The weekly YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 11%. Most of the rest of the poll asked about the “plebgate” row.

As various questions about Plebgate have continued to surface public opinion has moved in favour of Andrew Mitchell, albeit, not by that much. Back in December 2012 people were pretty evenly split over whether they believed Mitchell (31%) or the police (28%), now Mitchell is clearly more widely believed (37%) than the police are (27%). Back in December 43% thought Mitchell probably did call the officer a “pleb”, 34% thought he probably didn’t. The figures are now 40% think he did, 38% think he did not. On every question there are lots of don’t knows: remember most ordinary people will not be following the detailed ins and outs of the story!

30% of people think that there was probably a deliberate attempt by police to stitch up Mitchell, 21% think he was probably wrongly accused but through a genuine misunderstanding rather than a conspiracy, 24% that he was rightly accused and the police were just telling the truth. Despite the growing doubts about what he said, still only 29% of people think he should be offered a new government job (perhaps because many people think swearing at police officers should prevent him being re-instated even if he didn’t say “pleb”!)

22% of people say that “plebgate” has made them trust the police less, though the tracking questions don’t really tell the same story. 66% of people say they trust ordinary police officers (14% a great deal, 52% a fair amount), 48% say they trust senior police officers. Both are significantly lower than when YouGov started asking the questions back in 2003 (when 82% trusted normal officers and 72% senior officers), but not significantly lower than we’ve seen for the last year or two – the real damage appears to have been done before plebgate.


192 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 33, LAB 39, LD 10, UKIP 11”

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  1. Isn’t it all a fuss about nothing though? Which of us, prevented by a jobsworth from doing something that we’d often done before would be able to restrain ourselves from muttering some expletive under our breath? To those who can honestly say that they wouldn’t do it, kudos. I don’t think the rest of us would expect to lose our jobs over it, so why should Mitchell?

  2. Mike n

    “Might one therefore conclude that the Lab VI is really quite firm and not in any way diminished by EM’s (un)popularity?”.

    The assumption that Labours lead is firm is often mentioned on these pages, I would suggest that had Labours lead been firm then it would have stayed at it’s previous high of 40-42% and not dropped to 37-38%.

    There’s no reason why it couldn’t drop further as we approach the GE or indeed go higher, what the polls do show since 2011 is Labour has maintained a lead but lead has fluctuated and recently it closed and has now steaded at 5% with little movement for the moment.

    As to whether EM unpopularity as you put it has effected VI that’s much more subjective you could argue had he been more popular then Labours lead would have been higher and instead of a lead on average of just under 5% it could have been consistantly in double figures by now ..

    As AW is keen to point out look at the trends if you do, and I concede there are periods were not much happens and things can look firm for a party, but the truth is there not and I would suggest as we approach the GE we will see more flucuations rather than less these may be to Labours advantage but they equally may not.

  3. “As people get older they tend to become more interested in attending church, presumably in preparation for meeting their maker.”

    I would assume that both their mum and dad would already be dead.

  4. from BBC Africa

    “Naval op sinks suspected pirates”

    and

    “Pirates through to final on away goals”

    …………………………………………………………………………………..

    Its a funny ole game, pirating.

  5. “Mexican authorities say Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix, a leading figure in a once-powerful drug cartel, is killed by gunmen dressed as clowns. ”

    Wonder if he died laughing?

    Can’t say I find even the ones without guns all that funny.

  6. “The assumption that Labours lead is firm is often mentioned on these pages, I would suggest that had Labours lead been firm then it would have stayed at it’s previous levels”

    I expect people are simply comparing it to the Tory VI.

  7. LEFTY

    @”I guess Pascal’s Wager forces itself to the forefront of one’s mind as one ages.”

    Not mine-I have never heard of it………which I’m guessing is a good thing.

  8. CHARLES

    @”Hillsborough is difficult to take. ”

    You have clearly mastered the Understatement Charles.

