Coffee House

Nick vs Nigel sketch: Farage edged ahead of a pompous Clegg – but there was no knock-out blow

27 March 2014

27 March 2014

Never mind the arguments, the body language said it all at the EU debate last night. Nigel Farage was relaxed, smiley and upbeat. Nick Clegg had a solemn and rather shifty air. He looked like a plain clothes undertaker handing out business cards in Casualty.

Power has enclosed him in a layer of pomposity and self-righteousness (adding to a pretty thick undercoat, it has to be said), and he admitted no flicker of warmth or humour to his performance. Even his geniality was ice cold. When asked a question by the audience he memorised the questioner’s name and used it repeatedly during his answer. Where did he get that trick? The Child Groomer’s Handbook?

Farage flipped the referendum issue on its head and asked if we would choose to join the EU today. And the two leaders clashed over the nature of that Union. Clegg regards it as the world’s largest economy and a vital trading ally. To Farage it’s an overburdened monster being dragged towards its grave by a gang of new members that ‘were all trapped behind the iron curtain for years.’ He’d like to welcome skilled migrants from India and New Zealand, ‘but we have to say no because we need to leave room for the 4,000 a week coming from southern and eastern Europe.’

Clegg was keen to erase the impression that Brussels constantly sticks its snout in our domestic affairs. Only seven percent of Britain’s statutes, he said, originate from the EU.

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‘What are you on about?’ snorted Farage. ‘Gordon Brown said half our laws are made in Brussels.’ Clegg repeated his seven percent figure and claimed no less a source than ‘the House of Commons library’. He made it sound like the Dead Sea scrolls.

Like most EU lifers, Clegg regards the Treaty of Rome as the Garden of Eden. Nothing existed before its creation. His incomplete grasp of history was exposed as he delivered a brief advertisement for the European Arrest Warrant which, he said, has protected us from ‘149 murderers’. Farage pointed out that Interpol has been in business since 1923 and that our first extradition treaty dates from 1147. In any case, he added, the present EU rules are dysfunctional. We can’t deport a mafia boss because the jails receiving him in Italy aren’t cosy enough for convicted gangsters.

Ever the patrician, Clegg didn’t deign to look at Farage, except when he held up a purple leaflet from the Eastleigh by-election. Ukip had claimed that 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians were about to mob our dole-offices. Not true, scolded Clegg. There aren’t 29 million people in Romania and Bulgaria.
‘Because two million have already left,’ said Farage.

Clegg is too canny an operator to rule out a referendum entirely. He tried to make capital from his assertion that a vote is on its way, ‘when new powers are passed to Brussels. That is your right. We’ve guaranteed it in law.’ He kept repeating this vow as if it were a special treat for those in the front row who behave themselves all term.

He appears not to realise how severely his tuition fee head-stand damaged his reputation. It affects the rest of his party too. A ‘Lib Dem guarantee’ is about as useful as a cling-film parachute.

Farage edged it last night without quite delivering a knockout blow. He had one excellent Clegg-clobbering soundbite – ‘He doesn’t think Britain is good enough’ – which combines patriotism and self-reliance with a subtle hint that the EU is a nest of Vichyist traitors.

He needs to make more of that.


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Show comments
  • Bill_der_Berg

    When asked for his view on the recent failed attempts to extradite convicted criminals from the UK, Cleggie preferred to wax lyrical about the extradition of British suspects to the UK. A bit shifty, that.

  • Steve Lloyd

    The knockout blow, will come on May 22nd 2014. Goodbye Clegg, you are the weakest link.

    • Cyril Sneer

      He is a dead man walking.

  • well_chuffed

    Clegg was an MEP for 5 or 6 years and in years to come will presumably receive some kind of pension from this. He won’t receive it if he bad mouths the EU so why did he not declare an interest at the start. On the other hand I reckon he truly loves the EU and will be off to it like a shot when his career in Westminster is over but he should still declare that interest. Farage on the other hand is obviously not worried about getting a pension from them at all.

    • Makroon

      Interesting thought, but I don’t believe the EU would dare to deprive Farage of his long service pension. He would sue them and win.

