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Wednesday 8 January 2012

Verity Murphy | 13:41 UK time, Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The prime minister has rebuffed calls from Labour to axe the controversial Health and Social Care Bill.

The plans to overhaul the NHS in England are being debated in the Lords, amid a row over proposals to let hospitals raise more money privately.

The government has tabled 137 amendments to the Bill in recent days to try to head off a rebellion by Lib Dem peers.

On tonight's programme David Grossman looks at the troubled progress of the legislation and how important the NHS is to the perceived success of the coalition government.

We'll be joined by Health Minister Simon Burns and discussing in the studio.

Also, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is meeting coalition parties in an attempt to seal an austerity agreement to secure a new EU/IMF bailout.

The accord is likely to include a 20% minimum wage reduction, pension cuts and 15,000 civil service lay-offs.

Newsnight's Economics editor Paul Mason reports on why despite numerous fiscal measures the Greece crisis just won't go away.

And as tensions over the Falkland Islands increase ahead of this April's 30th anniversary of Argentina's invasion, we assess the impact of the recent war of words.

Finally, we have an interview with conceptual artist Yayoi Kusama, including a peek at her first British retrospective at Tate Modern.


  • Comment number 1.

    62.At 14:02 8th Feb 2012, You wrote:


    Should we be doing more to STOP MAKING PEOPLE ILL? Dave's Conservatives could forego the BONUS of cash from alcohol and tobacco, for a start. Not just the tax, but the election-winning bungs.

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 2.


    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 3.

    The NHS in England is totemic and from the political perspective, has to be handled very carefully indeed.

    Even the 'interested bystander' can see that Andrew Lansley is not up to the political challenge that making progressive moves within the NHS in England demands.

    The obvious answer is for Cameron to sack Lansley immediately and bring back Alan Milburn, who does have the requirements and experience to do the job.

    Oftimes, those at the top have to make tough decisions - as it happens I do not think this particular decison is that tough but nevertheless Cameron must do what is right for the English people.

  • Comment number 4.

    2. At 14:21 8th Feb 2012, barriesingleton wrote:

    Leading on to the BBC and the NHS, too..

    I just had this in my twitter feed:

    @BBCPolitics David Cameron attack on Welsh NHS

    Clicking the link, I find out the actual story is this: 'Prime Minister David Cameron has launched an attack on.... Labour's handling... of the health service in Wales.'

    That.. is a fair discrepancy. One that suggests a whole other story; one hard to see as an 'error' for so-called professional, impartial news broadcasters of any integrity.

    Without them resorting to now too familiar 'the truth wouldn't fit' reasons that are no excuse, I have asked for an explanation of how this transpired.

    As to why such things keep happening in what appears a uniquely consistent ideological direction, we'll leave to another time.

  • Comment number 5.

    Will Iran Be Attacked?

    "In addition to the massive military preparations, there is the propaganda war against Iran that has been ongoing since 1979 when Washington’s puppet, the Shah of Iran, was overthrown by the Iranian revolution. Iran is surrounded, but Washington and Israeli propaganda portray Iran as a threatening aggressor nation. In fact, the aggressors are the Washington and Tel Aviv governments which constantly threaten Iran with military attack.
    Neocon warmongers, such as David Goldman, compare the Iranian president to Hitler and declare that only war can stop him."

  • Comment number 6.

    Given his corporate executive pedigree, it is perhaps hardly surprising to find that the German guy who co wrote The Cold Sun ( CO2 Lies ) is apparently still pushing Carbon Trading. This must prove that despite what environmental NGO's claim the promotion of the CO2 drives global warming theory was always a key part of the wider corporate big business agenda. Any excuse to allow City parasites to trade and profit from other peoples misery, either in lost jobs or simply being unable to afford winter energy bills !

    ( interview over two pages ),1518,813814,00.html

  • Comment number 7.

    6. At 15:47 8th Feb 2012, NollyPrott

    One is sure the BBC's news expert head of science and enviro will soon put you right on what is, isn't and should be said.

    Or not.

    Time.. for another guideline!!!!!

    Aw, Shucks.

  • Comment number 8.


    Why? He is a stealth despot - he may please himself. AND, LIKE TONY BEFORE HIM, IS DOING JUST THAT.


  • Comment number 9.

