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Stoke on Trent Central

2010 Results:
Conservative: 6833 (21.04%)
Labour: 12605 (38.82%)
Liberal Democrat: 7039 (21.68%)
BNP: 2502 (7.71%)
UKIP: 1402 (4.32%)
TUSC: 133 (0.41%)
Independent: 1653 (5.09%)
Others: 303 (0.93%)
Majority: 5566 (17.14%)

Notional 2005 Results:
Labour: 14003 (52.3%)
Liberal Democrat: 4872 (18.2%)
Conservative: 4695 (17.5%)
Other: 3189 (11.9%)
Majority: 9132 (34.1%)

Actual 2005 result
Conservative: 4823 (17.3%)
Labour: 14760 (52.9%)
Liberal Democrat: 4986 (17.9%)
BNP: 2178 (7.8%)
UKIP: 914 (3.3%)
Other: 246 (0.9%)
Majority: 9774 (35%)

2001 Result
Conservative: 5325 (18.8%)
Labour: 17170 (60.7%)
Liberal Democrat: 4148 (14.7%)
Other: 1657 (5.9%)
Majority: 11845 (41.9%)

1997 Result
Conservative: 6738 (16.7%)
Labour: 26662 (66.2%)
Liberal Democrat: 4809 (11.9%)
Referendum: 1071 (2.7%)
Other: 965 (2.4%)
Majority: 19924 (49.5%)

Boundary changes:

Profile:

portraitCurrent MP: Tristram Hunt (Labour) Born 1974, son of Lord Hunt of Chesterton. Educated at University College School and Cambridge University. Historian, journalist and broadcaster.

2010 election candidates:
portraitNorsheen Bhatti (Conservative) Born 1976, Birmingham. Trainee solicitor and belly dancer. Contested Brent East 2001, Battersea 2005 for the Liberal Democrats. Originally selected to contest Chelsea and Fulham for the Liberal Democrats, she defected to the Conservatives in 2009.
portraitTristram Hunt (Labour) Born 1974, son of Lord Hunt of Chesterton. Educated at University College School and Cambridge University. Historian, journalist and broadcaster.
portraitJohn Redfern (Liberal Democrat) born 1959. Educated at Warwick University. Retail supervisor. Staffordshire moorlands councillor 1991-2007. Contested Stoke Central 2005.
portraitCarol Lovatt (UKIP)
portraitSimon Darby (BNP) born 1965. Dudley councillor 2003-2004. Contested Dudley North in 1997 for the National Democrats, 2001 and 2005 for the BNP.
portraitMatthew Wright (TUSC) Youth officer of Stoke Unison.
portraitPaul Breeze (Independent) Born 1952. Former Deputy Mayor of Stoke.
portraitBrian Ward (City Independent) Stoke on Trent councillor
portraitAlby Walker (Independent) Self employed joiner. Stoke on Trent councillor, originally elected for the BNP. Contested West Midlands 2009 European election for the BNP.
portraitGary Elsby (Independent)

2001 Census Demographics

Total 2001 Population: 80996
Male: 48.7%
Female: 51.3%
Under 18: 20.6%
Over 60: 20.9%
Born outside UK: 4.7%
White: 93.7%
Black: 0.6%
Asian: 4%
Mixed: 1.1%
Other: 0.6%
Christian: 72.2%
Muslim: 3.4%
Full time students: 10.1%
Graduates 16-74: 11.7%
No Qualifications 16-74: 40.4%
Owner-Occupied: 59.7%
Social Housing: 26.9% (Council: 18.5%, Housing Ass.: 8.4%)
Privately Rented: 9.4%
Homes without central heating and/or private bathroom: 11.3%

NB - The constituency guide is now archived and is no longer being updated. The new guide is at http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide

240 Responses to “Stoke on Trent Central”

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  1. One of the least interesting seats in the country, I’m sorry to say.

  2. Least interesting politically-which in local elections it certainly isn’t, or least interesting place to visit-which would be a little unfair?

  3. Is Mark Fisher the only current Old Etonian Labour MP?

  4. Yes, since the retirement of Tam Dalyell.

  5. I don’t agree with Andy Stidwell that this is one of the least interesting seats in the country.
    For starters, there are South Welsh seat on which nobody has commented yet on this site. In addition, there is an obvious issue on the figures about whether the Tories or Liberal Democrats can establish themselves in a clear second place.

