Monthly Archives: April 2012

Switzerland ‘flags’ up a solution to integration

It would appear that Ticino League, the Conservative nationalist party in Switzerland, are a tad upset about a proliferation of foreign flags – something with which the SVP, the Swiss People’s Party, are in agreement. As a spokesman for the SVP stated:

“Displaying two flags gives a double positive message: the person is proud of his roots and loves Switzerland and its values.”

Seems like a good idea, what’s not to like if immigrants wish to demonstrate they are integrating – perhaps we should adopt it over here.

Update: It also appears that one member of the SVP is not too happy with the Germans. In both cases some Swiss politician’s views turn green at what they consider the obscenity of both suggestions.

Parliamentary privilege

The biggest error of any British politician, however clever they believe themselves to be, is to underestimate the intelligence of the British electorate and an unwritten national understanding that politicians are subject to the people’s desire for change – not the other way around. For Britain’s democracy is the people’s democracy. It should not be the plaything of the political establishment in Westminster.
Mark Pritchard – Mail on Sunday 02/01/11

A quotation I used on a post from January 2011 – and one that is still relevant today as the political class continue to believe that they do have the right to subject the people to change that they, the politicians, decree. It is not just that the political class play fast and loose with our democracy, but in so doing they play fast and loose with our traditions and our society in general. The transformation of neighbourhoods into what have become ‘foreign territory’; the schools where the majority of children do not speak English; the fact that there is a strain on public services due to immigration – none of that affects our political class. As a result of playing fast and loose with our society (not forgetting our sovereignty and democracy) it can be held that our political class is just as guilty of genocide (the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group) as was Adolf Hitler. The preceding statement may well be unpalatable to some, but to those aged 50, or older, I say just look around you then compare and contrast.

The blindness of our political class is unbelievable when considering matters about which they tend to become quite animated. If one takes the example of reform of the House of Lords, the burning question with which the political class appear to be consumed is how to ensure that the House of Commons retains its authority where our democracy is concerned. It matters not, really, how the House of Lords is reformed and which House remains dominant when neither will be able to influence the laws introduced in this country due to the ‘EU effect’. MPs may well talk about sovereignty, supremacy and authority of the House of Commons, but consider were not all three aspects ‘trashed’ in 1972 when the country was misled into joining what was then the Common Market? Reform of the House of Lords will be decided by parliamentarians as each House has the right to regulate its own internal affairs regardless of any ‘consultation’ that may be taken with others. Ok, like me you may consider reform of the House of Lords not an ‘internal matter’ – but pound to a penny that is how it will be conducted and presented to the people.

The present government has just released a Green Paper on Parliamentary Privilege (89 pages, but well worth reading) concerning such aspects as freedom of speech, freedom from arrest, freedom from attendance at court, and other ‘privileges’. What is ironic is that some of these ‘freedoms’ are based on the Bill of Rights 1689 and also on Common Law, so we have the situation whereby where the behaviour of parliamentarians is concerned the Bill of Rights 1689 and Common Law are suddenly important, but where the behaviour of the people is concerned it could be said that the ‘parliamentary jackboot’ is employed.

With regard to the Green Paper itself, some of the statements are laughable as they assume situations that just do not happen. From the Foreward:

“All strong democracies have at their core the recognition that parliamentarians must be free to speak their mind in debates – and MPs to represent their constituents’ views – without fear or favour. This is at the heart of the privileges of Parliament which are an integral part of our constitutional arrangements. Indeed, the privileges of the Westminster Parliament are the model for the privileges of many legislatures around the world.”

Since when have parliamentarians been free to speak their minds in debates and to represent their constituents views without fear or favour? Whilst political parties employ Whips to coerce MPs, who in the main appear to posses backbones of jelly, it is difficult to see what relevance freedom of speech has. Whilst MPs appear far more interested in personal advancement within the political arena, it is likewise difficult to see what relevance freedom of speech has. As most MPs appear to adhere to the principles espoused by Edmund Burke, since when have they represented the views of their constituents. Perhaps because the privileges of the Westminster Parliament are the model for the privileges of many legislatures around the world is the reason that not just in our country, but elsewhere, politicians are generally held in disrepute.

