The monthly ComRes telephone poll for the Independent is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 32%(+4), LAB 37%(+1), LDEM 9%(-2), UKIP 11%(-1). Changes are from ComRes’s previous phone poll (as opposed to their parallel online polls for the Sunday Indy) conducted at the end of last month.

Meanwhile today’s twice-weekly Populus poll also recorded a five point lead for Labour, in their case the topline figures were CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 7%. Populus tabs are here.

Also out are the tables for a recent YouGov poll on immigration (it was published in the Times on Saturday, but tabs went up this morning here). Note firstly that while immigration has actually fallen over the last couple of years, the vast majority of people (73%) think that it is continuing to rise, only 7% think it has dropped over the last couple of years – a reminder that official statistics on the news are often not noticed or not believed. There is an equal lack of awareness of what government policy is on immigration. 37% of people say they have a good idea or a fairly good idea of what government policy on immigration is, but even then people are rather overestimating their knowledge – only 19% could actual pick out David Cameron’s stated aim of reducing net immigration to the tens out thousands.

Also interesting to note is people’s differing attitudes towards different groups of immigrants. 72% of people think the country should allow fewer (or no) unskilled immigrants, but people are actually far more welcoming about other groups. 63% are either happy with current levels or would like to see more skilled immigration, 68% are happy with the current or higher numbers of foreign students coming here. People are even split over asylum seekers (though we deliberately avoided using the actual phrase!) – 48% would be happy with more or the current levels of people fleeing persecution, 38% think there should be fewer or none at all.


393 Responses to “Latest Comres & Populus VI, YouGov on immigration”

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  1. @ Steve

    All the Polls Suggest Scottish Independence is far more popular in England than in Scotland!
    —————
    I don’t think there’s evidence for this assertion. There have been too few such polls to be definitive and (IIRC) those which there have been were only marginally different to the support for independence in Scotland. Maybe Anthony has some information on them & will comment about it thereby resolving our different memories of such polls.

  2. Allan Christie

    Iain Gray’s question in parliament today was priceless. “The Scottish Government say they are going to set up an ‘oil’ fund, where’s the money going to come from for this oil fund?

    It’s not quite as silly a question as it appears at first sight. What you do need to be careful about is that you’re not double-counting the oil money as both revenue and reserves. So you need there to be a rule saying x% will be used to fund current spending, (100-x)% will be put into the Fund. At the moment x=100 of course. There could be other ways of doing it of course (revenue over a certain amount etc), but the point is you need some sort of rule to justify your assumptions on how future finances would look.[1]

    Meanwhile if I can commit the faux pas of actually mentioning polling here are the tables for Sunday’s Panelbase poll[2]:

    http://www.panelbase.com/media/polls/ScottishSundayTimesW9.pdf

    What is very clear is (yet again) just how much economic considerations match with voters concerns. For example asked Do you believe Scotland would be financially better off or financially worse off as an independent country? Only 3% of Yes voters say “Worse off”, only 2% of No voters say “Better off” and all these choose the ‘slightly’ option. 45% of Undecideds say “Don’t know”, but only 3% of Yes and 4% of No.

    Now which way the causation lies is another matter. People may be voting with their wallets, but it could also be that those ideologically committed to one side have convinced themselves of the financial benefits. But the correlation is striking.

    [1] I do not guarantee that this is what Gray meant, if anything.

    [2] They’ve shifted from putting them up in ‘News’ to moving them into ‘Polls’. Why do pollsters keep on doing this? – TNS for example are perpetually shifting the tables from one category to another

  3. Amber

    The Following came from the Huffington Post

    Scottish independence has greater support in England than in Scotland, an influential new report has found.

    One in four English people (25%) back the break-up of the United Kingdom, compared to 23% of people in Scotland, according to the British Social Attitudes survey.

    According to the new report, support has climbed in England for Scottish independence from 19% in 2000 to 25%. Meanwhile, support for Scottish independence has fallen to 23% in 2012, from a 30% peak in 2006.

    “England has, it seems, become rather less sympathetic towards the ‘demands’ of its Scottish neighbour,” the survey notes.

    This is not the first time that research has found greater support for Scottish independence in England than north of the border. A survey last year found that 26% of Scottish voters want to break up the United Kingdom, compared to 29% in England.