    Stoke used to be dreadful for low turnouts and lack of local political activism. Are Labour addressing this? Otherwise this is a seat in which a new party could take off.

  6. funnily enough the New Party did win a quarter of the vote here in 1929 when their candidate was Oswald Mosley

  7. As I said in the Stoke-on-Trent South thread, the effect of the significant number of Independent/other councillors on the local authority is interesting. Some of them have opportunistically used campaign literature containing a slightly diluted version of the BNP message and exploited disillusionment with politics in general. This may have kept some seats from falling to the BNP, but it’s arguable how positive this may be if those councillors actually hold similar views to the far right. My guess is that their votes at a local level will split between Labour and the BNP at a General Election.

  8. Further proof that the BNP is actually a far LEFT party.

  9. My point was not that the BNP is a party of the left as I most certainly don’t think they are. I was rather making the observation that there are significant numbers of people in Stoke-on-Trent who vote Labour at a parliamentary level, but between times at local elections will vote something else as a mid-term protest and the so called ‘Independents’ allow them to do so without the perceived stigma of supporting the BNP.

  10. This should be a very safe Labour seat on the face of it, but surprisingly Labour now hold only 2 council seats in the constituency out of 21 with Independents/non-aligned on 8, BNP 6 and Lib Dems 5. Something very strange is going on here.

  11. Given there are 6 BNP Councillors within Stoke on Trent Central, this could help the BNP to look at 2nd or 3rd place, whilst I certainly hope this doesn’t happen it would certainly make this seat interesting to watch on election night.

    That said I firmly believe that this will remain a safe seat for Labour, those Labour supporters that might have used their votes as a protest for BNP/Others at a local level are likely to return to Labour at national level, especially if either the national polls are close or the Conservative are ahead.

    Should Labour be ahead in the polls it could tempt some supporters to lodge a protest but even then Labour would still win this seat with a margin of about 8500/8750 in my view

  12. I know it’s a cliche but I don’t think left/right wing is really sufficient as a measure of a party’s philosophy. More and more it’s becoming multi-polar, with the
    BNP a mixture of traditional hard left and hard right and much in between. The kind of mudslinging by right-wingers to associate the BNP with the left is silly. Their politics should be condemned by all sides.

  13. I think the BNP, in their only real resemblance to the Lib Dems, operate on a different axis from Left-Right. The measure that defines a lot of modern politics is the one between Liberalism and Authoritarianism. The Lib Dems clearly are at one end of that and the BNP at the other. Individual policies may resemble the Left or the Right but the fundamentals of these Parties are their position on the Freedom/Control axis. Much is made of how the Tories have tried to move towards the centre of the old Left/Right axis under Cameron and it is certainly equally true the New Labour is much further to the right than it once was-so I think the parties’ relative positions on the new Liberal vs Authoritarian axis are going to become more and more important and relevant to politics in the UK.

  14. I hope Waterford Wedgwood finds a buyer.

  15. The Stoke -on-Trent area is not promising for the LD’s, the Asian and student votes that may have changed to the LD’s at the last election are likely to find new or old homes.

  16. My prediction for this seat, to the nearest thousand (turnout will be up a bit but still low);

    Lab 15000
    C 8000
    LD 3000
    Oth 3000

  17. My original comment about this seat being uninteresting was rather dismissive. Every seat has some points of interest although they are rather limited here. It will be interesting to see whether the Tories can regain second place and also whether the Labour vote slips below 50%. I seem to remember that Mark Fisher had almost announced his retirement in about 2001 but then changed his mind. Not sure if that report was correct but he seems to be carrying on now.

  18. There are places where I think Labour voters may be galvanised to turn out better to prevent defeat, but do rather get the impression Stoke is apathetic and will remain so, partly because it is safe.

    I don’t think the Labour share will drop much further, they should make 15-16,000, Tories probably in second place, BNP saved deposit.

  19. Taken from Stoke.gov website:

    “British National Party 8,706
    Conservative Party 8,719
    Liberal Democrats 4,806
    The Green Party 1,877
    The Labour Party 10,144
    UKIP 10,885

    A total of 49,389 votes were cast in Stoke-on-Trent giving a turnout of 26.73 per cent.”

