The Obscurer

Month: February, 2005

Over Land And Sea And Stretford

City 0-2 United (sigh). Well, it was always expecting too much to think we could manage a hat trick of home wins against the Reds. I don’t really think we deserved to lose, but I am 100% biased, so don’t take my word for it. If only McManaman and Fowler had finished better with their clear chances it may all have been very different, but football is full of “if onlys”. Never mind.

So I am indebted to my wife, again, for presenting me with an unintentional Valentine’s gift; a print of an email she was handed at work. My apologies to anyone who has already seen it, and for any errors I haven’t spotted from my OCB scanning of the document. Also, to make it plain, I make no claim to being the author of the following piece; my thanks to the writer, and I apologise for any copyright infringment. It made me smile, and cheered me up.

Spurs v United – The Rematch
Man Utd graciously agreed to a rematch after Tottenham’s disallowed goal on the 4th of January.The Super Reds went ahead just before the kick-off when Giggs was sent away down the left wing. His cross was handled on the half way line by a Spurs defender and a penalty was awarded for this cynical foul. Paul Scholes stepped up to slot the ball home for United’s 33rd penalty of the season. It was no more than United deserved.

The 15th minute saw the Super,Smashing Reds go two up after Michael Carrick was penalised for coughing just outside the area. Christiano Ronaldo’s resultant free kick was slightly miss-hit, but even if the keeper was not being pinned to the floor by Roy Keane, he would not have saved it. 2-0. It was no more than United deserved.

The 21st minute saw more trouble for Spurs when Erik Edman was sent-off for enquiring about the referee’s Man United shirt. However two minutes after the interval Spurs struck back after an amazing piece of good fortune. The referee’s assistant could only parry Pedro Mendes’ shot and Robbie Keane thumped the ball home. Confusion reigned for 10 minutes as the entire Manchester United squad surrounded the referee, arguing that the referee’s assistant had been fouled 15 minutes earlier. The referee grudgingly had to give the goal even though he racked his brain for a reason to disallow it. Alex Ferguson was furious and rushed down from his seat in the stand to the dugout, knocking over a number of blind, disabled pensioners in wheelchairs on the way down. Fortunately, things settled down again as Paul Scholes took a long-range shot, which deflected off the corner flag but had clearly crossed the line, 3-1. It was no more than United deserved.

Just after the restart, unsportsmanlike Nourredine Naybet was dismissed for making ridiculous claims for a penalty after Roy Keane had nearly decapitated Robbie Keane. The referee and his assistant missed the incident as they were both asking Ryan Giggs for his autograph, but replays showed that Keane’s flying kung-fu kick, followed by a forearm smash was clearly unintentional. Ten minutes later Ferguson took off Giggs and replaced him with Alan Smith, Eric Djemba-Djemba and the suspended Wayne Rooney. Wonderful, wonderful Man United’s 4th came shortly after. Robbie Keane was caught off side just outside the Spurs penalty area and Rooney’s free-kick thundered in after deflecting off the underside of the floodlights. It was no more then United deserved.

The super, marvel, wonder Reds kept the pressure on until the bitter end. In the 98th minute Ledley King conceded a free kick just outside his own area for blatantly glancing at the referee. Ronaldo stepped up and proceeded to chip the ball right into the referee’s path and he made no mistake from 10 yards.Goal number 5 and it was no more than United deserved.

Scholes slotted home number 6 from the penalty spot after Gardner went down with a broken leg. Fortunately Roy Keane was nearby when it happened and, after running 50 yards, he was able to bring the incident to the referee’s attention. Unfazed by Gardner’s cynical tactics, protruding bone and spraying blood, the referee sent him off for diving (and time wasting) and awarded United the penalty. Scholes cheekily chipped the ball over the keeper and the crossbar, but the referee decided that it was a goal, because based on past records, Scholes rarely misses.

When the final whistle went after 33 minutes of injury time, Spurs traipsed off with their heads low, having been taught a footballing lesson by what is by far the greatest team the World has ever seen. As the losers hit the showers, a superb flowing movement by United culminated with a fine diving header by Alex Ferguson and it was 7-1. However the referee decided that it was such a good goal, it should count double. 8-1 then; and it was no more than United deserved.

(If you can’t remember the Roy Carroll blunder that lead to this replay, here is some recent footage which perhaps explains why the linesman gave the wrong decision.)


