The Battle for Britain

LONDON, UK – CIRCA JUNE 2017: Statue of Boadicea Boudicca Queen of the Iceni who died AD 61 after leading her people against the Roman invaders (high dynamic range)

Some of you may wonder why we speak so much here about Brexit. After all, this is primarily an American blog. Well part of the reason is President Trump, for the moment he’s doing a superlative job for us, and so other than laughing at the deranged Progressives (yes, I repeat myself) there really isn’t too much to say. A nice change, isn’t it? Yes, there are things he could improve on, such as China, perhaps, but overall, there’s little to complain about.

Britain is a different case. After the people clearly stated that they wanted to preserve British sovereignty and leave the European Union, they have met a wall of resistance from their own government, including elected officials, the bureaucracy, and the rent-seeking corporatists.

It’s a battle for the Britain which led the world into ordered liberty, the land of Locke, of Burke, of Nelson and Wellington, and yes, of Churchill and Thatcher. It’s also an existential battle, one that must be won, or the British government will lose all legitimacy. As usual, Melanie Philips put the issues squarely and well here.

[…]Westminster is currently heaving with plots aimed at reversing the 2016 referendum result – while purporting to honor it. So MPs are coming up with demands to delay the legal date for the UK’s departure, demands for a second referendum, demands for “compromise” departure terms that are, in effect, forms of Remain.

This is all to break what is widely reported as the parliamentary “deadlock” over the issue. But there’s no deadlock. The legally binding default position is that if no deal with the EU is struck, Britain will leave on March 29 without a deal.

This is enshrined in an act of parliament passed last year. So the way forward is in fact very clear. The problem is that MPs who passed this act of parliament now want to dump it. They claim that leaving with no deal is out of the question because it would plunge Britain into chaos and ruin.

Britain has been subjected to a blizzard of scare stories about starving to death, running out of medicines or being unable to fly to Europe if it leaves with no deal.

These are ludicrous exaggerations. Much more to the point, the EU itself has far too much to lose from having no deal. But it will only do a deal on Britain’s terms if its own back is to the wall. In other words, leaving with no deal is essential to get the deal that Britain wants.

Yet instead of helping bring that about, Remainer MPs are spitting in the eye of democracy by seeking to reverse the referendum result, thus setting parliament against the people. Why?

At the core of much Remain thinking lies a profound indifference toward or even contempt for the very idea of a sovereign nation. For people who take pride in their cosmopolitanism and who regard national ties as a form of bigoted atavism, democracy can be endlessly reinvented in their own image.

Such Remainers thus grossly underrated the depth of feeling behind the vote for Brexit because they grossly underrate Britain itself.

Britain is a very special country; which is why it’s the one country to leave the EU. The countries of mainland Europe, with their long histories of mutual invasion, permeable borders, shifting national boundaries and attachments to democracy that are fitful and tenuous, have a shallow understanding of national identity.

By contrast, Britain is an island nation with an unequivocally distinct and separate identity. It hasn’t been invaded for 1,000 years and has consistently repelled attackers from across the seas.

This history has created its national character: independent of mind, stoic under pressure, opposed to extremism but ferocious in defense of its liberties and very, very averse to being bullied or told what to do.

This is why Britain was the cradle of political liberty. And this is why it voted to leave the EU – because despite the cultural demoralization of its post-war elites which took it into the European project in 1973, it still knows itself to be special.

There are three nations which have this view of themselves as being uniquely blessed: Britain, America and Israel. All have played an outsized role in bringing the benefits of civilization to the world.

Yes, all have had their faults. The British Empire had episodes of great cruelty; America had vicious racial prejudice; Israel’s political system is corrupt and dysfunctional.

All three countries, however, are beset from within by an intelligentsia determined to distort their nation’s history, exaggerate its failings and prove it was born in original sin.

A nation cannot be defended unless its people love and admire it, and unless it is led by men and women who acknowledge it for what it is rather than what they want it to be.

People look for leaders who will defend their way of life, promote the historic culture that binds their society together into a nation they can call their own, and take all necessary measures to keep it safe and inviolate.

The failure by the political establishment to deliver that led directly to the Brexit vote, the election of US President Donald Trump and, in Israel, to the destruction of the Left as a political force.

