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09 January 2016

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LeaNder

Ulenspiegel, thanks for the link.
You got what was vaguely on my mind. I ignore most public festivities, and yes, I found our new major's idea in the context of danger alerts that carnival here in Cologne isn't about "sex, and drugs and rock 'n roll", metaphorically speaking quite funny. And yes, I am one of the females who preferred arms-length-distance to no matter what ethnicity, including people I am familiar with. She doesn't need to tell it to me.

In other words I doubt, we will ever know what happened here.

What I do now of the scene I am familiar with is that they prefer the bridges, which gives you a rather good outlook on the "Dom" or the Gothic Cathedral.

confusedponderer

Actually, that is precisely the sort of relativistic 'rightthink' that I loathe.

So, everyone is upset that the sylvester mobs engaged in their excesses? Why? In our society there is sexism, sex tourism, and on the Oktoberfest, the Ballermann and during Carnival some Germans behave like pigs when they are drunk all the time etc pp ... so it is all hypochrisy to get upset over this while not condemning our own rotten behaviour ... blahblablah

In essence the man accuses those enraged over Sylvester's excesses of talking about crime and protection of women as cover for their own bigotry, sexism and xenophobia. If one believes this goodthinking entertainer the real culprit of Sylvester - is us!

What a crock.

These kids on Sylvester night had agency.

Their attitude towards the law and towards law enforcement has little to do with any of the nasty things Germans do (and don't do) that the author lists. It is entirely unrelated.

LeaNder

Like me, in Germany?
Why would a real true nationalist bother about the troubles of other countries, like Norway in this case.

In his trial he showed sympathy for Al Qaeda, you feel their methods should be adopted by the "good and righteous" in the US? Or at least he claimed to have followed their lead or was inspired by them.

confusedponderer

LeaNder,
no objections. The police reports explicitly mentioned only Middle Easterners and North Africans. I haven't seen a reference to Turks anywhere.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

This takes us back to questions discussed on the thread on the ludicrous nature of the assumption that one could remodel the Middle East on the basis of 'democratic' principles. Unfortunately, my response to your final comment was erroneously posted under earlier remarks of yours.

There is much more to be said about all of this. But, relatively briefly:

A kind of 'Flucht nach Vorn' has been a common enough to the dilemmas caused by 'modernisation'. But, time and again, the past turns out not to have been transcended.

In Russia, a manifestation of this was the adoption of Marxism by a significant section of the intelligentsia. This was a route not uncommonly taken by Jewish intellectuals, although many of these took other routes – some of the most powerful critics of the Russian radical tradition were Jewish (e.g. Osip Mandelstam, Mikhail Gershenzohn.)

The designation 'rootless cosmopolitan' was the product of revival of Russian nationalist emotions and ideas in the Stalinist period – which included ferocious anti-Semitism.

To say that traditional British identity had a large 'tribal' element would be only approximately accurate. However, the contrast between American and British identity made by the Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton in the first chapter of his 1922 study 'What I saw in America' is well worth pondering. Essentially, he was raising the question as to whether the 'glue' of American society had to be ideological – a question which has radical implications for the country's foreign policy.

(See http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/27250-h.htm#What_is_America .)

The reaction against traditional British 'tribal' identity, which developed over a long period of time, had all kinds of elements. The 'cult of the Shoah' is one, and also the cultural revolutions of the Sixties, in which black American music, and American influences more generally, the vast expansion of higher education, and easily available contraception are important – as well as the disappearance alike of Empire and of acute foreign threats.

Economic change is part of the picture, but to make it determinant, as Schwarz does, is to make nonsense of the history (I know – I was there.)

The underlying self-image of those whom Schwarz characterised as 'cosmopolitan' is that of having successfully transcended the past – and thereby become the model for the future. This underpins at one and the same time the inability to understand that the Middle East is not going to transcend its past, and also the failure to take seriously the problems of assimilating culturally alien immigrants.

The very large body of British opinion which one might call 'Powellite' were treated by the 'cosmopolitan' élite as belonging to the past. In some measure, many of them actually partially accepted this evaluation.

Now, however, experience is showing that not everything that Enoch Powell said was simply nonsense – so a very substantial part of this strand of opinion both feels vindicated and is also, to put it mildly, hopping mad.

