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Monday 28 September 2009

Sarah McDermott | 17:54 UK time, Monday, 28 September 2009

Jeremy Paxman and the Newsnight political team are in Brighton tonight for Labour's last annual conference before the election.

"Operation Fightback" is in full swing, but can anything save Labour now?

Tonight, Jeremy will be talking to the Chancellor Alistair Darling, who on the eve of conference admitted that Labout had "lost the will to live."

David Grossman will be doing rounds in Brighton to take the pulse of the party faithful.

And Obama pollster, Cornell Belcher will be giving his diagnosis of how the electorate view Labour after 12 years in power.

And you can test your Labour knowledge in our latest conference season quiz from Michael Crick, click here to play.

Do join Jeremy at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.

    from mimpromptu following the previous ditty which started with:

    Alan Simpson spoke out
    He is getting a tick
    Madam Mim is so happy
    She could eat a whole fig.

    The more delegates come forward
    It’ll be for the better,
    For the country to move forward,
    For the nasty to fetter

    In the chains of their own making.
    Even shackled why not carry on joking,
    Though with no access to public services
    I’m sure it would be pleasing to many a Mrs.

  • Comment number 2.

    "David Grossman will be doing rounds in Brighton to take the pulse of the party faithful and Obama pollster Cornell Belcher will be giving his diagnosis of how the electorate view Labour after 12 years in power."

    Ask David Grossman to knock on my door - I'm only a few blocks away from the Labour conference, but a million miles from their policies. I will be happy to give him my views, which I Belcher will be less Corny than those solicited by your Obama polsta.

    Incidentally, their Grand Hotel venue is bathed in Blue floodlight, which probably helps the Labour delegates to focus on their mortality.

  • Comment number 3.

    A personal view: It all looks exceedingly dull tonight :-(

  • Comment number 4.

    FAO: Streetphotobeing from mimpromptu

    Oh, it’s Gavin not Kirsty in London tonight
    Maybe Gavin has seen finally the light
    Of what’s what and who’s who in this day and age
    Most people are capable of turning the page.

    Alas, there are some who will always be
    As thick as two planks if you dare to ask me.

  • Comment number 5.

    mimpromptu here
    From my point of view it would be an ideal scenario if the police walked up the stage, arrested the culprits and banged them together with jj & jgr to think things over for a while.

  • Comment number 6.

    now 5 live has closed its news boards [after c4 and the bbc great debate] there are no public service news boards left in the uk.

    one might of thought such public service would be in the brief?

  • Comment number 7.

    mimpromptu (#5) "From my point of view it would be an ideal scenario if the police walked up the stage, arrested the culprits and banged them together with jj & jgr to think things over for a while."

    Maybe you need to think things over yourself? Maybe you should log out and look at the blog in order to realise why you don't need to tell everyone who you are in every post? That's at least one way of your taking another perspective aka point of view.

    You have a problem, but you really don't see what it is.

    Here's another illustration. Sadly, it really is endemic, and this may well destroy the Liberal-Democracies :-(.

  • Comment number 8.

    re: jj
    from mimpromptu
    Liberal democracies he’s defending tonight
    While only yesterday national socialism was his delight

  • Comment number 9.

    I guess tonight's Newsnight is 'Labour, Labour, Labour', so I think I'll give it a miss.

    There's only so much Labour lunacy I can stomach.

  • Comment number 10.

    Just been watching MP's free overseas trips on 13 4+1, fell asleep watching channel 4 news, been up since half six watched labour party conference this aft and their would appear to be a subtle change on emphasis away from the Corporate Nazi policy I go on about. Bit like that Corporate Nazi childcare scam, have to register as a child minder to look after your mates kids for more than two hours and regularly. Some prat social worker once told a pensioner friend of mine that she could not see the ( in care fostered ) virtual brother of a kid she had looked after overnight for years without a CRB check.

