TNS BMRB released a new poll on the Scottish independence referendum this morning. I expected several polls to appear in the wake of the publication of the white paper, letting us see if it had any effect on referendum voting intentions.

This alas is not one of them, as annoyingly it was carried out almost wholly before the white paper was published. For the record the figures show very little change from the previous TNS poll in October. The YES vote stands at 26%(+1), the NO vote at 42%(-1), 32% are undecided (for some reason TNS tend to show a much higher level of don’t knows compared to other Scottish referendum polls). Full tabs are here.


372 Responses to “New TNS-BMRB Scottish Referendum poll”

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  1. I posted a reply at 6:14, but it’s in moderation. No matter.

    To totally change the subject, I just spotted this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25222891

    Some good designs in there.

  2. I’m beginning to get the feeling that Osborne might actually be happier that the news coverage of the Autumn statement has been rather swamped, like an east coast promenade.

    The IFS has today some out with some significantly unflattering comments about the entire finance package, specific elements like the business rate tinkering, and one of his central arguments about living standards.

    I read in the briefings the night before that Osborne was going to quote an official statistic that ‘proves’ household incomes have actually risen since 2010. I thought this was a particularly stupid tactic, and so it has proved – only a major world news event has kept this off the new agenda, I suspect.

    Osborne chose to use an obscure and ineffective statistic on which to base his claim of rising household incomes, and he is just plain wrong – the IFS have pretty much totally demolished him on this key point.

    I’m really scratching my head wondering what on earth he was trying to do with this. To be perfectly frank, the notion that a chancellor, already criticised in some quarters for cuts to the top rate of tax, should stand up after the worst recession since the 1930’s and claim that voters are actually better off by 3.7% than they were, is pretty lamentable politics.

    I have a strong suspicion that when the dust settles on this particular bit of the Parliamentary roadshow, Osborne’s performance will be less well received than it was on the day, and had it not been for the death of Mandela and the floods, I suspect Tories would be feeling quite uncomfortable by this point.

  3. Oliver Stone, in his history of the US opined that the US had no intention of accepting Japan’s surrender and wanted to demonstrate their new and unique power, particularly to the Soviets

  4. colin

    “Makes all the political claptrap & self serving blog posts irrelevant.”

    You are the master of the snide innuendo.

    Assuming your own “blog posts” are NOT claptrap or self serving, what do you have in mind?

    You seem amazingly indignant and annoyed about just about everything it seems to me.

  5. @Greg

    Yes, his JFK stuff is true too. :))

  6. Rosie and Daisie,
    Wuff(means yes)
    Alec,
    The general consensus has been less than positive for the autumn statement,
    Particularly the pension age rise.The next poll will be interesting.

  7. @Ann in W – I found the bits about free school meals tactically interesting. The IFS points out that these are unfunded beyond 2015. The classic government rebuttal to oppositions is normally based on unfunded promises, but here we have a chancellor undercutting this line of attack himself.

    The macro numbers from the OBR are also unsettling, and they also state very baldly that the recovery is based on consumer spending, derived largely from reduced savings, not improved incomes.

    I’ve posted now for some time on what I see are the underlying weaknesses of the recovery, and this view now seems to be more or less official. I’m really wondering now if the rest of the economy is ready to pick up the slack if consumer spending does take a hit in the next few months.

  8. It’s worth contrasting the reactions to the 2012 Budget with those for the Autumn Statement.

    Then, the usual cheerleaders thought it a work of genius (you can have fun reading the Telegraph on the subject) and that Ed M should resign on the spot. More cautious commentators – the DT’s Jeremy Warner especially – were concerned.

    The next day, the IFS took the figures to the cleaners and the aftermath got the word ‘omnishambles’ into the dictionary.

    This time round the usual cheerleaders have proclaimed it a work of genius and hace concluded that Ed B should resign on the spot. Jeremy Warner is not so sure.

    And the IFS have politely taken issue with the conclusions.

    I don’t think it’s another omnishambles, but there is no VI changer in there, and I think Tory hopes of a major poll boost are optimistic.

    We shall see.

  9. @Ann in W – I found the bits about free school meals tactically interesting. The IFS points out that these are unfunded beyond 2015. The classic government rebuttal to oppositions is normally based on unfunded promises, but here we have a chancellor undercutting this line of attack himself.