Why The Sea Is Boiling Hot

Perhaps someone could help me out here, but was Fagin, from “Oliver Twist”, a hypnotist as well as a pickpocket? I’ve never read Dickens’s novel, and it is a few years since I last watched “Oliver!”; but I don’t remember anything about hypnotism. There certainly isn’t a song called “Look into my eyes”, I know that for sure.

The reason I am asking, of course, is because of the minor furore that has reared its head following a couple of Labour Party political adverts. The first, depicting Michael Howard and Oliver Letwin as flying pigs, alongside the words “The day the Tory sums add up” was criticised since both Howard and Letwin are Jewish, and of course the pig is not considered kosher. Now, if Jewish people are genuinely offended by this sort of thing, then who am I to argue? Personally, I think it is just a lame idea and that is the end of the matter. Yes pigs might fly when the Tory sums add up, and pigs might fly when one of the parties thinks up a genuinely clever advert. I would like to think, in this day and age, that people don’t go around thinking of Howard and Letwin as Jews anyway; I certainly don’t, and much as I dislike Alistair Campbell (whose ranting email to the BBC was hilarious, and illustrated why I have missed him really) I doubt he does either; I cannot imagine he would deliberately come up with an anti-Semitic poster. As I say, I cannot argue that the idea isn’t offensive as I am not Jewish, but I am pretty sure it is not anti-Semitic; the thought that Labour would purposefully indulge in such a campaign seems ridiculous.

Having just recovered from that, out comes the next idea, showing Michael Howard swinging a watch, and the words “I can spend the same money twice”. Now I would think that this is a not particularly sophisticated allusion suggesting that for you to believe the Tories’ sums you would need to be hypnotised, but it seems I have not looked deep enough into it. Apparently, it is said, this is a reference to the famous hypnotist Fagin; I would say it might as well be a reference to Paul Mckenna or some even less famous act currently playing to empty houses on Blackpool’s North pier. Even stranger, it has also been suggested that this advert may be a reference to Shylock. Who next? Maureen Lipman from those BT adds? Well, I have read “The Merchant of Venice”, although it was a while ago, and I am pretty sure there is nothing about hypnotism in the play.

Anyway, if the advert is meant to show Howard as Shylock, it does make me wonder just how many 16th century Venetians carried pocket watches around with them; presumably more than I thought. If the advert said “he wants to pick a pocket or two”, or “he wants a pound of flesh”, then perhaps the critics would have a point.

I hope that this is mainly just about politics; Labour have come up with some ideas for a negative ad campaign, and the Tories have found a way to try to discredit them. In itself this is fair enough; I have no problem with a bit of negative campaigning (why not show the folly in your opponents policies?) so long as there is some positive campaigning too, and some adverts, like the 1979 “Labour isn’t Working” poster can rightly be considered as classics. Bruce Anderson in The Independent considers that “this election campaign is already one of the dirtiest ever” and the “Tories have a problem. Will they retaliate in kind, or do they try to take the moral high ground?” This suggests he is already trying to claim the moral high ground for the Tories – “they started it” – and so when the Tories inevitably do attack Labour they can claim this in their defence.

But you could say that the Tory negative campaign has already begun; the charge of anti-Semitism against Labour is negative in itself. Anderson even says that one of the Labour tactics is “the repeated use of Michael Howard’s name in Labour election material aimed at Muslims. Michael Howard, Michael Howard: if the name is repeated enough, Labour assumes that Muslims will get the subliminal message. The leader of the Tory party is a J.. – is Michael Howard.” If even mentioning the Tory leader’s name is anti-Semitic, then Labour really are in trouble.

Whatever the reason, whether it is out of genuine offence, or political point scoring, I think that the accusations of anti-Semitism are unhelpful; it is a term full of historical meaning, entwined with evil, through the pogroms, through the holocaust. Genuine anti-Semitism is nasty and ugly, but it is also a terrible charge to make against someone; and if it is going to be bandied about in the way it has been in the past week or so, then I think it that as a term it will become devalued.

PostScript: the latest Labour idea is for Howard and Letwin to be standing holding a blackboard with the sum “2+2=5” written upon it in chalk. Well, I am sorry, but this is simply outrageous. How can 2+2=5 unless there is some interest charged, unless there is some usury afoot. This is a clear reference to Shylock. I don’t know if you know, but both Howard and Letwin are Jews! This is an affront to our intelligence. I demand the adverts withdrawal.

