Learning from my mistakes

If you engage in commentary for an extended time on any issue, but particularly on politics, you’re bound to get things wrong. In such cases, there are a few options. The most common is to double down, grasping at any straw that will justify your original claim. Another is to wait; the world is so changeable that a prediction that seemed laughably wrong at one time may turn out correct after all. But, mostly the best thing is to learn from your mistakes.

I’ve made a few mistakes, but the one that I’ve been picked up on most is my prediction, in 2007, that

The Liberal Party will never again win a federal election.”

Of course, this wasn’t meant to be taken at face value. I went on immediately to say that

This isn’t a prediction of unending Labor rule, rather an observation that the Liberal and National parties are in such dire straits that they can’t continue as they are. They haven’t got enough support, parliamentary representation or ideas for one party, let alone two.

I thought the obvious solution was a merger, as in fact happened in Queensland not long afterwards. But my many friends in the Murdoch Press and the rightwing blogosphere have taken great delight in quoting the first sentence out of context. Given that the Liberals have yet to win their election, I followed the waiting strategy, waiting to see whether the turn of events (and the fact that my characterization of the Libs and Nats remains entirely accurate) might validate the prediction after all. But, after the events of the last week, I think it’s time to admit error.

What lessons should I learn from this?

First, never try to be cute on the Internetz, unless you’re a cat. I could have written a straight post suggesting a merger and it would long since have been forgotten. I knew perfectly well that Newscorp and its allies are shameless liars, and that their readers are utterly gullible (provided that what they are reading confirms their prejudices) and I handed them a stick to beat me with. I’ll avoid paradox in future.

Second, never underestimate the capacity of the Labor Party for suicidal stupidity. At the time I wrote the post, Labor seemed safe for two or more terms everywhere but NSW. Instead we saw
* WA Premier Carpenter revoke the ban on dealings with Brian Burke, leading to immediate disaster
* Privatisation campaigns in both NSW and Queensland
* The dumping of Nathan Rees (NSW Labor’s last hope) in favor of Tripodi-Obeid puppet Kristina Keneally
and, most disastrously of all,
* The coup against Kevin Rudd. The march of folly has continued to the very end, with a majority of the Parliamentary Party confirming, for the second time, that they would rather give Tony Abbott control of both houses of Parliament, and, in many cases, lose their own seats, than break with the failed leadership of Julia Gillard. The many (now former) Labor MPs in Queensland who marched straight over the electoral cliff with Anna Bligh and Andrew Fraser seem to have set the pattern here

92 thoughts on “Learning from my mistakes

  1. I don’t accept that Rog, Rudd won in 2007 with a relatively ‘soft’ policy on asylum seekers. As soon as you concede to the scare campaign the liberals win, you’ll never out-tough scum like Morrison on this issue.

    Now we have a labor government conceding that the only ‘mainstream’ approach to desperate refugees is to incarcerate them for years and years and remove any rights the few sods lucky enough to make it to the mainland used to have (the new visa which doesn’t allow them to work is utterly abhorrent).

  2. PrQ mentions Gillard’s Cash for Clunkers idea. Until that point I liked Gillard and I always hoped she would eventually be PM. But the Cash for Clunkers idea made my heart sink. Anyone with web access should be able to determine in no more than 10 minutes that the embodied energy in car manufacture is such that a policy like this is stupid White Elephant.

    A big problem for the Left is that few genuinely talented lefties actually put their hand up and join the Greens and the ALP and seek pre-selection. When I was a Vic Green I thought we had some great candidates but unfortunately the talent base was paper thin. I doubt we had more than 10-15 persons actively seeking nomination her were A grade material. In Darebin City in the inner North of Melbourne we ended up running some bloody awful candidates at the local government level. I’m grateful someone like Andrew Bolt didn’t run a check on some of those guys.

    Come on young bright lefties, step forward. Your country needs you.

  3. As JQ notes, the principle folly was the dumping of Rudd. This was done by caucus and seemingly without reason leaving voters bewildered as to how exactly Gillard became PM. This job ahead for the LNP was madeceasier as there was no need for policy, they only had to work on Gillards legitimacy. In this the LNP have been aided by those from the ALP loyal to Rudd.

  4. Tyler, you will have to accept that the Rudd policy on asylum seekers was idealistic and subsequent events like Ocean Viking left the govt exposed to criticism and claims of hypocrisy.