    He doesn't go around there now which is bad because her methods with young kids turn out really sensible obedient 7 years olds. Treat children just like small adults, she' good at training dogs, her daughter " rescues " them, and the latest acquisition was Molly, a one year old Rottweiler found living in a pub at Padiham, urinating and defocating all over the floor throughout. They had to get rid of it because they had lost the pub and were due to be evicted, my friend house trained it in three days. Its now an excellent pet, bit cluntering and probably prematurely ended the life of a 12 year old jack Russell bitch she had had from a year old, former owners couldn't control it. The other dog they have is an Alsatian found on the M65 by her daughter, had bleeding feet running, somebody had dumped it. Its really soft with young children, climb all over him ( already minus his equipment at some expense when they got him ), reported him to plod and just keep him after so many weeks. Only snag is he attacks other dogs, and is too strong for even her strapping daughter, her daughter once got bit once trying to untangle an altercation. I suspect that it was abandoned because it was not vicious with people, it was the attacked dog which did the human biting. They always vote Tory and would never vote Labour anyway, just the indigenous attitude and don't really argree with all Tory policy just the general direction.

    Idiots still going on about how good wind farms are, leader in offshore wind and all that, brilliant speeches by various union leaders, would never have been allowed last year. Mandelson was always the true messiah of the progressive labour party, just went off on a tangent in Blair's direction until he disappeared up his own back side.

    Some say that I am off my head but I actually like Mandelson and Lord Adonis is a really cool guy at heart, just has this big high speed train set fantasy. Sounds like he is on the right track getting people cycling, cycle hubs at rail stations, the big ones including London termini would have cheap repair shops. Perhaps you could rent a bike but there will be secure parking for your bike. Never mentioned road safety, just about getting everyone into efficient cars on the environment.

    They just don't get it though, seriously addressing climate change requires them to STOP ANYMORE TRAFFIC CALMING SCHEMES. The only thing that frightens me whilst cycling is parked cars or other short narrow bits in the road. I believe that the safety fascists have now put traffic calming on a popular cycle track. Routes parallel to main arteries need to be identified as cycle routes, no parked cars on at least one side of the road. It will never happen as it wont be popular, better to make it more difficult to get out of side streets. Those not particularly competent at driving may chose to catch the bus on the main route having easily crossed the road at nearby pelican crossing. Cyclists are potential net pollution generators when not segregated from vehicle traffic in general, cycles can slow buses down to a point when any timetable could be unreliable.

    Anyway, a positive spin on the day, even Panda was talking tough on the stock market parasites. Brown made a fool of himself though playing host to both the prime minister of Spain ( who can't speak English ) and Norway ( with their human rights record on the Sami up in the far north where all the mineral wealth lies ). Just more rhetoric about climate change and how we can theoretically stop it. at least Benn was promoting more flood defenses but we need a national grid for water, not preach yet more eco-fascism on brushing your teeth.

  • Comment number 11.

    #10 re: Bikes Lets hope this doesn't happen...

    #9 I have to agree with you

  • Comment number 12.

    Beckett: " we inherited a mess from the Tories" .
    oh really! so we are in better shape than in 1997? it Margaret.

    Kinnock: Camoron has no stratagy, just sound-bites...Hee hee!

    Who wrote Mandy's speech? Was it Izzard. The Boy George line; not sure about that...i was thinking of the lyrics 'do you really want to hurt me, do you really want to make me cry'...sung by that 1980s gay icon.

  • Comment number 13.

    I’m afraid I couldn’t see Belcher as more than a minor hiccup.

  • Comment number 14.

    Just to back up my observations on Mandelson ( #10 ), JadedJean is the expert, but Peter is almost certainly the only direct genetic link back to 1945 Labour. He allegedly spent lots of time with his grandfather as a kid and perhaps 1945 Labour is in his ideological DNA. It showed through today, but perhaps we can only expect real change when Mandy grows his moustache back again ?

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    #11 ecolizzy

    Perhaps only renting out bikes to persons in possession of a valid same day return rail ticket could work as an insurance policy against bikes disappearing ? ( plus 10 quid cash deposit )

  • Comment number 17.

    And one more for Streetphotobeing from mimpromptu

    Didn’t Mandy look pleased with himself on stage?
    Tongue sticking out, all smiles, having placed a wedge
    Between Brown’s opponents and brownie himself
    ‘Will the public buy it?’, I’m asking myself.

    By hook or by crook, one lady intelligently said
    Of Brown the world saviour, how much is he paid
    For making of himself the heroic warrior
    Before he’s sent off to lick his posterior?