Reverting to the point made above regarding the blindness of our political class being unbelievable when considering matters about which they tend to become quite animated – which they, no doubt, will with regard to any tinkering with their parliamentary privileges – it is also ironic that much is made about the independence of a sovereign Parliament. The Green Paper also mentions the ‘dignity of both Houses’ – err, excuse me, what dignity?; it maintains that Parliament is the paramount forum of the nation as it passes legislation – really? Is it not a case that now all it mainly does is rubber-stamp legislation that it is handed from Brussels?

As it has been agreed that parliamentarians are the servants of the people and that the people are the masters, should not it be the masters that decide the rules by which Parliamentarians abide? A complex question, admittedly, but is there not a principle involved, namely that Parliament belongs to the people, not politicians?

There will no doubt be much to cover on 14th July, however as I believe this subject is central to any definition of democracy it is hoped it may get raised.



That pesky elephant, again

which still remains invisible to the naked eye of our media – but which conversely is all to visible to our politicians. I write of course about the European Union and the question of governance of our country. The litany of laws introduced into this country that are a result of compliance to EU Directives or Regulations grows by the day and even questions in Parliament are deflected by ministers responding on behalf of the government.

Some may have seen a report in the Mail, to which the Boiling Frog refers, that informed us the Queen will not be enjoying Lamprey Pie, a traditional dish sent to the Monarch to mark royal milestones. So a tradition that has survived for centuries is now prohibited as a result of orders from Brussels.

Helen, Your Freedom and Ours, reports on a refusal to answer a written question from Lord Willoughby de Broke on minimum pricing of alcohol. As Helen comments,  it will be the Commission that will make the decision but the politicians are going to say as little as possible about that.

What the removal of the ‘EU factor’ where the governance of our country is concerned is but censorship, one practised either by political decree issued to the media or by the compliance of the media as a result of political pressure. Which of the foregoing scenarios is correct matters not as either means that our government do not wish the people to know the truth.

 “For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” – John F. Kennedy

And a nation that is afraid of its people is a nation under a totalitarian regime.


If the system is wrong, change it!

Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph, has another in his series of ‘Big-up Cameron’ op-ed pieces in today’s edition. One paragraph caught my eye where he compares the job of Prime Minister with that of the reported ‘easy life’ for Wilson and Macmillan. At the end of the paragraph in question Brogan writes:

“……… In fact, it is hard to see the appeal of the modern version: power, yes, but with relentless demands and constant tiredness.”

There is no need for ‘relentless demands and constant tiredness’, a state of affairs that only results from attempting to be a jack of all trades and resulting in being a master of none. A great deal of what Cameron becomes involved in nationally he need not, were we to have a system of direct democracy because those national matters would be dealt with and resolved locally – after all, should not local politicians earn their keep?

Another telling Cameron comment Brogan relates is that when asked why he wanted to be Prime Minister Cameron reportedly replied: “Because I’d be quite good at it”. That in itself, to my mind, suggests that Cameron looks on the position as the pinnacle of a career and not as the pinnacle of performing a public service.

It is strongly suspected that for those entering the political scene the lure is that of fame coupled with the opportunity to lead a cosseted life with all the perks and privileges attached. For those that achieve the office Cameron holds, together with those who achieve the position of Secretary of State, means that they do indeed become household names and while recognising the hardships that such positions enforce on them, it is felt that those politicians believe it is but a small price to pay for fame and fortune. Compare and contrast with politicians in Switzerland – does one read of them being stressed; of having relentless demands or suffering tiredness? No – because not only are those politicians part-time but they are responsible for only a few matters of state, with national matters handled by Cantons and Communes. Without resorting to Google can anyone name one of the Swiss Council which equates with our Cabinet? It should also be borne in mind that members of the Swiss Council have, in some cases, held their positions for a number of years – they have, in effect, become experts in the field for which they have responsibility, unlike those in this country that rise from what appears to be a cesspool of incompetence.

The foregoing is but a further example of how our system of democracy is broken and in need of repair. Ask yourself what company would continue to employ those who show no ability? What company would then rehire those they have sacked to perform the same jobs they had previously held? What company would rehire those who had previously brought that company to its knees financially? It looks very likely that if our present situation persist, then come the next general election that is exactly what the electorate will do.