  5. JQ,

    Equally important to learning from mistakes is to know what the real mistakes are. Rudd is a mistake. Not that he is not powerfully clever, it is that he has a very boring method of delivery. Gillard has developed a delivery method similar to a Sunday sermon, equally uncompelling. But when Gillard casts aside the “groomed” persona she becomes by far the better orator. Then it comes down to content and substance.

    Labour’s real problem is that they are stuck in a 50’s mindset imagining that the workers are suffering and our kids still go to school barefoot and hungry. No doubt there is a hungry barefooted school kid somewhere in Australia who really does need help, but that is what all of those governemnt agencies are there for, and there are plenty of them.

    The real situation is that there are massive issues in this overpopulated, resource depleting, climate change afflicted, increasingly economically unstable, employment challenged world of ours that need more than a perochial approach to prepare for. For balance Australia also does not need a right wing ideologically straight jacketed sociopath led solution (I’ve got very recent very real experience in dealing with a full on sociopath and no-one needs that in their life, let alone a nation).

    In this coming contest Australians have a choice between a “peroch and a hard face”. It is a no win situation unless there are changes. Labour really needs to find a new focus, and the Coalition really needs to find a new leader. Lib supporters openly believe that after the election they will dump Abbott and get someone new. Labour keeps trying to change their leader when it is their ideas that need fixing.

    But if there was a real underlying cause to our leadership woes it would be in my opinion that Australia is afflicted with gutless zero talent journalists and media a empire that Nero and Calligula would each be proud to have promoted.

  6. Howard’s lowest result was 34% in a trough in 1998. Truly it’a amazing how one reads again and again that the election is winnable with Gillard because someone remembers something. In 2000, the election where he was written off, those predictions happened before 911 and Tampa. I am unconvinced that another War on Terror will save this government.

    At the time Rudd was deposed for poor polling, the labor primary vote was 35%. The national secretariat held back research that indicated the worst had passed and Rudd was starting to rebound.

    It is equally strange to see Gillard credited with the carbon tax she opposed under Rudd, the mining tax which is so full of loopholes that it collects minimal revenue, and a shambolic package of media bills that were abandoned as fast as they were rammed through cabinet without warning.

    One of the most interesting features of the mining tax debacle is that BHP refused to further negotiate with the government 3 days before the coup. The day of the coup they announced they would resume negotiating. No doubt BHP are a band of fools who were eager to get rid of Rudd so that they could face a progressive like Gillard. Or, ummm, not…

  7. @Alan

    It’s very clear that Gillard and her backers colluded with the mining oligarchs and did a deal behind Rudd’s back and in secret from the Australian voters. Basically, it was a bloodless coup and the mining oligarchs installed their puppet Gillard. Her’s is a puppet government pure and simple.

  8. “It is a long Labor tradition to put a woman in charge when the boat is sinking. ”

    That was true of Carmen Lawrence and Joan Kirner back in the 1990s. But since then the only possible example is Lara Giddings in Tas (I don’t know enough, but she was the obvious choice having been Bartlett’s deputy)

    Otherwise, there’s:

    Anna Bligh, handed leadership of a highly popular government
    Rosemary Follett, Clare Martin won elections
    Kristina Kenneally staged coup with backing of corrupt machine
    Julia Gillard likewise

    It’s true that Labor was doomed when Keneally was put in, but she was there to do the bidding of the Obeid-Tripodi machine, not the recipient of a “hospital pass”. As for Gilllard, she first undermined the most popular leader in Labor’s recent history (when she and Swan demanded the scrapping of CPRS) then staged a coup the moment Labor fell behind in a single poll. Her unpopularity is all her own doing.

    To sum up, the fact that Alan Jones hates Gillard, and gives her the same kind of abuse he hands out to everyone he hates, is not a good reason to back her, and Labor, into electoral oblivion. But that’s all her supporters have to offer, AFAICT.

  9. I was actually shocked by the Torbay affair. Ditto my best friend who thought he knew everything there is to know about Armidale politics. There had been rumours that Torbay had secret Labor backing but no-one really took them seriously, in part because Torbay appears (he is not saying anything on legal advice) to have simply not declared any contributions. There was never a hint of an Obeid connection. It is only as a result of the ICAC investigation that Torbay’s link with Obeid was revealed.

