing institution (there are a number of applicants for membership, some outside of the old British Empire) and it has something different for its members. Canada sees it as an opportunity to connect with the anglophone Caribbean and give aid to Africa. New Zealand sees it as an opportunity to project influence in the South Pacific. India now sees it as an opportunity to strengthen relationships with other anglophone democracies. And so on.

Moreover, although it is unlikely to change, there is no guarantee that Prince Charles will succeed his mother as head of the Commonwealth.

In addition, the Commonwealth is so successful that has spawned imitators such as La Francophonie or the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa.

Moreover, in the Commonwealth Games, "Britain" doesn't compete - the home countries do. Jersey and the Isle of Man even have their own teams! So I think it is an organisation sufficiently resilient to survive any reorganisation of the UK.

Johnathan your comment about associating Britain's Commonwealth membership with 'post imperial guilt' is misguided. The Commonwealth is on balance a pretty successful institution. It promotes the core values of anglophone democracy and the rule of law - sometimes imperfectly, yes, but the world is an imperfect place. There is little or no trading imposition on Britain, and it keeps your country connected with a global network.

It's not 1980 and we're not stressing about southern Africa anymore.

Correction: we are worried about Mugabe's excesses, obviously - but not through the lens of post imperial guilt, and more (I think) through the prism of an independent state that is capable of looking after itself, dudding its citizens. That last sentence seemed out-of-place but it's a different kind of concern, as opposed to the Britain-versus-the-rest that Mrs Thatcher used to cop at CHOGMs.

Neither Scotland nor England can " leave " the Union . They can only end it . The British Union is a national marriage and the most successful such marriage in history . If one partner decides to end the marriage then both partners are free agents after the divorce
( which appears to be becoming an increasingly atractive proposition to the English now that they are thinking about it )

But I support the Union . Both England and Scotland would be mad to cast it aside . Nevertheless , the present arrangement is now so strained by argument and by Blair's devious and incoherent attempts to spatchcock it together for Labour's advantage that a new arrangement is now needed . One that will be sustainable .

This can only be with an English Parliament , just like Scotland's . EVOEM will not work and is anyway an insult to the English . The fact of the size of England and the cost argument ( if indeed there will be any extra cost ) are just factors that will have to be lived with .

This would be federal-type union with an overarching British parliament . In fact the Scots are somewhat ahead of the English on this one . Mr Salmond has already hinted that what he has in mind is a confederal Union in which Scotland - and therefore England - would have fiscal independence . This would defuse the who-pays-for-whom argument . Opinion polls in Scotland (?) indicate that this would have majority support . Probably in England too .

I suspect that whichever party came out for a well argued proposal along these lines would have a massive vote winner both north and south of the border .

Mr Cameron , are you listening ?

"the English are natural Tories" - really? - "and the Scots are not" - really?

What is it then? The air? The water? Roast beef v haggis? What twaddle.

Posted by: Denis Cooper | April 30, 2007 at 10:59

Denis: It will be a matter of great regret should the Union be severed. We have endured the worst and the most incompetent, destructive Government in living memory. Labour has inflicted, probably, irreparable damage to the fabric of Britain and will leave us with many problems to overcome in the future. This Government beggars belief.
Even after this decade of politically inflicted mayhem on Britain by Labour do you really believe that at the next election the Scots will vote for a party coming from the Right, which for the sake of argument, we will call of a conservative outlook? I don't think so. Once again English voters of a conservative opinion will have a built in handicap to overcome (assuming that they can find a genuine Conservative Party to vote for). It would appear that at the present time neither the Scots nor the English are getting the government they desire, the majority having opposing political beliefs.
I would like to see the Union survive. Let us hope that under the circumstances a way, satisfactory to all can be found, but should it survive at any price to England?

Of course saying "twaddle" doesn't constitute an argument, Terry, and nor was it intended to be an argument as much as a description of your argument that "the English are natural Tories and the Scots are not". There will be plenty of people voting SNP on Thursday who would be voting Tory in a parallel universe, one in which the Tories had not made themselves widely detested not only in Scotland but also in Wales and across large swathes of England outside the south east.

"Once again English voters of a conservative opinion will have a built in handicap to overcome (assuming that they can find a genuine Conservative Party to vote for). It would appear that at the present time neither the Scots nor the English are getting the government they desire, the majority having opposing political beliefs."

Sorry but this made me laugh, there are pockets of Labour and Conservative heartlands all over Britain which remain unchanged which ever way the mood of the rest of the country swings. Scotland turned red in the 90's in areas where Labour had not traditionally been strong, they are already disappearing from those area's again in much the same way as Labour is in other parts of the country.
Remember we have proportional representation in Holyrood but remain FPTP for Westminster elections, expect Labour to lose seats to the Libdems and Conservatives in the next GE. If the Conservative party are successful and achieve the kind of swing they need to not only become the largest party but to win an outright majority in the next GE, then they will see that swing appearing in parts of Wales and Scotland too.
Also before you start blaming the Scots for everything wrong in the world just remember the slowness or lack of representation boundary changes has been a factor too.

Previous posts seem to give the impression that the United Kingdom is still united, now that's what I call twaddle. Some even appear to think that Britain is still a country, more twaddle. The Saltire flies over the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Dragon over the Welsh Assembly and I bet, before too long, the Irish Tricolour will fly over the Stormont, That will leave the UK and Britain consisting England alone. The Union Flag will fly over Westminster until it is replaced by the European Ring Of Shite.
I bet a pound to a pinch that "Britishness" is not taught in Scottish, Welsh and Irish Schools.

