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It’s official. Lib Dems are batsh*t crazy

By Editor
May 19th, 2015 at 1:31 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Just plain funny

There has been much discussion in the press and elsewhere in recent days about what on earth the Lib Dems will do to regain lost ground? With compassionate Tories and economically sound Labour on the rise, with EU loving Nationalist SNP and flag-waving Kippers where oh where will the Lib Dems fit in this new world order.

jelly fish

(No jellyfish were harmed in the making of this picture) ClipArts

Well have no fear – the answer appears to be plain. They plan to return to the good old days ; populating their seaside retreats with sandal-wearing beardies, and adopting policies on”humane” regulations for crabs and lobsters; the inalienable rights of goldfish, and the rights of teenagers to watch (and probably star in) porn movies.  Hacks up and down the land can at last look forward to their Lib Dem conference assignment come September and political cartoonists brush off their pens with renewed enthusiasm.

Don’t believe us? Then read this wonderful submission gracing the pages of Lib Dem Voice (in italics). We’ve added our own thoughts [in red], but do feel free to add your own.

 

“Ok, So I have heard many people asking what do the liberal democrats believe? What is Liberalism? and where do I fit into this? Well, I am going to attempt to answer these questions the best I can without boring you all to sleep”.

[GOOD LUCK WITH THAT – I MIGHT STAY AWAKE IF YOU START SAYING SOME REALLY MAD STUFF!]

“From the Preamble to the Constitution:

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We are committed to fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur and to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services.

So that’s the basic stance on the party’s views and where the Liberal Democrats are different to other parties.”

[YEAH. YOU’RE BANG ON RIGHT THERE. MOST OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES MAKE A POINT OF BEING STRONGLY IN FAVOUR OF HUNGER, IGNORANCE AND DISEASE IN THEIR FOUNDING CHARTER. THANK GOD THERE IS ONE PARTY WHICH ISN’T EXPLICITLY IN FAVOUR OF AGGRESSION AND IGNORANCE. WHERE WOULD WE BE WITHOUT YOU?]

“They believe that everyone has the right to live a good life, and where everyone has the opportunities to be the best they can be, regardless of age, colour, gender, religion, location or how wealthy you are, and we all know that currently and previously, these things do alter our paths and rights to achieve in life.”

[WEALTHY PEOPLE CAN BUY MORE THINGS. WE ASSUME YOU WISH TO BRING AN END TO THIS SITUATION. NO WEALTHY PERSON SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO USE THEIR WEALTH TO IMPROVE THEIR OPPORTUNITIES OR THEIR CHANCES OF LIVING A GOOD LIFE. THIS IS A RECOGNISED POINT OF VIEW – IT IS CALLED COMMUNISM, NOT LIBERALISM.]

“I personally know how this feels as I’m sure many of you do too. If you are not lucky enough to be able to afford to go to a good school your opportunities are lowered, or if you are from say rural areas then your opportunities are greatly different compared to those living in city centres.”

[BAN ALL PRIVATE EDUCATION AND MAKE PRIVATE TUITION ILLEGAL. WE ALSO NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY HOUSEHOLD HAS EXACTLY THE SAME BOOKS IN IT. OTHERWISE RICHER HOUSEHOLDS WILL HAVE CHILDREN ACCESSING MORE AND BETTER BOOKS. THIS IS UNFAIR AND NEEDS TO BE BANNED. PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE TO LIVE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO TRAVEL TO TRAFALGAR SQUARE AS QUICKLY AND CHEAPLY AS LONDONERS. THE CURRENT SYSTEM OF BREAKING UP THE LONDON TRANSPORT NETWORK INTO SIX ZONES WILL BE PROHIBITED. WE MUST ENSURE ALL OF THE HUMAN RACE LIVE IN THE UNIFIED “EQUALITY ZONE”.]

“I believe the same opportunities should be available to all people in all areas of the country (even the world). But, we can not achieve this level of equality if those in charge are not in favour of equality”

[NO ONE SANE IS IN FAVOUR OF TOTAL EQUALITY. THE OPPORTUNITY TO DRINK EXPENSIVE CHAMPAGNE CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE EQUALLY AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE IN THE WORLD.]

“Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on these ideas of equality and liberty. Liberty is freedom… the word liberal comes from the latin word liber which means ‘free’ man.  Liberals generally support ideas and programs such as freedom of speech,  freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, and international cooperation.”

 

[MAKE YOUR MIND UP. DO YOU WANT FREE MARKETS OR EVERYONE HAVING EXACTLY THE SAME STUFF? THEY ARE PRETTY GOOD AT THE LATTER IN NORTH KOREA. IT’S PRETTY EQUAL IN THAT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME TERRIBLE LEVEL OF MISERY.]

“Liberalism first became a distinct political movement during the age of enlightenment.. where it became popular among philosophers and economists in the western world. Isolated strands of liberal thought that had existed in Western philosophy since the Ancient Greeks, began to combine at the time of the English Civil War.

So, you know now about the basic core beginnings of liberalism and you know about the views of the Liberal Democrats… so where do i fit into this? and more importantly, what about you?”

[TELL US. TELL US. WE CAN’T WAIT.]

“I have always had a strong view that every human and animal deserve the equal right to live a free and healthy life. After all, we  share this planet  and no species is more important than the other. We each have a purpose and in turn each deserve the right to a good life.”

[OK, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY A NUTTER. YOU ACTUALLY THINK A MOSQUITO IS NO MORE OR LESS IMPORTANT THAN A HUMAN BEING. WE SHOULD ALSO STOP HEDGEHOGS FROM SMOKING CIGARETTES IN CASE THIS STOPS THEM LIVING A HEALTHY LIFE.]

“Now, I have always been interested in politics but it wasn’t until I learned about the Liberal Democrats that I realised the views and ideas behind this party are very much the views and ideas I have always tried to live by. Liberal Democrats are not here to work for the elite, they were never designed around the rich and powerful. The party  strives to achieve fairness and equality for all.”

[ESPECIALLY FOR INSECTS AND INVERTEBRATES, WHO ARE NOT CURRENTLY ENTITLED TO VOTE AND DESERVE THE SAME EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES AS HUMAN BEINGS.]

“Yes ok, they have made a few mistakes over the years, but they are just human.. like you and me.”

[PERHAPS WE NEED MORE REPRESENTATION – OR EVEN QUOTAS – FOR THE WIDER ANIMAL KINGDOM ON THE FEDERAL POLICY COMMITTEE. THOSE PESKY HUMAN BEINGS RUNNING THE LIBDEMS HAVE SURE MADE A TON OF MISTAKES. IT’S TIME TO LISTEN TO THE PANDAS AND THE GIRAFFES.]

“Sometimes people can do wrong even though they have the best intentions. The main thing to remember is this. If you learn from your mistakes  grow and develop into better things, then the mistakes you made will be more of a learning curve.  You have to try and think about all the positive outcomes from it and with regards to the Liberal Democrats,  they have done good things over the 5 years even though they were small party.”

[PERHAPS PEOPLE WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE SYMPATHETIC TO HOW SMALL THE PARTY WAS IF THE LEADER AND SHADOW CABINET HAD ALL BEEN GNATS, FROGS OR LICE? HUMAN BEINGS ARE UNFAIRLY AND UNREPRESENTATIVELY TALL AND LARGE COMPARED TO OTHER ANIMALS.]

“Now we have a Tory majority govt I fear that these next few years are going to be crucial.”

[DAMN IT.WE WERE EXPECTING THE NEXT FEW YEARS TO BE IRRELEVANT AND UNIMPORTANT. THANKS FOR POINTING OUT THAT THEY ARE GOING TO BE CRUCIAL. WE ARE NOW ALL EARS. WELL, NOT ALL EARS. WE ARE HUMAN. ELEPHANTS HAVE BIGGER EARS, I SUPPOSE. AND IT’S INEQUALITIES LIKE THESE – A MERE ACCIDENT OF BIRTH – THAT WE WANT THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS TO ADDRESS.]