    Gillard signed agreements with the Greens, Oakeshott and Windsor to establish a federal integrity commissioner who would have roughly the same role as ICAC in the federal government. Despite a couple of parliamentary committee reports. there has been zero progress towards passing any legislation. Adam Bandt prepared a bill that has only ever got first reading and then ran into a roadblock that the government has never really explained.

  10. I think it’s no longer a case of Rudd versus Gillard but Labor and Greens versus the LNP. I wish people would start looking at the realities of a conservative win in September and what that would mean for all of us. I would back anyone who doesn’t stand for abolition of the NBN and the carbon pricing. I believe the Visigoths have nothing on the LNP and I am tired of hearing the personality politics stuff. I am also very afraid of what will happen to all those asylum seekers currently in community detention after September. There really are much worse possible scenarios than we currently have. I have heard all the Labor apologist comments but I do think it is akin to what happened in Queensland at the last state election. Please get some perspective. I really think it’s time for a united front. I don’t like the extreme right wingers and I actually think they are the enemy.

  11. It is because we are looking at the realities of a conservative win in September (assuming that Julia Gillard does not manage to lose the no confidence vote in parliament in May) that we are arguing for a leader with some chance of actually winning. Gillard has no prospect of winning the election, although she may establish an entirely new idea, that the ship should always go down with the captain.

  12. I sincerely do not believe that the Labor caucus is going to change the leader at all. If that’s true what is the point of uselessly speculating about what may happen if Rudd were the leader? When does this stop being navel gazing and become needlessly destructive? I personally think we have passed that point.

  13. @rog
    Maybe, and despite this exposure Kevin Rudd was never lower in the polls than 51% 2PP
    How we yearn for those heady days!

  14. @Gabrielle of Brisbane

    I think it’s … a case of … Labor and Greens versus the LNP.

    Perhaps, but it looks very much more like a case of Labor and LNP versus the Greens.

    I sadly agree with Alan re: Tampa II. For example, today’s boat disaster will probably be (‘successfully’) exploited by the LNP politically. If the ALP didn’t have such harshly racist, cruel and xenophobic (and pointless) refugee policies then that would be a point of difference politically. They are trying to walk both sides of the “stop the boats” street and it doesn’t work.

  15. @Tyler

    You need to discount Rudd’s apparent polling as his approval was lifted by a huge union campaign and consequential community concern over WorkChoices.

    From 07, (without going back to the figures), the ALP vote/popularity has declined.

    It only scrapped a coalition together last time.

  16. The labor primary vote was more or less stable from 2007 through early 2010. It crashed when Rudd, at the instance of Gillard and Swan, postponed the CPRS. It was beginning to rebound when Gillard stampeded caucus into the coup. Once again we have a state of the world that simply never happened. The Gillard honeymoon lasted precisely 2 weeks, before the labor primary vote resumed its decline.

    The great achievement of the Gillard government has been the loss of around a million labor voters. The vaunted legislative achievement is meaningless because it will be repealed very quickly by the Coalition. Fraser was unable to do that to the Whitlam legislation because it enjoyed popular support.

  17. I am not ready to give way to despair without a fight. It is certainly true that refugee policy is a disaster for the Labor party and is morally reprehensible. I hate it. That will not make me give up on Labor in government because I intend to keep fighting on that front. I am truly afraid that an Abbott government will be way worse for refugees and asylum seekers because stirring moral panic on the issue will lead to violence in one form or another. I want to resist that. For me there are many social democratic goals to be achieved through having a Labor government such as in education and health. I can’t get that with an Abbott government. I think it is stupid to maintain that there is a moral equivalence between Labor and LNP and then to complain about the LNP in power destroying all the social democratic reforms which Labor has introduced. It is time to recognise what we want from government and think logically about how to get there. Asking people to support only those who are perfect will not save us from the rabid right.

  18. @Gabrielle of Brisbane

    I don’t think anyone here is asserting equivalence between Labor and LNP – certainly I’m not. The core question for me was what Labor could do to prevent an Abbott win. I’ll let the Gillard supporters speak for themselves as to their key concerns, but even if they have acted in a way that makes an Abbott victory certain, I don’t think they regard it as desirable.

