Tag Archives: chair

Nadine Dorries appoints new charity regulator – the wrong way

Nadine Dorries: wrong again.

If you heard a job had become available because a candidate had failed, went for it, and then found you weren’t considered because the bosses couldn’t be bothered to do it all again, wouldn’t you be upset?

If so, you can understand why the House of Commons Culture committee refused to endorse Nadine Dorries’s decision to make Orlando Fraser the new chair of the Charity Commission.

Mr Fraser was only appointed because Dorries’s original choice – Martin Thomas, who was reported to be a long-time friend of Boris Johnson – resigned after just a week in the job over allegations of inappropriate behaviour in a previous post.

She simply went back to her shortlist and appointed the candidate who was next on the list – to the disgust of the Culture committee:

Withholding its approval for Mr Fraser’s appointment, the cross-party Culture Committee said in its report that Ms Dorries should have initiated an entirely new selection process at that point, rather than picking another candidate from the existing shortlist.

The “slapdash” failure to rerun the process raised “serious concerns” about the selection process and the lack of diversity in the shortlist, the committee said.

The controversy has cast a shadow over Mr Fraser’s tenure, before he even started in the job.

No matter what he does now, he will always be considered a second-best choice who only get the role because a government minister couldn’t be bothered to do her job properly.

Source: Nadine Dorries appoints new charity regulator in face of objections from parliamentary committee

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#ShaunBailey: Former London Mayor candidate quits police committee role after rule-busting Christmas party

Shaun Bailey: he was the Conservative candidate for Islamophobia, sexism and misogyny. Now he has resigned from a police committee after breaking rules on attending Christmas parties last year.

Remember Shaun Bailey?

I do.

He was the Tory racist and sexist who stood as their candidate in the London mayoral election that Sadiq Khan won.

Here‘s the BBC:

A former Conservative mayoral candidate who attended a Covid regulation-breaching Christmas party has quit as chair of a police and crime committee.

Shaun Bailey’s team organised the gathering at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters on 14 December 2020 when London was under Tier 2 restrictions banning household mixing.

He has now stepped down from the role but remains a member of the committee and the London Assembly.

Note that Bailey would have been quite happy to stay on the London Assembly’s Police and Crime committee if a photo of him at the rule-busting party had not been published in the Mirror.

And he’s happy to remain a member of the committee, even now!

These Tories. There’s not an ounce of integrity in any of them.

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What was she going to say? Hear Labour conference chair’s censored speech today

Foiled: Kathryn Johnson is led away by Labour’s ‘Southside Stasi’ (as recreated by actors).

Funny how, in trying to disassociate Labour from socialism, Keir Starmer’s cuckoos are acting increasingly like the former communists they claim to despise.

In the latest act of suppression, they prevented London Conference Arrangements Chairperson Kathryn Johnson’s speech from being heard – and then cancelled the whole online event.

Apparently she was going to criticise Keir Starmer’s leadership – and we can’t have that in the so-called Party of Free Speech, can we?

The conference had previously been brought forward from November to July, in order to ensure it could be held entirely online where it could be tightly controlled by the Southside Stasi.

Now, according to Skwawkbox,

The party’s apologists, in what appears to be a coordinated move, are now attempting to limit the damage by claiming she was cut off because she was being libellous – a claim attendees at the conference say is entirely untrue.

We can all find out the truth of that matter for ourselves by watching Socialist Telly today (July 26) at 8pm, when Ms Johnson will provide her speech, free of Starmer-style censorship, for all to hear.

You can find Socialist Telly on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Source: Labour shuts down London conference entirely in middle of chair’s speech to prevent her criticising Keir Starmer – SKWAWKBOX

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The Johnson age of corruption and patronage: he appoints Dacre to run Ofcom and Moore to the BBC

Charles Moore and Paul Dacre: One doesn’t believe in public-service broadcasting, so he has been put in charge of the BBC; the other doesn’t believe in impartial, statutorily-regulated media so he has been given the media regulator Ofcom.

