What does good does the Monarchy really do ? Watch

Lady Comstock
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(Original post by Onde)
It is not as democratic as could be.
It depends what you mean by 'democratic'. The public voting for things or people?

When the queen was crowned, apparently one third of the population thought she had a divine right to rule: the queen included. How is this not damaging to the image of self-determination?
That was decades ago. People also thought homosexuality should be illegal. The monarchy survives because it balances tradition with modernity. You would never hear Buckingham Palace say anything of the sort suggest the Queen has a divine right to rule.

She thinks she should be queen even if she is 120 and too ill to carry out any 'duties'.
A regent would be appointed in that event. Also, aren't people allowed to sit in the House of Lords and exercise legislative function even if they are 120?
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gladders
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It isn't beside the point, just because you know a lot of struggling people, and a hefty chunk of ones doing alright, would prefer the royal lifestyle.
The royal lifestyle? What about the presidential lifestyle? You’re riddled with double standards.

The German statecrafters saw no reason to continue with the Kaiser and installed an elected leader in his place in the mess that was post-WWI Germany, and again after the mad dictator
Wrong. They installed an elected, executive Head of State after the fall of the Kaiser. That proved disastrous, so they created an appointed ie. unelected position after 1945. Get your facts straight.

A president with executive power would probably create too many reminders of the last German leader to have had it to be palateable for the German public. But even if that were not the case, they still do not rely on the accident of birth for this role. This discussion is not on ceremonial/executive presidents but on the monarchy, and Germany ain't got one.
This just keeps going round in circles. All you are capable of doing, and all your argument boils down to, is ‘I don’t care how much monarchy actually works, I just don’t like it.’ Simply saying that inheritance gives you the heebie-jeebies doesn’t mean I, or anyone else, should give a toss.

Yes why bother anything if it doesn't solve all the problems at once.
It solves no problems. Again, you are simply declaring it being elected as an automatic good, when I’ve pointed out plenty of hazards and problems. You’re simply begging the question.

This wouldn't happen and you know it.
What wouldn’t happen?

Why is a commoner less capable than a Windsor?
It’s not about them being commoners or Windsors. It’s about being trained for the job from an early stage and gathering experience and wisdom as time passes, all the while being kept in check by a series of well-established principles that determine the Head of State can only function a particular way. A president would lose that experience periodically, and, if directly elected, would risk feeling themselves to have sufficient personal popularity to violate the understood manner in which the office operates.

You are the only one here insisting on this ‘commoner’ thing.

He complains of words being put in his mouth then does it to someone else.
What on earth are you talking about?

Binmen are hired on the basis of some degree of competency that they need to do their job.
Yes. They are not elected.

The British monarchy's 'qualification' is birth, which is the problem most republicans have with it.
Quite so, and the bottom line is, I don’t give a monkey’s. If all you can say is you dislike inheritance, then state it and move on. You’re assumption that this is in itself automatically a negative is bizarre.

So the head of state has to take on more work and there is one less salary for the taxpayer.
He does more work, but he doesn’t do it as well. In particular an executive president inherently can only speak for those who agree with him, not the whole nation.

And given the costs of the American and French presidents, light years larger than the costs of our PM and Queen combined…

How many Tory MPs are outspoken republicans compared to Labour ones? Though
What’s that got to do with the price of fish?

yes what do I know, the Windsors toil harder than anyone at a coal face ever has.
Oh for the love of…that’s not what I said and you know it. You’re acting like a spoiled child. There are different kinds of legitimately hard work.
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Pro Crastination
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(Original post by Lady Comstock)
But they would be there because of the birth lottery. It may not be as direct and overt as the monarchy, but the office would largely be confined to people born into privileged, political families. My point is that a woman on a council estate is no more likely to become the British head of state in a republic than she is a monarchy. So I disagree with the ideologically-driven notion that a republic would be a momentous event for democracy and the people. In practice, it would involve the same exclusivity, and I prefer the current type of exclusivity.
So you agree that it's bad that individuals can be simply born into privilege and assume power, whilst at the same time still opt for a system where individuals can be born into privilege and assume power, but that Daddy didn't even have to send them to Eton first?