  • colliemum

    Yes, 7% Clegg was the epitome of why we despise the professional political class: condescending, always trying to baffle with b*llsh*t, and very adept at never answering a question. And then hauled away by his bodyguards to his waiting limousine at the end, too posh to mingle with the plebs.
    Nigel Farage on the other hand …
    :-)

  • swatnan

    I thought the knockout blow was delivered by Clegg, when he held up that UKIP leaflet, scaremongoring, that 29 m Romanians would descend on Britain and take up our benefits. There aren’t even 29m Romanians in Romania. These are the lies that UKIP peddle.

    • Kitty MLB

      What about that whopper of a lie that Cleggie told
      told students, making them vote for him.
      He said we thought we’d not get that far just a few extra
      seats so it did not matter.

    • Colonel Mustard

      29 million was the figure for the combined population of Rumania and Bulgaria as reported by Scott Blinder of the Guardian in January 2013:-

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/15/bulgarian-romanian-migration-uk-restrictions

      Then the Guardian chose to report today as follows:-

      “The Liberal Democrat leader confronted Farage with a Ukip leaflet, pointing out it warned that 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians may come to the UK, when there are not 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians living in the two countries.”

      http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/26/clegg-farage-snap-poll-suggests-ukip-win-debate-europe

      So who is actually lying here? Farage or the Guardian?

      • HookesLaw

        The point is that the rules are for people to come and work. Not simply come to live and with no work thereby live on benefits. There was no likelihood of the mass movement of all the 400-odd million EU citizens here it was a preposterous oafish comment – not least since there were 27 other countries available as well.

        Farage’s scaremongering was crass and designed only to fuel the nascent racism of those knuckledraggers whose votes he seeks. Its easy to see what a nasty country a Farage government would be.

        • Colonel Mustard

          I was correcting swatnan’s deception.

          • HookesLaw

            Yawn. The morons are those that pretend that there was going to be anything like hundreds of millions of people fronting up on our doorstep. truth – you would not know reality if it came up and slapped you with a giant herring.

            Your rants show you to be sad ignorant thick and bereft of logic and argument.
            A cultist.

            What sad lives you lot must live to be reduced to this ranting and spittle spouting.
            Farage has no argument on the EU, its based on a big lie – he is reduced to crass racism — upset at tube conversations. What an oaf. What a basis for making policy.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Nowhere have I stated a belief in or advocacy of the assertion allegedly made. I was merely correcting an inaccuracy in reporting.

              swatnan alleged Farage was lying because there are not 29 million people in Rumania. The UKIP leaflet refers to the populations of Rumania and Bulgaria combined. The Guardian reported the combined populations of Rumania and Bulgaria as 29 millions in January 2013.

              Farage is factually correct to state that there is nothing to stop 29 million people coming to Britain however unlikely that might be. Simply because of your precious free movement.

              Can you get that into your head? Any my comment was not a rant but a statement of facts. You on the other hand work yourself up into foam-flecked strop because of what you THINK I have stated. RTFP and stop being such a t*t.

              • southerner

                Hooky frequently argues against a strawman instead of what an individual actually said. It’s what the lazy left Camerluvvies do.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  He must be a Lib Dem.

        • Wessex Man

          as against the Con/Lib Gulag?

        • Bill_der_Berg

          I listened to the debate. Farage did not suggest that the 400 million EU citizens (or even the entire populations of Romania and Bulgaria) were going to move to the EU.

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        This is something that troubles you?

        • Colonel Mustard

          It troubles me that swatnan and the Guardian attempted a deception. That doesn’t trouble you?

          • HookesLaw

            Sad

            • Colonel Mustard

              Not as sad as you.

              Truth, you moron. Let’s deal in truth.

          • BarkingAtTreehuggers

            No. I will tell you why.
            1- it’s short term thinking.
            2- the approach to this topic is not holistic.
            3- it doesn’t reflect the reality around us.

            The entire point/big picture of the EU is to raise the game for its member states. Weak members are supported, stronger member support weaker states and in return benefit from that support. That’s the idea. When UKIP are found no longer supporting that principle then frankly I couldn’t care less. The actual reality on the ground confirms that we live in a post-nationalist society. Only those who wish to revert that will fight a cause that fails to acknowledge the big picture truths around them.