    The same survey suggested that 46% of Scottish voters wanted the United Kingdom to stay together, whereas only 40% in England felt the same.

  4. ROGER MEXICO

    “I do not guarantee that this is what Gray meant, if anything.”

    A wise footnote.

    As Shadow Finance Secretary, Gray would have been expected to know that the proposals for two oil funds were based on the detailed proposals by the Fiscal Commission Working Group – which contain exactly the kind of thinking you present. [1]

    There is a philosophical difference between those who consider that a non-renewable resource should simply benefit current taxpayers, as opposed to future generations.

    [1] I was going to link to the original report, but Government servers are rather slow at the moment, as people download the White Paper!

  5. @coupar2802 – I understand what you say, although in truth, I don’t think they could – or at least, they could only with the support of the Scottish people.

    Realistically there is no chance of any powers being returned to Westminster. The worst that might happen is the re writing of the Barnet formula, but again, as the Scottish economy is pretty robust, what’s to fear there? In any event, there are unused powers to vary tax rates, which provide an additional protection.

    @Allan Christie – (and @Oldnat) I think the question regarding the oil fund is very straightforward. At present, the oil money is fully committed, so if you want an oil fund you need to explain where the spending reductions or additional taxes would come from. This was essentially the message from the independent* IFS.

    [*This is used in terms of Carfrew’s Law of Proper Independence, as opposed to any other form of independence].

  6. ROGER MEXICO

    See OLDNAT’S post, my response would had been along the same lines.

    Okay must get ready and set off for Perkheed

    Looking forward to flying the INDY BHOY’S banner at the match..Hail Hail.

  7. Surely the “oil fund” would be taken from the proportion of oil and gas revenues that currently go to the rest of the UK, which the SNP hopes to gain for Scotland. So the money would come from the current expenditure of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and not from the current expenditure of Scotland. In that sense, it’s not the SNP’s problem, surely?

    To me this is really what the independence debate is really all about. It’s no coincidence that the SNP only got any traction at all once North Sea oil became a reality in the 1960s and 1970s.

    For me the independence debate is a race against time. The SNP have to get the Scots to buy into it whilst there is still “hydrocarbons on the table”. Once revenues start to diminish significantly, I suspect the SNP will dwindle with them. If this is the case, 2014 is probably the one and only chance of success.

  8. ALEC

    The proposal is for two oil funds – not one.

    Firstly there’s the stabilisation fund, created by setting a modest projection for oil revenues (ie below the 2016 level) and placing the surplus into the fund for use if revenues fall below the projected level. Volatile revenue sources need to be wisely managed.

    Secondly, the equivalent of the Norwegian “Pension Fund” would start to accrue investments when the fiscal deficit fell to 3%.

    An immediate investment in the second fund is not envisaged, hence why Gray’s question was greeted with laughter.

    If Gray were Finance Secretary when the investment in the second fund was due to start, then he could choose to invest nothing in the fund, and continue to roll all revenues into the current account for short-term political gain.

    [1] Were the IFS “independent” in Carfrew’s definition, then it wouldn’t be dependent on ESRC funding.

  9. NEIL A

    Currently all the revenues from the North Sea go to Westminster. With independence, roughly 95% of those revenues would remain here.

    Currently, however, those revenues would be required to reduce our fiscal deficit (which is lower than the fiscal deficit of the UK), so it’s not cash immediately available as a windfall.

  10. @Oldnat,

    Exactly. Although when you say “required to reduce our fiscal deficit”, Scotland could presumably decide to continue with having a deficit and just save some money as well (the equivalent of having a savings account and a mortgage at the same time).

  11. I respect that there is this Scots business going off today and people on here want to discuss how opinion will form. In chez H we are establishing a Scots referendum free zone, (mute the TV, turn the radio off for a few minutes) just as we have done since about 1969 (was it?) for Northern Ireland issues.

    I just wonder why we English (or Welsh I suppose) are never polled on the subject?

  12. I am surprised that there’s such a fuss over the decision on a Scottish currency,

    It seems quite clear that an independent Scotland could choose to use whatever currency it wished. It could indeed choose to use the £, just as Argentina once chose to use the US dollar as its.