There was no process about these appointments; they are a gift from Boris Johnson to flunkies he wants to do his will.

He knows Dacre will ensure that far-right propaganda gets an easy ride from the broadcasting watchdog because Dacre published far-right propaganda every day in the Daily Heil and gave it an easy ride when he was in charge at the Press Complaints Commission (now IPSO).

This Writer is less familiar with Charles Moore, which tends to indicate that I had a taste of his work and turned away in disgust. From the words of others, I understand there will be no attempt at political balance while he has any say in what goes on at Broadcasting House.

Here‘s the story:

Paul Dacre, former editor of the Daily Mail, has been asked to run the national broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, while Lord Moore, the former editor of the Daily Telegraph and biographer of Margaret Thatcher, is believed to be considering accepting the role of chairman of the BBC.

The provocative choice of two such hardline anti-BBC voices has prompted anger and dismay across the broadcasting and entertainment industry. Speaking to the Observer on Saturday evening the Labour peer Andrew Adonis summed up the response of many to the news. “If true this is Cummings operating straight out of the Trump playbook with the intent to undermine our democratic institutions.”

The former government minister continued: “These would be really disgraceful appointments. Neither Paul Dacre at Ofcom nor Charles Moore at the BBC would believe in the mission of the institution they are running. Dacre demonstrably doesn’t believe in impartially and statutorily regulated media and Moore doesn’t believe in public service broadcasting, as his refusal to pay the licence fee demonstrates.”

This man refuses to pay the TV licence fee and Boris Johnson puts him in charge of the BBC!

If you’re still wondering why it’s a big deal, it means Johnson will control the media through these two puppets – and will get away with more of this:

And here are the responses:

An oligarchy is a small group of people running an entire country. That’s what Johnson wants and that is what he is getting. See this, also:

This last one is ironic:

All the organs mentioned in the tweet are indeed now in right-wing hands.

In related news…

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Russia report: new intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip but gains respect

Coup: Julian Lewis.

This is very funny indeed – but we may all have cause to be grateful for what has happened.

You will recall that concerns were raised when Boris Johnson nominated Chris “Failing” Grayling – widely held to be one of the stupidest individuals ever to be voted into office – as the chair of Parliament’s important Intelligence and Security Committee.

This is the group that would be responsible for publication of the so-called “Russia Report” on interference by that country in UK politics. The concern was that Grayling would mess up publication of that report. He has a reputation for such things.

The nine-strong committee comprises five Conservatives, three from the Labour Party and one from the SNP.

With a clear Tory majority, it was expected that Grayling would be voted into the chair – but it seems there was a coup.

The Labour and SNP representatives nominated Julian Lewis – a different Tory – for the chair, and his own vote sealed his election. The other Tories voted for Grayling, including Grayling himself.

So Johnson has kicked Lewis out of the Parliamentary Conservative Party – in official language, he has withdrawn the Tory whip.

Apparently…

A senior government source told the BBC that Mr Lewis “has been told by the chief whip that it is because he worked with Labour and other opposition MPs for his own advantage”.

By voting for himself? But wouldn’t Grayling have been working for his own advantage because he voted for himself?

And – considering the concerns about Grayling – isn’t it possible that he was in fact acting in the national interest, rather than “for hiss own advantage”?

You have to be wary of the language these government types use, you know.

It’s clear that Lewis did the right thing. He’ll gain respect for it, in the long run. And he can’t be voted out; the choice has been made.

Perhaps Johnson is just spooked because now the “Russia Report” is likely to be published before Parliament goes into recess on July 22. He has gone to great lengths to keep it away from the public since it was written last October – nine months ago.

Labour committee member Kevan Jones seems to think so:

“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. It’s been through both the committee, it’s been agreed through the redaction process, and it’s been agreed by government,” he says.

So it seems Johnson has been foiled.

And Julian Lewis losing the Tory whip is a small price to pay to find out what’s in that report.

Source: Russia report: New intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip – BBC News

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Calls mount for Corbyn to ‘come out fighting’ in support of falsely-accused Marc Wadsworth

Marc Wadsworth.