    Let us rewrite the last sentence of Verity Murphys trailer to reflect reality:

    "On tonight's programme we look at the troubled progress of the English NHS legislation and how important the NHS in England is to the perceived success of the coalition government in England."

    By way of contrast :

    Mr. Swinney told MSPs: "I have listened to views from across Scotland and this is a budget for growth that puts the interests of our economy, our public services and the people of Scotland first."

    Anybody who still harbours some lingering doubt as to whether or not this is a politically United Kingdom must be completely deluded.

    And from this Englishmans perspective, unfortunately, most of the deluded live in England.

  • Comment number 10.

    barriesingleton @ 8

    Cameron must do what is right for the English, not British, people.

    Cameron does primarily not represent people living in Scotland or Wales, they have their own representatives with their own Parliaments.

    AFAIC, the 'British' are primarily a bunch of politicians at Westminster, with no intrinsic legitimacy to directly represent the people of England, and that will remain the case until we English have our own Parliament.

  • Comment number 11.


    Since shortly before the last election, Calamity Cameron has attacked reality (his modified visage) legality (the Liar Flyer that my MP used to gain re-employment) and poor Numpty Nick (who, when all is said and done, asked for it).
    Although Dodgy Dave did not actually attack the Welsh NHS, being a closet Silastic Armorfiend, it is only a matter of time . . . His pram-outings against Limited Ed today (PMQs) were indicative.


  • Comment number 12.

    In his way, Ed Miliband is just as out-of-step with the zeitgeist as Michael Foot was back-in-the-donkey-jacket-day.

    Poor Ed, his dreadful body language, weird speech, offputting wonkishness, Grommit looks, just about everything that really is wrong for a successful political leader in this age, unlike his brother, who did at least look and sound the part and had a Blair level of substance unpinning it all (faint praise).

    Still, Labour have their Party back, so all is well.

    But really, who amongst the English people gives a fig for three political parties (Lab, Lib and Cons) who, in terms of active support, all run on fresh air.

  • Comment number 13.

    I see Newsnight is not just in the news, but subject of it.

    Luckily, it appears it still possible to to get it fixed.

    The news, one means.

    Moving on....

  • Comment number 14.

    Problem of NHS is in rising demand from immigrants & other free-loaders who have paid nowt into system.

    Not a lot wrong with NHS as just needs managing properly - messing up NHS with reforms when all that is needed is HS with enough ***** to say to immigrants - "You only get what British people entitled to free in your country i.e. 'NOWT"

    Would sort out tens of £billions pa in costs to UK taxpayer at a 'stroke' (no pun intended).

    Too many immigrants costing NHS billions a year by back door on e.g. sham marriages, students - many getting pregnant in UK for health and welfare benefits as then cannot ever be deported (under EU straight-jacket mess).

    This is what is wrong with NHS - feeble, no ***** government - free open NHS access to all global immigrants and all 'free-loaders' at any cost to taxpayer.

    NHS has a demand management problem - NHS is not a must have a messy reform problem as is fudging the problem and the solution - and will lead to more problems/costs.

    I don't dislike Lansley as I think he's a decent chap - but he needs sacking, IMHO, as he doesn't understand the difference between making policy and trying to get it implemented through a 'brodie-crat' infected Whitehall.

    Can't write any more as would have to get rather blunt about it.

  • Comment number 15.


    "Someone had blundered" - me! Abject apologies JC.

    Banged to rights

  • Comment number 16.

    Meanwhile, at the world's most trusted Wild West 'news' and personal opinion outfit... zzzzzzzz

    I wonder which free spirit has what interesting views on which collection of folk/entities/topics... none of which are necessarily those of their employer, as linked and littered in their bios at the top. Uniquely.

  • Comment number 17.

    "ALL RUN ON FRESH AIR" (#12)

    I think they run on Westminster Miasma JC. (:o)

  • Comment number 18.

    It would be helpful if you could give an honest explanation of what has gone wrong with the NHS and why we can't afford it in its present form and what are the options for making it work. I expect what we'll get is yet another sterile, pointless, point-scoring argument that just leaves everybody angry.

  • Comment number 19.

    barriesingleton @ 15

    We see 'British' and 'English' conflated so often, people do assume they must be one and the same, when, from the political perspective, they are absolutely not.