“We have all seen what David Cameron is intending to do: bring back fox hunting,”

 

[IF YOU CAN HUNT FOXES, YOU SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HUNT HUMANS.]

“take away the Human Rights Act and replace it with something else”

[A TREATY TO RESPECT THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF GOLDFISH?]

“£12 billion in welfare cuts (even though there is a planned 10% pay rise for MPs).”

[YEP. IF WE PAID OUR MPs A BIT LESS, WE COULD CONTINUE TO AFFORD TO SPEND £10,000 PER HOUSEHOLD PER YEAR ON THE WELFARE STATE AND STILL WHINGE ABOUT HOW WE COULDN’T END POVERTY IN ONE OF THE RICHEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD AT THE RICHEST TIME IN HUMAN EXISTENCE. WE’RE SO GLAD WE TEACH SUBJECTIVE MATHEMATICS TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. EVERYONE (AND EVERY ANIMAL) SHOULD HAVE THE SAME BASIC RIGHT TO MAKE UP THEIR OWN NUMBERS AND DEFY THE OPPRESSIVE ARROGANT INSISTENCE THAT THINGS NEED TO “ADD UP”]

“They might be  more trustworthy with the economy than Labour but doing it off the backs of the normal average people  like me and you is not fair.”

[WTF? JUST WHAT THE ABSOLUTE F*CK? TO WRITE ALL OF THE STUFF YOU HAVE JUST WRITTEN AND CLAIM TO BE “NORMAL” IS CERTAINLY AUDACIOUS. WE SHOULDN’T BE TRUSTWORTHY OFF THE BACKS OF ANY SPECIES. THIS IS PARTICULARLY DISCRIMINATORY AGAINST JELLYFISH. THEY DON’T HAVE BACKS.]

“So how can we achieve fairness and equality in this country? I truly believe the only party who will always strive for this is the Liberal Democrats and that’s why i am proud to say I am a Liberal Democrat.”

[IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, THE PARTY SUCCESSFULLY LOST TWO THIRDS OF ITS VOTERS. WE SHOULD STICK WITH THE PLAN AND TRY AND LOSE A FURTHER TWO THIRDS OF THE DWINDLING BAND OF SUPPORTERS IN THIS PARLIAMENT. YOUR PROPOSALS ARE A BRILLIANT FIRST STEP TO TRYING TO ACHIEVE THIS. BUT IT WILL BE A LONG AND HARD SLOG TO BUILD ON THIS FIRST ENCOURAGING STEP.]

” * Leanne Jones is a full time mummy, natural born liberal and feminist who loves music, art, science & is obsessed with politics'”

[IT IS OUTRAGEOUS AND UNFAIR THAT YOU ARE A “NATURAL BORN” LIBERAL. PEOPLE DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO BE NATURALLY BORN INTO ANYTHING. GIVE ME SOME OF YOUR MONEY. NOW. TO COMPENSATE ME AND MY PET GERBIL FOR NOT BEING BORN WITH SUCH AN ADVANTAGE.]

Happy days are here again.

 

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Is classical liberalism the best hope for Lib Dems?

By Editor
May 16th, 2015 at 3:01 pm | No Comments | Posted in Liberal Democrats

David Herdson on politicalbetting.com seems to think so…

“… if being the reasonable voice of the centre won’t cut it for the Lib Dems, what will? There is of course always the well-trodden path of local activism and that no doubt has its part to play but only where the party already has an established base and that has its limits, particularly with the boundary review likely to shake up the map.

To my mind, the Lib Dems have, or could have, two genuinely distinctive messages that no other party is selling. One is being unashamedly pro-EU. That will matter in the next three years and could be the ticket back into the heart of the action. It’s true that they did play that card in 2014 and it flopped badly but a referendum may be a different matter.

