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Thursday, 5 March, 2009

Sarah McDermott | 17:10 UK time, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Here's Paul Mason, our Economics Editor, with a word about this evening's programme:

"So, it's finally happened. Interest rate cuts ran out of road and the UK will print money to try to dig itself out of the recession. This is a decisive move and puts the UK once again out ahead of the major western economies. The US central bank started buying up debt in this way in December, but has so far poo-pooed the radical step of buying government debt. Today's move will see the Bank pile in to the gilts market, hoovering up the debt of the government But will it work? The experts who have been banging on about this policy for months say we'll know by the summer. More tonight..."

And more on Paul's blog here.

We'll also be looking at how the financial crisis is changing our language, as strange phrases like "quantitative easing" slip into the mix. Here's Steve Smith:

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And there's more. Michael Crick will be pondering the impact of the miners' strike 25 years on. The film director Ken Loach, and former Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson will be here to debate.

Do join us at 10.30pm.


  • Comment number 1.

    "And there's more. Michael Crick will be pondering the impact of the miners' strike 25 years on. The film director Ken Loach, and former Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson will be here to debate."

    Loach is a Trot you know (they're anti statists like New Labour). I'm not sure about Lawson, je's said some sensible things about climate change serving the nuclear program Thatcher was keen on as part of the attack on miners (Thatcher's lot really were anarchists/Trots).

    Couldn't you find any Stalinists to give the proper NUM perspective? We used to have such a good Public Sector/Civil Service until it got branded as an evil GOSPLAN.

  • Comment number 2.

    You can take a horse to water but you can't make him buy a 2-up 2-down in Surbiton let alone a brand new, punitively charged VED thank-you Mr. Darling, 4x4 from one of the 'resting' UK car factories!

    You can quantive ease as much as you like, and I am sure that there are GPs who would recommend this, but the truth is that the banks will probably and simply hoard the cash, the Public are debt weary and debt scared and... didn't easy money get us into this problem in the first place?

    I visited 5 different estate agents today - all were convinced that the BOE rate cut and the quantive easing was going to reignite the housing bubble. One female EA was almost orgasmic in her excitement at what she saw as the Seventh Calvary of easy credit riding to her rescue. I didn't have the heart to tell her that in all those 1950s films occasionally it was the Injuns sounding the bugle simply to get the beleagured settlers hopes up!

    Quantive Easing - it won't work you know! Piling greater piles of debt on the biggest debt mountain in history ain't the solution!

  • Comment number 3.

    what was wrong with 0.5% interest rates twelve months ago? It would have saved a lot of bother....

  • Comment number 4.

    They are going to waste a few trillion, create massive unemployment, homelessness and misery and waste alot of time.

    Eventually they will conclude that doing nothing in the first place would have been the right thing to do. It take a lot of courage to admit that and, um, also not being a politician about to face an election would help.

    What was needed was simple - let Capitalism work, let the markets correct themselves and that simply meant letting the house prices crash, let those who have taken on huge amounts of mortgage and credit card debt to go bankrupt and then the rest of us - the prudent majority of savers - would have still been here to pick things up. It would have been a short, sharp and painful recession.

    Now, it is well on the way to becoming a depression that is sucking in everyone from the feckless borrower to the prudent savers - criminally so, the sick and elderly prudent savers who rely on their savings for income. Brown and Darling will go down in history as the men who, when faced with the option of doing nothing or doing something badly, chose the latter.

    I think many Labour MPs will have a 'Portillo moment' when the votes are counted at the next election. Penalising the prudent savers, especially the millions of over-55s who traditionally turn out to vote, is the electoral equivalent of being an ITV celebrity walking into Michael Grade's office today and asking for a pay-rise.

  • Comment number 5.


    Ed Balls is clearly of the view that academics make better empathisers in social contexts. Well Ed - I'd say that's a D minus.

    How are those Drive-Thru Academies coming along?

  • Comment number 6.

    tawes77 (#2) "Quanti[tati]ve Easing - it won't work you know! Piling greater piles of debt on the biggest debt mountain in history ain't the solution!"

    No, but for them it appears to be the only game that they (or those who pay them) know?