However, something distinct is also happening. People who would define 'Western' identity very heavily in ideological terms – deriving from the Enlightenment – are also confronting the reality of cultural difference.

A result is that the 'cosmopolitan' élite Schwarz describes may be becoming much more isolated than he appears to realise.

So, for example, the chief foreign affairs commentator of the 'Financial Times' published an article yesterday entitled 'Mass migration into Europe is unstoppable.'

(See https://next.ft.com/content/64d058c4-b84f-11e5-b151-8e15c9a029fb .)

The 'Most recommended' comments on the article – which are universally sceptical, if not indeed actively hostile – very strongly suggest that a very major sea-change in opinion here is under way. The article itself suggests that people at the 'FT' are quite clueless as to what is happening and why – and provide, in my view, a classic example of the inability of 'the Borg' to understand either the world or indeed itself.

Having harked back to 'imperialist' notions of a 'civilising mission', Rachman writes:

'But post-imperial, post-Holocaust Europe is much more wary of asserting the superiority of its culture. It has replaced a belief in its civilising mission and the Bible with an emphasis on universal values, individual rights and international treaties.

'The big question in the coming decades is how Europe's faith in universal liberal values will withstand the impact of mass immigration. A battle between nativists and liberals is beginning to shape politics.'

It does not seem to occur to Rachman that his own 'faith in universal liberal values' is simply the old conception of a 'civilising mission' in new guise. What actually results is a weird combination of an assumption of self-evident superiority with a bizarre culture of apology.

Nor can Rachman contemplate the possibility that the failures of successive Western attempts to remodel alien societies in recent years might demonstrate that this universalism is problematic. And if it is problematic in attempts to remodel alien societies, it is likely to be problematic in relation to unselective attempts to absorb their populations. If it does not work in Iraq, is it surprising that it has manifested some problems in Rotherham?

Once one gets this far, the notion of a sharp divide between 'nativists' and 'liberals' collapses. As Schwarz – much to his credit – grasps, the question as to whether the relative historical success of 'liberalism' in Britain is bound up with 'nativism' is a very real one.

And indeed, if one looks back to the – extremely bizarre and complex – figure of Powell, he clearly was a kind of 'nativist liberal'. And, as well brought out in a BBC programme some years ago, his views on immigration reflected his experience of India during the wartime years, and the fear that, with mass immigration from the subcontinent, we would find ourselves importing 'communalism', and undermining the solidarities on which the British parliamentary system depended.

(See http://www.spectator.co.uk/2008/02/the-real-tributaries-of-enochandx2019s-andx2018rivers-of-bloodandx2019/ .)

It has for a very long time been my view that the edge of hysteria Powell introduced into his famous speech – 'the river Tiber foaming with much blood' reference and a good deal else – did his case immeasurable harm. But the view that there was substance in his concerns is, I think, very clearly spreading.

As to the 'right sort of immigrant', part of the problem in Britain has to do with the fact that we import many of the complexities of our historical relation with the subcontinent – a key part of which had to do with the Indian élites, for all kinds of reasons, taking to Western education.

Highly educated and 'aspirational' Indians fit very easily into 'cosmopolitan' circles. Unfortunately, people in these circles are commonly utterly ignorant about the very different situations which arise when, for example, people from the Pakistani countryside move en masse into traditional British working class areas. I sometimes think their social isolation makes members of the pre-1789 French aristocracy look 'in touch'.

charly

The more conservative a German state is the lower the birth rate. The same effect is seen in Italy.

Babak Makkinejad

I could understand why ethno-religious minorities would flock to European-styled Over-Communal political doctrines such as Communism or Arab Nationalism; those political programs promised to usher in a new political dispensation in which the (aspiring) members of ethno-religious communities were not confined to the strictures of their sectarian identity.

It mattered not if you were a great Arab poet if you were not Muslim, and no amount of facility & comfort with the Russian Culture, Language, and Literature would make you a Russ if you were a Jew.

I understand all of that and I think that in practice one has to address two issues: Discrimination as well as Flexibility of the National Identity.

In UK and in Russia, I am afraid, the national identity is primarily expressed by blood - what one could call a tribally orientated national identity.