            It is a conundrum they face, not me.

            • Colonel Mustard

              That doesn’t make any sense at all. I was commenting on the accuracy of reporting and you are arguing about the underlying issue as if I was. Your attitude is almost Marcusean – it’s ok to lie about a point of view you disagree with in order to misrepresent it.

              Please leave my comments alone. You are beginning to look like a stalker and your introduction of extraneous matters in order to pick an argument is tedious.

              • BarkingAtTreehuggers

                No, I will not leave YOUR comments alone. This is not YOUR comments section. YOU clarify that it is fatuous stuff that troubles you and I will exercise my darn hard-fought for right to say so. Don’t be such a t*t.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  You have a monopoly on stupidity and crassness.

                • BarkingAtTreehuggers

                  So I am only allowed to comment on matters that dad approves?
                  I may not expand and explain why something is fatuous nonsense to then outline what is not. I will continue to be a crass as that, thank you very much.

            • Wessex Man

              ah! it’s a commie restructing of the European Mainland, thank you brother BarkingAtTreehuggers, all is clear now!

            • Bill_der_Berg

              Weaker states like Greece, Spain and Portugal are supported by the stronger states? Are you quite sure of your facts?

              • BarkingAtTreehuggers

                The populations in Greece and Portugal relying on subsistence farming were not eradicated, merely reduced. That now turns out to be a good thing.

                • Bill_der_Berg

                  So you think that economic conditions in Greece, Spain and Portugal are a matter a matter for self-congratulation by the Europhiles?

    • Denis_Cooper

      Like that loudmouth Anna Soubry
      when she got a cheap laugh with the same falsehood, Clegg could have checked the
      numbers but instead he chose to repeat a lie because that is what he is like, an
      unashamed brazen liar.

      29 million is a perfectly fair round number,
      especially taking into account that at least 0.1 million of the 3.6 millions
      Moldovans have been given Romanian passports. I also have read (but not yet
      verified) that some Turks have been given Bulgarian passports.

      From the
      first reference that comes up here:

      https://www.google.co.uk/#q=romania+population

      Romania – 21.33 million (2012)

      Bulgaria – 7.305 million (2012)

      21.33 + 7.31 = 28.64

      As linked below, the Guardian used 29
      million as the correct figure:

      “Third,
      thc combined populations of Romania and Bulgaria is around 29 million …”

      Of course UKIP has never said that all 29 million will come here, the
      point is that unless the government and Parliament are prepared to break EU law
      we have no control over the numbers who do come.

      This is how the
      supporters of the EU hope to win a referendum, by repeating lies.

    • Cyril Sneer

      “that 29m Romanians ‘would’ descend on Britain”

      Could.

      Could.

      Could.

      Could.

      Could.

      Could.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Never mind the facts – deep down, wishful thinking outweighs the reality on the ground.

    No one will vote for Nick, yet he will win seats.
    Everyone will vote for Nigel, yet he win win no seats.
    That is, in a nutshell, how British democracy works and of course everyone is fine with that.

    • Kitty MLB

      Labour totally destroyed this country and yet strangely still have seats.
      The Lib Dems are treacherous deceitful miscreants, and they still have seats
      The Pointless Green Party with its lunacy and one MP ‘ attending Court’
      have a seat.
      Even bonkers Galloway has a seat.
      And yet they represent the worst of the electorate… and no people
      are not fine with it.

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        Ahh, so as a consensus will not be reached with regards to your fatuous outpourings, let’s just be done with this system then shall we not and just dictate what’s right?
        Or, alternatively and for the sane thinkers, let’s just have a Proporz enter the political arena?

      • Mynydd

        So why didn’t Mr Cameron win an overall majority?

  • Mike Purves

    Among a slew of dishonest Cleggisms, one blatantly stood out. Having made a point about how the EU’s strength is in negotiating trade agreements with outsiders as a single, powerful entity, he then demolished his own point by asserting, that if we pulled out of the EU, we would have to negotiate 27 different new agreements.WTF? A pity he got away with it….