Poverty Of Ideas

A couple of weeks ago, whilst writing about immigration policy, I mentioned that “when the BNP and their like criticise immigrants for just coming over here to claim benefit, they don’t seem to subject our own home-grown benefit claimants to the same scrutiny, as if social security abuse is solely the preserve of weird foreigners”. To my surprise, the following week, while looking through a couple of editions of the Daily Express that were lying around work, I found two stories that did just that. Oh, the front pages were still full of fears of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, but on two consecutive days, if you delved deep enough, you could read stories about hard working foreigners being employed in jobs that locals were not prepared to do (perhaps it is unfair to include the Express in the grouping “the BNP and their like”; but you know what I mean).

Well, I am never happy when I appear to be in agreement with the Express, so I would like to clarify my position. The whole tone of the Express articles suggested that the local Britons simply could not be bothered to work in their local factories, and so the companies were forced into employing immigrants who would be prepared to work for low wages. Now I dare say some people could accurately be described as not being bothered to work; but what most of the people interviewed actually said was that they would be worse off working in their local factory than if they stayed on benefit. They are victims of the poverty trap, and this can be a genuine problem.

I spent 6 months on the dole (strictly speaking, on income support) in 1992. It was, without doubt, the grimmest period of my life, and an extremely unhealthy situation to be in. Looking back now, I suspect that I was actually going through some sort of breakdown by the time I finally got a permanent job; certainly, my mental health was not the best, but over a period of months of full time employment I managed to get myself out of the hole. I know not every person will react to unemployment in the same way, but I really cannot imagine what must go through the minds of people growing up in areas where there are very few prospects at all.

Two points about the benefits system stick in my mind from around this time. The first came when I managed to get a job working in telesales, on a commission-only basis. I was a very poor salesman, and some weeks I made less money than the dole; other weeks, although I earned more than the dole, once travelling cost were taken off I was still out of pocket. One week I actually earned no money at all. In my final week, because I had made no sales, and because a sale from the previous week had been cancelled, I actually owed my employer money. No; selling is not my forte. When I inquired about whether I could get any financial assistance from social security to bolster my potential weekly earnings of zilch I was told I couldn’t, because I had a full time job. How much I actually earned was irrelevant; working over 18 hours meant no help whatsoever.

The second point I remember came after the telesales firm let me go (Why? What had I done wrong?). During one of my job centre interviews I was told that I was allowed to work part time and still claim benefit; I could earn £5 initially, but after that, for every pound I earned, I would lose a pound of benefit.

Now, I was still living with my parents at the time, and I thought that working commission-only was preferable to relying on income support; if things went badly, and I earned less than the dole, I still had a roof over my head, I still got fed, I had no dependants to worry about. For me it was worth the gamble in the hope that I could earn a decent wage and perhaps move on from there. I did finally get off the dole, and it was to another commission-only job, working for a timeshare company. It was grim, though better than nothing; but I can well imagine people in a different situation simply not being able to take the risk I could.

In September of that year I remember watching the Tory Party conference when a delegate rose to the platform and said it was ridiculous that people were forced by the system to stay on benefits. He raised the very points I have mentioned; the loss of entitlement if you get a full time job, regardless of your income; losing £1 of benefit for every £1 you earn. This needed to be reformed he said. He then walked off the platform to a mixture of silence and disinterest from the audience.

What is amusing, though, is that earlier that year, during the General Election, the Labour Party had been attacked for their taxation policy. They had suggested raising income tax for the richest in society, and abolishing the ceiling for National Insurance payments. This was roundly criticised as a huge disincentive for people; why should the richest bother to work more when the government was going to take 60p out of every £1 they earned? No one seemed concerned about the disincentive that already existed for the poorest people, the unemployed, who would love to be able keep just 40p out of every £1 earned when returning to the workforce.

It surely cannot be that difficult to devise a system where people do not lose more in benefit than they earn in wages when they return to work. There must be some sliding scale that can be devised where as people earn more money (and pay taxes) their benefit is gradually reduced, and then reduced further over time until they no longer rely on benefits. I am sure I could work it out myself, given a free afternoon. Or perhaps not.