    Some might think that naming somebody, for example, 'Health Secretary' is a harmless deception.

    I mean, even the Times publishes it as such.

    But really this harmless deception is not so harmless because it hides the fact that the remit of the 'Health Secretary' is England ONLY.

    Ditto Education and some other ministerial posts at Westminster.

    Thus the creaking facade of the so-called 'United Kingdom' is maintained (for the time being).

  • Comment number 20.

    Now then, now then, what have you guys and gals at Newsnight been up to?

  • Comment number 21.


    A point well made and well taken JC.

    Lest we forget: Almost all 650 MPs are de facto duplicitous. They canvas as BOTH rosette and self; then it is flip flop all the way. My MP is currently sulking righteously. Whoever distils to the top in Westminster, gains close to absolute power by virtue of its configuration, and of the Alice in Wonderland qualities of monarchy. This was how Maggie got her Poll Tax and Tony his war.

    "WE CAN'T GO ON LIKE THIS" (Cameron)

  • Comment number 22.

    Judging by the e-mails on today’s Today it would seem that there are others whom have a similar opinion to my post at 8. At 19:00 6th Feb 2012, but it’s a subject still kept very much under the radar.

    The - strangely coincidental - announcement of the resignation of one when another potential walks free begs a question that will probably also sink without trace, namely:

    What type of ‘resignation’ package will he get?

    Suggestions might include:

    Hardship compensation?
    Relocation allowance?
    Psychotherapy fees?
    Pension top-up?
    Achievement award?

    The list goes on …..

    Feel free to add your own ….

    But if you post them on here ….

    Consider that 400 words may not be enough!


  • Comment number 23.

    Report: British Special Forces Enter Syria To Aid Rebels

    British Special Forces are on the ground in Syria directing rebel fighters in a repeat of how Libyan rebels were aided in the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi, according to a report by Israeli intelligence outfit DebkaFile.

  • Comment number 24.

    Successive Greek governments have been very naughty, helped by Goldman Sachs et al.

    But the medicine isn't working and was never going to work. It threatens to kill the patient. Ordinary Greeks have been punished enough for the sins of their ruling class. Even some Germans realise this, though Frau M hasn't admitted it yet.,1518,813919,00.html

    The Keynesian model was right all along!

  • Comment number 25.


    Destiny Dave is manifestly the HEIR TO BLAIR. We can rest easy that Dave has an instinct for RIGHT (as did Tony). Was Dave not right to have his face altered for a pre-election poster campaign? Was he not right to deploy lies for votes, in a righteous drive to avoid a Coalition? Can his rightness be in doubt, regarding the AV campaign? Nick Clegg is unquestionably a threat to all that is good in UK, and Dave made sure it was shouted to all.

    If this shining example of honour and integrity has seen fit to send Special Forces into 'The Naughty Nation' (Evil Empire's gone) of Syria, it can only be for the highest of humanitarian motives.

    "DAVE ET SON DROIT" Hoorah!

  • Comment number 26.


    Syria: three families 'murdered in their homes by Assad's forces' as tanks move towards Homs

    The "journalist" studied PPE at Oxford.

    "Blair graduated from Oxford University with a First Class degree in PPE."

    It's obviously a finishing school for libertarians.

  • Comment number 27.

    #24 SC

    Hear, hear!

  • Comment number 28.

    "How come you have made such a mess of this bill?"
    "So the bill was wrong on 100 points before its amendment?"
    "And you honsetly believe that the £20billion can be putting this under semi paralysis?"
    NHS bill discussion with a Minister

  • Comment number 29.

    Quotes from the link in #5

    By the way, you have to bear in mind that Paul Craig Roberts is not just any old hack...he is an ex Assistant Secretary to the US Treasury. He is no light weight reporter.

    He stated....

    "The willingness of peoples around the world to be Washington’s puppets instead of loyal citizens of their own countries is why the West has been able to dominate the world during the modern era. There seems to be an infinite supply of foreign leaders who prefer Washington’s money and favor to loyalty to their own countries’ interests."

    "As Karl Marx said, money turns everything into a commodity that can be bought and sold. All other values are defeated--honor, integrity, truth, justice, loyalty, even blood kin. Nothing remains but filthy lucre. Money certainly turned UK prime minister Tony Blair into a political commodity."