    Estate Agents - scary people with truth-blindspots - especially female ones I hate to say. Like Call Centre people, they're so 'good' at just making it all up on the fly (see Muslim warnings, see property porn demographics, see celebrityism..).

    leftieoddbod (#3) "what was wrong with 0.5% interest rates twelve months ago? It would have saved a lot of bother...."

    Presumably, they thought that if smaller cuts worked it wouldn't hit depositors/savers so badly?

  • Comment number 7.

    My all/auld/old Great Lairds Motto = KEEP THE YOKE

    Hey can you hear/heed me

    tiswas/is no joke
    I love/like/can take a joke
    butt you lord? man?dee the grandee
    Ye can Stick The YOKE

  • Comment number 8.

    JP If you believe clown mandy then there really is no hope for the Beeb.
    The brown one has been in charge of the books for over ten years
    Plenty of people saw this mess coming
    Not the useless Hemaroids in parly it seems
    2 busy feathering their own nests

    A Clean Sweep is required, ie DEADHEADS/DEADHEADING

    An Oath (not oaf) is required to enter Parliment, Very Few of these Oaths have been FullFilled.


    easy init

  • Comment number 9.

    The Captain of A Ship.

    The Ship Sinks
    The Ship hits an Iceburgh
    The Ship runs A Ground/Rock
    The Ship Blows up/down
    The Ship catches fire
    The Ship Collides
    The Ship is Bankrupt
    The Ship falls off the edge of the Plan/it

    The Captain is the Captain of The Ship and behaves in the Proper Manner.
    Caps Off/Salute the Captain, he is a Captain
    Our/My Captain.

  • Comment number 10.

    ‘Quantitative Easement’ is a totally new approach; or is it? In the days of my youth I believe the Bank of England used something it called ‘Open Market Operations’ to do much the same thing. It went out into the financial markets and either bought government stock, to stimulate bank lending, or sold it to cut back lending. This was one of the main levers it used to manage the markets, in the days before setting interest rates was deemed to be the only way of controlling the economy. It is true that the volumes in those days were much less than the tens of billions now needed, but maybe it indicates that once more a return to previous approaches might be more productive than the monoculture of one interest rate; which is now, where the LIBOR rate rules in its place, largely ineffective.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am frustrated at all the efforts in pumping money via the banks. The reason why we are in this mess is that we already carry too much debt and manufacturing is hurting because of prior over production; therefore quantative easing via the banks in an attempt to to ease lending will not work.

    Whilst not an economist, it would seem to me the only way out of this problem is to go from the bottom up. This can only be achieved by the government giving money to workers and companies through tax and VAT holidays. This way decisions can be made to use the money that is individually pertinent either by:

    a. Repaying debt.
    b. High Street/car purchases.
    c. Deposits for housing.
    d. Savings

    This will help reduce stock levels and allow manufacturers to start reproduction and
    eventually the money from the tax holidays will reach its way back to the banks and government in taxes etc.

  • Comment number 12.

    Im not surprised that no bank wants to loan money to Focus DIY or insure its debt. Any bank wishing to insure its debt seriously needs it head examining.

    Focus DIY has been nearly bust for many years and was sold in June 2007 for just £1. And that was in the good times !!

    I think Newsnight could of found a better example of a company having bank problems.

  • Comment number 13.

    Good film report and great name - Queasing.

    Once in Spain I saw a menu advertising a Ham and Queese sandwich - this did make us laugh. We'd never heard of Q. Easing in those days. (Queso is the Spanish for cheese).

    On a serious note is it right that all businesses rely on credit? Wouldn't you think a better way to build up a business is to save a small amount of money, buy a small amount of stock, sell it for a profit, and gradually build up the business buying stock and selling it building up your money - that way you aren't constantly relying on bank loans.

  • Comment number 14.

    Greetings bloggers, work in my so-called retirement has kept me too busy to contribute.
    However, concerning the "Easement" I have ordered my wheelbarrow to pay for my next burger.
    So many words! So many views and opinions and the truth is nobody has a clue how to solve this problem.
    Continue to believe in fairies and trust the Tories.
    Oh what a shock you will have next election time, but at least Cameron will take the place of Brown in this bloggers forum.
    As the saying goes, "I trust in God, the rest pays cash!"
    Bring on the election so we can get these Tories out.