Just saying……………………..




Fox Hunt – the pack is in full cry

Well, it was obvious that you can’t snare a Fox without a Hunt – and with the latter you need a pack of dogs. The politicians, together with the media, are in full cry today baying for blood and what a disgusting, despicable display it presents to the rest of the world where the standing of our nation is concerned.

The probity of not only Jeremy Hunt has been called into question, but also that of David Cameron – and with the evidence of Rupert Murdoch to follow at a Select Committee hearing it could well be the list of politicians involved will grow. Harriet Harman tweets this morning: “We have to ensure that never again do we allow a media mogul to get so powerful that he subverts the political process.”; and as nothing is certain, she may well regret that tweet as events unfold. 

Richard North, EU Referendum, in a post today talks of cyclical politics and therein lies the problem with the political process that we currently endure. Since the Liberal administration early last century, governments of this nation have been formed by either the Labour Party or the Conservative Party; and thus has this nation been no more than a ping pong ball whose direction of travel has been at the whim of two players who will use any cheap shot to ensure that they win.

The two players involved in this game possess no sense of fair play, no sense of honour and no sense of principle – and, unfortunately it seems, neither do those players waiting in the wings for their turn in the arena. It is ironic that Harriet Harman declares that which she has when it is the politicians who have themselves subverted the political and democratic process – something obvious to anyone with any nous.

The future of democracy and this nation can only be considered as dismal – and frightening – if this game of political ping pong is allowed to continue; dismal for the spectators as it is becoming boring; and frightening because as the spectators leave in droves due to the boredom, the players will be able to bend the rules even further to their own advantage without an audience to shout ‘foul’.

Of course the audience do not realise that they do have the ability to control the game in that they have the ability to set the rules by which the game is played – sadly and more importantly, neither do they appreciate that that which they consider a game is anything but. Our politicians have been extremely astute in ensuring that the system of representative democracy under which we live is the only system of which the public are allowed to be aware.

When the people are made aware that other systems of democracy do exist, that they can control the political class, then they will cease behaving as compliant sheep and rediscover that they are in fact lions – and that is what, I believe, the Old Swan Manifesto will accomplish. On the basis that the fire of true democracy is now but an ember, I am reminded of a verse by J.R.R. Tolkien that is quite pertinent:

“From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring,

Renewed shall be the blade that has broken,

The crownless again shall be King.”



The fear of a big society

David Cameron frequently promotes (I forget the number of ‘launches’) his Big Society idea as the means for those in a community to work together, thus promoting social cohesion and the betterment of that community.

When reading stories such as the two mentioned in this article one can but wonder how on earth Cameron hopes to get his idea off the ground. The outcome of the first story in which one man will now be haunted by the thought that his inaction resulted in the needless death of a child can be laid at the same door as that of the second story in which one man has had his career ruined through an act of kindness. Unfortunately it will be of no consolation to Clive Peachey or Martin Davis that they are but two statistics among many who have had their lives ruined by the actions of politicians who permit unelected and officious bureaucrats to wreak havoc in the lives of those whom they are meant to serve. It is only necessary to read Christopher Booker’s column in the Sunday Telegraph to read story after story detailing the lives of parents ruined by those working within the area of child protection (example here). Plus, because it needs repeating time and time again, there is what can only be termed the disgusting and distasteful treatment of Hollie and Anne Grieg about whom I posted here – a story that has yet to feature in the MSM to my knowledge.

We have all, at one time and another, no doubt read similar stories in the press, shaken our heads while remarking: “shocking” or “how can that sort of thing happen”. One can indeed ask how such instances as those notated above can happen in what is supposed to be a civilized society and democracy, one created by those we elect to supposedly govern for the greater good.

It has happened because we, the people, have subcontracted our responsibilities to politicians and in so doing have failed to take any real interest in that which they then proclaim they are doing for our benefit. We have turned away and immersed ourselves in Coronation Street, East Enders, X Factor and the ‘doings’ of such nonentities as Simon Cowell – and therein we have abrogated not only our own responsibilities but those we owe to our fellow man. Through our political apathy we have allowed not only ourselves but also our fellow man to be subjected to many injustices; the degradation of our country both socially and economically; the loss of individual freedom in many, many areas; and culminating in the loss of what should be considered the greatest of all prizes, namely our self-esteem.