  9. Pascal is batty – you can’t pretend to believe. That would be like trying to cheer on Man U or Liddypool.

  10. Is Pascal that new Brazilian midfielder?

  11. I’m not sure if an ordinary person would have lost their job as a result of what mr mitchell has so far admitted he did. It depends on whether it was on a week day where they might have to explain their absence from work the following day and any lumps and bumps they might have received whilst overnighting at the local police station, but assuming that the person made a good non truthful excuse then they would still have to find a way to hide their forthcoming court appearance. Now Neil will tell me that I’m being over dramatic but these are the reasons that I would never do what Mr Mitchell has admitted doing and I doubt very much that anyone but the most hardbitten “wide boy” would have done so.

    I must say as a former bar manager that if I found out that a member of my staff had done what Mr Mitchell has admitted doing then I would not hesitate to find some reason to terminate their employment, after all I had a responsibility to my staff and customers, anyone who could lose it so badly with the police must be considered a danger to the customers and/or the other members of staff, after all its much easier to go off the deep end with no public then with scary figures of authority like the police

  12. @Colin ‘Hillsborough is hard to take’

    There are a lot of things that people I support or identify with have done that I find it difficult to come to terms with: Hillsborough, Bloody Sunday, Dresden, even Blair going to war over Iraq and being supported by the Labour party. Time is a bit of a help – so I don’t feel so bad about the black and tans, Amritsar or the concentration camps in the Boer war! Still I don’t want those I support to be less than perfect and when they do something that seems to me truly bad, I find it very difficult to get my head around it in any way. It’s a bit like talking to a murderer; most of the time you forget what he’s done and yet it’s there at the back of your mind and poisons the relationship.

    Mitchell’s contretemps with some Police doesn’t seem to me to be up there with these kind of events and certainly doesn’t affect my attitude to the Police or even Mitchell. It’s not a tragedy and it’s a pity that it’s got blown out of all proportion.

  13. @RosieandDaisy

    BBC Africa – Thanks for that, amazing stuff

    Pirates through to the African Champions Leage final, but will have to get there without their boat, which has been sunk by British-led forces.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world/africa/

  14. @AW

    “I am pleasantly surprised to find it has not descended into a partisan back-and-forth about left-wing viewpoints or right-wing viewpoints”

    Some of us can be trusted to be grown-up when posting.

    /sneak

    Actually, I’m left wing on some things and right wing on others, so perhaps you need a ‘fence-sitter’ checker to prevent us less-partisan folk, when we digress into non-polling matters. :))

    I noticed the increased sample on today’s poll. It rather nicely brought the Scottish cross breaks to over 200, which I personally would like to see for the five-poll, 1000 samples per week thing. Is it just an unusual sample, or are we going to get spoiled with larger samples here on in?

  15. @RiN

    ” I must say as a former bar manager that if I found out that a member of my staff had done what Mr Mitchell has admitted doing then I would not hesitate to find some reason to terminate their employment, after all I had a responsibility to my staff and customers, anyone who could lose it so badly with the police must be considered a danger to the customers and/or the other members of staff, after all its much easier to go off the deep end with no public then with scary figures of authority like the police”

    I would have thought, as a bar manager, you would have heard far worse. The police certainly have heard far worse in the pubs and bars in this country. The Mitchell thing was just the old chestnut of a police officer making something of nothing to win a battle of wills.

    The public can take two things from this.

    1) Police, when cornered, close ranks, and will maintain their story no matter what.

    2) Politicians, when cornered, close ranks, and will maintain their story no matter what.

    I trust none of em!

  16. Really interesting news about the new nuclear power plant deal at Hinkley. If the numbers quote by the BBC are correct regarding the plants output and the strike price, then this is going to be very costly for the taxpayer.

    They are quoting a £90/MWh strike price (guaranteed price paid for the output, over 40 years) which is twice market wholesale prices. As the plant is thought to be able to produce 7% of total UK output (currently 320,000GWh) that means we will be paying the French and Chinese about £900m a year.

    In context, that’s half of the total ‘green energy taxes’ people are currently getting steamed up about, on a single power plant.

    At this stage, we also don’t yet know about the waste and decommissioning, which is almost certainly going to be the responsibility of the taxpayer as well, so I suspect this one nuclear venture alone will probably match all the green energy taxes levied over it’s operating lifetime.

    This may well not be a bad deal for the taxpayer – we need power, and we have to accept a market role for the taxpayer in securing that supply. But I sincerely hope a simple trawl on the numbers, for a single nuclear development, might help put to bed some of the more nonsensical statements recently about ‘green energy taxes’.