Top politicians, business people, civil servants and so forth often come from privileged backgrounds for a plethora of reasons and fixing that goes well beyond taxation, this will never be completely fixed, there is never going to be a society out there where the privately-educated sons or daughters of bankers, professors or ministers fare only as well as those raised in environments less favourable to the development of social capital. The intergenerational disparities in income in our country however, exceed those in many other OECD nations, and there is more that we can do to move in a better direction. It is our responsibility to push for an agenda that ensures no child born into a disadvantaged situation cannot achieve their potential in life, and we can succeed in that, but only if we vote for it.

Your position assumes that this can never be achieved, which I would deem defeatist. On top of that, I just don't think your position has any reasonable logic holding it together. We cannot presently have unprivileged elected heads of state, they would all be privileged anyway, even if hypothetically anyone could become head of state. So, instead, let's make it sure that in reality only a privileged few can ever become heads of state and set the hypotheticals to one side. What reason do you have for preferring the current system of privilege? And how is Royal privilege different to any other type of privilege anyway?

(Original post by Lady Comstock)
Also, is this about things being subject to public vote for you or just the fact that it's hereditary? So many public roles in the West are appointed, and not always through merit. Is appointing a donor to a powerful position somehow better than an hereditary figurehead because?
I am opposed to hereditary power. Appointments should be made on a meritocratic basis, which, I admit, will never fully be the case unless every position is voted for by every member of the public, which would be virtually impossible. However, by and large, public employees will be chosen on a meritocratic basis, as those making the appointment will be called into question if their appointment totally failed in their responsibilities. I'm also not quite sure what the proportion of powerful public positions given to donors quite is, to be honest, I would assume it is fairly small (if we are considering all governmental and civil service roles). Where this does occur, I fully agree with you, it needs to be stamped out, as they are little better than an individual who inherits power.

(Original post by Lady Comstock)
I am not saying that republican heads of state are as exclusive as an hereditary monarchy; that is a given. However, my point is that people think abolishing the monarchy opens the office of head of state up to all and sundry, and somehow empowers ordinary people. You're just replacing one overtly exclusive system with a more subtle one.
Even if this were completely true - because we decide to never have the political will to push for equality of opportunity, for whatever reason - you're still arguing that because the change will only improve things slightly, we might as well not bother. This is not an argument for not doing something, this is just defeatism. We need to be positive, driven and courageous if we want to leave a better world than the one that we entered, submitting to reasoning like that will never get us there.

I would like to respond to more, and I may do, I am quite tired right now, though!
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gladders
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(Original post by Pro Crastination)
Hereditary rule still exists. The Royals, and certainly one individual in particular (no point even naming names), like a bit of political dabbling here and there. It doesn't matter how minimal this dabbling is - and it would appear to be greater than the odd dabble - that is still an individual exercising authority because they happened to win a lottery of birth.
I have to disagree. The ability of the monarchy to makes it views known privately to the government is a valuable one that does not impinge on the democratic nature of this country.

Besides, insisting on such a strict quarantine of the Head of State from saying their piece to the government is utterly impractical. By that reckoning, you should shut off the government from all lobbying. I'm sure you'll have no problem with an industrialist not being able to speak personally to the BIS Secretary, but what about Greenpeace? A Trade Union? A charity? A scientific organisation? A university? None of them are elected, but ministers meet and deal with them all the time, hearing their viewpoints and forming poicy based on their views. Doing so doesn't harm our democracy as long as the Government remains accountable to Parliament for its decisions.

A monarch at the very least has no particular axe to grind when they make their views heard. They already have everything and are materially secure. And at least a monarch has absolutely no means of enforcing their will, as doing so would provoke a constitutional crisis. Meanwhile, a business could threaten to move abroad, a Trade Union could call for a strike, a university could complain openly, and Greenpeace could stage a demonstration.
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gladders
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(Original post by Onde)
It is not as democratic as could be.

When the queen was crowned, apparently one third of the population thought she had a divine right to rule: the queen included. How is this not damaging to the image of self-determination? She thinks she should be queen even if she is 120 and too ill to carry out any 'duties'.
Really? That's your angle? :confused:

Look, people believe that then because it was a more religious age. I am atheist myself, but it has to be said that being religious or believe something happens because of God does not automatically mean you're abasing yourself or denying yourself an identity. Look at the English Civil War - in a time when the Divine Right to Rule was taken even more seriously, there were plenty on the parliamentarian side who had to concede the King was chosen by God. That didn't stop them declaring, rightly, that God also gave people sacred rights independently of the King's stature, and they were prepared to defend them.