  • Comment number 30.

    "Wales where Labour runs the NHS, the outcomes are worse [waiting lists]" - that's because of the money wasted on bureaucracy instead of patients.
    Alessi is correct on the point on the NHS reforms, as "the doctors take responsibility for decisions"
    "A stupid and ill informed comment" - Jeremy on Miliband's comment that the NHS will only last 3 more months.

  • Comment number 31.

    Excellent discussion on The Falkland Islands - good points raised on the fact that Argentina is 290 miles away from Argentina, and yet they want to claim them - like the UK claiming Luxembourg!

  • Comment number 32.

    "Where do they find these people?" - Redknapp can't use a computer and Capello didn't use a telephone......

  • Comment number 33.


    If it were just a matter of sovereignty, we could do a deal with Argentina that we would give up supposed rights to the Falklands in - say - 100 years. But there was NO OIL AROUND HONG KONG. It always comes down to oil.

    “With black of Falklands' deep life's flame we fuel
    As light of Honour fades from Arthur's Jewel.”

  • Comment number 34.

    Do the rest of you idiots realise what this is?

    Bank of England poised to restart QE stimulus


  • Comment number 35.


    Or shall we check out all the things Archangel Jeremy can't do 76?

    Leonardo couldn't ride a bike.

  • Comment number 36.

    The problem with the NHS is...its full of Doctors and Nurses.

    We are always told how wonderful the NHS is and its a sacred cow etc. Some Welsh fella takes credit for its birth sometime in the 40s..or was it the 50s. Anyhow, one thing thats always omitted when they wax lyrical about the birth of the NHS was the Doctors didn't want any part of it...doctors with their strange form of quackery were making loads of money on their dubious practices .."thank you very much but we'd like to continue charging our sick patients how we see fit". The then Govt (probably Labour, full of Marxists no doubt) met major resistance from these quack doctors. Anyroads, the doctors were bribed with promise of big bucks - like you have to do when you wanna win people over. And there you have it..nothings changed. Until recently, the Tories have spotted that the NHS is serving only its well paid and mostly useless people (self interested medical groups funded by big pharma no doubt...I'm getting cynical now but it wouldn't surprise me if that was the case)

    Kevsewevseys alternative and costed NHS bill that should save money for the tax payer: reduce the salary of all...all the doctors by 40% ..same with the specialists, sack all the consultants..because they know nothing and show all nurses what a mop looks like. And stop buying expensive non-effective drugs..there's cheaper alternatives that don't work just as good and finally..this is a big one, take a deep breath now.. no gender alignment operations offered what!!...ever! by the NHS..go private if you want that. There you go. I've saved you billions already and you got all that for free. If this works for yer, can I have a peerage..a seat in the Lords or something similar.

  • Comment number 37.

    @31 Just as well they don't want to claim Rockall then?

    Whether they are right or wrong, would it be worth the life of your son? Last time more people died than lived on the islands. I agree with the late Robert Heinlein that those who vote for war should be the first ones called up!

    Britain isn't a great power any more: we can't afford to be! We need to concentrate our defence on what's practically and affordably defensible! If might is right, we haven't got enough anymore. But if it's morality we are concerned with, we should set an example and give the Chagossians their islands back first.

  • Comment number 38.


    You are a marked man already - go for broke.

  • Comment number 39.

  • Comment number 40.


    Do you think silliness is viral and transferred by blog Sasha?

  • Comment number 41.

    #36 kev

    You have obviously never been subjected to higher someone else on here has mentioned before.... when you need and pray for a will hope that it's a Jewish one!

  • Comment number 42.

    Undoubtedly silliness is contagious at a distance Barrie!" But what IS silliness?

    " "Mea baggazza el islandio!" "

    "Once upon a time, down at the bottom of the world, there was a sad little island.

    No one lived on the sad little island except for a few poor shepherds. These poor shepherds spend all their time counting their sheep and eating them. They had mutton for breakfast, mutton for dinner and mutton for tea. Next door to the sad little island was a great big kingdom, ruled over by a Wicked Foreign General......."