  17. “that means we will be paying the French and Chinese about £900m a year. ”

    ………………..but….. cunningly, we will just pay them in yen and euros, which isn’t proper money.

    No flies on us mate.

  18. Charles et al

    Add Orgreave to that list. As with all of them, after a certain amount of time, retribution is not required, more an acceptance that a wrong was done and lies told. After that, it’s possible to move on. Without that, History is incorrect and an incorrect historical record is a dangerous thing.

  19. ComRes have done a poll of voting intention in Brighton and Hove as part of a BBC South East documentary on the UK’s first Green Party Council Administration:

    Labour 38% (up 6 on 2011 local elections)
    Conservatives 25% (down 4)
    Greens 21% (down 12)
    UKIP 9% (up 8)

    1004 voters surveyed between 3rd and 8th October. Although a local elections VI poll, this would indicate three likely Labour gains in Hove, Brighton Kemptown and Brighton Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) at the General Election held on the same day as the next Brighton and Hove locals.

  20. Where are the Liberals then? Just wiped out in Brighton?

  21. @Alec,

    If I heard correctly on R4 the other day, you missed out that we will be contractually required to accept output from the new Hinkley as base load – i.e. full on, 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.

    The one thing I haven’t heard yet is how/whether the price will be adjusted for annual inflation. If it’s linked to RPI/CPI (or frozen in cash terms) it might not turn out such a bad deal over the plant’s lifetime. But if it’s linked to average fuel prices it is a horrible deal.

  22. @ mrnameless yes, the Lib Dems lost their last seat in 2011 and are on 6% in this poll. In our last local by-election in July they scored just 2%.

  23. Statgeek

    Oh yes, I’ve heard far worse but never from the staff, customers are allowed to swear but if they get too abusive they will be asked to leave and if I have bouncers available most definitely so, but no member of staff at any place I’ve been running would be allowed to swear at the customers no matter how awkward they were and even through I was quite a stickler for doing things properly no member of staff every swore at me. But that in a service industry, on the building sites it a different matter

  24. ALEC

    I presume the taxpayer also picks up the decommissioning costs and radioactive waste storage?

  25. @Warren
    “Although a local elections VI poll, this would indicate three likely Labour gains in Hove, Brighton Kemptown and Brighton Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) at the General Election held on the same day as the next Brighton and Hove locals.”

    Since nearly 80% of the total votes for the Greens in Brighton at the GE were in just one of those three seats, it indicates nothing of the sort.

  26. @statgeek

    “I would have thought, as a bar manager, you would have heard far worse. The police certainly have heard far worse in the pubs and bars in this country.”

    ——-

    Sure. Nurses and teachers etc. may have heard worse too. But how many nurses or teachers do you think would keep their jobs if they responded in kind?…

  27. @Turk

    People tend to use the words “firm” and “soft” in different ways so I prefer not to use them at all with regard to polling. But even if we can agree on the meaning I don’t think it’s very useful with regard to the “lead”.

    For example, Labour could maintain it’s share of the vote at 36% until the election, but if UKIP implode and the Tories recover their lost Kippophiles, then the Labour “lead” would disappear while it’s “support” would be rock solid. Claiming the current Labour lead is soft because that could happen doesn’t really tell us very much, in fact it obscures what is actually happening. Talking about a party’s support being solid makes more sense than talking about the lead.

    As regards the “firmness” of Labour’s support per se, I would say that the current 38% support is “firmer” than the 42% they had at the beginning of the year – because the 38% has lasted since the end of 2010. The current Tory support is softer because it hasn’t been so consistent. or longlasting. That isn’t , at least in the way I use it, a predicition for the future, just a generalisation about the past.