  • Comment number 18.

    mimpromptu (#8) "Liberal democracies he’s defending tonight
    While only yesterday national socialism was his delight"

    Surely, if one destroys a people, there's nothing left to make of them? Think of Great Britain and its empire in the past, or today, think of Balkanized Britain as a fragmented group of Regional Development Agencies plus N. Ireland, Wales and Scotland, with no overall sense of identity as that woulkd be 'protectionist' and at odds with the internatinalist agenda of the SI. Liberal-Democracy has done that. That's what this obsession with 'freedom' and individualism (narcissism) has essentially done. It's destroyed relationships, families and the nation, and yet New Labour has the gall to assert that it's the country's future.

    What country?

  • Comment number 19.

    #11 from mimpromptu
    It doesn't look like we have much in common, ecolizzy, you better stick with jj and brossen99, they're obviously making you feel good about yourself. Good luck.

  • Comment number 20.

    #14 Peter Mandelson used to work for the TUC ... how Old Labour is that?
    (writes Neil who scored 6 out of 7 on Michael Crick's little Labour quiz)

    I would love to see televised debates between the party leaders .... but Cameron is not the contender up here in Scotland. Any debate without Nick Clegg and Alex Salmond and representatives from the parties in Wales and Northern Ireland will in my view be quite UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    Streetphotobeing, the Bloggers & the Moderators
    3 of my latest ditties have been rejected for, I assume, offensiveness of their content though I'm hoping they are witty enough to raise a few smiles, even if it's only on some of the mod faces.
    I'll just have to try better next time.

  • Comment number 23.

    from mimpromptu
    Gordon Brown in Brighton has gone all pink
    Leaving Madam Mim pondering to think
    That someone in their midst must be in love.
    Will they get help from someone above?

    Anti-social behaviour is one of the targets.

    Is Madam Mim one of the accused
    Who their love to return she’s bluntly refused?

  • Comment number 24.

    #16 Brossen yes it would be a good thing if a way around theft could be found. But I believe the same scheme in the Netherlands also suffered from a lot of vandalism and theft. That's a good idea connecting it to the ticket, but how many people would actually bother.

  • Comment number 25.

    #19 mim please don't worry about who's on who's side, it's not relevant. One comes on here to express a view and to read others comments on it, or just to learn from others knowledge and experiences, I'm not looking for friends or influence people. I'm not a politician! ; )

    Let's just hear your views from a more european perspective.

  • Comment number 26.

    Anybody watch the Upgrade Show with Simon Armitage last night? Very interesting, I've never bought a mobile phone, I usually have a cast off. I try to influence people to stop updating, but to little avail. It has made this species almost extinct, because the minerals used to make the mobile phones is found in their habitat. Not many people know that! ; )

  • Comment number 27.


    Perhaps we should make the Drill Monkeys the 'World Mascot'? There should certainly be webcams throughout their 'habitat', so that we can watch their decline, while living through our own - at a place where YOU are.

  • Comment number 28.

    #26 Damn forgot to add! The materials needed to make mobile phones can be found in Australia as well. But guess what it's much more expensive from there, so the manufacturers prefer getting it from Africa where they can buy it very cheap. So always recycle your mobile as it means less natural materials are needed.

  • Comment number 29.

    I was going to comment on the appropriateness of Crick's uncritical admiration for Mandelson's speech but I see that commenting on the content of Newsnight doesn't seem to be a high priority here.

  • Comment number 30.

    #27 Ah very succinctly put barrie, you sure hit the nail on the head!


    YOU ; ) can see them in Kent! ; )

    KCL will love the above site! ; )

    Now I must stop being cyber and actually live normal life! ; )

  • Comment number 31.


    With specific reference to bankers, Darling trumpets an end to reward for "short term performance over long term gain". If that does not define a party 'conference' - what does?
    And just watch for the vote-grabbing SHORT TERM INITIATIVES that will flow from the 'tankers' who lurk in fink-tanks of all parties, from now to the election; initiatives to sink without trace thereafter.

    Explode the Westminster myth. SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

  • Comment number 32.

    nortongriffiths (#29) "I was going to comment on the appropriateness of Crick's uncritical admiration for Mandelson's speech but I see that commenting on the content of Newsnight doesn't seem to be a high priority here."