  20. This seat could go any number of directions, it depends on who is stealing votes from who.

    Locally the BNP do well in traditional Labour areas with their Authoritarian-Socialist type views.

    The Independents do well in more moderate, wealthy areas but given their lack of proper cohesion (and ability to vote against each other) I would not expect any ‘independent’ candidate to be treated as anything other than a normal ‘non-party’ candidate and therefore unlikely to attract votes.

    Depending on how the Labour vote collapses the seat could go any direction.

  21. If the total number of seats is reduced to 585, Staffordshire would probably lose a seat and maybe the best solution would be to abolish this perennially underpopulated seat and redistribute it to Stoke North and Stoke South, with parts of those seats going to Newcastle and Staffs Moorlands. Quite a number of voters from Newcastle Borough have been in either the Stoke North or Moorlands seat for a few decades; this would be a good opportunity to place most of them in the Newcastle seat.

    The southern half of Staffordshire has a generally growing population and the electorate of most of the seats in that area already have over 70,000 voters anyway.

  22. Ahead of tomorrow’s “Question Time” debate, national politicians are expressing concern about the BNP. But in this seat, which has a comparatively high BNP vote and is in a City with a history of “far right” (if that is the right term) voting going back to the 1930s, nobody seems to have commented this year except people like myself who post on psephological issues for seats across the country.

    What are the established major parties doing here to build up their position and do things for a City with many needs and where political activism has “traditionally” been weak? Can we have some reports from locals?

  23. I must have been thinking on the same wavelength as BBC2′s “Newsnight”. They had a piece about the Blurton area of Stoke last night (21st. October 2009). I don’t know enough about Stoke to know if Blurton is in this constituency, but the points I am going to make hold anyway.

    The problem in Stoke appear to be a loss of will and drive. The “Newsnight” piece from the ground came from the local working mens’ club. They interviewed the fromer Labour council leader who was defeated by the BNP 12 months ago. He came across as a nice and concerned bloke, but in the cbub with no tie on his shirt he came across as not so different from the men washed up from work sipping the daytime pint eeked out of their meagre benefits.

    It was like a scene from an eighties mining community frozen in time.

    It was mentioned that £4 million had been put into the community through grants, but it seemed to have achieved nothing.

    The program showed the BNP councillor leafletting. He was nothing special, but he was a generation younger than the Labour man.

    The discussion in the BBC studio seemed to have nobody who really knew about Stoke, indeed one of the “experts” was interviewed from abroad (I think Spain). They didn’t seem to know about Stoke. For instance, Barbara Follett talked about the problem of council’s appearing to house immigrants when actually it was private landlords using “right to buy” council houses to let out to such people. Probably a good and important observation in Barbara Follett’s Stevenage constituency, but hardly relevant to Stoke which, as we were told, is 97% white, and where immigrants have little reason to come. To be fair, Barabara Follett seemed to realise the lack of contact with Stoke in the studio: she came to and mentioned that her father had worked in a mine and her mother in pottery when they were in Newcastle-under-Lyme. But this came across as something from the past.

    Stoke is no longer so air polluted that people avoid going to the place for that reason, as opposed to social ones. I believe it has problems with old quarries and mine workings, but they are hardly insuperable. And from a map it has ecellent communications, by the M6 and on a railway half way between Manchester and Birmingham.

    In the past, Stoke had people with drive to develop the place with industry. Josiah Wegwood, obviously. And one must say that Stoke MP Sir Oswald Mosley desperately wanted to regenerate the area in the 1920s and 1930s. He did at least want to do better than the disastrous Labour and Tory economic policies by forming the New Party. But then of course he got waylaid by the fascists. But more recently Stoke seems to have had a lack of political leadership, as reflected by low turnouts and party memberships.

    It is all very well benevolent politicians trying to put in a bit of money for community schemes. But the truth is that this City, like many other areas of Britain, will only be regenerated by the creation of new industry. After all, what is work but activity to produce good that will benefit the community? And one could point out that the collapse of pottery is not, like that of coal, because a product is technologically obsolete. We still need plates to eat off. But the fabric of society has collapsed so that we no longer have nice dinner sets, and that is a national disaster in its own right. There should be corresponding opportunities for work in Stoke. For instance, painting dinner plates was a highly skilled job, which could surely be relevant to the product of other high value products where the UK could compete on skill with low wage overseas work.