This is what happens when the Labour Party refuses to acknowledge the facts in a false accusation of anti-Semitism.

I hope you remember the case of Marc Wadsworth, the anti-racism campaigner who was instrumental in helping the family of Stephen Lawrence get an inquiry into his death, and who was then accused of anti-Semitism by right-wing MP Ruth Smeeth for no reason at all.

A judging panel from Labour’s National Constitutional Committee later expelled him from the party on the grounds that he had brought it into disrepute, even though it was the behaviour of Ms Smeeth that had done the damage. She remains an MP and a member of the Labour Party, although her actions certain warrant her removal from both positions.

Calls have been mounting for Mr Wadsworth’s case to be reviewed. At last week’s Labour Party Conference, MP Clive Lewis called on party leader Jeremy Corbyn to “come out fighting”

The Morning Star reported: “Mr Lewis said Mr Wadsworth had merely been making a political point about right-wing MPs working with right-wing newspapers.

“‘It was not an anti-semitic trope. It was a political observation,’ he said to applause…

“He added: ‘You’ve seen what happens when you stick your head above the parapet on this issue. It gets shot off,’ but he had had to stand in solidarity with a comrade and for the principle that ‘people should be able to express themselves politically.’

“He declared: ‘I would like to see Jeremy Corbyn come out fighting on this issue.’”

A crowdfunding campaign to fund the cost of Mr Wadsworth’s appeal has raised £30,000 since it was launched in April, and all I can say is I wish my own attempt to raise funds to clear my name had that kind of back-up (I’ve raised more than £5,000 since June – only a fraction of his total. Anyone willing to help me out is invited to visit my JustGiving site). Then again, our situations are slightly different as Labour has yet to arrange a hearing to judge my case.

It’s a curious coincidence that, just when the tide was beginning to turn in favour of this honourable and principled man, someone had to try to put a spanner in the works.

That person was Sarah Ditum, a critic, columnist and fellow member of the National Union of Journalists.

She waded into this matter after attending a meeting of the NUJ in which Mr Wadsworth, in his capacity as chair of the union’s Black Members Council, spoke supporting the choice of Canary editor in chief Kerry-Anne Mendoza to deliver the Claudia Jones memorial lecture (an issue I have discussed in a previous article; NUJ members also voted to support her).

She tweeted:

https://twitter.com/sarahditum/status/1045932834404347904

Notice that it was a carefully-worded attack. Mr Wadsworth had suggested that Ms Smeeth and the Telegraph reporter, with whom she was exchanging a leaflet that he had been distributing, were “hand in glove” – but there was no mention of her Jewishness until she started hollering about it herself. Her tweet stops short of saying that he was engaging in an anti-Semitic trope but that is clearly her implication. And the use of the word “defending” in reference to Kerry-Anne as “The Woman Who Publishes Steve Topple” makes it clear that we are to consider any publication of Mr Topple’s articles to be a bad thing, without having any reason to do so. Sinister.

And she drew out a series of tweets in her support, which I won’t mention any further as it is far more instructive to examine some of the comments in favour of Mr Wadsworth.

Chris Williamson, a Labour MP who has long supported Mr Wadsworth’s cause, wrote:

Mr Wadsworth himself had something to say:

And I think the following is especially pertinent:

https://twitter.com/PeterTwohey/status/1045837536982183936

This is the real issue, is it not?

It isn’t about any claim of anti-Semitism against Mr Wadsworth, that is easily disproved.

It is about his willingness to stand up and talk about what those in positions of power and privilege would prefer to keep hidden.

That’s why a false claim of anti-Semitism was cooked up against him.

It is also why that claim was reheated when he spoke in favour of a social media journalist who the right-wing, mainstream press wanted to silence.

And it is why prominent figures like Mr Lewis are asking Jeremy Corbyn to weigh in and take action.

But Mr Corbyn has been, himself, targeted with false accusations many times – especially over the summer months.

He may conclude that it would not be productive for him to speak out at this time – a decision that, I’m sorry to say, may have been the sole intention of his own accusers.