    The macro numbers from the OBR are also unsettling, and they also state very baldly that the recovery is based on consumer spending, derived largely from reduced savings, not improved incomes.

    I’ve posted now for some time on what I see are the underly!ng weaknesses of the recovery, and this view now seems to be more or less official. I’m really wondering now if the rest of the economy is ready to pick up the slack if consumer spending does take a hit in the next few months.

  10. Chris Riley,
    I agree,certainly a note of caution being sounded by some sources.Time will tell.

  11. ” I’m really wondering now if the rest of the economy is ready to pick up the slack if consumer spending does take a hit in the next few months.”

    It’s difficult to see how. I suppose there are two slightly opposed candidates:
    1) Housing hubris fed by ‘help to buy’ leads to increased activity in construction. Of course this might also support consumer spending – my theory is the growth of consumer spending in recent months has been underpinned by feelings of welloffishness from house price inflation – at least in the SE
    2) The Bank of England diverting the funding for lending money from housing to productive investment. It’s not clear to me whether the dire lack of investment is because the banks won’t lend or because business won’t borrow. If it’s the former, and the BoE policy is effective, there might even be a dose of the right sort of recovery.

    Personally I’m sceptical

  12. Re the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    The problem is that a decision was made not to minimise civilian casualties, but deliberately maximise them.

    The target selection process explicitly required targets within large Urban centres. It specifically required a target that had a high death toll, to generate the highest amount of fear.

    A decision was made that the Japanese would not surrender, and would fight to the last man. This generated the argument that the war must be brought to an early end to save the further millions of deaths.

    But ultimately that decision was based on cultural attitude at the top about “the japs”. With Truman stating “When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast.”

    In reality, Japan was already on it’s knees. A naval blockade kept them contained, and cut off the Japanese expeditionary forces. Conventional bombing raids had already crippled the military, industry and agricultural production. The Japanese Supreme Council were *already discussing what the terms of surrender would be*.

    And ultimately, ultimately it was not the Bombing of Hiroshima that caused a complete unconditional surrender.

    It was the Soviets wiping out the Japanese forces in Manchuria. Which was going to happen with or without bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Following that defeat Japan was drafting it’s surrender.

    Not only was the atomic bombing of two cities not required to make Japan Surrender, it wasn’t even the primary cause of their surrender. When you consider that, it is hard to justify.

    It annoys me that the West perpetuates the whitewashing myth that they had no choice but to bomb Hiroshima, just as much as Japan’s own whitewashing of it’s behaviour in WWII. In terms of honour, the Germans at least stand up and accept what they did as part of their history.

  13. …or to put in another way, jayblanc, what NeilA repeats was basically the propaganda that became the history that made all Japanese monsters. Same as the firebombing of Dresden it was really an act of revenge, of huge use of force…exactly the opposite of Mandela when he had the power to what he wanted.

    Sometimes doing the popular thing is not doing the right thing.

  14. Or, to put it yet another way, JayB is repeating the propaganda from one side of what is a longstanding and unresolved debate, and NeilA is repeating the propaganda from the other side (or, more accurately, from the “middle way” side – the Hiroshima Yes, Nagasaki No faction).

    Part of the argument from the “anti nuke” side of the argument is that with massive daily bombing of Japanese cities (as was already underway) with conventional incendiary bombs, they would have surrendered within a couple of months anyway. How very much more humane. Completely destroy two cities, or half-destroy a hundred cities. Oh the lovely choices of war.

    The other element of the debate is that, in judging the decision to use the Bomb, what matters is what the US government thought would happen, not what post-event analysis (by some but not all commentators) has decided would have happened.

    Whatever, the value of the decision to use the Bomb in testing the philosophical consideration of what constitutes “terrorism” is valid either way.

  15. For a microcosm of what an invasion of Japan would have involved, look at the battle of Iwo Jima. A massive cave complex dug into a mountain tied up American soldiers for days even with massive naval and air support and caused huge casualties. Very few prisoners were taken as many would rather die than surrender.

    Mainland Japan was vastly more populated and mostly mountainous. Attacking a vastly nationalistic and racist enemy dug in with almost every civilian trained to fight the Americans with everything they had would have made Vietnam look like a cakewalk.