Nor did this stop this country from peacefully evolving into a constitutional democracy. Nor did it stop the Labour movement arising and improving the lot of millions. Nor did it stop enormous voter turnouts for much of the century, with healthy debates and keen public interest. Nor did it stop our country building a vast Empire founded on, yes, some rather nasty things, but also on enormous wealth, entrepreneurship, inventiveness and a constant dedication to Reform and improvement, too. The British Constitution proved an inspiration to countless nationalist and democratic movements in Europe.

So to claim that believe in a monarch somehow makes us less capable of achieving our potential just defies all experience. There's thousands of Brits in the past who have done so, and thousands more doing it right now. And it will continue. What's holding us back isn't the monarchy, that's for sure.
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Pro Crastination
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(Original post by gladders)
I have to disagree. The ability of the monarchy to makes it views known privately to the government is a valuable one that does not impinge on the democratic nature of this country.

Besides, insisting on such a strict quarantine of the Head of State from saying their piece to the government is utterly impractical. By that reckoning, you should shut off the government from all lobbying. I'm sure you'll have no problem with an industrialist not being able to speak personally to the BIS Secretary, but what about Greenpeace? A Trade Union? A charity? A scientific organisation? A university? None of them are elected, but ministers meet and deal with them all the time, hearing their viewpoints and forming poicy based on their views. Doing so doesn't harm our democracy as long as the Government remains accountable to Parliament for its decisions.

A monarch at the very least has no particular axe to grind when they make their views heard. They already have everything and are materially secure. And at least a monarch has absolutely no means of enforcing their will, as doing so would provoke a constitutional crisis. Meanwhile, a business could threaten to move abroad, a Trade Union could call for a strike, a university could complain openly, and Greenpeace could stage a demonstration.
The organisations you have listed could lobby on the basis that they hold some sway in public opinion or in the wider economy. The Royals can lobby because they were born. There is absolutely a difference, one of merit rather than inheritance of power. The same logic applies your latter argument.

Let me get this straight: I am not for voting for everything. I am against hereditary power, I am for meritocratic appointment where election would be impractical - the vast majority of public positions, but not the head of our state for goodness sake.
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gladders
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(Original post by Onde)
It may have been decades ago, but it is the long propaganda of the monarchy that gave the view that monarchs were divinely chosen.
I don't find it to be any worse propaganda than the claims by Presidents to be chosen by the People, which has led to a number of coups in many countries worldwide. Nor did such claims stop this country stripping the monarchy of any executive powers, placing them at the whim of Parliament, and expanding the suffrage to its present wide base.

The Queen regularly reaffirms her commitment to her vows made in 1953: she considers it her duty to reign by the grace of god etc. ...not by the grace of the people.
Since 1689 such a concept remains an unspoken yet obvious fact. There's no point in changing it, as everyone already knows - most of all the Queen herself.

A regent who would come from the royal family...
Absolutely. That's the point. Parliament itself voted the Acts governing those circumstances: the Head of State must be of the Royal Family, to prevent the Regent being someone potentially subject to the diktats of the government or parliament.

The age per se is not the issue, it is more the idea of a 120 year-old clinging onto power with increased frailty year-after-year despite not being chosen by us. It would increasingly become a honorary position at best.
Other countries handle it through abdications, but it's not done here, especially as an abdication would need Parliament's consent. So in that way, we do select our Head of State

But this is a minor and rather idiosyncratic concern. Fact is, the Queen could be in a coma from tomorrow until 2030. The operation of the office of Head of State would transfer to the Regent. Life would carry on as normal.
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gladders
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(Original post by Pro Crastination)
The organisations you have listed could lobby on the basis that they hold some sway in public opinion or in the wider economy. The Royals can lobby because they were born. There is absolutely a difference, one of merit rather than inheritance of power. The same logic applies your latter argument.
Oh? So you're fine with Murdoch telling Cameron and co what to do? And you're cool with Shell telling them how high to jump? How about the banks telling them to go whistle? That's all meritocratic and entirely AOK is it?

You seem to contend that it's more democratic for a business or interest which can hold the government hostage by spending money, harming the economy, or launching public attacks, for their personal or sectional gain at our expense, than a Queen who can do no more than have a five minute conversation with the PM and is then bound to say no more of it, on pain of being removed?