Read it all, and you will likely have more understanding of why so many Americans, here in a country created by British liberty, are so fierce in our support of our cousins. Once again, as in 1940 and in 1916, and in 1805 they fight a battle that we both have and will have to again fight. I think they’ll win, but if they don’t things will be very dark in Europe.

I’m reminded of this, by A. P. Herbert.

Boadicea from the Bridge looked down,
And saw the Yankee tanks invade the town.
Boadicea held her head more high
To hail the Sherman and the proud G.I.
‘Eyes right!’ she said. ‘Fine fellows though you are,
You’re not the first to drive an armoured car.
Halt, soldiers, halt! For here is one can tell
A tale of fighting chariots as well.
Look up, brave girls. In a.d. 61
I led the lads, and saw the Roman run.
God speed you too against an alien mob:
God bless you all for joining in the job.
By Grant! By Sherman!’ said the queen of queens.
I wish I’d had such men, and such machines.’

They passed. And Parliament, across the way,
Discussed the principle of equal pay

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The Price of Freedom`

Ever have one of those days, where you just don’t have anything to say? A pain, aren’t they? I’m having one today, as always there are multitudes of things to write about, none of which appeal to me. It happens, especially when you write every day.

So, what to do. Well, how about this, Gavin Ashenden, the Queen’s former Confessor, wrote the other day about the price of freedom. It’s an excellent article which I agree with completely, and you may have missed. So here it is.

“I have nothing to offer you except ‘blood, toil, sweat and tears’ ” promised Winston Churchill when he stepped in as Prime minster in 1940. Churchill warned that retaining freedom would come at a high and sacrificial price. The people heard, agreed and paid it.

“Brexit would be bad for my diocese because it might temporarily turn Kent into a lorry park” threatened the Archbishop of Canterbury this month. He was urging people to give up their freedom and repudiate Brexit for the sake of convenience. Kent is a beautiful place. It was a very worthy convenience, but still a convenience. […]

What has surprised and shocked me on the other hand are the threats and fears a no deal outcome has had on people. When the Archbishop warned in his grim tones of the danger of his diocese being turned for a while into a lorry park I wanted to reply “but what price are you willing to pay for you and your church’s freedom”?

And there lies the weakness of democracy. At every election politicians bribe the people with the promise of further comforts and advantages if only they will vote for them; but it ought to be the other way round.

At times of election we ought to have politicians asking for our vote on the grounds that they are going to make life more difficult for us. More difficult because to achieve some valuable or noble goal.

It might be redistribution of income; it might be tightening our belts in the face of overspending. They could ask us to forego certain conveniences in order to protect the ecosystem.

And that’s where the weakness of democracy (the least worst system for government we have) lies. It an increasingly comfortable culture votes can only be bought for self-interest instead of won for virtue. […]

Do the ‘young’ know or remember anything of the BSE crisis in 1996, where responding to European demands we killed and incinerated a million healthy cattle, only to find they still refused to lift an export ban on beef? Even the Euro-friendly Government of the day suspected this had turned into a secret attempt to wage economic warfare against a trade competitor rather than putting health issues first.

(See Archbishop Cranmer’s excellent article :-

http://archbishopcranmer.com/brexit-beef-eu-faithful-bse-trusted-liberty/ )

Have they read anything at all of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago where the historical realities of an anti-democratic modern, brutal and murderous Left wing regime was allowed free rein?

Freedom to travel without inconvience is placed the top of their political bucket list, but what are they prepared to pay to retain their democracy and freedom of speech and movement?

There doesn’t seem to be much awareness that freedom comes with a price.

Freedom to vote and to practice democracy and freedom of speech have come at the price of imprisonment in some places and torture and death in others.

It will be a pity of the price of passing our own laws, choosing our own values, guarding our own freedoms come at the slight inconvenience of filling in forms, or paying £10 for a visa to visit another country, but maybe that is one of the choices we face; inconvenience or acccountability?

Do read it all at Freedom costs. Are we willing to pay the cost of being free?