  • Kitty MLB

    I have had more time to think about this. Last night I may have been a little
    unfair about Farage. He spends most of the time being shouted down by the
    the likes of patronising Clegg who wallows in his self importance and Farage
    wanted to get his point across. Obviously Farage doesn’t have access to the commons library so will be without certain facts. But that doesn’t make what he said any less valid.
    Still concerned about the blood on the hands comment, but I am sure that was anti-
    EU rather then pro Putin.
    And I also believe UKIP now support Gay Marriage, is this true ?

    • http://mrsdbliss.blogspot.com/ MrsDBliss

      I think, not sure, but think they don’t so much as support but wouldn’t fight the already introduced legislation.

      • Bill_der_Berg

        I believe that Nigel Farage is not opposed to gay marriage but does not want to see the clergy of various faiths being compelled to perform gay marriage ceremonies against their wishes, something Nigel sees as possible under human rights legislation.

  • Jez

    Clegg’s assertion that Farage exposed ‘his extremism by supporting Putin’ in the closing arguments just about concludes why the Lib Dem coalition experiment hopefully will be consigned to the ash bin of history very soon.

    Clegg showed himself as an aloof semi fanatical Europhile, unable to see the wood for the trees. The only thing slightly more nauseous was the on site establishment media’s utter slant in the immediate aftermath of the debate.

    One question though;

    This gay marriage thing. What does this have to do with anything?

    I mean, in the real world. What is it exactly?

    • HookesLaw

      Ah gay marrieage, wondered when that would come up – will Farage bring that up with Putin when he holds his love in summit? All butch beer drinking boys together?

      • Kitty MLB

        Just because Farage doesn’t support the EU in this, it doesn’t
        make him a supporter of Putin. Maybe it was not very wise to say such things in public, but his dislike of the EU is so very passionate.
        Gay marriage, I do not actually think that holds true. Maybe he did not want to box himself in whilst within the public domain.

        • Jez

          Obviously.

          Farage did well. He spoke the truth about the Ukraine, said nothing about support of Putin and is probably indifferent (as most of us are out here) in regard to Gay Marriage.

          The suspicion is though, that the gay marriage thing is being manipulated by people who see this as yet another opportunity to undermine a traditional institution of this land; the Christian Church.

          • Kitty MLB

            Yes well the church does see it that way and so do many
            grassroot Tories. For them Gay Marriage was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

            • Cyril Sneer

              I’m not even religious, I’m an Atheist, and even I side with the church on this one.

          • Cyril Sneer

            “The suspicion is though, that the gay marriage thing is being
            manipulated by people who see this as yet another opportunity to
            undermine a traditional institution of this land; the Christian Church.”

            Bingo. Such is the hate from the left.

      • Jez

        I’m just looking forward to the first rainbow T-Shirt wearing gay couple walking hand in hand to Finsbury Park Mosque to tie the knot.

        • Wessex Man

          I’m looking forward to Call me Yellow and Hooky waltzing down the Aisle, the event of the year I hear.

      • con

        i don’t remember every detail but farage didn’t even mention putin. that’s eu fanatic clegg’s reaction to his beloved eu being criticised.
        say it loud, say it clear, the eu encouraged a rabble to topple a democratically elected government in the ukraine. they then imposed and supported a new unelected leader.
        this was an eu power grab, but the eu has form on this doesn’t it – none of its leaders is actually elected by anyone.
        farage was right – the eu has blood on its hands.

        • HookesLaw

          Yes spoken like a true cultist.

    • Cyril Sneer

      “Clegg’s assertion that Farage exposed ‘his extremism by supporting Putin’ in the closing arguments”

      This is something I get accused of, usually by simple minded leftists. Apparently by speaking out against the violent undemocratic EU US supported Ukrainian coup this somehow makes me a Putin lover and a darling of the KGB.

      Much the same as being against gay marriage somehow makes you a homophobe.

      Or being against ‘mass’ immigration apparently makes one a racist.

      This simplistic shallow thinking permeates the left.

  • Makroon

    Last night I posted a pretty neutral comment, pointing out that towards the end, Farage looked increasingly sweaty and hyper, and saying that he was probably gasping for a cigarette.
    Except, I used the slang ‘f’ word for cigarette, and was summarily censored.
    You have to love the Discus censor.