  28. ROBIN HARSKIN
    “If the 2010 Lib Dem vote continues to haemorrhage in this fashion, and if, as seems likely, the largest number switch to Labour,”

    If your premise is correct – that these are basically LD switchers , and this is heamorrhaging – the impact on the Labour vote might be significant in a LD resurgence. My experience, which I’ve argued before on the evidence of campaigning in the SW, where their vote has been substantial from 1992 to 2010, is that they are basically social democrats and found themselves with no polticall home with the policy shift and attachment of the LDs to the coalition, ands increasingly offended by the Cleggt’s abandoment of pledges and principles for the sake of being in government. They aren’t therefore so much switc from LD, and subject to reverting, as social democrats whose home may be more or less permanently with Labour. This is not intended to be a partisan post, but a comment on what I observe to have happened in a social democratic middle ground, and which helps to explain the stability of the Lab. 38-40%.

  29. On the recent discussion concerning state or family care for the elderly, I happened across this article:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/elderly-robbed-by-their-own-relatives-family-carers-are-abusing-their-legal-powers-and-stealing-their-relations-assets-8891782.html

    “Elderly robbed by their own relatives: Family carers are abusing their legal powers and stealing their relations’ assets

    Insurers and lawyers report a rise in the number of clients with mental health problems who have had their bank accounts emptied by greedy relatives who were appointed as deputies and should have been acting in their best interests.

    Whoever is appointed to manage a relative’s affairs is required by the Court of Protection to take out a bond to act as an insurance from wrongdoing or mismanagement of their money. A leading insurance company told The IoS that last month the total claims relating to deputy bonds in 2013 had already exceeded last year’s annual tally. It would not disclose its name, or the raw data, to protect its competitive advantage.

    Ms Hitchen believes the recession is playing a part. “I think it’s the financial imperatives of the current climate,” she said. “The people I’ve seen seem absolutely desperate and in dire financial circumstances. The opportunity is there and they take advantage of it.”

    The number of deputyships before the Court of Protection is understood to have increased in recent years, which may have contributed to the rise, as well as the ageing population. The Court of Protection now handles 24,540 cases a year, many of which are related to financial affairs.”

  30. “Can anyone, left, centre or right, write a simple paragraph explaining, as to an idealistic teenager why such a situation must not stop at once?”
    Democratic government in a market economy has common objectives of providing jobs and wages to all its citizens, or welfare support to those unable to earn their own living. Society, through representative government, but also through the market system, enterprises, trades unions and professonal associatiations and charity, moves continuously but slowly to increase production and earnings and to provide the means for getting rid of poverty. This process towards well being, efficiency and equality for all is countered by market dynamics which work to encourage those who can and wish to do so to enrich themselve and others, and to control resources and production systems to advantage, creating and using technical advances and investment to do so. Government, working through educational and training institutions and through regulatory mechanisms, may fail to provide the conditions for equal opportunity if the most needy are caught in a poverty trap of poor skills, low waged, scarce or no employment. They will fail also If those controlling the means for worth-while jobs and income, whether they are operating in the market or in Government itself, act on the belief that unemployment and low wages are necessary to production and market efficiency. In that case people depending on food banks and unable to afford fuel are seen as necessary to the national economic success, and are reached by those who aim to bring them out of poverty not with a solution but with a band-aid.

    The Thatcher position – no such thing as society – is, IMV, made suspect by her recognition of the power of instititutions, such as the minerworkers’ union. Her refusal of EC offer of subsidisation for coal mining, and related technical support for carbon control in 1994, preferring the development of nuclear energy, suggests that she knew how society is structured, and how to change it to her preferred model.

  31. Bill P
    “The divergences tend to come up sooner or later..”
    Isn’t this true across the political spectrum?
    Coalitions of different but overlapping ideological groups come together and then a crisis which brings forward their ideological differences pulls them apart.

    Just look at what’s happening with UKIP/Cons now and to a lesser extent in the Labour party.
    The current leadership of the Conservative party broadly wants a coalition of groups that overlap with right-wing values (individualism [1] and hierarchy).
    A lot of ‘center-right’ Conservatives are really just meritocratic liberals (individualism+hierarchy+free expression+rule following) [2], whereas UKIP broadly represent conservative values (rule following+stability) while only really lean to the right (so their priority is hierarchy, instead of individualism).
    So the issues of free expression vs stability (the ‘socially liberal’ vs ‘socially conservative’ issues, gay marriage, etc) divide the Conservatives.

    You can see it also with the Blairites, who’re also broadly meritocratic liberals and are deeply concerned with Miliband’s ‘shift to the left’. So I expect many more of them to abandon the Labour party for the Conservative party, as ‘the left’ (those who favour equality and communal values) unite and cause realignments elsewhere.