    But what also seems quite clear, despite all the bluster today to the contrary, is that the Bank of England would then take decisions on the pound (interest rates, quantative easing) with reference solely to the best interests of the remainder of the UK and without any regard to the best interests of any other country, just as it does now with regard to the UK as a whole.

    There might be some minor issues – for example whether £ notes could be issued by the Bank of Scotland and whether they might continue to be treated as legal tender in England. But beyond that, there really ought to be very little debate.

  13. NEIL A

    “the equivalent of having a savings account and a mortgage at the same time”

    A fair analogy – but it depends on how much of your debt payments are there as an investment (a mortgage) and how much is going to pay for that holiday in Antigua that you borrowed for.

    The Fiscal Commission’s analysis was that what you suggest makes sense once the fiscal deficit has reduced to 3%. Until then, paying off the debt makes more sense.

  14. There might be some minor issues – for example whether £ notes could be issued by the Bank of Scotland and whether they might continue to be treated as legal tender in England. But beyond that, there really ought to be very little debate.

    I used to work for a company who operated in the whole of the UK.

    Whenever a meeting was England, my Scottish counterparts always complained that their Scottish bank notes were always treated with suspicion in bars and shops.

    They were mightily peeved…

  15. PHIL HAINES

    What you suggest would be the case if the rUK Government thought that increasing its already huge balance of payments deficit, and increasing the difficulty of trading with its 2nd biggest export market was worth while.

    A currency union requires the central bank to ensure that all the members of the union conform to agreed borrowing limits etc. rUK may decide that it prefers to keep the freedom to indulge in irresponsible fiscal policy and take the financial hit.

  16. Oldnat: “Currently all the revenues from the North Sea go to Westminster. With independence, roughly 95% of those revenues would remain here.

    Currently, however, those revenues would be required to reduce our fiscal deficit (which is lower than the fiscal deficit of the UK)”

    Careful how you select your statistics, oldnat!

    The deficit is lower *because* of the oil revenues, not despite it. Without the oil, Scotland’s deficit is 14-15% of GDP, a fair amount above the UK-as-a-whole figure of ~6%,

  17. oldnat: “rUK may decide that it prefers to keep the freedom to indulge in irresponsible fiscal policy ”

    Oct 2013: “Britain’s deficit will shrink at the fastest pace in the developed world this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. ”

    Irresponsible?

    h ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10367430/IMF-Britains-deficit-to-shrink-at-fastest-rate-in-developed-world-in-2013.html

  18. STEVE

    1. There is no more reason to exclude oil revenues from Scotland’s economic data, than to exclude revenues from the City of London from those of rUK, or for that matter to exclude oil revenues and/or City of London revenues from the UK data.

    2. “freedom to be irresponsible” was what I said.

  19. Oldnat, as you very well know, I am merely correcting your inaccurate stats. You are the one manipulating data to fit your argument, not me.

  20. @ OldNat

    “increasing the difficulty of trading with its 2nd biggest export market was worth while.”

    this depends on a huge number of assumptions. The most important being EU or at least EEA membership.

    As to the monetary union, it may be by the name (though I seriously doubt that it would happen, but it would be an English (South of England) monetary policy (as it is now).

    An interesting question: the referendum as a subject is defined by the White Paper. Let’s assume a yes vote in 2014. Let’s then assume that the SNP cannot deliver EU, Nato membership, the pound, the sharing of assets and liabilities – would then be a new referendum?

  21. I think this ’30 hours of free childcare’ may backfire on the SNP.

    This is already in Holyrood’s remit so there is no issue over legislative authority. Financially, they have had control of income tax, council tax and business tax for five years now, all very significant economic levers, but have only ever moved money around the books. Not one tax has been cut or raised nor has there been any attempt to cut/increase borrowing.

    People may start wondering what’s stopping them from providing such a significant policy now….

  22. STEVE

    You prefer to compare apples and oranges. That’s your privilege.

    LAZLO

    The really hard thing about anything in politics is that the voters (who are the only people who matter, since the decision is theirs) can never have absolute knowledge of the future, and have to make their best judgement as to which set of assumptions are more likely.

    As ever, those who are already committed to either side are not the audience that politicians should be trying to engage with.