It’s not a question only for the Brits, although Brexit makes it clearer there than elsewhere. It’s a question that all men and women have to answer for themselves. I fear that many Americans, like the Remoaner Brits, have forgotten that, and are willing to sell our glorious heritage for crap, and not much crap at that.

One hopes they wake up before it’s too late.

Washington has seen it all, and seen it off, before

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the military at a rally at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on Dec. 26, 2018.Andrew Harnik/AP

Back in 1973, Canadian journalist Gordon Sinclair had some things to say about America, as we plowed through the shambles left by Vietnam, Watergate, and general chaos. It started like this:

“This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for
the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least
appreciated people on all the earth.

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and
Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the
Americans who poured in billions of dollars and
forgave other billions in debts. None of these
countries is today paying even the interest on its
remaining debts to the United States. […]

If you were a sentient American at the time, I suspect you remember it, it was republished in most American papers. It’s the only article I ever recall my Mom clipping from our local paper and giving to me. It mattered. You can read it here.

Now there is another. Conrad Black published an article in Canada’s National Post, that I think we Americans need to read, to remind ourselves who we really are. It’s entitled: America’s resurgence is reshaping the world. Here’s part of it.

Almost indiscernible in the endless tumult about President Donald Trump is the objective return of American might, right on our doorstep. A casual sampler of the Canadian, and even the American, media, might think that the United States was so far along in its decline that the entire process of government and normal public discourse had broken down in that country, and that the much-discussed process of national decline was accelerating in a climate of virtual chaos.

In fact, the economy of the United States is astoundingly strong: full employment, an expanding work force, negligible inflation and about three per cent economic growth. And it is a broad economic recovery, not based on service industries as in the United Kingdom (where London handles most of Europe’s financial industry, while most of British industry has fled), and not based largely on the fluctuating resources markets as has often been Canada’s experience. In the eight years of president Obama, the United States lost 219,000 manufacturing jobs; in the two years of Trump, the country has added 477,000 manufacturing jobs. This was not supposed to be possible, and this time, unlike in the great Reagan boom, it cannot be dismissed by the left (and it was false in the eighties) as a profusion of “hamburger flippers, dry cleaners and people delivering pizza,” (all necessary occupations).

He writes here of China and oil and he does so most aptly, and I think realistically, you really should read the entire article.

What were for centuries the Great Powers, and for nearly 50 years after the Second World War, the principal Western Allies and the Soviet Union, have been reconfigured. The Soviet Union has been sliced down to Russia with about 40 per cent of the former Soviet population, offering a pallid replication of Gaullist efforts to make France great again by being an annoying gadfly irritating the Americans around the world. Charles de Gaulle was a great statesman, who personified the historic cultural and political attainments of France in its most difficult and dishonoured times; Vladimir Putin is just another chief thug residing in the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, in Europe…

France has elected a complete outsider as president and the brave new regime has been humbled and defiled by the imperishable Paris mobs, the extras and stagehands at 10 abrupt and profound changes of governmental structure in 230 years, and of countless sporting efforts to get the regimes’ attention with riots and vandalism. The splendid boulevards of Paris have seen it all before many times. Mighty Germany, its governing coalition almost worn threadbare by the imprudent admission of a million desperate Middle Eastern and African refugees, has delivered itself over to energy dependence on the feeble gangster-state of Russia while cutting its NATO contribution to half of what it had promised and complaining of American lack of enthusiasm to continue carrying Germany on its crowded and under-appreciated shoulders. Italy is in more profound political shambles than ever; Spain is distracted by a separatist threat that the central government has bungled (it could have learned from Canada but didn’t).

Through it all, the United States, appearing to be disorderly, its establishment and media at war with the occupant of the White House, is demonstrating almost effortlessly how illusory is the idea that any other country or group of countries can challenge its pre-eminence among the world’s nations. Canadians may not like it; the world may try to pretend otherwise, but however the domestic political tides of America may flow, North Korea is on its best behaviour, the ayatollahs are quaking in their voluminous raiment, and all America’s trade partners, including Canada and China, are accepting what amounts to unilateral renegotiation by the U.S. No other country in the world has any appreciable influence at all more than a few hundred miles from its borders (an area that includes 95 per cent of the population of Canada).