The second, however, is the stronger, and is to return to a more classical liberalism: for individual freedom and against state encroachment, whether economic, social or in excessive policing powers. Some would argue that no other party is selling either message because neither is popular and there’s something in that – but unpopular doesn’t mean there’s no support and the alternative is to contest other policy ground where other stronger parties are already encamped.”

The article is worth reading in full and can be found here.

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Lib Dems : All process, but no real plan

By Editor
March 23rd, 2015 at 2:03 pm | No Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

HAT TIP: Dan Hodges has written an interesting article in the Telegraph, identifying that Lib Dem HQ is throwing many Lib Dem seats to the wolves in an effort to “survive” – funneling central money into only those constituencies it deems “winnable”.

The Telegraph article states that hard-headed Lib Dem HQ has ceased funding to a vast raft of seats, employed a US based analytics company to develop a system for micro-targeting key constituencies, and plan to ramp up Nick’s profile massively in the coming weeks. The Lib Dem leader will be “asked to “walk through the flames” one MP apparently warns (not literally, we hope, but who can tell?).

So far so good – although who knows the cost of the US company – in our collective experience they never come cheap. The Lib Dems did need a more rational system to dispersal of the, comparatively, limited money it raises. The old “system” (wide-spread flinging of money across the board) witnessed in previous campaigns was clearly not working. So that is a clear improvement on the past. And putting Nick out front is clearly the right choice. With a lame set of policies he is one of the few assets the party has remaining.

Also to be welcomed is the eventual acknowledgement that the perennial Lib Dem mantra ” It feels good on the doorstep”… is about as reliable as a support bra without the wires.

“A few will try to argue ‘But it feels really good on the doorstep’. We have to explain to them that it may feel like that, but it isn’t like that.”

Shame then, with all this marketing magnificence brought into play, no one thought to spend some time and thought on the actual product. Lame policies, contradictory values and dull assertions that “we are nicer than that lot but more responsible than the other lot” is hardly going to set the world on fire – or win votes for that matter.

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What are the Lib Dems for?

By Editor
March 14th, 2015 at 12:12 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in conference, Liberal Democrats

HAT TIP:  In case you missed it Mark Littlewood (former Lib Dem spin doctor and co-founder of Liberal Vision) had an interesting article in the Telegraph yesterday, to coincide with the start of the Lib Dem Spring conference. Kind it is not. Accurate it is undoubtedly is.

The essence of Littlewood’s point is that the Lib Dems have no message to the voter – other than to promise to be less mean that the Conservatives and more financially hard-headed than Labour… “to water down the convictions and ideals of our main political opponents“. This is certainly borne out by speeches being made up and down the country by Lib Dem MPs, highlighting what the Lib Dems have stopped the Tories doing over the past five years and why Labour can be trusted to go it alone for the next five.

And that is the problem, he says, no one knows what the Lib Dems are for.

“Obviously, there is nothing intrinsically immoral or wicked about such a proposition, but it certainly doesn’t get the pulse racing. There simply aren’t going to be millions of voters trooping to polling stations in May because they are passionate about injecting just a dash more moderation into our government. On the big questions facing Britain, the LibDems don’t sound radical at all. Is the overall tax burden too high or too low? Does the state intervene too much or too little in our lives? Is our relationship with the EU too close or too loose? Very often, the Lib Dems seem to believe that we have the balance of everything more or less right and just need a very small tweak here or there.”

[Agreed. Whether you like them or hate them, you have to accept that the parties on the rise, UKIP, Greens, SNP have conviction and passion by the bucket-load and none of them are in any doubt that things need to change for one reason of another].

Littlewood suggests that even if 20 or 30 Liberal Democrat MPs do make it back to Westminster, and by some chance find themselves back in coalition “it is hard to be at all sure what on earth they would do with it”.

Quite. So, what is the point of voting for them? – it’s like ticking the “don’t know” box on a multiple choice question. Perhaps Liverpool will provide some answers.

You can read the full article here.

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What if Nick Clegg loses his seat at the election?

By Angela Harbutt
February 26th, 2015 at 1:48 pm | 7 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

I read an interesting article on Nick Barlow’s blog a few days ago, posing the question, “What if Nick Clegg loses his seat at the election”.