    How the undecideds eventually vote will depend on whether they think the assumption that Scotland will or won’t be allowed to join the family of nations, for example, is most likely.

  23. @OldNat

    I don’t buy any of that.

    When arguments are made that just do not ring true, it undermines peoples’ willingness to take at face value other arguments that may just have more substance. So I suspect that the arguments that the SNP is trying to make on the pound will rebound by leading people to question other points that they might otherwise have had a better chance of convincing the public on.

  24. PHIL HAINES

    “When arguments are made that just do not ring true”

    Not sure what exactly you “aren’t buying”, but the only relevant question is whether the undecideds in Scotland (not those committed one way or the other) decide about whose arguments “just do not ring true”.

    I’d be surprised if all of them came to the same judgement!

  25. STEVE

    “People may start wondering what’s stopping them from providing such a significant policy now…”

    Those who couldn’t be bothered to listen to the explanation of how such a policy can be sustainable, might well wonder that.

  26. I’ve been musing on the ‘roughly 95%’ of North Sea revenues that would – according to Old Nat – go to Scotland.
    It occurred to me that this could be controversial but nobody here challenged it.
    This article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-20042070 suggests that a geographical division – which would, it seems, give Scotland between 90 and 95% – would according to Fitch be ‘an extreme outcome’ as would a per capita division which would give Scotland 8% and rUK 92%.
    The suggestion is that this would all be subject to negotiation.
    I can imagine that the SNP contingent may be outraged by the suggestion of a negotiation but if it came to it the rest of us would be equally outraged by the lack of one and I can see rUK parties building up a head of steam.

    Lighting the yellow and heather touchpaper, he withdraws.

  27. GUYMONDE

    Of course, the exact maritime border would be a matter of negotiation. Though if rUK refused to negotiate then the Vienna Convention’s “median line” comes into play.

    The current maritime border between the parts of the UK is approximately correctly placed for the border between two different states. There are variations depending on whether the argument that the Firths should have been treated as “closed” in the calculation had effect or not.

    The area of potential dispute, however is comparatively small and consists of mature fields. The obvious answer is to do what other neighbouring states have done and define such an area as to be shared.

    A per capita allocation obviously has no relevance in the case of a territorial resource border. To do other would suggest that Scotland should have a right to 8% of the City of London’s revenues in perpetuity. Hardly a sensible concept!

    I said “roughly” because I couldn’t check the exact figure in GERS, as the Government’s servers are still slow as more and more people download the White Paper!

  28. @ Steve,

    Oct 2013: “Britain’s deficit will shrink at the fastest pace in the developed world this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. ”

    Irresponsible?

    It certainly is, or at least you and I think it is! That’s Osborne’s austerity budget you’re praising.

  29. I have to admit that like Howard’s household when the Scottish referendum comes on the news the volume is either actually or just mentally turned down, usually by Mrs Dean talking over it, as it is not something that has to date really exercised us down here in Maidenhead to date. I have a confession to make as well – when I have seen a Saltire headed post by AW I usually go off and read some novel until a new thread emerges……

    The reason for this is not that I do not care – it is that until now it has all seemed so remote from our everyday lives down here. However, it is just beginning to register, as today at work there was a discussion about how Portsmouth jobs may have been sacrificed to save the Union (whatever the politicians might say!). There was some anger amongst locals at Reading about this….!

    If Scotland should actually vote “Yes” next year, I think suddenly it will become a very hot topic down here. The problem for the government will be how to respond. So sure they seem that it will be a “No” vote that HMG don’t seem to have prepared the English & Welsh population in how to respond, or by what mechanism we will be seen to be consulted about the way forward for us as with a new national identity minus Scotland.

    Without a United Kingdom would we want to move to an English, Welsh and NI federation? Could we continue with a unitary FPTP HoC which would be permanently imbalanced without the 59 seats from north of the border? Would we be willing to operate and finance a currency which was used by another sovereign nation? Would Barnett formula payments cease forthwith to Scotland – would we get a tax rebate?

    So many questions – and no preparation, no consultation – nothing – the UK ovt seems to be crossing its fingers instead of asking we English & Welsh & Irish what we want if Scotland goes.

    Surely, after she’s effectively gone – its a bit late to start asking then?