I don’t think I am being naïve. I am sure there are people who actually do not want to work, who are happy to live on state handouts, who rely on their giro to supplement a life of crime. But there are also people who want to work, but who simply cannot afford to because of the inflexibilities of the system. We should reform the system; to help the latter, and to remove an excuse for the former.

Returning to immigration briefly, it was interesting to hear Charles Clarke the other day unveiling his new “crackdown”, without actually saying there were any problems with the current policy to crackdown on. Indeed, when Jeremy Paxman interviewed him on Newsnight and he was directly asked if we have too many immigrants at the moment, he said that numbers are about right and everything is fine and dandy. The reason for the announcement was to restore public confidence.

I would have thought that if there aren’t any concerns over immigration, then the best way to restore public confidence is to say “there aren’t any concerns over immigration”. Am I wrong?Yes, I know, I suppose I am wrong. This announcement is as much about being seen to be doing something, and about spiking the Tories’ guns on the issue. But I am tired. I am already bored with the election campaign, and it hasn’t even begun yet.

We're All Normal And We Want Our Freeview

My first venture into digital television was with the ill-fated on/ITV digital a few years ago. When they went bump (while trying to drag a few lower league football clubs with them) I wasn’t all that bothered; most of the channels we lost were rubbish (my wife missed E4, I quite liked Paramount for “Seinfeld“), but we kept the set top box, and still got the BBC digital channels, which were the ones we probably watched the most, and ITV2 was still there for the occasional Inspector Morse re-run. Then, when Freeview started, these channels were joined by some half decent offerings; UKTV History has its moments, the two music channels are okay for a change, Sky Sports News is occasionally worth watching. Basically, it does us fine.

Except the old ITV digital box started playing up; it was getting to the point where I had to pull the plug out of the wall at least once a day when the whole thing froze. Solution? The fantastic new DigiFusion FVRT100, with built in hard drive recorder. Basically, rather than having a separate set top box and video, you have a combined unit which records your TV programmes to a hard disk, so preventing the need to go searching for blank video tapes. It has two tuners incorporated into it, so you can watch one channel and record another; in fact, you can record two channels at the same time, and watch a recording, should you so wish. It also automatically records up to 30 minutes of the channel you are watching onto a temporary file; so you can “pause” and “rewind” live TV. This has become a real boon; when the phone goes in the middle of a programme you are watching, or if your nose tells you your son’s nappy needs changing…now! It’s a little marvel.

You may say that this seems very similar to the Sky+ box, and you’d be right; they are basically the same thing. There are a few differences I have noticed though, in purchasing a Freeview hard drive recorder compared to Sky+

  • My box records up to 40 hours, compared to Sky’s 20 hours. Already DigiFusion are talking about bringing out an 80 hour version.
  • With Sky, you get the box you are given; with Freeview you have a selection of different boxes to choose from; DigiFusion, Pace, Thomson and Humax all manufacture them. Humax are currently working on a Freeview TV with integrated Hard disk.
  • You have to wait for Sky+ to be delivered and installed, at a cost; I bought my box from Currys, plugged it in, and I was away (although I dare say there are technical reasons why you can’t install Sky+ yourself)
  • Sky charges a monthly fee for Sky+; unless you are already on one of their more expensive monthly packages. With my box there is nothing else to pay.
  • The DigiFusion box is £40 cheaper. I think the Thomson box was cheaper still.

I know that this is a far from scientific comparison of the two systems, and I may have missed some benefits Sky+ has over a Freeview box; obviously you get far more channels to watch with Sky, and you can’t watch Premiership football on Freeview; but isn’t that what the pub is for? Also, I am not saying that Sky+ is rubbish, because it’s not; in fact it is because it is so good that I wanted the same thing for Freeview. What I find interesting in comparing the two systems though, in this regard at least, is how Sky seems to be acting in a way similar to BT, pre-privatisation, where it was a case of “Do you want a new phone? Well, we’ll tell you when you get it, and what it looks like, and when you will be connected.” Yet Sky is part of a massive private company; why would they act in a way I find reminiscent of a public monopoly?

Firstly, of course, in the market for a Sky hard drive recorder, they are a monopoly. Sky alone provides satellite digital television to the UK, and only they provide a hard drive recorder with an integrated satellite tuner. They do face some sort of competition, from Freeview, and cable, but if you want the range of channels that only satellite technology provides, and you want to record one digital channel whilst watching another, then Sky+ is it.