    It is when the programme covers something which is worth covering and commenting upon, but Mandelson's speech was just theatre like the rest of the conference. New Labour has precious little in common with Old Labour. The electorate may as well have voted Conservative since 1997. This downward spiral accelerated when Germany was unified after 1989 when the USSR 'collapsed.

    The second part of 'The Love of Money' was quite good.....That bulging economy justified as a means of public services deserved closer scrutiny, as the money went back into PFI, i.e the Private Sector! The state was being eroded by New Labour, what's Labour about that?

  • Comment number 33.

    barrie (#31) "Darling trumpets an end to reward for "short term performance over long term gain".

    Question: How will he ever regulate/legislate for that across the world whilst also promoting free-market anarchistic Liberal-Democracy? It's a direct contradiction. The banks will move to where it's best for their shareholders just as they did when they 'moved' here.

    Remember the Wiemar Republic. Now we know why what happened, did happen, and why those who hated what ensued, continue to vilify socialism qua regulation, I humbly suggest. ;-)

  • Comment number 34.

    erratum (#32) "That bulging/bubble economy justified as a means of funding Public Services" (instead of taxing the low paid)..

  • Comment number 35.


    Ecolizzy #11

    When my daughter was at New Hall the cost of replacing stolen/trashed bicycles was a regular part of the expense. The problem was much reduced when the local plod discovered that a gang was operating nicking bikes from Cambridge and flogging them to students in Oxford who had just had their bike stolen and vice versa. The scam came to light when a Cambridge student was offered his own bike for sale, it having been stolen and then stolen again from Oxford in less than a week! All banged to rights they were, excellent stuff.

    However, just supposing society took pride in itself and individuals thought not only of themselves but of the general good. (Much as I remember 50s Britain.) Think of the crime figures then compared to now. Think of the cost of repairing the results of today's mindless vandalism and drunkeness. Then think of reinstating that community spirit today where people might live at ease with each other. But others would deem that too restricting, too 'statist' and would want more 'freedom' to 'be themselves'. All the time worrying about how they feel instead of how others feel. JJ at #18 asks "what country?" and puts a finger on the end result of all this so called freedom. By and large most people aren't bright enough to be able to handle all this freedom (they take on loans they can't afford etc) and of the ones bright enough, too few have the morals needed to go with it.

    On the political test you linked to a while back I came out slightly (only slightly!) to the right of Gandhi although far more authoritarian. I feel that's what we need today, an authority we can trust in. Where is it to come from?

  • Comment number 36.

    32. "..Mandelson's speech was just theatre like the rest of the conference.."

    Yes it was. Michael Crick should have recognised that fact. Instead he tried to persuade us ( without success in my case) that Mandelson was the greatest orator in the history of public oratory who delivered a speech worthy of inclusion in the annals of great literature. Instead of persuading me that Mandelson is a great man worthy of praise Crick only succeeded in pursuading me that Crick himself is a cowardly lickspittle.

  • Comment number 37.

    Ecolizzy #30

    It's not just mobile phones that use tantalum, you'll find it in most consumer electronics from DVD players to cameras to iPods. Tanatalum capacitors have been around for a long while, they are very accurate down to very small values. I switched off the Upgrade program about 20 minutes in being too saddened by people's lack of appreciation of what has gone before and its value (the clumsey, ignorant handling of the old gramophone clinched it), only being interested in the latest gewgaws. This is what I hate about today's society, it's just buy, buy, buy. The sellers as unconcerned about the impoverishment of the buyers as they are about the resulting impoverishment of the earth we live on.

  • Comment number 38.

    nortongriffiths (#36) Pretty much as I see it, sadly.

  • Comment number 39.

    crick must have been listening to a different speech. there were times in the speech that were toe curling finger nails on the blackboard bad.

    polly prophesies labour will never be elected again? which assumes the tories are capable of being good in government for any length of time?

    many streets are run by thugs that inflict their anti social behaviour on others because they see themselves [perhaps correctly] as untouchable. victims can be legally driven insane or suicidal through constant harassment and loud music with no easy recourse under the law.