And so, 45 years after Mr. Sinclair touched America’s heart at a tender moment, nothing much has changed, except a whole bunch of America’s opponents are laid low, and a new set are on their way to join them. The beat goes on in the Great Republic.

A Historic Vote in Parliament

And so, tomorrow UK time, Parliament will vote on May’s Withdrawal Agreement, which isn’t. It’s an amazing document, given that its existence is premised on the authority of a passed referendum that asked,  “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

That is very clear and unambiguous, remarkably so, in fact. And so were the results, 51.9% of the electorate (in the largest UK turnout ever) said: “Leave”.

But the British swamp (pretty much the same players as the American swamp, but with a British accent) disagreed with the people. Loudly, coarsely, contemptuously, and disgracefully they disagree. It hasn’t been edifying watching as they attempted to spin, lie and otherwise weasel out of what the sovereign people said. This attempt is the keystone of May’s Prime Ministership, to undermine the will of the people. It’s a hell of a mess, perhaps worse than what Trump is fighting, not least because the people have few allies in Parliament, the Civil Service, or the City (that square mile, mentioned in Magna Charta) that has had pretensions to know better than anybody what is good for the UK, ever since.

If the domestic enemies of the people were not enough, then there is the EU. They are already on a bumpy ride to oblivion and fighting a rearguard action to preserve what is increasingly seen as das Vierte Reich, the fourth incarnation of the German Empire.

What May’s agreement does not do is withdraw from the EU, in fact, what it does is even worse than staying in, it removes any influence Britain has in the EU (not much) and strips Britain of voting rights in the organization. It is literally worse than staying in the status quo. It was evidently dictated to May by second level officials of the EU, not surprisingly, German allies of Merkel’s.

The other option is, of course, a clear exit on WTO terms, and then as is proper, to negotiate trade deals with all and sundry. Rumor has it that the US has one waiting that is very favorable to the UK, and it is likely that the Commonwealth does as well.

Would there be disruption? Perhaps, but its hard to see why. Trade is in everybody’s interest. Germany is still a metal-bashing economy, what they do best is make cars. The UK is comparable, maybe superior, as a twenty-first century economy to the US, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and an end to the EU asset stripping of manufacturing to relocate in Eastern Europe would enhance employment for regular people, as we’ve seen here in the last two years.

Greg Hands, the MP for Chelsea and Fulham, and a former Minister of State at the Department of International Trade wrote this for Conservative Home a few days ago.

[…]But most Brussels commentators maintain that Brexit details are determined by their respective number twos: Martin Selmayr (Chief of Staff to Juncker since 2014, and – controversially – General Secretary of the European Commission since March 2018) and Sabine Weyand, deputy to Barnier.

Both happen to be German. Indeed, Die Welt, the leading German daily, early on in the negotiations did a feature titled‘The top German players in the Brexit poker game’, with a certain pride, on their central role in the coming talks.

Selmayr and Weyand – the well-connected German officials, behind the scenes […]

In September 2017, Selmayr was reported to have blasted Brexit as “stupid”.  “He is a theologian who regards the British as heretics,” was how a former British ambassador to Brussels described him to The Times.

It is Selmayr who stands accused of having leaked the details of two dinners between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Although he denies this. The accounts claimed May “begged for help” and described May as appearing “anxious”, “tormented”, “despondent and discouraged,” and cruelly described how our Prime Minister appeared to be having sleepless nights.

Juncker – or more likely Selmayr – vetoed greater transparency in the Brexit talks and specifically recommendations from the EU’s official watchdog that Weyand’s role be more scrutinised and her meetings published.

What they now say about the Brexit Agreement: and why that should warn us, British MPs, in advance of next week’s vote

Since the Withdrawal Agreement was finalised in November, Selmayr and Weyand have left most of the public words to their bosses Juncker and Barnier, but behind the scenes various reports have emerged of what these two officials think. And these officials are the ones who know the detail best. Both have been clear that the Agreement is overwhelmingly favourable to the European Union.

There are credible reports that the British armed forces have already been assigned roles in the so-called EU army, often said under German officers, and that intelligence functions will be extended. This last is important, the premier intelligence operation in the world is Five Eyes: Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Britain is, always has been, a key player in this. This agreement will end this, and possibly NATO as well.