In my opinion, this could work, in practice and in spite of its obvious limitations, if one strictly adhered to a merit-based non-discriminatory public policy - such as was formulated and put in practice in the United States over the last 50 years since each states has a dominant ethnicity - English and Russ respectively.

On the other hand, one could also have a very malleable national identity - such as the Iran - in which, multiple tribes could be said to belong; there you need to cultivate an ambiguous national identity and try to avoid discrimination.

(If you were a Jew in Iran, you could claim that your ancestery goes back to the times of the Great King and then who are these, as it were - newly minted Muslims to tell you whether you belong or not; and likewise for Zoroastrians or Christians.)

Iraq and Syria started with ambiguous identities and over time became more Arab and thus excluded such others as Kurds.

Turkey, from the start, was conceived without any ambiguity to be a country of Turks to the exclusion of all others. It then proceeded to discriminate against certain expression of Kurdish culture and language and only aggravated the problem.

Indian Union, I think, is a special situation and I think her historical development must be considered in regards to communalism. Specially one must take into account how these larger communities of Sikh, Muslim, Hindu each tried to annihilate the other.

And even before the incursion of Islam into historical India, the Hindu Kingdoms, much like Medieval Europe, were always at war with one another. I think the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra would have been at war with each other if they were not members of the Indian Union.

So, for the Indian Union, I do not see any hope of either a malleable national identity nor a non-discriminatory public polity. And as India goes, so does Pakistan, or Nigeria, or Iraq, or Syria, or Indonesia.

To my knowledge, there has never been a successful state or country which had consisted of an equal share of ethno-linguistic or ethno-religious groups. You always need a dominant ethnicity - be it religious or linguistic so that other ethnicities do not dare rock the boat, revolt, or to cause mischief.

The two states claiming to have done just that - USSR and Yugoslavia - no longer exist which indicates the futility of the project.

On a lighter note – for some reason – women riding bikes is a no-no across Islamic world; I wonder if that is because they view the bike as a metallic phallus in between Muslim women’s legs…

There was that article in an English paper recently to the effect that a lot of women have orgasms when exercising -- I think it was like 30%. The intense physical exercise can bring on unexpected delights. The article was written by a woman. Not every time, but frequently, she said.

Here is women riding bike in Lahore a few days ago - under police protection:

http://www.fardanews.com/fa/news/481409/موتورسواری-زنان-با-حفاظت-پلیستصاویر

I wonder if the Borg, the Neo-Cons, the Liberal Imperialists, the R2P Crowds are planning to make this happen in every country in which women do not ride bike....

confusedponderer

Tyler,
given that the Pegida dumbasses hat nothing better to do in protest of the Sylvester riot crime wave than to pelt the police with fireworks I guess they had it coming.

The last demo at the place was by Hogesa - (football) Hooligans against Salafists (who, if they had any brains, had called themselves 'Citizens against Salafism') - which resulted in 59 police getting injured by the good folks of Hogesa (not by any Salafists). Whatever their cause was exactly, violence doesn't appear to have been what they objected to.

The incidents of 31.12. point to a problem, a serious one, and these morons don't help.

Pegida stupidity and Hogesa are water on the mills of the group huggers for whom any criticism about Sylvester riots is simply barely concealed xenpophobia and for whom diversity is always beautiful. They are no less dumb, and no less self righteous.

Ulenspiegel

CP,

of course some of the discussion must be relativistic. BTW the author is a sharp jurist with both feet on the ground in his past articles.

Don't get me wrong, I want the perpetrators punished, but I want other perpetrators punished too.

It is about how public perception and the gaming of this perception trumps reality.

confusedponderer

Ulenspiegel,
the point is, whatever the merits of the author are otherwise, that this should not be relativated. It should be viewed with a SENSE OF PROPORTION - I'm all for that, and there is no dount in my mind that the issue is being exploited politically and exaggerated out of proportion - but relativation and downplaying is what I read out of it.

Since, according to the author, we Germans ourselves do such nasty things - at the Ballermann, in Carnival, in Thailand or at the Okoberfest - all the time, the Cologne incidents are nothing special, and especially not especially bad. According to him, we are just as bad as the Sylvester mobs, and to focus on the foreigners is bigotry. These acts are just other manifestations of things that happen in Germany all the time.