To those in our country who believe the state is harmless, that it is our fairy godmother, all I can say to you is: just wait for the state to interfere and regulate your lives to the nth degree – because it will, mark my words. To the politically apathetic in our country I can but refer you to the words of a German pastor, one Martin Niemöller:

“First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

It is you, the apathetic, who will have no-one to speak out for you. It is at that point that you, the apathetic – who laugh and sneer at us, who ignore us, we who are attempting to save what is left of what was once a magnificent country – who will then remember us, at which point it will be too late.

Just saying………….





Confused dot Con?

Daniel Hannan blogs on the question of reform of the House of Lords and whether there should, or should not, be a referendum on that subject and in so doing appears to offering a confused opinion.

He states that there is a difference between the everyday issues that we expect MPs to decide (education, immigration and so on) and changes to the system itself (citing A. V. Dicey who maintained that a difference exists ‘between laws which are not fundamental and constitutional and laws which are’); which is an odd statement from someone who supposedly agrees with the principles of direct democracy, a system in which everyday issues are most definitely not left to central government. Neither is there a difference between what are and what are not fundamental and constitutional laws – any law should only be enacted with the agreement of the people.

It is also strange when Hannan asserts that it is because of all-party agreement that a referendum is necessary to avoid a stitch-up. Whether there is all-party agreement or not, is not any political decision questionable on the grounds that a stitch-up is in the offing because, as Hannan states, any decision will be enacted  to suit professional politicians rather than the public? As examples one only has to look at the subjects of recall of MPs, localism and MPs expenses.

Mocking Clegg’s assertion that a referendum would be to ‘subcontract the decision to the British people’ as political arrogance, he contradicts himself by also asserting that the ability of the electorate to be allowed the opportunity to decide their next elective dictatorship is an example of democracy.

In fairness though, Hannan is correct when he proffers the suggestion that politicians aversion to referenda is that it may produce a more open system than they would like – which is why no doubt we will never get a referendum on a change to direct democracy and “Referism”.

Governments ‘in control’ – the need for

So posts John Redwood today, on which I have posted the following (awaiting moderation):

“Your fourth and fifth paragraphs illustrate that we are not a sovereign nation and that our government does not govern the country, as politicians of all parties would have us believe. Not only that, but you repeat the mantra about repatriation of powers.

When I raised the matter, on a post of yours a few days ago, as to how and under what Article in any treaty this could be accomplished; when I pointed out that repatriation of powers is just not on the agenda because if just one power was repatriated to one country it would ensure a tsunami of similar requests from other countries resulting in the collapse of the EU, I notice that no answer from you was forthcoming.

On a separate, but related subject, why should the decisions and enforcement of same just be subject to Parliament; do the views of the people not feature in this? Why should government be able to act in what is no more than a dictatorial manner when we are supposed to be a democracy? If David Cameron maintains, as he did outside No10 on entering, that the people are the masters and politicians but their servants, how do you justify this dictatorial government thingy to which you seem so wedded? You are, no doubt, aware of the call for ‘Referism’ to be introduced into our politics, or is that concept stretching democracy too far in your view?

Your non-response may be due to the fact that I am not a constituent of yours and therefore in common with other MPs you feel no obligation to so respond, but there must be constituents of yours who feel as I do, so how about a reply for their benefit? It is to be hoped that, unlike other MPs, you will not shun a debate on the subjects of government and democracy.”

It is a continuing gripe of mine that MPs invoke this ‘only talk to constituents’ thingy – are they not public servants and therefore do they not have a duty and responsibility to discuss matters of concern with any member of the public?

Bearing in mind that, as Richard North has stated, democracy per se in this country is non-existent, we shall see whether Mr. Redwood ‘takes the bait’.


Update: A conversation (of sorts) has begun………





From Edward Spalton and reproduced with his permission:

“If you have been on holiday to some of the more popular foreign destinations and seen our fellow countrymen and women en masse, it certainly gives you second thoughts about the desirability of being ruled by such people.