    As regards giving way to despair without a fight, I intend to keep fighting, but there’s no point in any attitude but despair as regards the next 3.5 years at least. Nothing Labor has achieved will survive unless it is both set in legislative concrete and backed by at least half the Senate.

  19. Well I don’t want to give up this election without a fight either as I want an NBN and carbon pricing. Once the destruction sets in we may never get very fast broadband at all. I am also horrified at the inequity in school education which will result from an Abbott government and also the cuts to the tertiary sector which will also happen. I intend to do my best to make sure the Labor Party is reelected to government and that I won’t have to farewell those people on bridging visas who I know will have to live in a far worse situation if Abbott is elected and Morrison gets to decide their fate. The ramifications of health cuts by the Newman government will be felt by many who will either die or be in pain as a result. These are the reasons we should urge people to remember the consequences of not giving Labor your preference. I really am not trying to campaign although it sounds like it, but people suffer in very real ways from government cruelty and neglect.

  20. With the greatest respect, the surest way to give this election up without a fight is to retain the present ALP leadership. Has any prime minister ever recovered from 31% in 6 months? Not many have been that low, and we have no guarantee at all that there will not be further ‘brilliant’ masterstrokes like the 457 campaign, the Slipper appointment, finding a way to massacre her own cabinet etc, etc, etc…

    After last week the election is almost certainly gone and it is a question of trying to defend a position in the senate. Nor should there be any hope for the Greens to retain the balance of power. In the QLD and NSW landslides the Green vote suffered as much as Labor’s. That is a particular effect of a polarising election. It will almost certainly be stronger in September, if the government lasts that long, because of the minority government.

    Incidentally, I am perfectly serious about questioning if the government will last that long. Gillard tore up her agreements with Wilkie and the Greens by not delivering on promises and then gave an interview saying she had never been sure if the agreements were a good idea. I wonder would that make Windsor and Oakeshott more or less likely to support a motion of no confidence?

  21. To be clear, I am going to preference Labor ahead of the Libs and urge others to do so. But, as Alan says, there is no chance of victory now and little chance of avoiding a landslide. If Gillard resigned without any tap on the shoulder, someone like Smith might salvage a creditable defeat, but even that is far from certain.

  22. @John Quiggin

    Nothing Labor has achieved will survive unless it is both set in legislative concrete and backed by at least half the Senate.

    Tend to disagree. In practice, Abbott will find reversing carbon pricing, the NBN, the NDIS, paid parental leave, means testing of private health insurance quite hard to reverse without serious political cost, and those grandiose blood oath promises will come to haunt his regime. He also made a huge fuss about the surplus and boats and neither of those will be easy to get a win on.

    Trying to remove the compensation for carbon pricing will be very hard going. Hardly anyone will believe that they won’t need it any more and then populist memes can and will be run against him. Giving any more money to private schools or taking any more from public schools will be hard. Increasing defence spending in real terms will also not fit his plans well. Cutting the mining tax could also provoke the mother of all left populist campaigns especially if commodity prices look like recovering.

    I predict a seriously bumpy ride and if the ALP has any sense it all it will simply run Abbott’s campaign against him with colours reversed. Unlike Abbott, the fact that they brought in things gives them something positive to campaign on.

  23. Alan,

    Windsor (and I think Oakeshott) voted in favour of having a vote on confidence last week (note the semantics – this was a vote on whether to have a vote).

    Apparently the result, 73 – 71 in favour, wasn’t enough because it wasn’t an “absolute majority”. I’ll have to look into what is required for an “absolute” majority. But Windsor made a good point when he said, something like, “Tony Abbott’s been saying he’d move a motion of no confidence for 2 and a half years and this is the first time he’s tried it”.

    Gabrielle,

    I didn’t argue “moral equivalence” between ALP & LNP, as such. More a kind of moral indistinguishability.

    Look at it this way ALP supporters:

    As a rule I usually preference LNP just below ALP but don’t “Vote 1” for either of them, and put both of them as far down the ballot as I can without putting fundamentalist religious groups etc.. above them.

    When Howard was:
    *locking up refugees,
    *making and continuing bad wars,
    *chopping down forests,
    *doing bad things to aboriginal people,
    *backing inaction on climate change,
    *pursuing neo-con policies,
    *paying people to have children,
    *putting religious and corporate power into schools and health care,
    *doing over the top security state (eg: APEC-Sydney, ASIO powers etc..),
    *blocking collective organising with the ABCC,
    *favouring middle-class and 1% welfare over genuine “welfare” for the needy,
    *promoting a “rip it up” economy,
    *and so on….