In the natural order of things, the Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party, the RT Hon Sir Malcolm Bruce MP would become “acting leader” until the party could set up and run a full leadership contest.  But the problem, staring us all in the face is that Malcolm is standing down at this election. Come May 8th, the Lib Dems may well not have a Leader or a Deputy Leader.

In light of the Deputy Leader’s decision not to stand for re-election, it is a question I too have been considering in recent weeks. After all, Nick’s Sheffield Hallam seat is by no means “safe” and the distinct possibility of yet another coalition of some sort looms large, given the current polling figures. Like Nick Barlow, I have no idea if the Leader will lose his seat, nor indeed do I have perfect insight into how the political landscape will look come May 8th. It is entirely possible, given the lamentable state of the Labour Party and the utterly appalling personal ratings of its hapless leader, that the Conservative Party will, in the weeks to come, surge ahead and end up with a clear (if small) majority.

Nick Barlow and I are not alone. Earlier this month, Matthew Norman wrote in the Independent that (a) “it is likelier than ever that the Liberal Democrats will retain the balance of power, even with a massively shrunken parliamentary presence” and (b) ” there is a serious chance that the Lord Haw-Haw of tuition fees will lose his student-laden seat.” He too asked the inevitable question. If Nick does lose his seat

“who will enter coalition talks as Lib Dem interim leader, and how might that person be chosen?”

Just in case people think that the Lib Dems are total idiots, the Lib Dems have an appointed 2015 negotiating team, for better or worse, consisting of Danny Alexander MP, Steve Webb MP, Lynne Featherstone MP, David Laws MP and Baroness Sal Brinton (President of the British Liberal Democrats). Of course, 4 of the 5 negotiators are MPs seeking re-election. Come May 8th it may be that 2 or 3 of these are likewise searching for new lines of work. Can a negotiating team really go into battle with 4 out of 5 of them now outside of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party? Well that kind of depends on the strength of the leader.

So the question we must address is who does this team report to? Who will be the Leader if Nick does lose Sheffield Hallam?

Nick Barlow suggests a kind of Lib Demmy coup d’état – whereby those Lib Dem MPs still standing, meet up pretty pronto (Friday) and quickly elect a leader (or “acting leader”) amongst themselves, with the Federal Executive meeting a day later (Saturday) to “authorise” the Parliamentary Party’s choice. He argues, quite reasonably, that this procedure could be adopted in a case where force majeure applies (misplacing both your Leader and Deputy Leader does surely count as force majeure).

I don’t agree with Nick Barlow’s proposal. Sure, I reckon that all Lib Dem MPs can (and probably will) congregate in one place on Friday 8th – but whether they can agree on a new leader in a matter of minutes or hours is another issue all together. And please NO NO NO to getting the Federal Executive to “authorise” anything!

But at least Nick Barlow has the cojones to put forward an idea.

Think about it. Imagine a scenario where, in the wee small hours of May 8th, it becomes clear that the Conservatives are going to be 20 seats short of the finishing post. David Cameron surely gets onto the phone to Nick and asks if the Lib Dems are willing to open negotiations of some kind. In Nick Barlow’s scenario Nick will have to say “sorry Dave, I lost my seat. I reckon that by teatime the Parliamentary Party should have elected a new interim leader – fingers crossed – but I don’t know who that will be – do you mind hanging on for a while whilst they sort things out. Good luck, someone will get back to you”.

Later that day, and after much wrangling, an Acting Leader is selected by the Parliamentary Party – but wait, the Lib Dems still can’t open negotiations because the Federal Executive haven’t endorsed it yet!

OK, you say, but we have a negotiating team that can get to work on Friday morning. No they can’t. If Nick has lost his seat, he can’t send them in, and without a leader they have no authority. No leader (Labour or Conservative) worth his salt is going to agree that his party sits down with what amounts to a random bunch of “Lib Dem folks”, of which only one or two are actual members of the Parliamentary Party. The Conservatives may as well approach 20 individual Lib Dem MPs one by one and see if they can get to the magic 20 or so required.