  • Comment number 43.

    muse at 41

    Pinch of salt buddy..and sea salt, not table salt, thats bad for you :)

    and as for the Jewish doctor thing..I have no Jewish Doctor jokes. You have to be Jewish to do them. I've others though, here's one:

    Did you hear about the single and ugly Jewish gynecologist who had a very large flat and house portfolio that made him a net income of £3.7 million a year in rent...he wasn't single for long.

    Like I said, you have to be Jewish to tell that joke..and get it. Where's Jackie Mason when you need him?!

  • Comment number 44.

    #43 Substitute another religion in there and you'd have your head cut off Kev! ; )

    Jackie Mason made me roll with laughter, but am I allowed to say that?!

  • Comment number 45.

    Comment, (although I don't think the english think it's free)

    And (hopefully) an unbiased reply on 8th Feb 12

  • Comment number 46.

    41. At 00:07 9th Feb 2012, museV -
    You have obviously never been subjected to higher education

    Me either. I feel such an idiot sharing this, but the one I had was sought, fought for, embraced, enjoyed, appreciated and valued.

    31. At 23:10 8th Feb 2012, Mistress76uk - Argentina is 290 miles away from Argentina, and yet they want to claim them - like the UK claiming Luxembourg!

    Times. And places.

    May I re-recall an essay I wrote at school entitled 'My great, great, great... great Grandad was a Roman comfort boy and I claim my £1m compo', that was designed to satirise the practice of choosing moments and places in history to get upset about for perhaps less than noble and rather dubiously selfish reasons on occasion.

    Get Evita Palin to have a word first with our taxmen, they are always keen for a preemptive chat. Apparently.

    20. At 18:13 8th Feb 2012, Murray -
    Now then, now then, what have you guys and gals at Newsnight been up to?

    In case of reticence, you could always ask this lady...

    'Helen Boaden gave the keynote address - about 'holding power to account'

    Of course, there is the small matter of what power is being held to what account, and when, if 'uniquely'.

  • Comment number 47.

    Hey, seen this?:

    I wonder... when it gets to the 'it won't fit on twitter or the mobile app' edit, which two words below the line would be sacrificed, along with accuracy?

    Even without, the practice of ['blatant tribal punt... says...'] hardly counts as 'news' really.

  • Comment number 48.

    Is this the place Boris wanted to build and airport?
    I'd say get rid of the marshes and build the airport pronto.

  • Comment number 49.

    I love how the BBC has been reporting these recent racist attacks...they are "hate crimes" so says BBC looknorthwest. George warned us about you lot.

    And will the BBC stop taking sides in the Syrian uprising. You did that with Egypt and Libya. The BBC: the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood and other "peace loving" religious groups. There was a time when you could get away with your dis-information and machinations, times have changed, we know what your doing. There's been a global awakening don't you know.

  • Comment number 50.

    The discussion last night on the Falklands had almost no value whatsoever.

    The dispute with Argentina hinges on 'sovereignty' and therefore at the outset, there should have been a brief outline for the viewers of what 'sovereignty' actually means in a modern context.

    Ideally, as there are three party in this particular marriage, then there should also have been somebody representing the Government, specifically the Foreign Office in the discussion, alongside the Falklands chap and the Argentinian lady.

    Ideas that could have been explored could have included some notion of shared sovereignty between this country and Argentina.

    In diplomacy, there is nearly always a way to find a compromise but at this distance, it seems as if the Government would rather pour defence funds into this terrority than try to expore options with the Falklanders and the Argentines.

    Another poor show, all around.

  • Comment number 51.

    On the other hand, Roger and Val Have Just Got In (BBC2 last night) were superb.

    I particularly liked Vals invention of 'four heads', which reminded you of countless politicians down the years.

    Well done - script-writers and actors.

  • Comment number 52.


    I have been trying to tell the ninny-cipher politicians - via this blog, for a long time - that 'Hate Crime', 'Racism' and all the other barmy fixations of 'Law n Order' ARE ALL DOWN TO DIFFERENCISM! Differencism is a male preserve (ignore copycat drunken girls). It is an Ape response to almost ANY DIFFERENCE.

    I have spent a lot of time developing this hypothesis, and as new reports emerge I only find further confirmation. The terrible truth is: at the level of the Ape, the slave trade made more acceptable sense than today’s 'multiculturalism'. Accelerated multiculturalism is doomed.