    Exactly the same as your point over Communitarians. Communal values broadly overlap with stability more than free expression, so those with communal ideology are often small c-conservative. So you get the divisions that you described.

    The trick is to focus politics on the place where there’s overlap – so personal autonomy and communal values tend to overlap more with egalitarianism than hierarchy so if you wanted to united the communitarians with those who favour personal autonomy (over drug liberalisation, etc), you’d push for equality and seek to find a balance between free expression and stability.

    [1] By ‘individualism’ I mean in the sense of ‘every man is an island’, not necessarily supporting personal autonomy. So individualism + hierarchy = meritocracy. i.e the government should encourage aspirational people to work their way up the hierarchy.
    [2] As opposed to meritocratic small-c conservatives (individualism+hiearchy+rule following+stability)

  32. Turk
    Thanks for yr comments.

    In a way I mean to write something different – but the words flowed anyway.

    What I wanted to say, is that as EM’s rating has it seems recently improved and there has been no obvious discernible improvement in Lab VI (which is what we might expect to happen), might we conclude that the belief/argument that the so-called (un)popularity of EM has held back Lab VI is shown to be invalid?

  33. Atomkraft?

    Nein danke!

  34. If your premise is correct – that these are basically LD switchers , and this is heamorrhaging – the impact on the Labour vote might be significant in a LD resurgence.

    Assuming that the switch is amongst those LD’s who couldn’t countenance an Alliance with the Conservatives a Switch back isn’t likely to occur until the continued possibility of that can be ruled out, after the GE in 2015

  35. “It’s definite. The latest end for the last three nuclear power plants is 2022. There will be no clause for revision.”

    Norbert Röttgen, Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, 2011.

  36. @Alec

    Can’t imagine there’ll be too many more like that. Davey must be one of the worst negotiators in UK Government history

  37. Wolf

    You can’t say that, you don’t know what he’s getting out of it

  38. @”“that means we will be paying the French and Chinese about £900m a year. ”

    An interesting number:-

    Not entirely dissimilar to the £1,200 m paid out in subsidy ( ROC) to UK’s wind farm operators.in 2012/13.Given the subsidy per Kwh is not dissimilar, the output from UK’s wind turbines approximates that from Hinkley Point C

    In their case the unpredictably variable & intermittent output requires 5,000 turbines spread across hundreds of thousands of acres of land ( total effective footprint of the blades probably 500k acres) & employed around 12,000 people in 2012.

    Hinkley Point C’s base load output will be delivered from a land footprint of perhaps 3,000 or 4,000 acres, and will reportedly generate 25,000 jobs.

    A wind turbine has an operational lifespan of 20 years.

    Hinkley Point B has been generating electricity since 1976

  39. 25 thousand people to run a nuclear power station? Wow, but I suppose it needs lots of dusting

  40. BILLY BOB
    @”“It’s definite. The latest end for the last three nuclear power plants is 2022. There will be no clause for revision.”
    Norbert Röttgen, Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, 2011.”

    A very green agenda.

    http://www.platts.com/latest-news/coal/london/analysis-german-coal-extends-dominance-in-power-26352497

  41. Interesting comment from the MD of Ovo Energy about big suppliers :-

    “If they’re buying more expensive gas, more expensive electricity, in a large part we think this is because they’re selling it to themselves”

    .http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24606614

  42. @ Alec

    Obviously a lot for people to digest on the Nuclear Power deal but the headline is of course that energy costs are expected to double in 10 years, being a guaranteed price for EDF.

    I wonder whether you have looked at this in the context of Green energy and what the costs of producing that is expected to be in 10 years time?

    I know that traditional coal, oil etc are finite resources (even if we want them) and maybe minerals are heading the same way but it is a little bit scary if we are saying that there is no alternative to 10% increases year on year for the next 10 years and beyond. Surely at some point the cost of solar, however inefficient it might currently be, becomes cheaper than all other forms of energy or do they suffer from the same increases in costs to make the panels, transportation etc. I would have thought the beauty of solar is that if the panels are going onto individual buildings then some of the transportation costs and maintenance of gas/power lines are reduced???