By “Democracy” most people also assume a limited government, securing property rights and constrained by law but that is not inherent in the word itself which simply means “rule by the people” who can be stupid, brutish, selfish, capricious and destructive.

The American founding fathers were very conscious of this and built in checks and balances to restrain the potential power of the people  to overturn law and decency. The form of government they adopted was “republican” rather than “democratic”. As one of them remarked,  too “democratical” a constitution would mean “We have but exchanged King George for King Numbers”. A lynch mob is democratic, proceeding by majority. A jury is limited by rules and requires unanimity.

Even with their entrenched, super-statutory  constitution, Americans of our sort of outlook have much the same grievances about the duopoly of arty power and erosion of rights and freedoms which, they believed, were secured for all time. Growth of central government has been the main cause, impelled by two world wars and never checked. Even the independent Supreme Court, supposedly the ultimate guardian of such rights, has succumbed to legal activism and seen fit to interpret the constitution in ways which destroy states’ and individual freedoms which the founding fathers would certainly have regarded as essential.

The Whig historian Macaulay, writing in the early nineteenth century with the benefit of a classical education, observed that no democracy could long survive the discovery by the people that they could vote themselves funds from the public purse.

From the fairly Spartan safety net provision envisaged by the Beveridge report, the Welfare state has grown monstrously into a very popular universal  provider.  It was one of the aims of the “Civilised society” envisaged by Roy Jenkins to erase every last distinction between “deserving” and “undeserving” recipients of state benefits of all sorts. His was the era when single motherhood became a reasonable career option for women of modest attainments. The state became the complaisant
husband, providing for the offspring of successive “baby fathers”.

So a huge function of government is now redistribution of wealth in the cause of “equality”. This has moved into the field of law and mind manipulation in a very intensive way. It was within the power of the Conservatives to have stopped Harriet Harman’s monstrous “equalities” Act in the wash up at the end of the last Parliament. But they let it through and are enthusiastic supporters of its perpetual search for discrimination of all sorts – hence the promotion of homosexual “marriage” as a supposedly conservative value. From reaching into pockets, the state now reaches deeply into minds – and it seems to be
widely and passively accepted. When canvassing some years ago, people would often start to tell me their minds and then check themselves suddenly, asking “Am I allowed to say that?”

This level of mind control has not been achieved by brute government force but has been made possible by the cooperation of the mass media. Without it, the state would not have been able to achieve this level of automatic self-policing of thought and speech.

Political parties used to represent real constituencies of interests and opinions. To operate, they needed extensive local organisations, largely staffed by volunteers giving their time and effort for the cause and for their perceived self interest.

With the advent of sophisticated mass media manipulation, that is all very old fashioned and unnecessary. Activist members expected to have their opinions heard and debated at meetings and national conferences – the antithesis of the modern, smooth projection of the party and leader, united behind the carefully crafted phrases and logo-branded programme and message. Party members can be very inconvenient for the leadership. The full weight of anti terrorist legislation was brought down on an old gentleman who dared to shout “rubbish!” at a Labour Party Conference. In the late Nineties, a senior UKIP figure of the day told me “Why should we want more members? They only create expense”. He was certainly on the
ball with regard to the way the main parties are  organised today.

Parties are now marketing brands, dependent on the perceptions which they create through the media. In exchange for  franchised use  of the brand, politicians largely surrender their independence of speech and action. The bargain is “Toe the line and we will get you elected and keep you there”.

The Leveson enquiry is revealing the astonishing licence which the “Fourth Estate” has been granted by the political class. Newspapers and other media outlets would never have dared to behave in the way they have done, if they had not had a nod and a wink from politicians ultimately responsible for their regulation. Close social relationships were fostered between cabinet ministers and editors. This is rather different from a newspaper proprietor occasionally lunching with a
minister. Now, media and politics are essentially mutually dependent parts of the same increasingly corrupt, manipulative business.

Real parliamentary reporting has almost disappeared from serious newspapers. It used to be a mainstay of the broadsheets but, in an era of soundbites, it is beyond the capacity of the average reader to absorb. Additionally, the whole parliamentary process has become a charade with the real decisions made elsewhere. So most debate is a ritualised sham, like the circus around Prime Minister’s Question Time. Where in the Commons today would you find an orator of principle and
passion who could bring MPs from their bars and offices just to listen to the performance, knowing it would be something significant?