    I was happy to not only vote against him and all of those things but “hold my nose” and do some little thing to get rid of that government. I’m not taking the credit, but can you understand that people who fall roughly into that category just aren’t going to vote for your beloved ALP? Why on earth would they? Sorry, but some of us have some self respect.

    If Abbott romps home because you’re determined not to let the “fetid be the enemy of the putrid” – well don’t blame us. We demand better and have some self respect.

    In short. You want an ALP win? Get them to have some decency and you’ll get it.

  24. I think you’re right Fran. Let’s hope that the idiots of the NSW right have had their wings clipped enough to stay away from the campaign. I don’t think the Senate is a done deal so we don’t know what will happen there. I’m glad you take these issues seriously and I do think schooling could be in some serious danger. In Queensland the geniuses of the LNP are going to contract out the building and the running of new state schools. They are already reducing funding bit by bit. With federal cuts and the disappearance of Federal partnerships some state schools in Queensland will be in very dire straits. We’ve had some outrageous health cuts here too which will have serious consequences for public health. I could add to the list but it’s becoming repetitive. I know people who are just planning to leave the country after september if Abbott is elected. This election seems more important to me than many previous ones because there will be no going back on many fronts.

  25. @Megan

    An absolute majority is more than half the members of the house, 76 out of 150. The crossbench usually votes in favour of opening or continuing a debate. The opposition has now given notice of a motion of no confidence, so they all not need an absolute majority. Confidence votes only need a simple majority if they are on notice.

  26. @Alan Both keating and howard came back from well-behind in the polls.

    the current lot of labor leaders lack these skills in fighting back and winning respect.

    the reason is, as keating said, they do not know how to get out of bed in the morning until a focus group tells them which side.

  27. The title of this post is “learning from my mistakes”. There is no going back and to think it is possible is a big mistake. Rudd is a deeply flawed man who knows how to work a crowd but not the people he works with. His indecision last week was just the latest manifestation.

    As there is no other person who is a likely leader Labor has chosen Julia Gillard who is flawed as all humans and leaders are. However her flaws are nothing compared to Tony Abbott. Students are now looking at what he offers and are appalled by what he proposes. Other groups are likely to do the same and there are probably going to be new styles of campaigning adopted to get around the media bias.

    If Kevin Rudd can manage his ego and sense of grievance Julia Gillard can win. He is not the messiah and he isn’t even a naughty boy. Just yesterday’s man.

  28. So apparently Crean’s Banzai charge was preceeded by a sms message asking him not to do anything…..
    They literally forced the only person who could possibly contest the next election with a chance of winning to renounce any leadership ambition for all time because of a missed text message.

    God help us

  29. I think Crean’s latest is completely absurd. Launching a challenge is not something you do without crossing the Ts. I’ve been trying to avoid the conclusion the whole thing was a setup, but Crean’s excuse, which is at variance with his initial story, and his long record as an intemperate Rudd critic, is beginning to smell a lot like a rat.

    I’d also love to know what moved Albanese to suddenly declare he would never vote to remove a sitting Labor prime minister.

  30. On comebacks, the key to that is a skilled leader with vision and strength

    Labor does not get out of bed until a focusvgroup tells them which side.

    Natural born followers do not know how to stage a fightback

  31. There is always a chance of victory six months out from an election in a two horse race. The electorate is more volatile than ever, rendering the endless comparisons with previous cycles moot. A lot can happen in politics in six months. Heck, three months ago Gillard was almost in front, and did lead in a poll or two. Such absolutism only reflects poorly on the judgement of those whose hope in a flawed man has been dashed.

  32. Moments of pessimissm are common after defeats just as is overindulgence in the heady wine of victory.

    The democrats after 2004 were having to reassure themselves that the USA was a centralist voting country and all was not lost . Things will come back because powrr rotates.

    By 2008, the democrats drunk on the wine of victory thought they were in power for a generation and the GOP was a permanent minority. By 2012, retention of the white house was hard work.