In this option, at best the world is put on hold whilst the Lib Dems scramble around “trying to find a leader” and are rightfully ridiculed by the media, rival political parties and the wider public as they do so. At worst the Lib Dems are by-passed as Mr Cameron sees if another solution is available in short order – one that perhaps involves the DUP/UKIP (and maybe a handful of Lib Dem MPs with the courage of their convictions to get on with it).

Taking into account how the real world operates (something I know many Lib Dems are loathed to do), I would like to offer up two further options if Nick loses his seat.

Option 1. Retain the elected Lib Dem leader – Nick Clegg- as acting leader during the course of any coalition negotiations and see the party through until a new leader and deputy leader can be found by due process. After all it will be his negotiating team (or what’s left of them) who may have to go into battle with the Conservatives or Labour, and who knows better the ins and outs of the system than him? Ok, it may break half a dozen Lib Dem constitutional clauses, but if this is a case where force majeure applies, I don’t think keeping Nick in charge has any less validity than a proposing to exclude the entire membership from the process. (See how Ed Miliband likes that one!). By the way, I reckon (though I am not a constitutional expert) that until either David Cameron or Ed Miliband goes to the Queen, Nick Clegg is still the Deputy Prime Minister of this country. But correct me if I am wrong.

Option 2. My preferred option. Technically the full title of the Deputy Leader is the “Deputy Leader of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons” and is elected only by the Parliamentary Party (the MPs – no Federal Executive or other committee “authorisation” required). And yes, that person would become the “acting leader” in the event that the current leader was indisposed.

There is nothing to stop the Lib Dem MPs electing a new Deputy Leader at any point. Would it not make sense for the MPs to get together sooner rather than later to elect a new Deputy Leader? Someone who is likely to hold their seat; Norman Lamb, Tim Farron, or Alistair Carmichael, for example. (If these guys don’t get re-elected the “negotiating committee” will be the entirety of the remaining Lib Dem MPs).

OK OK I get that the media would have a field day if this was seen as a panic measure by the Lib Dems to find possible stand-in for Nick in the dying days of the election campaign. But it need not be managed that haphazardly. The lovely Malcolm Bruce can make this happen all by himself.

If Malcolm should independently decide to stand down as Deputy Leader, say as, or just before, Parliament rises (end of March), the Lib Dems would have no choice but to elect a new Deputy Leader. This can be quick and easy and, providing MPs elect someone with a darned good chance of retaining their seat, all would surely be peachy? This person then has a good few weeks – not hours – to prep him or herself on what may be required in the event that Nick does lose his seat and one of the two main parties come calling. I am sure there would still be some cat-calling in the media – but this could be easily answered, and everyone would move on.

Whether you like one of my options or Nick Barlow’s option, at least they are options. The question we should all be asking, I think, is why on earth the Lib Dem hierarchy seems not to have tackled this before now? The Lib Dems have more committees than you can shake a stick at – surely one of them should have come up with a solution?  It is not like we haven’t known for some time that the Deputy Leader is stepping down, or that Nick may lose his seat.

The inevitable response to this question from within the Lib Dems has been to say “Please, please don’t let’s waste time on all this, just get out and deliver some leaflets or do phone canvassing“. Like Nick Barlow I find “the ‘don’t think, just deliver leaflets’ mantra” ridiculous. It is exactly why this party is dying on its feet.

Because this issue DOES matter. The leader, or acting leader, of the Lib Dems may well be in a position to determine who the next Prime Minister of this country will be. If that is not important, what is? A great many voters, me included, want to know which one of two people will be charge of any possible negotiations BEFORE they vote, not after. And we certainly want to be reassured that a vote for the Lib Dems is not a vote for chaos on May 8th as they rush around trying to find someone take charge.

If Liberal Democrat Party can’t tell us what its plans are to solve this relatively simple problem – worse, by its silence, show that it has no plan, why should anyone trust them to be part of any government?

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