Really?
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Midlander)
Using inequality elsewhere in the world to deflect criticism of it on our doorsteps, well played.
Highlighting hypocrisy pure and simple. Got a problem with some people being born into more favourable circumstances you can go off and live in the **** parts of the world, forgo your vaginal lottery.
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gladders
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(Original post by Onde)
My point was about the idea of our population having an ingrained view that this was an acceptable state of affairs, including the queen herself.
It was a different age. We don't believe that now. The past is a foreign country. It's entirely acceptable.

I quoted before the quote of the queen's cousin, Princess Michael of Kent:
I'm not entirely sure what that quote is meant to demonstrate?

is it really right that we put this family on a pedestal and honour them?
Sure, why not? If you don't want to, you're not under threat to do so. They're a national symbol, no less heathy than saluting a flag, singing an anthem, or wearing a football shirt.

I'd rather they celebrate a historic monarchy than what they otherwise celebrate, which is the likes of Celebrity Juice! Human nature: 'deny it food and it will gobble up poison'.
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gladders
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(Original post by Onde)
If the queen wasn't queen, no one has said she has no right to an opinion. Personally, I would actually prefer it if our head of state WAS capable of having opinions.
Well, that's fine and you're welcome to believe that and call for change. But you must recognise that the monarchy does what is intended of it and does it well, and it does a job approximate to plenty of other Heads of State worldwide. I'd rather keep what we have, as I think it's considerably more democratic to have a ceremonial Head of State than a presidential state like the US.
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Pro Crastination
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(Original post by gladders)
Oh? So you're fine with Murdoch telling Cameron and co what to do? And you're cool with Shell telling them how high to jump? How about the banks telling them to go whistle? That's all meritocratic and entirely AOK is it?

You seem to contend that it's more democratic for a business or interest which can hold the government hostage by spending money, harming the economy, or launching public attacks, for their personal or sectional gain at our expense, than a Queen who can do no more than have a five minute conversation with the PM and is then bound to say no more of it, on pain of being removed?

Really?
It's meritocratic. It is a shame that our system of lobbying allows for vested interests to 'hold to hostage' our government. However, as you just pointed out, other interests may often act as counteracting forces. Ultimately if enough public pressure is exerted on a government, they will say no to big business. That this doesn't frequently happen I would say happens to be due to the issue that the funding/organisational capabilities of said big business are often, but not always, greater.

If the Queen or any member of the Royal family lobbies government, they are able to do so purely by their birth. This is not meritocratic.
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Pro Crastination
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(Original post by gladders)
Sure, why not? If you don't want to, you're not under threat to do so. They're a national symbol, no less heathy than saluting a flag, singing an anthem, or wearing a football shirt.
Whether they should be a national symbol - by one of them being our head of state - is what we are debating. To people who genuinely believe in meritocracy, their being put on a pedestal because they happened to be born is embarrassing. You haven't told us why we are wrong.
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Chellecharity
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Brits are proud and v.patriotic. Getting rid of lizzy would be the end of British culture I'd say.
Getting rid of them won't solve any problems that British politics have already created. Poor old Liz ayyyy
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Lady Comstock
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(Original post by Pro Crastination)
So you agree that it's bad that individuals can be simply born into privilege and assume power, whilst at the same time still opt for a system where individuals can be born into privilege and assume power, but that Daddy didn't even have to send them to Eton first?
I do not believe that hereditary privilege is inherently wrong, as this would apply to inheritance, peers who have influence over small communities in terms of employees of their estates, etc. My argument is that we would go from one form of hereditary exclusivity to another. With those two options, I prefer the status quo.

I am mainly basing this on historical experience. The last two monarchs have performed well, yet I then consider the prospect of President Blair, President Thatcher, President Miliband, etc. Now, if the political system transformed and an ordinary Briton could genuinely be elected to that role, then I would probably give up this argument. As it stands, the practical results of a republic sway me towards the status quo.

I also don't think that hereditary figureheads are such a great crime in a time when we have questionable appointments, safe seats, etc.

Top politicians, business people, civil servants and so forth often come from privileged backgrounds for a plethora of reasons and fixing that goes well beyond taxation, this will never be completely fixed, there is never going to be a society out there where the privately-educated sons or daughters of bankers, professors or ministers fare only as well as those raised in environments less favourable to the development of social capital. The intergenerational disparities in income in our country however, exceed those in many other OECD nations, and there is more that we can do to move in a better direction. It is our responsibility to push for an agenda that ensures no child born into a disadvantaged situation cannot achieve their potential in life, and we can succeed in that, but only if we vote for it.
Sure, but I do not think aiming your sights on an hereditary figurehead first and foremost should be a priority. Abolishing it at this stage would be purely ideologically driven and symbolic; the inequalities would remain.