    SUCH HYPOCRISY! We have banned judicial killing of our own people, but launch into JUDICIOUS killing of Johnnie Foreigner (if in his own land, and in the way) willy-nilly. Then we turn on those whom dumb governance has entrapped into expressed Differencism (either side) in England!

    UNTIL WE ELEVATE THE WISE TO NATIONAL MANAGEMENT, WE ARE STUFFED. Westminster Creatureness is no qualification for government. Cipher-ninnies all.


  • Comment number 53.

    Can we plese have an explanation of the relationship between QE, Gilts bought by the BoE and why the British economy is being sucked dry through auserity to pay of our national debt to our own national bank?

  • Comment number 54.

    NHS England Reforms

    So most of the profession's lobbyists and union lobbyists are still against the reform ?

    Sounds like the reform bill is still basically intact then. Good.

    In my opinion, the quicker the money decisions get closer to the patient actual needs the better.

    I would have preferred the reforms to go further and required the patient or a chosen representative to have to approve their treatment payments to their service providers.
    If we want public services to improve , then payment has to be conditional on patient health outcomes and actual standards of care received by the patient.

    For now though I will accept that my GP(Nurse practitioner in my case) controls the purse strings. As letting the patient decide seems to annoy those with socialists tendency's.

    Politics and the West Lothian Question -

    As the national health service was broken up into four distinct governance's by devolution (2000 ?) , I find it very odd that the House of Lords has not accepted the electoral mandate from England for such NHS reforms.

    As for Labour , they should have to explain how much they would cut from the NHS budget , as they did not propose to ring fence NHS spending during the 2010 general election and some English hospitals are already struggling with Labours legacy of increased PFI costs.

    Greek Euro Experience -

    It's the peoples will ?

    Falklands -

    Well compared to 1982 the Argentinians are not killing and torturing each other now, which has to be seen as an improvement . Did the Mothers of the “Disappeared” ever find their loved ones graves ?
    Strange that some people had the mindset at the time that the Falkland Islanders futures should have been left in the hands of such a Junta, while amazingly claiming to hold some moral right.

    It is not only the Falkland Islands Argentina claims, but also South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands , close to two thousand miles away from their shoreline.

    The British have been on the Falklands since the 1700's, left a plaque declaring their claim, long before oil was ever suspected of being there or even before we knew what to do with the stuff.
    Now it's the Falklands islanders decision and as long as they want to remain linked with the UK , I can not see why not.
    Actually I quite like it , makes a change from all those who constantly seek to tell us how awful we all are.

  • Comment number 55.

    54. At 14:53 9th Feb 2012, Steve-London -
    Actually I quite like it , makes a change from all those who constantly seek to tell us how awful we all are.

    Imagine if such folk were given near 24/7 access to some form of hi-tech megaphone and were encouraged in their mission?

  • Comment number 56.


    I assert we need governance whose INTENT is the health of the people; not a charade balancing sickness, employment, taxation, flamboyance and 100,000 more sick (treated) per month.

    First we need our 'honourable ones' to admit the truth about alcohol, tobacco and all their other connivances, and then to put the money into HONOURABLE preventative measures, NOT DEVIOUS SMOKE AND MIRROR (bottom of glass) DECEIT.


  • Comment number 57.

    richard bunning @ 53

    You request an explanation for of the relationship between QE, Gilts bought by the BoE ...

    It seems to work roughly like this, the Governments Debt Management Office issues gilts, which are bought by banks using QE money that the BoE has created out-of-thin-air. The banks hand over the gilts to the BoE as 'security' for the QE money and so 'magically', the banks now have money on their balance sheets, the Government has money from the gilt sales and the BoE has lots of gilts on its balance sheet, which it could 'retire', if it so desired.

    This is the Alice-in-Wonderland world of paper (in reality electronic) money that is not backed by a commodity currency e.g. gold.

    Some economists will frown on this mechanism and mutter that it must cause inflationary pressures within the system, but hey, inflation is the best friend of profligate politicians and other debtors.

  • Comment number 58.

    QE continued.

    Theoretically, when the economy has recovered, the Bank of England sells the gilts it has bought and destroys the cash it receives. That means in the long term there has been no extra cash created.

    Well, that is the theory and you can believe it if you want to.

  • Comment number 59.


    Nuff sed?


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