  30. I thought austerity budgets were supposed to increase the deficit by reducing growth and therefore impairing government income more than they save in costs?

    So can’t be Osborne. Must be something else.

  31. @neil A – the point about the IFS analysis was that it considered the Scottish fiscal situation including all north sea revenues. They concluded that on a reasonable assumption of North Sea income, Scotland would have to reduce spending or increase taxes.

    An oil fund (or two) would be perfectly feasible, but would require yet more cuts or tax rises elsewhere. Arguing that the revenue currently goes to the UK pot is not relevant to this analysis, as the IFS assumed Scotland would retain it. It was, in fact, and extremely bad analysis for SNP supporters.

    @Oldnat – “[1] Were the IFS “independent” in Carfrew’s definition, then it wouldn’t be dependent on ESRC funding.”

    But surely as a UK institute, you pay your share for the ESRC?

    Funny how you claim shares when you want to, but not when you’re trying to pain institutions as English baddies……

  32. ALEC

    Please tone down the comments. As AW has noted, discussion of this topic tends to raise temperatures – which is why he normally bans such discussion unless there is a Saltire in the header.

    Your last sentence is a little bit sad. You are actually an intelligent and valued poster on here – until discussion turns to your native land.

  33. TONY DEAN

    That’s totally understandable. The media that you are exposed to have neither understood or cared about the issue of Scotland’s constitutional status, so it hasn’t had the coverage that we treat as routine.

    Alex Massie is not exactly a supporter of my side of the campaign! but his article in the Spectator may help those coming late to the debate to understand something of what is actually happening on the ground.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/alex-massie/2013/11/scottish-independence-is-a-little-more-likely-today-than-it-was-yesterday/

  34. An interesting snapshot of opinion on independence from the epicentre of Salmond’s fiscal solution:

    With rising house prices and oil-rich territory, the residents of Aberdeen are likely to have different priorities in the referendum on Scottish independence compared to those living elsewhere in the country.

    John MacRae, chairman of the Aberdeen Solicitors Property Centre, told the Today programme that “Aberdeen has always had its own way of doing things.

    “The people I’m talking to in business are of the view that while there can be a sentimental attachment to the idea of independence, the pragmatic business-based view is that independence will not be good for this area,” he added.

    The economy is also a concern to the region’s young voters. Martin Close, a pupil at Bucksburn Academy, said he would feel more safe if the big financial decisions were not being made by those “living hundreds of miles away” in London.

    Fellow student Nicole Fraser, however, feels that links with England need to be maintained amid worries that the region’s oil trade will only “last another 20 years”.

    h ttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25102802

  35. @Oldnat – We’ll take that as accepting that the IFS are independent then.

  36. Many instances of that nationalist stalwart in the comments for that Spectator article:

    “Staying in a Union is also a risk of course. A no vote almost certainly means massive cuts to the Scottish budget.”

    Putting aside that this is a slightly hypocritical example of the nationalist ‘Project Fear’, is there any evidence for this claim?

  37. OLDNAT

    “A per capita allocation obviously has no relevance in the case of a territorial resource border. To do other would suggest that Scotland should have a right to 8% of the City of London’s revenues in perpetuity. Hardly a sensible concept!”

    Can’t say I’m an expert but Fitch, who whilst far from the top of my Christmas card list must be about as independent as you can get, clearly believe such arguments will come into play. I doubt anyone believes that’s a good basis but some politician will use it as a negotiating position.

    Equally, your 95% seems contentious even if we’re pure geographical: Fitch thinks it’s 91%.

  38. Apparently Salmond has called the white paper a “mission statement” for Scotland’s future.

    Given the lack of conclusive answers on key issues, it sounds like more of an omission statement.

  39. STEVE

    On a polling site, I’m not sure why you find a vox pop selection of 3 people in the Today programme on Radio 4 “interesting”.

    A businessman says his mates are against independence. Opinion among young people is divided.

    That’s neither news nor surprising.

  40. GUYMONDE

    Finally got onto the GERS site.

    Yep! I overestimated. The Kemp & Stephen analysis of the Scots geographical share of hydrocarbon revenues was 94%.