It must be a blue moon, because I agree with Denis Cooper - an English Parliament (excluding London) is now the only way forward. What we need is symmetric devolution: the same powers for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly, London Assembly and English Parliament. Then the Westminster Parliament can get on with the job it's elected for, and we can end the bickering over who's a second class MP etc..

Jonathan/Simon - are you the same?

I responsed to "simons" comments and received a reply from "Jonathan".


This is all very sad. If it were 1997 the vast majority of us would be *supporting* the union and doggedly so.

Now, after 10 years of Labour, we are so outraged by devolution and the constitutional imbalance it has created, many are screaming for the Union to be broken up.

Why are we letting Labour & the nationalists make us behave this way?

This isn't necessary. We needn't let the shrillness of some of the more extreme Celtic/English nationalists to spell the kiss of death to Britain as a whole. The union *can* be reformed to make it work - it will fall to us to work out how.

Our monarch is still the head of the Commonwealth, its HQ is still in London, the Union Jack forms part of many nations flags, our monarch is the head of state of many Commonwealth countries and we have reciprocal defence and cultural connections with many of them.

But these connections are based on Britain. British institutions, British history and people of British descent.

Our influence in many of these countries *is* real and does exist. It will be jeapordised by the break-up of the union because the view will be; "if the union isn't relevant to the Brits anymore, why should the Brits be relevant to us?" - it would damage our interests abroad.

Some of us are isolationists, but our ability to affect trade, security and foreign policy on a global scale would be damaged by the end of the union.

Not to mention the emotional arguments of the loss of our beautiful flag, the splitting of our armed forces and the loss of many British institutions.

It is worth trying to find a way to make Britain work.

Arguments about whether or not the English subsidise the Scottish economy or we have pinched the North Sea oil revenues are irrelevant. There is a growing body of opinion south of the border that the only equitable way forward out of the present constitutional mess is full independence for England. The fact that the majority of Scots voters intend to vote SNP but wish to retain the Union is a good example of having one's cake and eating it. Why should the future of the Union depend on the whim of Scotland?
Good luck to Annabelle Goldie and rest of the Scottish Tories; but it is time for them to go their own way. The sooner Dave Cameron realizes this the better his chance of becoming the next PM, instead of flatlining at 37%

Peter Hatchet, I agree whole heartedly with the comments you make in your passionate defence of the Union.

"Why should the future of the Union depend on the whim of Scotland?" What tosh! the decision to introduce devolution on to the political landscape was taken by all those across Britain who voted Labour in 97'
Don't let the mess this government caused with such an ill conceived, badly planned and implemented policy allow you to park the blame on the Scots.
Just because someone did not read the small print does not mean that they should blame their neighbour for not only doing so but taking up the option they were given.
If the SNP should chose to hold a referendum in Scotland for independence they would still have to take it to Westminster, at the moment that is still where the major decisions are made. As a Scot I think that something this important can only go forward IF everyone is consulted and allowed to vote just as we all did back in 97' for devolution.

Many of those who vote SNP on Thursday will do so because they see it as by far the most effective way to give Labour a damn good kicking, not because they support independence or because they believe in the SNP's more leftie policies. (Although proposing to slash business taxes is an SNP policy which is hardly leftie.) In other circumstances some of them might have voted Tory as the main alternative to Labour, but clearly that's not been the case since the Tories shot themselves in the foot. Whether they can ever recover that lost ground is a moot point, but I wouldn't altogether rule it out.

Looking at comments posted after today's editorial on the Telegraph website
I can't help feeling that some of the contributors are quite seriously deranged, presumably driven insane by a decade of appalling Scots-dominated Labour government.

But then I can understand that, to some extent, because seeing John Reid yakking away on television at lunchtime I found that the thought came into
my mind: "Why don't you shut up and **** off back to Scotland" which would never have happened in the past.

The Scots in this government have been very bad ambassadors for Scotland.

Scotty 17:02

Thank you for your appreciation of my arguments.

However - I must take issue with these points!

"Why should the future of the Union depend on the whim of Scotland?"

I didn't say this.

"Don't let the mess this government caused with such an ill conceived, badly planned and implemented policy allow you to park the blame on the Scots"

Neither did I say this, neither did I park the blame on the Scots.

I note that in earlier comments you've accused other posters of having it in for the Scots - not true at all!

I have great respect for the Scottish people. Many are close friends of mine.

All I said was that the more *extreme* nationalists (English and Scottish) have put people off the union by insulting each other, each other nations history and their people. Labour have added to this by creating a gross constitutional imbalance.

I was then warning people not to let this sorry state of affairs make them emotionally react to the unfairness, lose faith in their fellow Britons and the Union.

Ok Scotty.

My apologies.

I've just realised you were attacking somebody elses comments!!


Time for the Dunce's cap..

No problem Peter, I should have been a bit more clear in my post. And anyway I have on more than one occasion misread a comment and posted accordingly.

No Mr Hatchet- i ain't 'jonathan' in disguise! I'm only me, i have not got a dual personality either. There's only room for one 'me' on here. I haven't been called 'shrill' before- at least it made me giggle. A bit like your post!

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