So that is what this vote tomorrow is all about. Perhaps the most important vote in the entire Anglosphere since the British decided (without public approval) to join the EEC, the predecessor of the EU.

We’ll see if Parliament has the guts to legislate for the (not very) United Kingdom, or is content to throw away a thousand years of history for the satisfaction of surrendering British sovereignty to German bureaucrats.

A proper British Prime Minister would simply tell the EU to sod off.

The date today could just as well be 10 May 1940.

The Battle of Brexit

Theresa May’s bill to sell pay Brussels to take British sovereignty is supposed to be voted on the first of the week. If you have any interest at all, you’ll want to read this series, which has run on The Conservative Woman, the best conservative site in Britain. In it, we meet  Professor Gwythian Prins in his Briefings for Brexit podcast of November which you can listen to here.

Kathy’s introduction is instructive.

His is not a household name. But it should be. Few are more lucid or more knowledgeable, as Michael St George flagged up last week. MPs should listen to Prins before they vote.

A member of the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel from 2009 to 2015, today an Emeritus Research Professor at the London School of Economics, academic board member of Veterans for Britain as well as founder member of Briefings for Brexit, he is half Dutch and a fluent French speaker who’s also the Senior Visiting Professor at France’s top military school, L’école Spéciale Militaire de St Cyr.

There’s a lot here, far too much to represent fairly in one post, it took TCW 4, and none of them were short. So what I’m giving you is simply a taste, that you can follow, and learn, I surely did.

On Tuesday we read this:

INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much indeed for talking to the Briefings for Brexit podcast series today. As you say, you are on the editorial board of B4B. Let’s begin with today. Theresa May is, as we speak, giving a statement to the House of Commons on her Brexit deal. Your reaction to it?

GWYTHIAN PRINS: Well my reaction is that the date of today is not actually the 15th November 2018. It is the 10th May 1940 because I think that the collapse which has begun in this government with the resignation of Dominic Raab will be very difficult to stop and I hope that it will not stop, because what is now important is that we have a prime minister manifestly in office but not in power, who must now be replaced with somebody who can deliver the will of the people. We need now to do what should always have happened in the first place, which is not negotiate with the EU, because we cannot negotiate with the EU as we will discuss in just a moment, it’s in the nature of the EU that it cannot negotiate. What we will do is that we will leave to trade with the EU as we do with the rest of the world on standard WTO terms

From: Before they vote, MPs must listen to this man.

On Wednesday, this:

INTERVIEWER: If we look back, you, as one of the founders and editorial directors behind Briefings for Brexit, wrote about why you thought the EU was destined to break up: […]

GWYTHIAN PRINS: You’re quite right. That first piece, which I wrote when the website was new, I think still remains its most heavily-downloaded piece. It’s certainly the piece which has attracted the most hostile trolling, which is a new word that I’ve learned, from Remainiacs who hated my analysis. And let me briefly just say what I explained. I’m a historian by origins and an anthropologist and I’m familiar with many other of my cognate disciplines, one of which is particularly relevant to this issue and funnily enough it’s archaeology.

Keep reading Professor Prins on why the EU is doomed.

And so, On Thursday, he explained that the EU is not an artefact of the Second World War, but the First, and how this capitulation will affect British defenses and alliances. It ain’t pretty, by the way.

Isn’t that an argument to remain – our defence policy? I’ve heard what you’ve said but aren’t we destined outside of Europe to become an island with nukes? […]

[…]The key alliances upon which we depend – and let me be very clear about this – do not have anything to do with the European Union. They do have to do with some European countries who are members of NATO, but our primary relationships are with Anglosphere countries, English-speaking countries around the world like Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. Countries that are not English-speaking which are close allies like Japan, for example. This is the world with which we do most of our trade. This is the world of the future. This is the world to which the British economy is supremely well-attuned because we are an economy unlike the Germans who are very much a 20th Century economy that bashes metal and makes motorcars. We make ideas; we make services; we are attuned to the future, not to the past. […]

He’ correct, of course, and in fact we, as Americans depend far more than we publically admit on the British, especially the navy. From Prins on defence, and why May’s WA must be voted down.