They are not and they do not.

I haven't been in my life to Thailand, or the Ballermann and not even to the Oktoberfest, but I know Carnival, and haven't been asleep the last 40 years and I can tell you that the Cologne incidents ARE unprecedented, in scale and intensity. I haven't seen or heard of anything like that in carnival ever, and I celebrate for 30 years.

Not even from the rather hefty seasonal May night riots in places like Berlin and Hamburg - driven equally by thrillseeking, Wohlstandsverwahrlosung and ye olde leftist tropes - there were reports of incidents like that.

That the culprits in the case of the Cologne riots are of North African or Middle Eastern background is that particular aspect that appears to cause many discomfort.

It is this particular aspect, IMO, which - Principiis obsta! Remember Möllen! Remember Rostock-Lichtenhagen! Remember the NSU murders! Wider Pegida! Wider Hogesa! - leads the author to engage in his comparative assessment of evils, to dispel any notions that the Cologne incidents are unique to foreigners, asylum seekers or refugees.

Again, no. It is perfectly legitimate and actually quite reasonable to ask about the origins or nationality of the culprits:

Let us accept the fact that according to the police reports the mobs were of North-African or Middle Eastern background. The hard core was being formed by this gang of trick thieves that so far had been content with selling drugs and shaking down hapless drunks and tourists in the old town. They were being amplified by alcohole.

Well, if that gang is "North African", and not for instance Thuringian or Bavarian, they must have come here somehow from North Africa.

How? There are essentially four ways they could have come: (a) As asylum seekers (b) as refugees (c) as illegal migrants or (d) as legal migrants (Familiennachzug)?

It is perfectly legitimate - and quite pertinent to the enforcement of existing and applicable laws - to ask how they came here, whether there was any screening - or, since it is know that the group is active for about two years, whether, and of not why, known offenders have or aven't been deported for their activities.

That in parallel Germans do commit and have committed many of the same offences shouldn't distract from that.

Because irrespective of what Germans do or don't do at other times and in other places, there was considerable and rather problematic criminal energy on display on 31.12.2015. I propose to have one fight at a time.

To talk about the Sylvester mob openly doesn't play in the hands of Pegida. Rather, what aids Pegida is not doing so, being afraid of another Möllen, Lichtenhagen or whatnot.

It's when they are being patronised by a media that feels the benighted 'masses' cannot handle the truth that these nuts, on a gut level quite correctly notice that they are being sold a bill of goods, and start to babble about Lügenpresse.

It is frankly irresponsible and cowardly when our media, and that includes our commentator, even out of high minded and rational concerns, leave the debate over such issues to Pegida.

The idea must be to exploit the nonsense they speak in order to have them discredit themselves. But that tactic doesn't adress the issues. Because even after the Media have succeeded in making Pegida look stupid, we still have that nagging problem of, say, that North African gang shaking down hapless tourists in the Old Town.

That is to say that the political exploitation of the Sylvester riots isn't limited to the folks on the right. Leaving this issue unadressed will lead to inreasing political polarisation, and if it needed any illustrations, the dysfunctional nature of the political 'debate' in the US should seve as a cautionary tale.

PS - Context for our non-German readers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rostock-Lichtenhagen_riots
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solingen_arson_attack_of_1993
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSU_murders

LeaNder

cp,

"..or, since it is know that the group is active for about two years, whether, and of not why, known offenders have or aven't been deported for their activities."

Have you read the police report?

http://www.mik.nrw.de/startseite.html

Apparently they labeled the phenomenon about two years ago. Since it surfaced more prominently. But so far there isn't a trace of overlaps in suspects, beyond background. Besides, would you have expected the same phenomenon to occur now with a specifically sexual diversionary tactic on Sylvester? Out of a group of supposedly 400-500 men that slowly grew to 1000? Completely different scenario.

Notice, they already increased the on duty staff for the event. But could they have expected this to happen.

"It's when they are being patronised by a media that feels the benighted 'masses' cannot handle the truth that these nuts, on a gut level quite correctly notice that they are being sold a bill of goods, and start to babble about Lügenpresse."

no doubt the event is used by respective parts of the 'masses' for their own benefit. How could it be otherwise? But they don't need such an event to respond with arson attacks. Shall we compare the numbers at the time of Solingen and Lichtenhagen?