    The hedgerows of Normandy would have looked heavenly compared to the grinding slaughter that would have been involved in capturing a mountainous city like Nagano. Even an organisationally shattered Japanese military could have held out for years as guerilla bands in the mountains.

    It’s one of the interesting arguments I’ve heard about nuclear weapons. Their use is awful, and being incinerated in a nuclear blast would be a terrible and wasteful way to die. But would you rather it was a conventional war instead?

    Just a bit of trivia here to illustrate how the US government saw Operation Downfall. Hundreds of thousands of Purple Heart medals were produced in anticipation of the vast casualty count. They’re still being handed out to soldiers in Afghanistan today.

  16. I notice I use the word ‘vast’ vastly too much.

  17. Careful, MrNameless, you’re buying into my propaganda there…

  18. JAYBLANC

    You make a valuable point about the importance of the Soviet contribution to the defeat of Japan.

    While, I wouldn’t expect that to figure in the “Western” historiography of the defeat of Japan, we already know that the speed of the Soviet advance was a factor in strategic decisions in the European theatre.

    How important a factor was that in Truman’s decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Is there any evidence as to that?

  19. It’s impossible to share the same attitudes of countries that have been engaged in four to six years of total and often brutal war which, at the very least, is likely to have dehumanised the enemy (civilians included). Also it usually requires a measure of hindsight to say what other outcomes were possible rather than what was believed likely at the time.

  20. @RogerH

    Indeed. It’s easy to be philosophical and enlightened from a safe, warm comfortable chair (that’s not directed at Roger, but a generalisation).

    Slightly less so, when facing 28 million of the most fanatical fighters you might have the misfortune to come across. People have to appreciate the general view of the Japanese military and people at that time.

    Think of the death marches, beheadings, forced starvation, forced labour, and even wanton cannibalism to name a few of the atrocities…actually stop and think about them. Think of the 15-20 million Chinese killed by the Japanese. The Japanese unwillingness to surrender, no matter what…think of that. By the Summer of 1945, the allies had had four years of the Pacific War (Pearl Harbour, Singapore, Burma, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, to name a few) and had found a means of inflicting massive damage and casualties with little or no risk to their own war effort.

    With that hindsight, and a little appreciation of the four year effort to get to Summer 1945, it’s little wonder they used the bombs.

    We also have to appreciate that the rulers of the nations involved had a far different view of things and different value of life (as did the people of the time).

    Hirohito was the youngest of the world leaders, in his mid forties. Most leaders had been reared on a military life, such as Churchill, Truman, De Gaulle, Hitler and Mussolini (the latter as punishment for avoiding military service), while Roosevelt (refused access by his government superiors), Hirohito (Militaristic state) and Stalin (unfit) did not. So with the exception of Roosevelt, all were military, or from militaristic nations or were dictators. All had seen World War One, the influenza pandemic and the Great Depression.

    In addition, they didn’t have to cope with the modern media, and could control it in a manner to mobilise the will of their nation. There was no Twitter, no Mumsnet, and no UKPR. People believed what the papers said, and they generally said what the leaders told the papers (especially when it came to the war effort).

    The leaders of WW2 had full control of their media, came from military backgrounds, or were dictators (FDR being the exception to both), and had a different value of life to the value given nowadays.

    So you’re up against a dictator, with no value of others’ lives, and has full control of the media and information in his country. There are 28 million armed and fanatical people, ready to kill and die for their divine emperor. If you do nothing, the enemy will regroup and attack again. If you attack, millions with die (5-10 million Japanese and 1-4 million US forces). What do you do?

    Massive post and probably off topic in some places. Hindsight rarely delves into the psyche of people in these debates; rather it attempts to explain how things could have been done better or safer, but rarely finds a solution if we apply the information available, circumstances and people of that time.

    Sometimes these debates take on a tone of “We should have thought of something that minimised loss of life”. In my humble opinion, they did just that. I only wish they could have somehow got the Japanese leaders somewhere for a demonstration, but I believe it would have taken at least one for the Japanese to believe the resolve of the US government.