  • Comment number 15.

    MOST - NOT ALL (#13)

    Hi Hattie. The business that I shared with my brother (he a self taught accountant) ran for 35 years to around 2005.

    In its final ten years or so, we ran in the black. We received a regular stream of junk mail offering to help us with our financial arrangements (factoring etc) ALL ASSUMED we were not only in the red, but over-stretched.

    If government would legislate against late payment of invoices (with permitted delay for special cases) I expect a lot more companies might move out of the red. But the banks would lose out . . .

  • Comment number 16.

    Well ok it looks like this is the current master plan as of late. UK is attempting again the same continuous failure that America's government has chosen as of late from Bush (170 billion to Obama's whopping 800 billion plus (hello!) of money printed out to save the economy with zero results. None of these old ways are going to save us. Earlier this year many countries tried this to no avail. Meanwhile Leaders of countries, bankers, economists, and high officials,etc still say (nowadays more often than ever) that the problem is a distrust between people. That we need a united system. But they can't find a way to fix it.

    Our government leaders are starting to understand that they are not in control of the situation and that it’s pointless to try to plan anything, since there is no regulator! The lack of solid ground under their feet will make them keep searching for solutions until they’ll discover that the crisis was caused by just one thing: the lack of a complete, reciprocal and good connection between people.

    As they keep searching for more answers, one by one they will realize that it’s necessary to find a means to amend the connections between all the people in the world. The only chance they have of developing positively (instead of through suffering and war) is by taking all people, economies, and countries into consideration. Therefore a global education should be implemented about the current state of the world and where its going. This state being that all of humanity is interconnected and interdependent of one another.

    So a system of education and method of learning needs to be found that explains the system of the world we now live in and the way for us to act in it so that all of humanity can thrive. We live in abundance but all of our systems are corrupted by humanity. If the problem is really humanity egoistic relations between one another and not the money, then everything including all other negative phenomena in the world is a result of the egoistic connection between mankind.

    So in short pumping more money into a broken system will do nothing. As it has already been recently seen time and time again.

    Some Language learned from the global crisis:

    globalization - the revelation that all of humanity is interconnected and interdependent like cells in one body. The cells being the individuals and the body being humanity. One integral global family.

    global crisis - a crisis in education, family unit breakdown, disease, drugs, depression, nuclear weapon threat, war, terror, science, ecology, economy, etc
    with the cause being man's inner egoistic relation to all others/society (to act for the sake of himself with no concern for others).
    Also the aspiration/intention to exploit others for personal gain manifested in the surrounding world and inside of people in their lives. This intention is against the unbending condition of altruism that exists in the closed system that we call our world and everything in Nature follows this rule except man.

  • Comment number 17.

    "We'll also be looking at how the financial crisis is changing our language, as strange phrases like "quantitative easing" slip into the mix."
    Regarding this bloating of the money supply, I keep hearing on the news bulletins that "the policy has not been tried here before."

    Short memories! I believe a very similar ploy on the part of one Chancellor named Barber led to the inflation of the 1970s.

    Between 1970 and 1982, I seem to recall the real purchasing power of Sterling fell by two thirds...

    It may not be too late to buy gold.

    "Anthony Perrinott Lysberg Barber, Baron Barber, PC (born 4 July 1920), is a Conservative member of the House of Lords. He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer by Edward Heath in 1970.

    During his term the economy suffered due to stagflation and industrial unrest. In 1972 he delivered a Budget which was designed to return the Conservative Party to power in an election expected in 1974 or 1975.

    This inflationary Budget led to a period known as "The Barber Boom". The measures in the Budget were to come back to haunt the Government who were hit by high inflation and wage demands from Public Sector workers.
    Anthony Barber was made a Life Peer in 1975"
    I thought so!

    Those who refuse to learn from history....

  • Comment number 18.