That is why people like Mr Wadsworth – and myself (don’t forget that JustGiving page) need the help of people of good conscience – from all parts of the political spectrum.

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Why did disability charity United Response appoint a private health insurance boss as chair?

Malcolm McCaig.

What can I say about the Unum corporation that I haven’t already mentioned, years ago?

Nothing. Here’s a recap:

“If we know anything at all about the Work Capability Assessment for sickness and disability benefits, we know that it doesn’t work. In fact, it kills. There is a wealth of evidence proving this, and if any readers are in doubt, please take a look at MPs tell their own Atos horror stories.

“The WCA is, at least nominally, based on the biopsychosocial model developed by George Engel. He wanted to broaden the way people think about illness, taking into account not only biological factors but psychological and social influences as well.

“The theory forms the basis of the system of insurance claims management adopted by US giant Unum when its bosses realised that their profits were being threatened by falling interest rates – meaning the company’s investments were losing value – and a rise in claims for “subjective illnesses” which had no clear biological markers – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease, even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

“The new test aggressively disputed whether the claimant was ill, questioning illnesses that were “self-reported”, labelling some disabling conditions as “psychological”, and playing up the “subjective” nature of “mental” and “nervous” claims.   The thinking behind it was: Sickness is temporary. Illness is a behaviour – all the things that people say and do that express and communicate their feelings of being unwell. The degree of this behaviour is dependent on the attitudes and beliefs of the individual, as well as the social context and culture. Illness is a personal choice. In other words: “It’s all in the mind; these people are fit to work.” (as I mentioned in When big business dabbles with welfare; a cautionary tale)

“This is the model that was put forward to the Department of Social Security (later the Department of Work and Pensions) by its then-chief medical officer, Mansel Aylward, in tandem with Unum’s then-second vice president, John LoCascio.

“Together they devised a new ‘All Work Test’ that would not actually focus on whether an individual could do their job; instead it would assess their general capacity to work through a series of ‘descriptors’. Decisions on eligibility for benefit would be made by non-medical adjudication officers within the government department, advised by doctors trained by Mr LoCascio. Claimants’ own doctors would be marginalised.”

That is how matters have remained. A claimant’s doctor hardly gets a look-in on the process nowadays, and mental health problems are not considered to be of any importance in assessing a person’s fitness for work.

I recently attended a friend’s assessment for the Personal Independence Payment. More than half of an interview that lasted longer than an hour was about her mental health – and none of it was referenced in the decision or the notes on the reasons for it.

That is the legacy of the Unum Corporation.

Its record in the UK is of a decades-long campaign to make it almost impossible for anybody to claim sickness and/or disability benefits, in order to push people into claiming its insurance policies.

And these policies are duff, because every effort would be made to prevent anybody taking one out from ever receiving a payout. The company earned itself a criminal record in the USA because of this behaviour.

So why on Earth would United Response, a charity that is supposedly dedicated to ensuring that individuals with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities have the opportunity to live their lives to the full, have any truck with such a company and its representatives?

Good question. And one for which I have no answer.

The advantage for Unum is obvious. Chairmanship of such an organisation lends the corporation an authenticity that its own record cannot provide.

I wonder if the charity’s policies and behaviour will evolve in alarming ways during the course of Mr McCaig’s chairmanship?

A disability charity’s decision to choose as its new chair the head of a company closely linked with the government’s hated “fitness for work” test has been branded “a betrayal” of disabled people and “a truly disgraceful appointment”.

United Response, which provides a range of support services to about 3,000 disabled people across England and Wales, this week announced the appointment of management consultant Malcolm McCaig (pictured).

McCaig has been a non-executive director of Unum UK since July 2009 and was appointed to chair the company’s board last year.

But Unum has spent decades attempting to influence UK government policy on welfare reform and is blamed by many disabled researchers and activists for pushing successive governments to make the process of applying for out-of-work disability benefits harsher and more stressful.