    That’s higher than our share of production – at only 78.4%. The difference being due to the prevalence of more mature (and more expensive) fields in the southern North Sea.

  41. I qualify to comment through a Scottish mother. With the currency thing I think the whole independence idea starts to unravel very quickly.

    AS should have stated that he preferred to keep the pound but if not he would join the Euro or issue Scottish currency. You can’t be independent if your currency is run elsewhere and you can’t insist on keeping the currency anyway…it won’t be your currency any more!

    I don’t think the SNP really think they are going to win the referendum at all.

  42. NICKP

    You qualify to comment because you are alive!

    However, the “You can’t be independent if your currency is run elsewhere” comment would equally apply to adopting the euro.

    It may be your view (and, no doubt, some in France) that France is not an independent country. Still isn’t the extent to which countries are prepared to share aspects of sovereignty with other countries, and thus to reduce their scope for independent action, rather a matter for the country concerned?

    Even North Korea is part of some international organisations that prevent them from being wholly independent in every area.

  43. I have some sympathy with OldNat. ScotNats find themselves in a similar position here to that sometimes experienced by righties.

    There’s nothing remotely unfeasible about Scottish independence. Even as a country outside the UK, outside the EU, outside NATO and with its own currency, I believe Scotland is large enough, rich enough and mature enough to prosper on her own. I’d be sorry to see her go, but if Scots want it then independence is a perfectly valid position.

    My sadness is that it seems to me that economic imperatives on both sides are dominating the argument, when for me it should all be about emotional attachments. It should be about whether it’s more important to be British, or to be Scottish, and the extent to which they are compatible with one another. Instead it’s really about whether you will be £300 a year better or worse off.

  44. So the key issue for the Independence vote is whether folk will be better or worse off?

    Sovereignty bought and sold for a handful o gold?

    I wonder what Burns would have said?

  45. Ah, it seems Scotland are modelling their new country on North Korea.

    I look forward to the inauguration of President Kim Sal-Mond.

    Given Scotland’s status as the creator of golf it will be necessary for your new president to record a score of 37 or less for 18 holes to create the necessary prestige vs Kim Jong-Il

  46. ON

    “However, the “You can’t be independent if your currency is run elsewhere” comment would equally apply to adopting the euro.”

    Errr, yeah. I sense a little bit of thin ice here.

  47. @ Neil A,

    They’re supposed to delay the inevitable recovery for a few years and in the process hike up the debt and cause long-term economic scarring, before eventually bringing down the deficit.

    But I think we’d better leave it there or Anthony will get snippy…

    @ Steve,

    “Staying in a Union is also a risk of course. A no vote almost certainly means massive cuts to the Scottish budget.”

    Putting aside that this is a slightly hypocritical example of the nationalist ‘Project Fear’, is there any evidence for this claim?

    A Tory government in Westminster would continue to cut budgets in non-devolved areas like social security, leading to equivalent cuts in the Scottish budget. There hasn’t been a Tory government elected in Westminster in 21 years and there’s no reason to believe that will change in the near future, so I’m not sure how they get to “almost certainly” unless they’re working off the demented Fisher projection, but it’s constitutionally possible.

  48. GUYMONDE

    Oh dear. Did you really have to demean yourself by that?

    LEFTYLAMPTON

    Burns would have said that looking at the economics was a damn good thing!

    However, those who want to treat the question as a joke can’t compete with Fred Mcaulay – “Just got my copy of The White Paper…..the person who had it before me has ripped the last page out!!! No idea how it finishes.”

    Meantime, this from Unite is a wee bit more relevant
    http://tradeunionsforyes.net/2013/11/26/unite-welcomes-white-paper-proposals/

  49. LEFTY LAMPTON

    “Errr, yeah. I sense a little bit of thin ice here.” Agreed, but I didn’t want to be too harsh on NICK P.

  50. ON

    It’s far from a joke to me. Quite the opposite. I’d have thought that the issue of sovereignty was much deeper than one that should be influenced by whether you personally will be better or worse off over the next decade. I’d have thought it was an issue of principle.

    Maybe I’m a naive romantic. But I certainly don’t treat these issues as something to joke over.

    Anyway, on serious topics, I have a serious question. Has the issue of whether Spain will veto the application of Scotland to join the EU been sorted out?

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