The parties would not go banging on about “equality” or “equalities” so much if their focus groups did not tell them it was popular. Back in the Sixties Labour demanded an educational system which would give not just equality of opportunity but equality of outcome. So, paradoxically, the elite has to appear to campaign against “elitism”. It is a fraud, of course. The progressive educationist, who campaigns for local dialects or Jamaican patois to be recognised as equal to standard English, got his position and eminence because of his own mastery of standard English of a jargonised sort – as did every other Frankfurt Marxist university lecturer. Their ascendancy is now so entire that the Conservative party has surrendered to the doctrine in its attempt to stop being “the nasty party” and to “detoxify the brand”.

By definition fifty percent of the population will be of below average  intelligence and attainments. A considerable proportion of the upper fifty per cent , often in positions of power and leadership, has been persuaded that it is “caring and compassionate” to play on the resentments of the less successful and make their careers out of it. The proponents of comprehensive education demanded that children should “rise with their class not out of it”. Leicestershire was the first
county to go comprehensive in the Fifties and the Leader of Ashby de la Zouch Urban District Council expressed the aim rather succinctly. “Good, working class lads go to grammar school, get good jobs and vote Tory. We’re going to put a stop to that.”  My teachers ( who, I guess, were mostly Labour voters) were horrified. That aim has been achieved and now
further state intrusion in the selection of children on class grounds for university entrance is necessary to correct the effect of the policy!

Notoriously, the most enthusiastic closer of grammar schools was one Hilda Margaret Thatcher. The Conservative party, then as now, saw that soft-headed equalitarianism was popular with the people and so sticks to the same policy to this day.

People who have come to accept this type of state and its deliberately aroused expectations of prosperity and equality of outcome “for the many not the few”, largely regardless of merit and effort, are unlikely to be very keen on real democracy where they would have to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices.  Far easier to expect  “proper planning” and that “they” should do something about it and to become the dupes  of the grievance mongers when their expectations are not met.

Every revolution and successful political movement has depended not on “the people” but on a committed elite of one sort or another who knew what they wanted and organised to get it. Whether it was the Whig nobles who organised the Revolution of 1688, the totally devoted ideological cadres of the Bolshevik party who brought about the appalling Russian revolution or the “aristocracy” of the Labour party which emerged and developed over only a few generations – the Harmans, Toynbees, Milibands and the like. Conservatives tended to place their trust in established leaders of society. They felt they could trust a gentleman but those days of deference are gone. No longer could a Willie Whitelaw put on his Guards Brigade tie to crush a rebellion in the party ranks and tell them that “like it or not”, this or that was going to happen. The solution has been largely to get rid of most of the party rank and file. As Stalin remarked of dealing with his own little, local difficulties “No people, no problem”.

So where will we find the necessary, credible, committed  elite to lead a tamed, apathetic,  people, brainwashed to be risk averse, to the difficult idea of actually ruling themselves?”

In response to Edward’s last question I would hope that following the final, agreed, adoption of the Old Swan Manifesto, conversion of the people to the idea of actually ruling themselves will prove unstoppable and therefore the need of an elite section of society to do that will be unnecessary.


France on the fiddle?

With the results in France showing that Hollande has achieved 28.4%; Sarkozy 25.5% and Le Pen 20%, rumours are surfacing that outside France and in 16 Departments within France ballot papers for Le Pen were ‘withheld’. Meanwhile, Durotrigan posts on what appears to be ‘block voting’ by France’s Muslim population in favour of Socialist candidates, noting that in 2007 Segolene Royal won 64% of the Muslim vote.

At least, it seems, in Communist Russia under Stalin voting papers were actually issued…………..*


* Stalin reportedly said: “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.”, the validity of which is questionable.  A historical source has been found for one variant of this quote. The source is Boris Bazhanov’s Memoirs of Stalin’s Former Secretary, published in 1992 and only available, so far as I know, in Russian. The pertinent passage, which appears near the end of chapter five, reads as follows (loosely translated):

“You know, comrades,” says Stalin, “that I think in regard to this: I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.” Source


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