    The BNP are unlikely to have good answers to the issues I have raised in the previous paragraph, but they came across on “Newsnight” as the people on the ground who want to make things better. In the medium term, if not at the next election, people will turn to the BNP if none of the other parties face up to the unavoidable reality that they will only get continued support here, as everywhere,if:-
    1. They identify with the local community, and give the best local people real opportunity to develop through involvement in the party.
    2. They don’t dodge the basic issue. People need jobs that will give them respect. Now amount of community expenditure and social payments will compensate.
    And at present none of Labour, Tories and the LibDems seem to be doing this.

    Outside politics, Stoke does have some Green shoots. Their football team is back in the Premiership. And the Britannia Building Society based here is a mutual which has avoided recent finaicail disasters. But how are these leading to social and political health for the City? From outside, it does not appear that they are doing so in any major way.

    What I know about Stoke is essentially negative. I worked in Wolverhampton for a while and lived in Shropshire. I was conscious that Stoke was nearby as a sizeable City, comparable in population to Cardiff where I previously lived. But there was never reason to go to Stoke – no big concerts or theatres or, come to that, political meetings and activities. But I am making the observations in this post all the same because it does not appear there is the local dynamism for instance to generate the local posts I beseeched when I last posted. The people in the club in Blurton are unlikely to comment on this site. I hope the above observations I have made on the “Newsnight” program may be some slight substitute.

    Stoke politics appear desperately to need bottom-up motivation to achieve the prosperity and social good that the City deserves. If the national politicians, like most people, don’t want it to be the BNP (whose predecessors have longstanding community roots here) who get something going, they had better inspire the local people to go in a better direction. And give them the jobs that wil give them the respect to be self-motivating.

    Labour in particular need to look to the future from a firmly Stoke-rooted perspective if they are to retain their political dominance here. And they need able people to do this.

    To boil this down to the central concern of this site. Labour will probably win here next time, but there could well be a very substantial BNP vote. Second, third and fourth places are up for grabs between Tory, LibDem and BNP. And unless the major political parties change what they are doing the BNP will win this seat some time in the future.

  24. What would the three Stoke on Trent seats be called if they were instead named after the 5 pottery towns???

  25. Electorates for the new Staffordshire constituencies (on 1st Dec 2008):

    Burton: 74,768
    Cannock Chase: 74,721
    Lichfield: 71,823
    Newcastle-under-Lyme: 68,722
    Stafford: 69,691
    Staffs Moorlands: 62,349
    Staffs S: 73,343
    Stoke C: 61,189
    Stoke N: 72,225
    Stoke S: 68,675
    Stone: 66,418
    Tamworth: 71,347

  26. Frederic – I too saw the Newsnight programme and agree with your observations, especially on the former Labour leader admitting that his party had been “outflanked” by the BNP! I hadn’t actually realised that Mosely was an MP for this area – thanks. The only ‘history’ I could find of far right electoral ‘success’ was the NF in Sandwell in the ’70s.

  27. You’re right re good transport links; but, it’s almost as if it has passed the locals by. Recently my Virgin Pendolino train (2hrs 9 mins Manc-London) stopped at Stoke-on-Trent and yet not a single person got on or off. I spotted a few Council flats with Union Jacks in the windows and not wishing to sound patronising I doubt the occupants have ever been to their own capital city, which is very sad and reminds me of a line in the film Billy Elliot.

  28. Thanks for the comments, Lancs Observer.

    Not only do the trains seem to pass the locals by, but perhaps more importantly the businesspeople who are probably on the train don’t look out of the window and see opportunities.

    I’ve been through Stoke too, although not recently. Indeed I even got off once (for a job interview). I think you are right. Lancs Observer, for the size of the place remarkably few people use the railway. One reason may be that people in the richer parts of Staffordshire find it easier to drive to Stafford or Wolverhampton (as did people from Shropshire when I lived there). But all the same, the lack of passengers (sorry, customers, ugh!) is symptomatic of Stoke’s problems.

  29. P.S. Lancs Observer. Don’t be too parochial about the people of Stoke. It is quite likely people in the flats have been to Stamford Bridge, The Emirates Stadium or White Hart Lane, or even Wembley.