Secondly, I have a feeling that in many ways, large private companies actually have more in common with the public sector than they do with small private companies, at least in their day to day running. I hasten to add that this is just my little pet theory, likely to be contradicted at a stroke by a well placed statistic or two, but it is a theory based on my own observations having worked in the public and private sector, in large and small companies. Of course, private companies have a profit motive that is absent from the public sector, and this will affect their decision-making; but public firms do have their own financial considerations. Meanwhile, within large private companies, you can find vast swathes where the profit motive seems an irrelevant and alien concept; the senior managers who are interested in profits are often insulated and ignorant about how many areas of their business operate. Examples available on request.

People often talk about comparing the public and private sector as if it was a simple divide; Ruth Lea of the Centre for Policy Studies is typical when speaking to the Telegraph of comparing “the dynamic private sector to the wasteful public sector”, but I think this is a simplistic comparison, even if there is some truth in it. Similarly, Tim Worstall replied to my comment on his blog by saying that what he dislikes about the State is “the meetings, conferences, planning sessions and bureaucrats”, and he is right to dislike them; but they are far from the sole preserve of the public sector.

I would say that it is competition that makes the difference, rather than simply whether a firm is in the private or public sector; so, where Sky do not face any meaningful competition, their service suffers by comparison with a similar market where competition does exist.

I think that this illustrates part of my concern when people preach the virtues of the unrestrained free market. It works brilliantly well in many ways, at least where the actions taken to maximise profits coincide with actions that benefit the consumer, as they very often do. However, some people talk about the benefits of the free market and the benefits of perfect competition as if they were the same thing, when in most cases the free market throws up oligopolies and monopolistic competition. If we do just leave things to the free market, what is to prevent a gradual slide towards monopolies across all markets, and where will we stand then? Will we be much, if any better off than under a public sector monopoly; and if not, how can such a drift be prevented, other than by state action of the sort the OFT engage in, and which is so criticised by some proponents of the free market.

What is the answer? You didn’t really come here for an answer did you; I am certainly the wrong person to ask. I am just throwing ideas and thoughts about to see if they make any sense. Do they? I may have a degree in Economics, and so have forgotten more than most people know about the subject, but that is probably the problem; I have forgotten it, and I just carry about a little knowledge at a dangerously low level. I think all I really learnt at college was a cynicism and scepticism towards all economic theories.

I will tell you what I am not saying, however; I am not attacking the free market, and I am not arguing for a large state. Sometimes it is assumed that if you question the free market, or defend the state in any way, then you want politicians to organise everything for us, and for the state to tell us what we are having for tea. I don’t. I want the state to be as small as possible, and for taxes to be as low as possible, albeit I would like them to be more progressive than they are now. And it would be lovely to think that leaving everything to the market would solve all our problems, that some invisible hand will always be there to mop our brow and steer us back onto the right course when things get tough; but it seems a somewhat naïve view to me. I suppose I just think that market failure occures a bit more often than some people believe, and that the state may have to nip in now and then to help out more regularly than some would like.

Or perhaps I have just rambled on, at perhaps too much length, over reacting to what is just a rather fine piece of consumer electronics.

Diplomad For It!

Things are just about getting back to normal around here, following a huge surge in visitor numbers to this blog. The reason for the increased hit count was my mention of The Diplomad a week or so ago, the day before The Diplomad itself informed its readership about doing a Technorati search, resulting in their fans doing just that, and so finding their way here. I don’t think any have subsequently returned (I probably battered them with the power of my argument) so I am now back to my usual handful of readers, along with the odd (and I mean odd) visit due to peculiar Google searches (Latest search; “Adolf Hitler was an Evertonian”; the mind boggles). Anyway, I expect another spike of interest in my blog with this post, but then I hope that will be it. I have no intention of returning to this subject; as it is (two posts in a fortnight) I probably seem obsessed.

It was this article in Mediawatch that re-ignited my interest in The Diplomad. Writing about Job-Bloggers in general (and for one of the best, check out Call Centre Confidential; a brilliant, almost novelistic blog), they made the interesting comment that some of the people currently writing blogs are the sort of people who have always been used by the mainstream media when they want an anonymous insiders view on a matter; they write that “these are, of course, the very kinds of people traditionally treasured by journalists as sources. It’s just that now, they’ve gone freelance.”