    Yes, I’m an armchair general, but I like to think I’m a thoughtful one, rather one of those “send in the troops, as long as it’s not me” types. However, it’s a fascinating subject, so apologies to AW if it’s out-with forum spec, but at least it’s not politically partisan. :))

  21. Alec
    “I found the bits about free school meals tactically interesting. The IFS points out that these are unfunded beyond 2015.”
    I suspect that it’s unfunded after 2015 because it’s a negotiation point in any future Lib/Con coalition.

    So everything that is funded is probably already largely agreed.

    Everybody –
    On the point of polling.
    Does anybody know exactly how many of the UKIP/Survation marginal polls have been released?
    They all seem to show the same pattern, but as the election draws closer the tactical voting of UKIP voters will probably show more.

    Also, I’d like to apologise for the tone of my posts yesterday – I could have phrased them with far more clarity and in a far less confrontational way.
    Not that it really matters, but it makes me feel better to say that.

  22. Really weird that something that affects a lot of parents/children may be cut almost immediately.

    Hardly seems long term thinking.

    Dunno what you said wrong TF but, after a bit of wuffering, we have decided to accept your apology despite not knowing what it was for.

    R and D

  23. Stat geek,
    A very interesting post at 4.05.

  24. @Chris Riley – regarding where/if a continued spending uplift comes from in the longer term, I really see this as the core question defining the next election.

    I think there is nervousness within government that the recovery is not built on sound foundations, and we are about as far from Osborne’s stated aim of re-balancing the economy as it is possible to be.

    They have announced (re-announced?) a number of capital spending measures, but these will take time to act on the economy. Meanwhile, consumers are spending their savings. This isn’t necessarily incompatible with better times – consumers will spend if they think good times are coming, and numerous commentators have pushed this as the reason for the growth. However, the alarming fact is that survey data shows that consumers are becoming less confident, yet they are still relying more and more on credit and savings reductions.

    If this is a sign of household financial stress, which on the face of it is the narrative that seems to fit the actual data closest, then I think we (and the government) are in some trouble.

  25. @ Tingedfringe,

    Does anybody know exactly how many of the UKIP/Survation marginal polls have been released?

    3 out of 8.

    One of the more interesting aspects of the Survation marginal polls- also corroborated by the Ashcroft polls- is that they suggest Ukip support will not necessarily unwind in the Tories’ favour when it switches to tactical voting, at least not to the extent the Tories are hoping it will. (Of course, a looming Ed Miliband premiership or a serious Tory ground campaign might change all that… but it’s at least a possibility worth considering.)

  26. @Chris Riley – regarding where/if a continued spending uplift comes from in the longer term, I really see this as the core question defining the next election.

    I think there is nervousness within government that the recovery is not built on sound foundations, and we are about as far from Osborne’s stated aim of re-balancing the economy as it is possible to be.

    They have announced (re-announced?) a number of capital spending measures, but these will take time to act on the economy. Meanwhile, consumers are spending their savings. This isn’t necessarily incompatible with better times – consumers will spend if they think good times are coming, and numerous commentators have pushed this as the reason for the growth. However, the alarming fact is that survey data shows that consumers are becoming less confident, yet they are still rely!ng more and more on credit and savings reductions.

    If this is a sign of household financial stress, which on the face of it is the narrative that seems to fit the actual data closest, then I think we (and the government) are in some trouble.

  27. There is a splendid book on British bombing policy in WW ll, by a Yank,Steven Garrison , (I think ) which is sub-titled, ‘a cautionary tale’ . As to Dresden , the sad truth is that Bomber Command at that stage in the war , was the most efficient delivery system of conventional weapons the world had ever seen, Dresden was just the next target on the list. Also the last as it turned out, in terms of area bombing.

  28. Don’t know if anyone’s seen this: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/crash-pilot-who-threatened-ukip-leader-nigel-farage-found-dead-8989517.html

    Nigel Farage’s pilot from the infamous 2010 polling day crash has been found dead. He’d suffered from depression since the incident and blamed Farage for ruining his life.

    One can’t help imagining how big a piece of news this would be if it was Cameron or Miliband’s pilot. I wonder if it’ll harm UKIP at all?