  30. “What would the three Stoke on Trent seats be called if they were instead named after the 5 pottery towns???”

    Stoke Central contains Hanley and Stoke
    Stoke North contains Burslem and Tunstall
    Stoke South contains Longton (and Fenton)

    From 1918 to 1950 the three Stoke seats were named for the towns: There was a Stoke, Burslem a Stoke, Hanley and a Stoke, Stoke.
    Lady Cynthia Mosley (Not Sir Oswald) was elected Labour MP for Stoke in 1929 but defected to the New Party in the course of that parliament. Sir Oswald Mosley defended the seat in 1931 but came third.

  31. Quite, there are six towns in Stoke-on-Trent not five. Anna of the Five Towns is a fiction based on the city, rather than really set in Stoke-on-Trent

    Although Stoke-on-Trent is very white, it shouldn’t be forgotten that some parts of the city do have an Asian community and so it isn’t as if the whole city is monolithically white.

    Whilst Stoke-on-Trent has regenerated since I lived there, it is still very working class and many of the new companies set up there are call centres and distribution warehouses (Britannia is actually based in Leek, although admittedly that isn’t that far away). It is actually a reasonably pleasant city, but not one that developed much of a business centre other than the low-wage economy. I suspect the lack of cohesion and some distinctly parochial attitudes, (including continuing rivalries between the individual towns), also have something to do with it.

  32. Mark Fisher is the son of former Tory MP for Surbiton Sir Nigel Fisher. Mark Fisher entered the Commons as his father left it in 1983.

  33. Did Mark Fisher have any particular links with Stoke or Staffordshire before becoming an MP?

    The other old Etonian well known to have been a Labour MP in recent times, Tam Dalyell (“Black Tam O’ The Binns”) is I believe the most prominent local laird in West Lothian.

  34. P.S. I see from Wikipedia that Mark Fisher was previously a Staffordshire County Councillor and stood for Leek in 1979.

  35. One wonders how Gordon Brown’s recent attacks on David Cameron’s Eton background play here. Although to answer myself I suspect that ordinary voters have more important things to worry about, even when they are thinking about politics.

  36. Gordon Brown didn’t really attack David Cameron’s background, he attacked a key tax pledge that only the super elite stand to benefit from.

    It is only Tory policies on tax that have made Cameron’s background an issue.

    I am sure Labour would rather talk about the substantive issue of the Tories IHT policy than where Cameron went to school, it is he (DC) that is squealing about class war as a means of not having to defend the indefensible (namely the IHT policy) in the first place.

  37. What utter rot. Labour have been trying unsuccessfully to ridicule Cameron’s background ever since he became leader. Remember those ridiculous top hats and tails in the Crewe by-election, and Dennis Skinner’s sarcastic remarks in the House about Boy George and his lines of coke.

    To be honest, many working class people find this line of attack an irrelevant turn-off, as you will find to your cost in Chesterfield.

    I come from a long line of Derbyshire coal miners, and was surprised to hear from family legend that my great grandmother was a staunch Tory voter, despite her husband being an NUM branch delegate. She said that she voted Tory because when the country was in a mess, it needed people with the best education money can buy to get us out of it. This led to many arguments with my great grandfather, of course, but there are still many working class people in marginal seats who think that way, and it is one of the reasons David Cameron will be the next prime minister.

  38. I bet there’s a lot of ex miners very grateful for the work ‘the best education money can buy’ did for the coal industry.

    I didn’t think that we ran a great campaign in Crewe so I’ll give you that one, but Cocaine isn’t a class issue and as I have already explained the central point behind the PM’s IHT line was about the policy not the school.

    If it’s ‘rot’, why doesn’t Cameron ignore it and justify how his tax cut for the super rich fits in with the age of austerity he has planned for the rest of us poor suckers?

  39. Toby I think you miss the point about IHT.Most people wouldnt ofcourse benefit but its the indication that unlike Brown the Tories would actually reduce taxes and allow us to actually keep some of our own money and god for bid pass some on to our families.

  40. I’m afraid you’re rather missing the point DB. I aint going to get to keep any more of my money becuase I dont stand to inherit over £1,000,000, and nor do 99% of the population.

    I understand why tax cuts are popular, I do pay tax myself, but it would be nice if the priority was those who weren’t already millionaires.