*****

I wouldn't mind to be a fly on the wall in the group investigating the available video surveillance and other visual material from citizens. I wonder if you can place the victims and suspects in place and time. Or their movements. Pretty dark unfortunately, I guess.

******
The good news is that we will get finally a central register and hopefully long term one connected in Europe. I was startled when I realized it doesn't exit month ago.

Wouldn't it be great if a guy attacks police in France and they immediately see they guy has already been arrested and jailed in Germany and has been living under different identities there more recently? ...

Thus for law enforcement the attention the event created has a sliver lining. From the top of my head: I opted for fingerprint in my identity card too, although it is only needed for passports. If that was used generally with refugees, gambling with different identities would be harder.

It also may have a silver lining concerning a larger debate. It shouldn't be left to AfD to cater to the German discontent.

confusedponderer

LeaNder,
in response to your comments:

"Apparently they labeled the phenomenon about two years ago. Since it surfaced more prominently. But so far there isn't a trace of overlaps in suspects, beyond background. Besides, would you have expected the same phenomenon to occur now with a specifically sexual diversionary tactic on Sylvester? Out of a group of supposedly 400-500 men that slowly grew to 1000? Completely different scenario."

My hunch is that, since police in Cologne was and is overworked, that as long as the North Africans limited themselves to petty theft and simpe dealing they were probably being pursued were possible but not prioritised because there was always bigger fish to fry in everyday business. They were not perceived as a threat to public safety.

And I disagree that what you describe is a different scenario:

They have this crowd, and either it draw the thieves, or the thieves drew the crowd, they were or got drunk or drunker and amplified each other, the lawlessness of the thieves 'encouraging the others' (sans the usual irony)'.

The group then doubled or tripled, probably because the rioters of both stripes called in buddies (the curse of ubiquitous instant communication) - or perhaps because there was some planning?

That such incidents took place in other cities at the same time, by similar people and in a similar manner as well could suggest that.

Also, it appears that the group by and large directed their agression **outwards** - against police and against passing women. That, and the apparently common ethnic background could, despite the undesired implications, quite fairly be called a 'trace of overlap'.

In my early school days during occasional harmless and highly ritualised scuffles with Turkish or Middle Eastern kids, it was them against us automatically. I wouldn't be surprised to see a similar group dynamic mechanism here.

Another point is the question how it comes that for two years the thieves kept a rather low profile and only now felt emboldened enough to operate so overtly and blatantly.

What we do agree on is that the police was unprepared for an escalation of such a scale.

"no doubt the event is used by respective parts of the 'masses' for their own benefit. How could it be otherwise? But they don't need such an event to respond with arson attacks. Shall we compare the numbers at the time of Solingen and Lichtenhagen?"

Of course they don't. The East has long been a hotbed for neo-nazis. IMO it is generally underrated just how socially reactionary and crypto-nationalist the DDR actually was (think of their treatment of Vietnamese) - and that is the part in Germany with the lowest overall number of foreigners, let alone refugees. The curent influx of foreigners was bound to stir up trouble there.

IMO many in the DDR have decided that history as taught in communism - that commies, alone, defeated against Nazism - was bunk and some appear to have chosen to make up a new, revisionist (and often false) history that feels better, one in which uncle Hans was not only a Nazi but a proud hero (the same phenomenon is on display with Ukraine's Banderaites). The "Lügenpresse" that they denounce in that context must to them then be another form of top-down indoctrination.

But all of that has little relevance for the Cologne riots to which neither Pegida, the AfD or East Germans were a party.

My feeling is that the media understands the risks of riling up the nuts and try to be 'reasonable' and 'responsible' in their reporting to soothe sentiments to prevent another Möllen or another Lichenhagen - a reasonable and even honourable goal, but with a questionable means.

So they engage in counter-proaganda - just think of the inescapable 'refugees are nice' (and often cute little girls) campaign in Cologne in the weeks before Christmas. This has the described effect that conservatives who are not reflexively positive towards everything foreign feel being patronised by opinion elites. And are they not?