  • Comment number 40.

    this American guy, Belcher, why do we need him...I mean what is so special? After the debacle of Bush and the chads an American pollster is the last thing we need on NN. What about our own pollsters? If we are to hear bad news can we have it from a's that for coloquialism!

  • Comment number 41.

    :( Since my SkyDigibox went into standby last night after a few minutes, I had to wait until this morning to watch Newsnight....and it was well worth the wait!

    Excellent interview with Darling, who refused to reveal anything. However, one of the best lines of the night was Margaret Beckett accusing Jeremy of "fixing them with that cynical eye," and that he would frighten them into saying what he wanted, and Jeremy retorting "that was a low blow." Ha ha ha.... Also loved his discussion with Polly Toynebee & Kevin Maguire.

    I tend to agree with Michael Crick that Mandelson's speech was, indeed, rather brilliant.


  • Comment number 42.

    #38 nortongriffiths (#36) Pretty much as I see it, sadly.

    Yes and me, and that's why I didn't bother commenting, just more rhetoric from the same old "new" labour party spokesman, who's not even elected.

  • Comment number 43.

    #37 Yes NewFazer I did know it is in a lot of "things", but what I can't understand is why people want all these "must haves"!

    Yes the gramophone incident made me yell be careful! But if you'd watched to the end your jaw would have dropped at the young people in Seoul, they all seemed attached to some type of device! The other funny thing eveyone was young, I didn't see anyone older than 35, although I know they carry their age well, where were the older generations? Even the presenter was mystified at their approach to technology.

  • Comment number 44.

    Whats with the 'great speech'. Is Crick and company that far down the ability-to-spot-a-hack scale? The mandelson moment at confrence was utter garbage and what was even worse our leaders lapped it up.. well anyhow, Jordan - AKA Katie Price - has big breast but i don't take her serious either.

  • Comment number 45.


    Hi Lizzie. If you have ten minutes to spare, put my title in your browser and click on my story.

    I could link, but you know the blogdog . . .

  • Comment number 46.

    i see the building worshipping religion is well. 500k to bletchly park. so we can all go and worship it.

    500k would have been better spent on training cryptographers.

    building worshipping is not 'a good cause'.

  • Comment number 47.

    #45 That's excellent barrie, I now understand where your quote cleverness and wisdom come from! ; )

  • Comment number 48.

    barie (#45) Take a look at the SF blog here. is this what Kuhn called a paradigm clash?

    I fear it illustrates why therapy for narcissistic disorders doesn't work, and why offender rehabilitation (most have Axis II, Cluster B disorders) doesn't work either.

    It's a bad prognosis for economic change via reform of financial services unless that's done via draconian steps like those in Germany in the 1930s (which also took place in the USSR). :-(

  • Comment number 49.

    Dear Lord, what has overcome our WUVI chatterati set?

    Just wanted to grab a brief moment with the box over lunch and rather had the impression I was about to be ushered into the second coming.

    What on earth kind of difference is A SPEECH, comprising mere words, going to make to atone for 12 years of clearly less than stellar DEEDS?

    Mr. Brown could parachute in from an anti-matter induced explosion and turn water to wine, and I would not believe a word of it, or at best be fairly sure he and his GOAT herd will either do all too late, way over budget and, probably, totally fouled up taboot. Again. And within weeks, much less 12 years. But it won't be acceptable, lessons will be learned, and they can't really blame the media this time for pointing out they are running a stack of planks close on the brain cell count. And at least a decent use can be found for some planks., who don't insult other folk's intelligence.

    And as for the post-mortem guest selection trend... might I imagine when it is the Conservative's turn we are treated solely to Littlejohn and Guido by way of exclusive commentary? At least they seem to have some measure of scorn for the political classes whatever their hue, unlike the default setting talking heads on most researcher/producer iPhones.

    I used to find political reporting at least entertaining and often informative, but now they have all been in the asylum so long they are sounding as deluded as the inmates.

  • Comment number 50.

  • Comment number 51.


    You know, the one who was utterly devious with money (counted twice and announced three times) who got all the British, whom he LOVES, into debt while rogering house building, letting the bankers run free, and filling the Health Service with PEOPLE I CANNOT UNDERSTAND, LET ALONE JUDGE THEIR COMPETENCE, OR THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF ME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If this is Labour triumph, may I be dead and gone if they ever mess up.