    Prettty radical aren’t I?

  41. The hypocrasy of some Ministers is galling – Harriet Harman”s public school roots are every bit as deep as Cameron’s and Osborn’s and Ed Balls is not far behind. And I note that rather than send her son to a school in her Peckham constituency, Harriet chose to hide behind her husban’s catholicism and send him to the London Oratory instead. So, local schools for her constituents but something better for her family.

    As far as IHT is concerned, there is Government hypocrasy there too. Don’t I recall Government promises to reform it and raise the threashold back in Autumn 2007 when the Tories first announced their plans? The reaction to what was then considered to be a popular announcement by the Tories was to copy it, or at least go along with the suggestion that it was ripe for some changes. How “indefensible” was a change in IHT policy considered to be back then?

    I myself am not a particular fan of raising the IHT threashold, but it is galling to see how completely insincere this government can be.

  42. Its not so much which tax is cut so much as the commitment to cut.I cant afford Brown anymore and his enthusiasm for spending my money on useless causes.He’s wasted enough of my money in the last few years like most tax payers i cant wait to see the back of him.Ofcourse he’s spent most of my money buying the votes of the idle/improvident.

  43. Your second paragraph is absolutely spot on SE London Observer. At the back end of 2007 the Labour Party suddenly realised how unpopular IHT is, but now they seam to have forgotten.

  44. “I cant afford Brown anymore and his enthusiasm for spending my money on useless causes”

    What ….like treating people with cancer, educating our children and policing our streets?

  45. On the IHT we’ll have to agree to disagree,

    I think that the 99% of the population who aren’t set to inherit £1Million should be the priority, you guys don’t, lets just leave it there.

  46. Inheritance tax should be set in a way that doesn’t penalise the average home-owner. I agree that millionaires shouldn’t be the focus of policy.

  47. Having been the victim of street violence by some teenage druggie I dont think much of my tax has been well spent on either education or policing.Thats the issue really 100′s of billions litteraly thrown away with nothing to show for it.Too much spent on buying spongers a comfortable life.My partner has been waiting 2 months to have “fast track” treatment for a life threatening blood disorder,perhaps if he was a junkie he would have been seen by now.

  48. Any news on the Conservative CSI here?

  49. No, it is not as simple as that Toby. If the government were to say that in the better economic climate of 2007 we were favourable to a reform of IHT, but that now we need to curb the deficit, that is unaffordable, this would be a perfectly defensible position.

    Instead, they are imagining that we will forget their then sympathetic comments on IHT changes and are starting to use it as a part of their class war line of argument – as indeed you have in postings above. That is the hypocracy. Two years ago you were essentially supportive of IHT reform for perfectly legitimate reasons (which I happen to disagree with). Now you want us all to forget that and pretend that you were, as a party, always opposed to tax giveaways for the rich. Cant.

  50. It is interesting that my post about Mark Fisher being an Etonian has generated a rash of comments on public school education and inheritance tax for a seat about which people up to now have seem to have paid little attention.

    I suspect that people do not think educational background as irrelevant as they like to admit.

    It is interesting, as SE London Observer comments, that some MPs get caught on their public school backgrounds whilst others do not.

    Having gone to University in Scotland, I think the worst example is perhaps Blair. Whilst in England a small but not insignificant proportions of children go to public schoo, and it is hardly their choice, in Scotland there was a long tradition that everybody goes to the same school: Acadamies in places like Dundee were highly selective but were open to clever but poor scholars. However, Edinburgh is the exception: there is a network ot private schools with a definite pecking order. At the top is Fettes, where Blair went. Further, my personal impression is that Fettes marked Blair’s politcal views and actions, albeit in the sense of a negative reaction to his upbringing. It was not irrelevant. But it was never really picked up.

    In the case of Cameron, he certainly started out as a “toff”: if not Eton he had choice whether or not to join the Bullingdon Club. But, again as a personal impression, I think his perspective got drastically changed when he needed the Welfare State for family reasons. And politicians are allowed to change (provided they appreciate the implications and act accordingly). The big question, of course, is how Cameron’s image is managed by Tory party advisers, and indeed whether attacks by Labour Party managers (which personally I think ill-advised if only on the grounds that they invite retaliation) translate into changed voting.

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