  33. @Tyler. That Rudd thought it sufficient to call off a plan that was months in the making by sending a text message with an unclear message is poor leadership. He could have just stated in the text not to proceed; instead it was call me. The timing of the challenge was fed to journalists in January. Text messages are unreliable in a fast moving scenario particularly as Joel Fitzgibbon had followed through with his open destabilisation. If Labor loses badly then those people will need to face the fact that it was as much their fault as anyone else.

  34. @Jill Rush

    Your argument works if, and only if, the second Crean version is true. Crean first said that the Rudd camp had given him the go-ahead and it was untrue he was out of contact. He then said he missed a text message and he was out of contact.

    The problem with the destabilisation argument is that it was not the Rudd camp, for example, decided making Slipper speaker was a good idea, or who decided to bring on the media package without consulting cabinet, caucus or cross-bench. Julia Gillard simply has very, very poor political skills except when it comes to pre-empting her own cabinet or caucus. 4 hours’ notice of a caucus meeting is a disgrace compared with the 4 or 5 days allowed in previous challenges.

    The destabilisation argument would also mean the 2010 decline in Rudd’s electoral standing was entirely a product of Gillard’s destabilisation campaign against him.

  35. Jim Rose :
    On comebacks, the key to that is a skilled leader with vision and strength
    Labor does not get out of bed until a focusvgroup tells them which side.
    Natural born followers do not know how to stage a fightback

    Brilliant evidence!

    Altemeyer, in his book The Authoritarians, notes that one of the key characteristics of the authoritarian tendency to be attracted to right-wing politics is the desire for a strong, father-like figure to implement the defining characteristics that define the in-group and the out-group, and hence to reward the faithful and punish their enemies.

    How does that relate to your post? All three lines are about leadership. Strong leadership, need leaders to tell them what to do, followed by the “born follower” line.

    I’m really starting to worry about you Jim.

  36. The text message actually read:

    Gidday Simon. I’m told you saw the PM last night. If that’s so and if it in anyway touches the leadership, and if you are making any public comments, please give me a call beforehand. My position is as before. All the best. Kevin,

    It’s hard to read any ambiguity into that.

  37. At this point the only thing that makes any sense is Crean was deliberately working for Gillard to try and smoke out the Rudd supporters so that Gillard had a pretext to remove them and force Rudd’s hand.

    He succeeded and doomed the party at the next election

  38. @Tyler

    At this point the only thing that makes any sense is Crean was deliberately working for Gillard to try and smoke out the Rudd supporters so that Gillard had a pretext to remove them and force Rudd’s hand.

    Plausible, but then again, Crean is an arrant prattling fool. so it is quite possible he really did believe he was in some way opening a door to a change to Rudd or at worst clear air, and was essentially acting alone.

  39. @Tyler

    I really don’t want to find this plausible, but it was Crean who triggered the 2012 challenge by calling Rudd disloyal and treacherous. Despite claiming that he supported Rudd, Crean delivered no votes and moved quickly through a fairly damning rhetoric of ‘games’ and ‘gutless’. Equally he claimed to be running for deputy leader and made no attempt to gather votes for his own candidacy. He initially lied about communications from the Rudd camp and then came up with this lame excuse of missing a text message.

  40. You could also apply the same logic to your stance on global warming too, couldn’t you? But I bet you don’t. How the hell did you become a professor? I weep for the state and quality of our so called academics.

  41. #40: John Quiggin doesn’t need defending by others, but judging by that comment, you are clearly not fit to tie his boot laces.

  42. @Will On a strong, father-like figure to implement the defining characteristics that define the in-group and the out-group, it is the Left who hero worships its leaders and even have photos of them in their houses.

    Liberal and Country party leaders are forgotten 5 minutes after they left.

    Do you recall the wide smiles on the faces of the Bob Brown and Adam Bandt when the parliament was addressed by drone commander in chief Obama? Did Bob Brown interrupt Obama’s speech to ask about the endless war in Afghanistan and drone strikes?

    The Left is inherently prone to hero worship because the Left wants to reshape the world and the leaders of that movement have heroic missions. As Mises explained:

    “The incomparable success of Marxism is due to the prospect it offers of fulfilling those dream-aspirations and dreams of vengeance which have been so deeply embedded in the human soul from time immemorial.

    It promises a Paradise on earth, a Land of Heart’s Desire full of happiness and enjoyment, and—sweeter still to the losers in life’s game—humiliation of all who are stronger and better than the multitude.”

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