    Someone tell me: how could he be such an obvious financial prat at home and a unique genius abroad? Have I missed something?

  • Comment number 52.

    mademoiselle_h (#50) "Gordon Brown has earned a lot of credit for steering the country through the credit crunch avalanche with limited damage, and his blueprint for rescuing ailing national banks following Lehman Brother’s collapse last summer, was followed by other countries and together helped avert the worldwide economy from sinking into a 30s style economic depression."

    Blair, he and Darling helped engineer this mess. They have done nothing to improve matters. How could they? HMG has no control, neitehr does the MPC. You have been seduced by rhetoric - spin. It's the banks that don't wnat complete collapse, it's bad for their business!

  • Comment number 53.


    Out of my depth already JJ. (I have been following your links.)

    I think I will have to resort to the 'Hitchhikers' Guide' again. Or cop out by invoking wisdom as the answer. While we fail to realise we are stuck using primitive cleverness, we will also fail to build anything durable. Poignant, that Brown quoted some poet who said we should dream extravagant dreams. I prefer the Taoist view that 'those who do the most good are seldom noticed', and St David's advice: "Do the Little Things".

    But that might just be why I spend all my time on here - getting nowhere. (:o)

  • Comment number 54.


    Well - with the jaw under control and the smile fixed, for me, Gordon's first forked tonguing was to declare that the BNP have no place in DEMOCRATIC politics. It's the way you tell 'em Jimmie.

    "Not one British saver has lost a penny" but no mention of a lot of individuals who invested in their own ability, then lost house, shirt and all, as Jimmie's personal banks, started saving to pay us back.

    Apparently it was TORY banking policies that caused the crash. Something about regulation . . .

    Jimmies varlues have morphed. No longer Manse - now 'small town' hmmmm.

    "Markets need morals" - bankers to be DISQUALIFIED for misdemeanour. But might politics need morals by the same token? I find disqualification appealing. Can we start with Archer? Would a man who announces money twice, and counts it three times qualify? Thought not.

    "Banks will pay back" the bail-out loans. Now let me see: banks make their money out of us - yes? And the money they were lent was 'ours'? I am getting one of my headaches.

    Britain to lead the world, we must seek power - WHY? It gives our jumped up nobodies a higher value 'piece' on the Globopoly board, but what advantage is that to British Bloke? let us lead the world in empty jails, puke-free streets and juvenile, bun-free ovens.

    Jimmie promises money we don't have, in aid, and says he keeps his promises. Sounds like the start of a parable to me. Pledging money you don't have, must be several deadly sins 'consolidated' into one easy disaster.

    I see Izzard - another comedienne - was in the audience. No comment.

    Caring Jimmie is going to fix it so that confused old Brits can stay at home and be further confused, by economic dupes, netted in far lands, where their will was bent in previous centuries to learn bent English. Only in Monty Python's Britain, can such care be accessed. Hurrah.

    LABOUR politicians, almost to a cipher, are totally MORAL. (Not like those rubbish other parties.) Should any fall from high standards of kow-towing to Gordon's morality, they will be open to recall. No doubt terms and conditions apply - but not democracy.

    Labour's years have been the 'Story of Britain at its Best'. THERE'S NO ANSWER TO THAT.

    Jimmie "does not take no for an answer". That would make him, surely, either a God - a wally who thinks he's a god - or a really duff Christian?

    "STAND FIGHT WIN SERVE". I prefer sevice that is a bit less Old Testament.

  • Comment number 55.

    barrie (#53) The problem is that training in science teaches one not to trust one's intuitions and that one's intuitions are shaped by empirical experience, but that personal experience alone is limited in its sampling and is thus predictably prone to bias. I fear that training in science is now playing second fiddle to verbal skills and work with computers in lieu of critical analysis.

    Try and tell people to look at objective data to guide their judgement ibstead of what they immediately see and think, and to some, it's incomprehensible, even an affront. That was the problem Galileo faced and many before and after him. Some think we are passed that. We are not.

    That, in a nutshell, is what I hoped the link to SF's blog would highlight. :-(

  • Comment number 56.


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