ADDITIONAL: I have been asked to publish the following: “A link to this article was published on the United Response intranet message board. This was the reply from Mark Ospedale, Director of People and Communications:

“‘Trustees including Chair’s (sic) are volunteers and they are appointed as they bring extensive skills and experience to govern charitable organisations such as ours. We undertook an extensive recruitment process resulting in an incredibly strong shortlist of candidates, Malcolm’s skill set and demonstrable understanding of the charity as well as his vast experience led to his appointment.'”

Source: Disability charity’s appointment of Unum boss as new chair ‘is truly disgraceful’

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Judge rules David Gauke was wrong to push Parole Board chair out of his job

Wrongly forced to quit: Former Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick.

This is further evidence to add to the mountain we already have, demonstrating the corruption inherent in any Conservative government.

The simple fact is that they think they can do anything they like.

A high court judge has ruled it was unacceptable for the justice secretary to pressurise the Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick into resigning, and that the board lacks independence from the government.

Hardwick resigned in March when David Gauke told him that his position was untenable following the Parole Board’s decision to release serial sex offender John Worboys.

The case was brought by Paul Wakenshaw, a British prisoner, who argued that although the Parole Board was a de facto court under both common law and the European convention on human rights, Hardwick’s removal proved it lacked the independence of a true court.

He said it was constitutionally improper for the justice secretary to have requested that the head of a judicial body resign without any procedure being followed to determine whether there were grounds for his removal. Wakenshaw also sought an order postponing the recruitment of a new chair, for which interviews are scheduled to take place this month.

On Tuesday Mr Justice Mostyn granted Wakenshaw permission to judicially review the independence of the board on the grounds there was a lack of security of tenure for Parole Board members (including the chair) – as evidenced by the circumstances in which Hardwick offered his resignation.

The judge also said that if the justice secretary decided to remove a member of the Parole Board, there was no mechanism to ensure it was a fair decision.

Source: Justice secretary wrong to push Parole Board chair to quit, judge rules | Society | The Guardian

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Ann Black ousted from chair of Labour disputes panel – but what an odd way to report democracy!

Ann Black: This image only appears to be from a 1970s TV game show.

(For clarity: This Writer is currently waiting for the disputes panel, run by Labour’s National Executive Committee, to make a decision about the false claims of anti-Semitism against me. It’s an open-and-shut case but nothing has been done for nine months and, the evening before I wrote this article, I learned that my case had again been left off the agenda of today’s (January 16) meeting. You will see that I have locked swords with Ms Black in the past. Would you blame me for wondering whether she has used her position to keep my Labour membership in limbo for all this time?)

It should be hard for any impartial observer to see the departure of Ann Black from the chair of Labour’s disputes panel as anything but a good thing.

Ms Black blotted her copy book during the Labour leadership campaign in 2016, when she supported a retrospective decision to impose an arbitrary cut-off date on the right to vote, with members who joined after that date refused the opportunity. And she supported a so-called “purge” of members who were believed likely to support Jeremy Corbyn in that election – which he still won.

Then in October that year, she supported changes to the NEC’s composition that were forced on the party in a vote at conference that did not conform to Labour rules and should not, therefore, have been allowed to stand.

My Labour Party branch submitted a motion to the constituency party where, at a meeting attended by Ms Black, it was passed and sent on to the NEC on which she still sits – and the NEC did absolutely nothing about it. At the debate, Ms Black and I took strongly-opposing positions. I recorded what happened on This Site and Ms Black continued to oppose my position in comments to those articles.

I think those articles, and her comments, are revealing. You can find them here and here.

And now Ms Black has been voted out of the chair of the Disputes Panel, in a move that is being reported as the Left taking control of it.

But wasn’t Ms Black elected to the NEC on the so-called Left Slate, meaning she is (nominally, at least) one of the Left?

Perhaps I’m not supposed to mention this as it might upset Paul Waugh’s apple cart.

The reporting of this vote seems very odd indeed.

Perhaps reporters like Mr Waugh need to remember that all but two people on the NEC were elected onto it (the two exceptions being the representatives of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament, who were selected for the role after the rigged conference vote); therefore their choices are entirely democratic and not part of some leftie conspiracy, as the reporting of this decision seems to suggest.