Having lived in Köln-Kalk and Köln-Mülheim my impression is that, besides the interesting cuisine, there are also some downsides to these foreigners - and I write that bas someone being quite appreciative of my Russian neighbours, the Egyptian led Kiosk on the other side of the street (who sells cold beer), the Turkish supermarket or my Turkish baker at the corner.

I am far less apeciative of the folks who appear to make their living in Turkish cafes or gambling dens (as in: just how does that generate an income). If I was in dire need of a kilo of Heroin I probably would have to walk less than a mile to find it. That doesn't mean putting foreigners under general suspicion but to be realistic.

The point remaimns that in my impression our 'opinion elites' are liberals and democrats who don't believe in their own values like free speech or free debate - a necessary precondition for a functioning democracy last I looked - because the masses, especially in the East, cannot handle the truth, have they not proven themselves unfit in Lichtenhagen? They need to be led!

confusedponderer

... or more pointedly - they wear ideological blinkers:

Their civilising mission is towards their benighted countrymen - and not to the foreigners they invite in. Those are assumed friendly as a matter of course - tolerance demands that they aren't to be viewd with prejudice or reservation - whereas the rightwingers of AfD and pegida are a known enemy.

David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

A lot to think about here.

A couple of points. It is not accurate to say that in Britain national identity is 'primarily expressed by blood.' Traditionally, a 'tribal' element, which has been very much related to ethnicity, has been intertwined with cultural and religious elements.

So, for example, the most famous 'imperialist' novelist, John Buchan, was an Anglicised Scot, culturally both Scottish and English. My grandfather was an Anglicising Welshman – likewise, a complex cultural mixture.

By the same token, it is not the case that a Jew cannot become an Englishman – or woman. They have been doing so all the time, ever since significant immigration began in the late seventeenth century – at all levels of society.

So, for example, the Sassoons were a great Jewish merchant family, from Iraq and India. Among them was one of the most famous of our First World War poets, Siegfried Sassoon. But he wasn't Jewish. His father married an Anglo-Catholic girl, a Wagner enthusiast – hence the 'Siegfried' – and was disinherited.

Another Sassoon – Sybil, a Rothschild on her mother's side – married the Marquess of Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley) in 1913. She had a high position in the WRNVS – women in the Navy – during the Second War.

An irony of Jewish matrilineality is that many with Jewish surnames aren't Jewish, and many without are. At a completely different social level, a variety entertainer called Sellers, Yorkshire CoE by by background, married another variety entertainer, who was Jewish, at whose insistence, and at considerable sacrifice, their son Peter went to an expensive Roman Catholic private school.

The extraordinary ability to mimic British 'types' which made Peter Sellers perhaps our greatest post-war comic actor probably had something to do with this.

A great deal is now in flux, largely as a result of policies pursued and advocated by Zionists over the past years. On this, an interview last year with another great Anglo-Jewish comic performer, Miriam Margolyes, is to the point.

(See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/11424528/Miriam-Margolyes-Look-nobody-likes-Jews....html .)

When she says that 'my feeling is that the English are naturally anti-Semitic', she is going over the top – actresses, even if Cambridge-educated, often do. And the remark is in any case in tension with the statement that the 'only direct anti-Semitism' she ever experienced was from a fellow diner at Gray's Inn when she was trying to become a barrister.

But Miriam Margolyes is right that certain kind of anti-Semitic feelings have been taboo in recent years, that this taboo is now weakening, and that the essential cause of this is the behaviour of Israel and its fellow-travellers.

What is however obscured is an element of chaos and confusion. As or more significant than the breaking down of an old-taboo is the fact that very many of precisely those who have least sympathy for traditional English anti-Semitism have turned against Zionism over the past years. This really does not mean that we have become anti-Semitic.

But there is a new suspicion of a certain kind of Jew – those who insist that the 'goyim' should repudiate all 'tribal' feelings and identities, while at the same time taking for granted that the Holocaust gives Jews a permanent right to such feelings and identities.

If people are confused and muddled – as many of us are – that is one thing. A combination of active support for the dilution of 'traditional' forms of identity among the 'goyim', with cheerleading for policies clearly shaped by a 'Likudnik' view of Israel's interests, is a potentially highly toxic combination, be it in Britain or the United States.

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