They go on

“But what they say is only news if it’s accurate, relevant and interesting. The principles for trying to assess the merit of an insider blog aren’t much different from those any journalist uses to weigh up a source. Does it check out with other sources? What kind of agenda does the blogger have? And, most importantly, what is his or her track record?

“Recently, Diplomad, the anonymous blog written by US foreign service officers, made incendiary claims about United Nations arrogance and incompetence in the wake of the tsunami. These were trumpeted by many bloggers but largely ignored by the mainstream

“Not because the Diplomad authors were not who they said they were. But because much of what they said didn’t tally with more conventional reports. Their reporting from the airstrip at Aceh – which at one point praised the efforts of New Zealand’s Hercules crews – seemed sound enough. But their pronouncements about what was happening in Jakarta, let alone the wider region, lacked any ring of authority.

“Diplomad proved to be a feisty source of opinion, as it hurled abuse at the UN, Human Rights Watch, the mainstream media and the UN again. But a reliable news source? Forget it.”

I can imagine fans of The Diplomad dismissing this as typical of the liberal utterings of the mainstream media who have been ignoring the truth according to The Diplomad; but I find it interesting to see one of the reasons why The Diplomad has been ignored, outside of some opinion-based columns.

So, “What kind of agenda does the blogger have?” In this regard, Diplomad is very co-operative; they have even drawn up their own Top Ten list, not so much of what they believe in, but of opinions they disagree with; ideas that a Mixed Economy could work, that the UN is a good idea, that Global Warming is a concern, or that Lee Harvey Oswald may not have acted alone (What? Nothing about the moon landings? Or Lady Di? I could swear I saw Elvis the other day)! For The Diplomad, however these ten ideas are not honestly held opinions they disagree with; they believe they are in fact lies, and presumably the people who hold these opinions are liars. Not that slagging people off and bandying the term liar around will bother the Diplomad; they already happily characterise their opponents as “vultures” and “leftoids”, and presumably in a stab at humour once referred to developing countries as being in the Turd World. Nice.

This all goes down very well with the Diplomad’s readers, many of whom leave comments urging the authors to “keep it up”, “don’t stop telling the truth”, and so on; and of course they are correct. The Diplomad obviously has a large fan base and speaks it’s mind, and long may it continue. You won’t get any argument from me about free speech, although I guess a civil court may have something to say about their freedom to call Edward Kennedy a “killer“.

And although they may hand out the insults, they can certainly take them; they write that “leftoblogs” have called them “liars,” “fantasists,” and — our favorite — LUNATICS. Great stuff! Keep it up.”

Really? Is this what The Diplomad is for; for the authors to vent their collective spleens, to play to the gallery, and to inspire “hissy fits” in their opponents? Wouldn’t they prefer to read lefties’ blog saying that “after reading The Diplomad, I have become more critical of the UN”, or “I am now reconsidering my belief in Global Warming”?

Will that happen? I would say it is unlikely. For as long as The Diplomad seems bereft of even a hint of objectivity, unless their criticisms become more measured and reasoned, while their whole tone often appears to be on the verge of a rant, then they are all too easy to dismiss. (Even when you agree with them. I am with them when they argue against the EU’s suggestion that Nazi symbols should be banned; but when they smirk that the call for a ban was made by “a man named FRANCO…seconded by a man with the word “scam” in his name, Roscam” and “to make matters even more absurd, we have some GERMANS lecturing the world about the “consequences and World War II history linked to the Nazi swastika” I think I will look elsewhere for my Allies on this one).

This is a shame; Diplomad talks about important issues, and the authors obviously hold positions in the US State Department which must impart great insider knowledge; even if, based on their own description of The Diplomad (A Blog by career US Foreign Service officers. They are Republican, most of the time, in an institution, State Department, in which being a Republican can be bad for your career) their’s appears to be a minority view. If and when the UN fails, for example, then I want to hear about it. As things stand though, while the Diplomad reads as a collection of biased, almost paranoid grumblings about a UN/EU/MSM conspiracy against the US, I think they will always just be preaching to the converted; and what is the point of that?

Update 5/2/05: The Diplomad calls it a day! Coincidence?