And then, yesterday, we were treated to an accurate description of Great Britain’s place in the world, which is far different than the media would have you believe.

INTERVIEWER: An island with nukes?

[…]In November of last year the Henry Jackson Society, which is one of the London think tanks, did a geopolitical audit of the top eight powers in the world – geopolitical audit means not just looking at guns, not just looking at so-called soft power, not just looking at any one metric, but a whole basket of metrics. And when you look at all of those metrics together and they’re all calculated out and you can look it up on their website, you find of course that the United States is by a long margin the world’s dominant geopolitical power. But when you look in the rank ordering of the eight main powers in the world, who comes number two? It’s not China, it’s not Russia, it’s not Germany, it’s not France, it’s not India, it’s not Japan. It is the United Kingdom. We are the second most geopolitically competent power in the world. Now let’s be a little bit grown-up about recognising that we have these strengths. Let us banish the declinism of this frame of mind which has infected the creation of the document which was presented so contentiously to Cabinet yesterday. It is based on the premise that Brexit is a damage limitation exercise, that nothing could be better than to be in the EU nothing, therefore . . . given that, reluctantly, we have to leave the EU, that what we have to do is to try and mitigate damage. This is completely back to front. Staying in the EU would have chained us to a collapsing structure. We, through the good sense of what Edmund Burke so beautifully called The Wisdom of Unlettered Men, people like the people who put up my wife’s greenhouse, coming down from Manchester, they know in their guts what the interests, the patriotic interests of this country are. They don’t need to have degrees from the University of Cambridge to be able to know that, and they certainly don’t need to be members of the civil service. In fact that’s a disqualification – that seems to be something which blinds you, because it creates this declinist miasma that descends upon your eyes.

Read it all in Prins on Britain’s true place in the worldDo read the series. Here is the stalwart voice of the Britain who stood alone against Hitler for a year, who fought the Kaiser to a standstill, who almost alone defeated Napoleon, and who built the world we live in.

But don’t take my word for it. Take Rapscallion’s. He is my friend, he was one of Her Majesty’s submariners, and he knows whereof he speaks. He says this, in a comment on the last article in the series. He is a man I’d follow anywhere.

[…]This country has, as the Professor has pointed out, huge impact on the world, be it through our soft power, our history and our language. We are not some middling, grey, misty island off the NW coast of the Eurasian continent, no, we are not just that, We are members of G7, G20, NATO, Five Eyes, and Head of the Commonwealth. Our language is the most widely spoken in the world. We gave the world Magna Carta and the Rule of Law, Our judicial, legislative and parliamentary systems have been copied by all the world’s most successful democracies. We were amongst the first to behead a monarch and impose a parliamentary system. We have a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, our Armed Forces, thought small are amongst the very best in the world, and we are a nuclear power. If it were not for us, the entire continent of Europe would be under the Nazi jackboot. Only we stood alone. That’s right, Us, the Great British People, and those in “government” would do well to remember that.

As I replied to him yesterday, Bravo Zulu and Amen.

Selling Out the British

This is quite remarkable, not to mention rather horrifying. What Theresa May’s government is doing in their negotiations is nothing less than selling the UK’s sovereignty to Brussels (and you can easily see Berlin’s hand running the puppet that is the EU.

Britain is, of course, the fourth or fifth largest economy in the world, depending on how you measure, and many believe it is the second most powerful country in the world, second only to the United States, and the only other one able to intervene anywhere around the world.

Amazing, isn’t it? The people voted clearly to leave the EU, and the government has used that as cover to give them a worse deal, a similar influence on how they do things, but without even the (mostly sham) vote. One could call it selling their sovereignty, but one would be wrong – they aren’t getting paid, well probably May and the Civil Service have some golden prospects for their treachery, but we don’t know that yet.

There is, of course, a backstory, of how it got that way. Peter Hitchens lays it out as clearly as I have seen.

Amazing story, isn’t it? I’m pretty much convinced that the overall point is true. I don’t agree with every point, although some of that may be my prejudices speaking, of course. Specifically, I do believe in the special relationship between the US and the UK, although I’m not sure the British really do. Still, overall, he makes an excellent case.

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