    • Wessex Man

      Well you would have thought that Cleggie would have given him one of his.

    • http://mrsdbliss.blogspot.com/ MrsDBliss

      They probably have it in the system because ig another connotation for the slang word don’t they?

      • Makroon

        Yes, I presume so.

  • James Allen

    I don’t think Farage did his best (he’s been out of sorts ever since his
    back operation before the New Year), but Clegg was duplicitous and
    slippery like no other. He banged on about facts and honesty, but was
    guilty of more half-truths and evasions than Farage by a country mile.
    We know the EU project is political – that’s the essence of the problem –
    but instead Clegg tried to make out it’s about prosecuting murderers
    and paedophiles (words he spoke with some relish) and trading with the
    world’s economic “superpower” (aka the worst-performing trading area in
    the world). What a pompous, deceitful *******. I also find his “honest
    guv”, to-camera, appealing-to-you style more irritating than words can
    possibly describe.

  • Guest

    I didn’t think Farage did his best, but Clegg was duplicitous and
    slippery like no other. He banged on about facts and honesty, but was
    guilty of more half-truths and evasions than Farage by a country mile.
    We know the EU project is political – that’s the essence of the problem –
    but instead Clegg tried to make out that it’s about prosecuting
    murderers and paedophiles (words he spoke with some relish) and trading
    with the world’s economic “superpower” (aka the worst-performing trading
    area in the world). What a conniving, deceitful, cowardly bast*rd.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Clegg’s approach (like most lefties) is just a slightly refined version of “Do as we say or we’ll kill this puppy” but more like “Do as we say or more puppies will get killed”. Scare mongering. Duplicitous emotional blackmail suggesting that if we should exit the EU murderers, terrorists, rapists and various criminals will go free when the reality is that many of them are only here in Britain because of the EU.

      Then he has the audacity to accuse UKIP of scaremongering.

      • Makroon

        Colonel, they were both scaremongering – it’s the oldest trick in the book for this type of populist, trivial “debate” (since the Athenian debates at least). Have you ever been to an old-fashioned, village-hall political meeting ?

        • Kitty MLB

          I wish we could have the Roman debates back again
          and for Cleggie utter the words ‘ is that a dagger I see before me’. We could listen to very long speeches by Cicero and the likes and be allowed to throw fruit at them.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Clegg’s scaremongering pandered to current hysterias. Farage’s to real concerns that are being denied.

  • Full Name

    The real question it boils down to is: OPT-IN (Brexit) >>> OPT-OUT (EU). The current status quo is unworkable. Article 50 TEU Lisbon Treaty guarantees our access to the Single Market. We can shed all the things we don’t want and keep the one thing we do want.

    Farage should point out that too many laws are made in Brussels in secret:

    http://www.globalbritain.co.uk/sites/default/files/briefing-notes/BN72HowEUlawMadePDF.pdf

    He should also say the 7% figure can’t be de facto when it depends on the measurements you make: It’s a fake question! FullFact range between 15-50% which even with Ms. Reding’s contribution of 70% too much and not voted on by people.

    • Alexsandr

      why do we want the single market? With that comes peoples right to live anywhere in the EU and that’s a big part of the problem. And why do we have to trade within EU rules for domestic trade, or trade with the rest of the world?

      • HookesLaw

        Right to work. Telling lies or showing your ignorance does not help your cause.
        UK does nicely with inward investment. You try persuading all the workers who have benefited and their families to vote NO to the EU.
        how come Germany does nicely with world exports but still is in nthe single market. You think its either or but clearly its not.

        • Wessex Man

          er, I wouldn’t go to Swindon spouting such rubbish Hooky where an entire production line has been shut down “Because of the stagnant Eurozone.”

          • HookesLaw

            Yes – I know that and I also know that Hitachi are moving their global rail operation to the NE of England to be near their main market – Europe.
            How long with the Eurozone be stagnant? the French economy seems to be picking up at last. I also know that the Chinese economy is slowing.
            Why would a company invest in the UK outside the EU tariff wall? Pretending that all would remain the same or be mysteriously better is just pie in the sky.
            Do you really think that worker in Swindon would look happily on leaving the EU and going outside its tariff wall? You are a dope to think that. The EU will continue to exist if we were outside it and exert an influence.
            Your bigoted thinking does not allow you to live in the real world. And the biggest blinker of all is that for the sake of at best a minor change you would let in the europhile labour party, an organisation that poses a massive danger to our nation.