  29. I’ve just caught up with a lot of this thread and, in fact, all of the Hiroshima debate. As I was reading along I was composing my own contribution in my head…and then I read Statgeek’s contribution and he said exactly what I was trying to compose (though almost certainly put it much better than I would have done!)

    I think this whole debate comes down to “You had to be there at the time”.

  30. @Alec
    There’s noting necessarily wrong, in the short term, with a debt-fueled growth spurt as long as it’s momentum can be sustained [1].
    (Higher lending leads to increased nominal demand, leading to increased employment, wages which cycles back in to nominal demand, etc)
    This is the reason for help to buy, funding for lending, QE and low interest rates.

    So in the medium term, as long as the government can implement policies which lead to productive growth and increasing real output/hour, it shouldn’t be too worrying in the short run.

    The problem, as with all debt fueled growth, is how to prepare for the long-run – when the BoE and potentially the government start to implement anti-inflationary policy.
    If the policies prior to this haven’t led to the required rebalancing of the economy, toward productive output, that’s when you start to get the real trouble.

    So the real thing to watch is the growth of financial assets – if the price of financial assets far outstrips general inflation, then you’re probably going to end up with a big bust at the end of the debt cycle as the price of the assets evaporates.
    Especially bad if the debt is backed by these financial assets – then it’s a case of building your house on sand.

    This is one way Mark Carney’s recently funding for lending announcement was sound policy (moving away from mortgages) so that the easy money policy doesn’t end up just leading to an asset boom.

    [1] I should note, I don’t personally support this sort of policy. I think that the government should focus on monetising private debt, enforcing redistribution and tightening money supply much sooner. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think other policies can’t work, just that their consequences aren’t my preferred outcomes.

  31. (Since there’s no edit button:
    “and tightening money supply much sooner.” should probably read ‘tightening private money supply..’, i.e debt financed money. Gov/Central Bank ‘printing’ should probably follow Lerner’s rules).

  32. Meanwhile, back in Scotland,
    the number of local by elections without an SNP winner is 16 rather than 15. I was mis-counting. Most of these were won by Labour but the Tories and Independents have also had a few. There is one coming up in Buckie which will be interesting.

  33. STATGEEK

    Excellent 4.05 post, my feelings exactly. Before making judgments now one should always try to put oneself into the historical context. For this reason I have little time for apologies made in respect of Empire.

  34. My observations on the Nuclear bombing of Japan:

    By the summer of 1945 the US was more concerned with a Russian invasion of Europe than with Japan and needed to end the war in the East as quickly as possible.
    Europe was wide open to a Soviet invasion.

    There has been no use of atomic weapons since 1945 despite their widespread proliferation and many flashpoints and conflicts globally.
    Has it been the pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that has held back their use?
    I remember seeing in the 60s/70’s Dr Strangelove, Failsafe, On the Beach and these films made a huge impact in the West.
    Could their use in 1945 have prevented a holocaust during the Cold War?

  35. @tinged – indeed. It’s interesting to note not just the house price surge, but also the FTSE – up 10% in 2013.

    The other issue with the rise in consumer spending is that it has coincided with a worsening of the trade balance. As ever with the UK, when the economy motors, it’s offshore economies that really pick up the benefits.

    Nothing I’ve seen so far suggests to me that this mini boom is sustainable.

  36. Perhaps the biggest impact made by a film in this genre was Threads made in Sheffield, where I happened to be living at the time.

  37. Listening to Anthony on the radio!

  38. “Nothing I’ve seen so far suggests to me that this mini boom is sustainable.”
    If they can keep the easy money flowing for long enough, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

    I do agree that the current asset booms are a big worry – but credit cycles are relatively long-run, so it shouldn’t be difficult to sustain it as long as inflation doesn’t creep up too high.

    Once inflation starts to creep up and we haven’t had a rebalancing of the economy – then it’s time to worry.

  39. At the anorak end of analysing the Shettleston by election, the SNP came second, a long way behind Labour, the Tories were third, UKIP fourth and Lib Dems fifth.

  40. What else should we forgive because of the “historical context”?

    Apartheid?
    Stalin’s death camps?
    The Holocaust?
    Slavery?

  41. Morning Nick.
    The so called ‘famines’ in Ireland.

  42. NickP
    Perhaps there’s a distinction to be made between ‘explain’ and ‘excuse’?

  43. NICKP

    No, because the first three certainly were morally wrong even by the standards of the time.