It may also be the case that people consider any perceived negatives of having an hereditary head of state to be outweighed by the positives.

Your position assumes that this can never be achieved, which I would deem defeatist. On top of that, I just don't think your position has any reasonable logic holding it together. We cannot presently have unprivileged elected heads of state, they would all be privileged anyway, even if hypothetically anyone could become head of state. So, instead, let's make it sure that in reality only a privileged few can ever become heads of state and set the hypotheticals to one side. What reason do you have for preferring the current system of privilege? And how is Royal privilege different to any other type of privilege anyway?
The only time I would consider it feasible is a huge advance in science, medicine and technology to the point where inequalities of food, health, living standards and education are phased out. This would probably be centuries away, however.

My argument for keeping the monarchy is not solely based on it being a better form of privilege than the alternative. If an alternative system were completely equal, I would probably opt for keeping the monarchy for the other benefits I consider it provides.

I am opposed to hereditary power. Appointments should be made on a meritocratic basis, which, I admit, will never fully be the case unless every position is voted for by every member of the public, which would be virtually impossible. However, by and large, public employees will be chosen on a meritocratic basis, as those making the appointment will be called into question if their appointment totally failed in their responsibilities. I'm also not quite sure what the proportion of powerful public positions given to donors quite is, to be honest, I would assume it is fairly small (if we are considering all governmental and civil service roles). Where this does occur, I fully agree with you, it needs to be stamped out, as they are little better than an individual who inherits power.
The monarchy is not hereditary power, though. It's a privileged position, but it is not realistically a role that can exercise governmental power in and by itself.

Whilst I may be opposed to an hereditary Home Secretary, who had power to give orders to the Police, I am not opposed to an hereditary figurehead. Some British dukes enjoy a similar position to the monarch on a micro level. They perform ceremonial functions, entertain, do charitable work, etc. They are heads of counties in a symbolic way. I have no problem with this; however, if they were given real powers to direct the Police or banish people, then this would be wrong.

Even if this were completely true - because we decide to never have the political will to push for equality of opportunity, for whatever reason - you're still arguing that because the change will only improve things slightly, we might as well not bother. This is not an argument for not doing something, this is just defeatism. We need to be positive, driven and courageous if we want to leave a better world than the one that we entered, submitting to reasoning like that will never get us there.
As noted, that is not my sole reason for wanting to keep the monarchy. It is a counter-argument to those who claim that a republic would be a democratic revolution for Britain.
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Midlander
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(Original post by Chellecharity)
Brits are proud and v.patriotic. Getting rid of lizzy would be the end of British culture I'd say.
Getting rid of them won't solve any problems that British politics have already created. Poor old Liz ayyyy
Yes we have nothing else except for the nation's favourite toffs.


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Chellecharity
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(Original post by Midlander)
Yes we have nothing else except for the nation's favourite toffs.


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Lool stone henge maybe ? Couple of rocks here and there.
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SBKA
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(Original post by Pro Crastination)
**** it. Let's just do away with progressive taxation and welfare whilst we're at it. If that's the natural state of things then let's not even bother trying to change that, even if doing so appeals to our moral convictions.

Fantastic defeatist logic, I'm sure the great philosophers would be applauding you were they here reading this.
I do not particularly care about the monarchy, I was just pointing out the absurdity of the argument against them that 'everyone should be born equal'

If someone wants to pursue this argument, do it in full measure. Campaign against private education, healthcare and business. Encourage a universal state where every child is born equal. Just do not force this dogma onto me whilst you send your kid to private school.

I am not against anyone campaigning to change this moral nature of society. I respect them greatly for standing by such strong principles. Where I have problems is when people feel they should have the liberty to force others into what they believe. This is wrong.
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Midlander
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(Original post by Chellecharity)
Lool stone henge maybe ? Couple of rocks here and there.
Stonehenge is one of the most visited attractions in the UK.
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Midlander
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
Highlighting hypocrisy pure and simple. Got a problem with some people being born into more favourable circumstances you can go off and live in the **** parts of the world, forgo your vaginal lottery.
It is possible to have a problem with both things.
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