            • Wessex Man

              Would you care to show me where I’ve uttered one bigoted comment, you snivelling shyster silly vain immature, wonderful commentator you. How’s Dave’s back has he manager to get rid of that nasty yellow rash yet.

              So you don’t mind all those British jobs being lost at Swindon then?

              • Kitty MLB

                You have never uttered one bigoted comment Wessex Man,
                it others who are that usually make the accusation of bigotry.
                Hooky is just feeling a little marginalized at the moment,
                give him a marrowbone and he will be fine.

            • Bill_der_Berg

              For how long will the Eurozone be stagnant? For Germany, perhaps not very long. For the weaker members, probably a very long time.

          • Mynydd

            Mr Cameron said we have a world beating car industry, so why rely on the Eurozone why not export to the whole world, or is Mr Cameron telling porkies

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              We do export to the rest of the World and leave the lies to Labour, the party of lies, lying and liars.

        • Alexsandr

          where is the evidence that being outside EU/EEA would stop inward investment?
          Anyway why could Germany not do well economically despite, not because, of the EU

      • Mynydd

        Mrs Thatcher said YES to the single market, therefore because she could do no wrong we must want a single market.

        • Wessex Man

          who said she did no wrong?

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            He’s a socialist nutter ignore him.

  • http://batman-news.com The Commentator

    It remains a mystery how a country like Canada with only 40 million people survives outside the EU. And its an even bigger mystery why Canada hasn’t spent a single penny of tax-payers money bailing out its banks.
    There’s another mystery: why are the two richest countries in Europe not in the EU, how are they going to survive?

    • kyalami

      What? Canada is outside the EU? Never! They must be poverty stricken.

    • Daniel Maris

      Your personal fact checker here. Canada’s population is just over 35 million not 40 million. And while it’s true they are not members of the EU, they are members of the N American Free Trade Area.

      • Daniel Maris

        Also Canada, while it rode out this recession well, had its own personal banking crisis back in the 1990s when the state bailed out the banks.

        • Wessex Man

          and?

    • HookesLaw

      Canada is the the North America Free Trade Area and is latched on to the biggest economy in the world and which has liberalised movement in goods and services. Chapter Sixteen of the Agreement permits the temporary cross-border movement of business travelers between the NAFTA countries.
      It’s also joining a comptehensive trade agreement with the entire EU where it will agree to EU standards.

      • Wessex Man

        Thank you Hooky for your wonderful Economics and Geography lesson, i always said you woul zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        • HookesLaw

          Yawn – so now we know why Canada survives outside the EU – its in an even bigger trade zone. Tiresome for you.

          • Wessex Man

            It also trades freely with the rest of the world without the stupid rules and regulations, vigoroursly enforced here in the UK derived from EU Directives.

            How’s Call me Yellow’s back, has he found his backbone yet?

          • ButcombeMan

            Actually more tiresome for you and all those who think the EU so wonderful.

            Britain is quite happy to be in a European Free trade zone, any free trade zone, in fact trade with any country. That is our way.

            What is increasingly unacceptable is to have our country run by Europe.

      • dmitri the impostor

        Whaddya mean NAFTA isn’t in the EU, Hooky? Didn’t you hear
        Daniel say that Canada had its OWN banking crisis? Get with the programme.

        • HookesLaw

          ‘its’ refers to Canada which was the first word of my post. And if you knew anything you would know about the comprehensive trade agreement and divine the meaning if the remark.
          And Mr Maris was right to point out Canada’s own banking crisis and its financial problems.

          • dmitri the impostor

            Rubbish, Hooky. NAFTA is an intermediate petroleum by-product as any fule kno and Norway ploughed its own petroleum revenues into a sovereign wealth fund despite not being in the EU. So it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

    • BarkingAtTreehuggers

      Luxembourg not in the EU? You never stop learn tripe every day.

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