    It was out of sequence. Britain doesn't have the clout to pull it off. It should have waited for America to make the first jump, then followed suit. That is what Gordon Brown should have talked to Obama about...and Paulson, Bernanke, and Summers. Only America will be able to inflate its way out of the depression first. Then it would not only be all right for everyone else to, it will be suicide if they don't. This is the way the debts that cannot be paid now will be written down. They will be paid off with much cheaper currency all over the world. The banks and other institutions that made the toxic loans will get clobbered as they should. As a major holder of common shares of bank stock, the British govenment will also get clobbered. The easy to acquire cheaper currency will start the credit markets moving again and new banks with no bad debts on their books will be created as the embers of the old bankrupt ones die out. It doesn't matter if a cup of coffee at Starbucks costs $25 if the guy hashing hamburgers at Burger King is making $80,000 a year. When will the US finally take the plunge? That is the sixty-two trillion dollar question. I think they will wait for the entire world to be bankrupt first. Should be any week now.

  • Comment number 19.

    So over the next three months Merv and his pixies will be down the garden picking all that dosh from the money tree and buying some stuff I don't understand and make it all end up in our bank accounts and pockets.

    What a sweetie.

  • Comment number 20.


    It (Feb 2007) was, and still is a rather understated, even euphemistic, restatement of 'The Bell Curve' (1994) messages. Then, on both sides of the Atlantic, it appeared to have been made 'worse' by doing the opposite of what the analysis advised, or did they?

    Why might Socialist Internationalist and Neocon governments make such a mess through large scale deregulation/anarchism?

    Are we going NUTS? Balkanization into EU states, i.e. smaller, more local, accountable, fault-tolerant, self-governing units, out of demographic/economic necessity?

  • Comment number 21.

  • Comment number 22.

    And another thing the world is burying it's head in the sand about! And to me a very well written and accurate article.

    Sorry I know it's not very relevant to NN, but it's something we all ought to think about a lot more.

  • Comment number 23.


    ecolizzy (#22) We are truly fragmented beings. Do you see my point? The only people who'll properly grasp the (intensional) title and implications of the link are the ones with high literacy/numeracy levels, and they're the ones who least need to read that New Statesman article, which in my view is as misleading as the work of Jeffrey Sachs.

    It hurts to think about this (to be read in conjunction with the link to TBC Wiki summary in the earlier post).... it really does.

    No gain...

  • Comment number 24.

    CABBAGES (#22)

    Hi Lizzie, I only had a quick look but:

    We are more than clever enough to run the planet like a battery house.
    Intensive food production is in its infancy; no one need starve.
    We also have the skill to control population.
    But we need wise leadership, cooperative masses, and eschewal of humbug.
    Both masses and leaders are juvenile, with juvenile needs and wants.
    Leaders, both political and religious, major in humbug.
    We are just not up to the job.

    As for climate change: Earth is a spec in the 'Electric Universe' (qv). It is far more probable that warming is run from 'out there' than by CO2. And your cabbages grow faster!

  • Comment number 25.

    #1 jaded_jean

    "Loach is a Trot you know (they're anti statists like New Labour)"

    Remember that as 99.9% of the country are in your view "anarchists and Trotskyites" because they are democrats who "paint Hitler as darkly as possible" your comment is like much of what you say - completely meaningless.

    The race "realists" who are hazy about the Holocaust and like eugenics etc aren't really going to cut much ice.

    What colour is the sky in your world?

  • Comment number 26.

    "New Statesman article, which in my view is as misleading as the work of Jeffrey Sachs."

    Do you mean in the sense that it further discourages Europeans from having children Jean?

    I've been thinking about my immediate family and we correlate to that 1.3 birthrate almost exactly!

  • Comment number 27.

    On Brown and the economic recovery he is never going to be able to maintain the sleight of hand where he tries to say we have to learn from our mistakes without really identifying them.

    The patriotic nonsense that we must talk up the economy whilst Brown instead of apologising tries to portray himself as the great world leader who will save us all annoys the French and Germans ( and Obama?) and ultimately it will cost them heavily at the polls.

    On Quantitative easing is it not going to be a question of nerve - if nothing seems to be happening will they try panic measures.

    Also is it potentially like holding a buoy deep under the sea and then letting go - it will shoot to the surface. Could we get rampant inflation when we recover if Brown stays true to his knee jerk policy/play to the latest poll tendencies and over steers the corrections to the economy?

  • Comment number 28.

    #23 jaded_jean

    "The only people who'll properly grasp the (intensional) title and implications of the link are the ones with high literacy/numeracy levels".

    As pretentious and fallacious as ever!