    Slavery is more difficult and is something Christians have to answer for as it’s condoned in both the old and new testaments.

  44. “What else should we forgive because of the ‘historical context’?”

    You shouldn’t automatically forgive anything but you should be aware of the circumstances in which such things take place. Some things will still be unforgivable and inexcusable.

  45. Hiroshima etc
    Perhaps the most important political point to make on these discussions is that we come from a country where basically nothing much has happened for hundreds of years. We therefore often don’t understand how others see us and themselves.
    An Aberdonian surgeon has written a great book about medical advances in the British Army in World War One. He also gives talks onFirst World War topics. After one, I asked him if I was right in thinking that there was no day in World War Two when British casualties approached the Somme.
    He took me aback when he said that not only was that true, but there was no day in World War Two when British casualties approched those of the day of the armistice or other days when it was “All quiet on the Western Front.” Not only that but there was no day in World War Two when even the first day on the Somme would not have been dwarfed by the average number of Soviet and German casualties on the Eastern Front.

  46. @RosieandDaisie

    “You seem amazingly indignant and annoyed about just about everything it seems to me.”

    Indeed, and Colin doesn’t appear to be the person he once was, which is a shame in many ways. As for his most recent posts, I do find it irksome, I have to say, when people bemoan the absence of behaviours in others that they manifestly fail to exhibit themselves. Maybe, alas, it was ever thus.

    Talking of blind partisanship, I hope Anthony indulges me for a while because I’d like to launch into a highly personalised, gratuitous and offensive attack on………… (Snip – no you don’t, not here anyway. AW)

  47. Statgeek

    I very much agree with your post at 4.05. You cannot possibly judge a historical event unless you know the atitudes and pressures on the people who were shaping that part of history.

    NickP

    What I have said above applies to your somewhat ignorant comment. We very much know the atitudes of Hitler, the South African Government and Stalin, and these people were completely inhumane in this respect and they would have known very well that what they were doing was not right. The leaders of the Allies in 1945 were not inhumane and they thought they were doing what is right.

  48. Norbold

    Sorry, I didn’t see your post before typing mine, but you put what I mean in a substantially better way.

  49. ALEC

    @”Nothing I’ve seen so far suggests to me that this mini boom is sustainable.”

    You have certainly been consistent in that view & as 2014 progresses we shall see if you are right or wrong.

    Meanwhile, all we have is the OBR view-and they actually see consumer spending falling as a proportion of total GDP growth, whilst other contributor components kick in :-

    Expenditure components to GDP growth :-

    Private consumption component % / total GDP growth %
    2012 0.7 of 0.1
    2013 1.2 of 1.4
    2014 1.2 of 2.4
    2015 1.1 of 2.2
    2016 1.5 of 2.6
    2017 1.8 of 2.7
    2018 1.8 of 2.7

    ( OBR -“Economic Outlook”-Dec 2013-Table 3.3-P.55)

    What is striking about these numbers is that they contain virtually no component from net trade.

    Another factor which OBR ( & other commentators) are focusing on is the continuing absence of productivity improvements following what OBR describes as a “structural” loss of productivity during the recession.

    If either of these factors-net trade or productivity do perform better than OBR’s rather gloomy outlook, they will significantly change the picture.

    Ultimately it is really only productivity gains which can improve real income.

  50. Context: in the last thread, a post of mine was snipped (something I’d said in response to Statgeek about a wealth tax, forgotten precisely what it was, and it’s not there any more) and Statgeek replied he thought it best not to respond on account of the snip – and that we wouldn’t agree.

    Speaking generally, I think the ‘wouldn’t agree’ bit is a pity. People corresponding here are of different political hues and have widely diverging points of view. That’s healthy. But we base all our opinions on premises, and there being rather a high standard of argument here, we disagree less often because one or other of the debaters’ reasoning has gone astray than because the debaters start from different premises. So I don’t think we should assume we won’t agree, even when we appear not to. I think I might well find I can agree with you, Statgeek (I’ve even agreed with TOH on occasions) when you pursue your points in more detail – although the ‘snip’ point I well understand.

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