  43. Wow, John Pilgrim, and thanks for the reply to my question. You list welfare protections as among the objectives of government, and give reasons why this often fails. I’m reading you, basically, as saying it’s morally unacceptable that this should be so, but far be it from me to put words in your mouth.

    Thanks also to everyone who gave me an answer. I’d better stop asking now, seeing as AW thinks it’s dangerous ground. He did say, however, that he was glad the debate hadn’t descended into partisan squabbling, but I wouldn’t have expected that to happen anyway. The question merely asked people whether they personally felt that extreme poverty in our society was unacceptable and what their moral reasoning was for their thinking.

    Obviously this should be a non-partisan discussion, in that morality transcends party politics. Many Labour ‘supporters’ felt obliged to disown Blair over Iraq on moral grounds because his moral justifications for what he was doing just didn’t stack up. They didn’t say, ”Well, if we don’t like it, there’s always the next election.” They didn’t say, ”There is nothing I can do, so I won’t say anything;” They had limited ability to act to stop what was going on, but they clarified their thinking and made their views known.

    All I wanted to know is what people thought about the extreme poverty now affecting our cities. Isn’t that a similar moral issue for us all? I know we, as individuals, can’t stop it now. I was interested to hear whether anyone thought that we shouldn’t actively be looking for ways to stop it now – and if so what their reasons for thinking that way might possibly be.

  44. @RiN / Carfrew

    Agreed, but not sure how that translates to Mitchell. He wasn’t serving the police pints.

  45. @Alec (and anyone else with relevant knowledge)

    I am completely convinced by your argument that the more power one uses the more one should pay. Why does no one adopt this policy? (Or do they?)

    There was a professor on R4 this morning saying that the Hinkley deal was relatively cheap as green energy which mainly seems to be wind (as per Colin). What’s wrong with waves and tides of which we have a lot?

    I had also heard that the energy companies were cheating over the way they present their information to customers in that they sell a lot of the gas electricity etc to themselves and this is presented as part of the wholesale market. Is this true?

  46. Charles

    “I had also heard that the energy companies were cheating over the way they present their information to customers in that they sell a lot of the gas electricity etc to themselves and this is presented as part of the wholesale market. Is this true?”

    This was the other part of the Labour Party’s announcement which none of the papers or TV news seemed to cover. As well as the price freeze, it was announced that this practice would be stopped and the market broken up between different suppliers and providers so that there would be more competition and it wouldn’t be a case of the companies supplying gas/electricity to themselves at inflated prices.

  47. Statgeek

    My original point was that as a ordinary member of the public Mr Mitchell could well have lost his job because of his swearing at the police. Anyone who can’t control themselves to such an extent that they swear at the police is not suitable for any kind of position involving customer care, which basically makes Mr Mitchell unsuitable for 70% of all jobs in the UK. I wouldn’t employ him in a bar or a restaurant or a department store or a fast food restaurant………… but I would have no trouble hiring him for a building site, but not a factory, he has shown a willingness to undermine authority and that’s really not a good thing in a factory unless he was a manager, although I don’t like the aggressive style of management and believe that it’s counterproductive. You know the more I think about it, the more I come to the cconclusion that Mr Mitchell is basically unemployable. I really can’t think of any circumstances where I would hire him to do any job except in a situation where it was almost impossible to find staff, even then………

  48. Now I’m wondering about the large pay packets that some people receive for supposedly doing jobs that mere mortals can’t do, I wonder how many of them, like Mr Mitchell, are basically unemployable for any kind of normal job

  49. “What’s wrong with waves and tides of which we have a lot?”

    You’re not wrong, and they would be a good solution long term. Problem is Tidal is expensive, difficult to construct, and blocks off entire bays.

    Wave is difficult because of harm to flora and fauna, and because it’s only running at about 20% efficiency.

    They do have upsides though – the tides are very reliable, and wave power doesn’t have the visual impact of, say, offshore wind turbines (I actually think wind turbines are beautiful, but some people have issues with them).

  50. Mrnameless
    Severn Barrage has been all but written off has it not ,cos of the environmental impact,however it would IIRC provide an astonishing % of our electricity needs,maybe time for some re-consideration?

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