    Most people who read your posts will have grasped that this is a variation of your political stance (planned economies Hitler style, race "realism", eugenics, hazy about the Holocaust) that you never identify up front. You are not a Nazi or the BNP you say. Almost everybody else in the world is an "anarchist and Trotskyite".

    So the only people that will follow your links or listen to you are people who have a similar mindset or new visitors to the page. Its not high literacy etc.

    The scientific establishment knows that genetic variation is greater within a race than between races and there is therefore no basis for your race "realism" in science. Your take on statistics is like your views on the Holocaust.

    You don't deny the Holocaust (as you would be fried by the overwhelming facts) but you have offered up before statistics (rubbish ones) on Jewish survival rates from the 1930's.

    The Twickenham Green murderer holds similar views to you. As does the wannabe nail bomber paedophile jailed last year. As does the baby P batterer. As does the wannabe "SS" Lowestoft bomber etc etc.

    So is it high literacy or a twisted mind that you seek to interact with?

  • Comment number 29.


    No doubt some sensible journalists will look into the veracity or otherwise of this bizarre matter after they've looked into the intricacies of the Green Custard affair? But there is a precedent, and it's good for our souls that we are very prone to 'collective guilt' and bend over backwards to accomodate minorities....isn't it?

  • Comment number 30.

    #24 barriesingleton

    "It is far more probable that warming is run from 'out there' than by CO2."

    Just so people know barriesingleton did "a bit of R&D" measuring and observations and suchlike. That is almost the total rationale for his argument (a "big lie" Hitler style?).

    99% of the scientific establishment know climate change is happening and its happening due to human impact.

    "But we need wise leadership, cooperative masses, and eschewal of humbug. "

    cooperative masses probably means goose stepping masses?

  • Comment number 31.


    "We are more than clever enough to run the planet like a battery house.
    Intensive food production is in its infancy; no one need starve."
    Battery methods are intensive in their use of energy. Humans have already co-opted a sizeable proportion of annual net photosynthesis:
    "Homo sapiens is only one of perhaps 5-30 million animal species on Earth (e.g., Erwin 1982), yet it controls a disproportionate share of the planet's resources. Evidence of human influence is everywhere: land-use patterns are readily visible from space, and the concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other trace gases in the atmosphere are increasing as a consequence of human activities. Human beings are mobilizing a wide array of minerals at rates that rival or exceed geological rates.

    We examined human impact on the biosphere by calculating the fraction of net primary production (NPP) that humans have appropriated. NPP is the amount of energy left after subtracting the respiration of primary producers (mostly plants) from the total amount of energy (mostly solar) that is fixed biologically. NPP provides the basis for maintenance, growth, and reproduction of all heterotrophs (consumers and decomposers); it is the total food resource on Earth. We are interested in human use of this resource both for what it implies for other species, which must use the leftovers, and for what it could imply about limits to the number of people the earth can support. "

    Ehrlich et. al.
    for starters...

    Vaya con Gaia
  • Comment number 32.

    My Personal Views -

    So it's finally happened

    Where else could Labours economic recovery plan have led.

    What's next , I wont say it !

    PS. Now we know what the part nationalized banks are for ;)

    Coal Miners Strike

    To me Scargill was a communist , glad to hear other trade union leaders had concerns.

  • Comment number 33.


    Someone, somewhere, just isn't telling the truth. However, some people have a hard time telling the difference allegedly.

    "No harm to anybody", "no hatred", just love .... (unless it's their Germans or evil-doing Planned Economists perhaps?).

  • Comment number 34.

    ecolizzy (#26) "Do you mean in the sense that it further discourages Europeans from having children Jean?"


    There's more to it of course, but the gist is that I fear we are being had, and many who are doing it 'know not what they do' quite literally.

  • Comment number 35.




    Thanks for the link, you might be interested in migration watch latest report.

  • Comment number 36.

    thegangofone (#25) Are you related to this person?

  • Comment number 37.

    Mystery of Quantitative Easing

    Why 150 billion only? The government has already injected hundreds of billions of pounds into the economy and the banking sector which fell on deaf ears across the credit market, and that was real money. Why would 150 billion worth of fake money work this time round?