Let’s remember, also, that Ms Black remains a member of the NEC.

And if a future NEC vote goes against the left-wing members, will Mr Waugh be writing about “Progress-backed members of the NEC”?

Jeremy Corbyn supporters have used their new majority on Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) to take control of the party’s crucial disciplinary committee, HuffPost has learned.

Momentum-backed members of the NEC voted by 22 to 15 to oust Ann Black, the longstanding chair of the Disputes Panel, and replace her with veteran leftwinger Christine Shawcroft.

The unprecedented move means that the Left now have control of the body that decides whether to investigate sexist, racist, homophobic and anti-semitic abuse and other disciplinary cases.

Source: Momentum’s Christine Shawcroft Elected Chair Of Labour’s NEC Disputes Panel


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Tory announces ‘chair’ solution to NHS winter crisis

The culprit: Philip Dunne thinks pressures on the NHS can be handled, as long as patients have a chair to sit on.

If Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle was an attempt to divert attention away from the winter crisis that has already killed many National Health Service patients, it has failed…

… mostly because one of her health ministers managed to make a career-defining mistake during a Parliamentary debate on the situation, while Mrs May was discussing Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s Cabinet position with him in 10 Downing Street.

For those of you who are unaware of the situation (or at least, of what the Tories are saying about it), Mrs May has said the NHS has been better-prepared for what she called “winter pressures” (she doesn’t accept that there is a crisis) than ever before.

Here’s what Accident and Emergency doctor Adrian Harrop has to say about that (hint: he disagrees profoundly):

Still not convinced? Watch this:

That’s what it looks like on the ground. Here’s another doctor – Dagan Lonsdale – with the facts and figures – and a message about Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt:

The message was so strong that Ralf Little, who came under fire from Mr Hunt for suggesting that the Health Secretary had been lying to the British public, satirised himself – and landed another blow on Mr Hunt – with the following:

https://twitter.com/RalfLittle/status/949395807417053191

Meanwhile, Theresa May had been trying to calm concerns about overcrowding in hospitals. Faced with claims that some had no beds free at all, she said that delayed discharges – where elderly people (for example) were being kept in hospital when they did not need to be – were “coming down”. We’ll come back to the issue of crowding momentarily but in the meantime, here’s a graph courtesy of another doctor, Lauren Gavaghan:

Or perhaps Mrs May simply had not done her research and was saying whatever she thought people wanted to hear, in the hope that nobody would notice the falsehood. That seems to be epidemic in Conservative ministers at the moment.

Dr Gavaghan goes on to explain the situation in slightly more detail:

Some saw the Cabinet reshuffle – and the possibility of a new Health Secretary – as a ray of hope amidst all this misery:

Others were more realistic:

It was at this point that Philip Dunne MP, Conservative Minister for Health, made his career-defining contribution to a Commons debate on the crisis:

No doubt that will have provoked a reaction in you, dear reader. It certain did in others:

(Mr Mason was comparing the NHS with the case of Toby Young, whose appointment to the Office for Students was vigorously defended in the Commons chamber after the NHS debate, despite his blatant unsuitability for the job, only some of the reasons for which were mentioned in the tweet above.)

So there you have it.

There is no winter crisis because Theresa May says there isn’t.

Jeremy Hunt has been rewarded for decisions that have caused the deaths of NHS patients by being handed control over social care as well as health, in the Cabinet reshuffle.

And there’s no need to worry about hospital overcrowding because at least the very sick will have chairs to sit on.

And in the background, Tory privatisation cheerleaders are waiting for the right moment to claim that private companies could do a better job.

That moment must never come – because private companies not only can’t do a better job, they won’t.

Profit-making firms pick and choose the healthcare work they do, and wouldn’t go near Accident and Emergency treatment.

The problems we are seeing at the moment have been created entirely by the Conservatives’ decision to cut funding to the health service – a decision that has no rational basis at all.

They did it because they felt like it.

And people are dying.


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