    “....because the key part of strategy buying government debt has been rejected by the US central banker Ben Bernanke.’
    I thought the Americans have been printing money for ages when they took dollars off the gold standard some time in the 70s.

  • Comment number 38.

    thegangofone (#28) I guess you didn't grasp it then?

    This is only 10 minutes. I suggest you watch it, and then look at the wikipedia review of this from 1994. Bear in mind that the media is largely here for entertainment, but behind all that, it's all a bit grim. If the grim stuff was shown on the media, many people would switch off. Grim is bad for ratings, hence spin. People really are not all the same you know.


  • Comment number 39.

    As much as I despise Mandleson and his cohorts, I have an even bigger problem with these enviro-mentals. It's as though they have never grown up and one can almost hear them giggling as they plot their next childish attack. Just because you don't get what you want doesn't mean you can throw a paddy and start lobbing custard in peoples' faces!
    On the bright side, at least it matches his handbag....

  • Comment number 40.


    Oh blimey Ed - am I that obscure? I meant US! (humans) in the battery units. They already exist I gather - tiny 'living systems'?
    I was just being coldly practical. (We already do it with kids and school.)

    If we limit production of inefficient foods, and grow veg with seawater hydroponics etc (plenty on the web). I reckon food is no hurdle. Then, as I said, the problem is reduced to general stupidity . . .

    Can't fault your data, but I am over here. (:o)

  • Comment number 41.

    GREEN CUSTARD (and Gaza?) (#39)

    Hi Blurtman. I am willing to assert that if - IF! - we could stitch up Prince Mandelson's freedom of expression, to the same degree that he can stitch the ordinary citizen, YOU WOULD SEE THE MOTHER OF ALL TANTRUMS and green custard would pale into skimmed-milk insignificance.

  • Comment number 42.


    "Oh blimey Ed - am I that obscure? I meant US! (humans) in the battery units."
    Not at all. I knew you meant us, but it still won't work (unless we separate the sexes, as in any sane stock management system)...o brave new world...


    P.S. Huxley's intro seems remarkably prescient on a re-reading...
  • Comment number 43.


    How many sexes Ed? Or are you getting into Sartre territory also?

    Enough I say! Add all the caveats you care to; my point is we are not up to the job - regardless.

  • Comment number 44.


    1. Printing money.
    2. Giving it away (0.5 % rates)
    3. Saying its a GLOBAL PROBLEM (New Labour Speak for "Don't blame us"
    4. Crippling savers whilst trying to feed debt to the compulsive debtors like alcohol to an alcoholic.
    5. Throwing money at banks to keep bankers in work

    Yes you got it HM Governments policy agenda.

    Read N.o. 4 post above and lots more...

    The market will prevail just as you cannot change the weather. Trouble is half these Policy makers have barely done a day's work in their lifes - REAL WORK is when you toil all day but never know for sure if you will be paid. Real workers understand that without fairness businesses and economies collapse. What we need is a massive redistribution of wealth. People have lost respect for the Bank of England and the Government. They care for themselves and their reputations alone.

    What of the savers and pensioners?? Shame on the Government and Bank of England! If the Govenment wanted to help people they would cut taxes and reign in their own spending. CUT INCOME TAX and people will work, but giving away money to banks and civil servants in a failing economy is like Mugabe's policies.

  • Comment number 45.

    #35 Steve, yes thanks I keep an eye on Migration Watch! ; )

    What a pity Frank Field isn't PM! Such a sound sensible man, and Vince Cable for Chancellor.

    I just wish we could get rid of this mob that are in at the moment!

  • Comment number 46.

    Food for thought: There will be blood A slide presentation and lecture by Niall Ferguson

    Well worth the effort. Sit down with a strong drink, though...


  • Comment number 47.

    A Non Bankers view:

    New Labour want 2% inflation.

    New Labour has let the Bank Rate be set at 0.5%.

    Does this mean New Labour wants our savings to lose at least 1.5% of their value?

    Not being a Fred I thought I would ask...

  • Comment number 48.

    Fideafindimp (#47) "Not being a Fred I thought I would ask..."

    But who are you asking?

  • Comment number 49.

    can MrUnstoppable just....stop

  • Comment number 50.

    The last person to ask in the UniVerse
    A Politician.

    nice ARTicle


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