My recommended reading for today July 27, 2014

by Stephen Tall on July 27, 2014

Here’s some of the articles that have caught my attention in the past couple of days…

The 21 areas where the Lib Dems and Labour agree

by Stephen Tall on July 27, 2014

Miliband-CleggIt’s a few months since I first published my list of 17 policies on which the Lib Dems and Labour now agree. These ranged from including tax-cuts for low-earners, the introduction of a mansion tax, a major council house-building programme, cuts to universal benefits for wealthy pensioners, and an elected House of Lords.

One I highlighted was the likely scrapping of the Bedroom Tax, noting then: “Officially the Lib Dems are committed to an immediate review of the impact of the ‘bedroom tax’ (or ‘spare room subsidy’ as no-one calls it), including looking at what money (if any) has been saved, the costs incurred, and the effect on vulnerable tenants. However, party president Tim Farron has made no secret of his wish to reform / scrap it. Ed Miliband announced at the last Labour conference that any government he led would scrap it.” Things have moved on since then, with the Lib Dems now committed to reforming the Bedroom Tax so that no tenant will lose housing benefit unless they decline the offer of alternative suitable housing.

To those 17, I subsequently added another three in May:

  • increasing the provision and affordability of childcare;
  • a living wage for public sector workers; and
  • private sector rent reforms to encourage three-year leases.
  • And then last month, the 21st area of broad agreement became clear when Nick Clegg announced that the Lib Dems would argue the next government “will be able to borrow in order to fix our creaking national infrastructure” in growth-enhancing projects. Though, as Adam Corlett argued here, the policy is not identical to Labour’s, it is certainly more in sympathy with Eds Miliband’s and Balls’ approach.

    So that’s the up-to-date 21 areas where the Lib Dems and Labour agree. As I pointed out in my Total Politics column this month, “If Labour ends up the largest party in a hung parliament there’s plenty of material for a Lib/Lab pact.”

    * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

    Ed Miliband’s speech: tricky message, poor timing

    by Stephen Tall on July 26, 2014

    Ed MilibandI’ve quite a lot of time for Ed Miliband. Politics needs intelligent, thoughtful folk with their hearts in the right place.

    I respect, for example, that he held out last year against the superficially attractive urge to call for an in/out EU referendum advocated by more opportunistic Labour colleagues who relished the idea of stirring Tory discontent with Cameron. Miliband, rightly, decided to put national interest ahead of narrow party interest.

    But there are evident troubles with his leadership, crystallised by his speech yesterday in which he acknowledged his own image problems: “I am not trying to win a photo-op contest in the next 10 months. And I wouldn’t win it if I tried.”

    There is some sense in making virtue of necessity. But this acceptance has come only after four years of trying to beat David Cameron at the presentation game, and failing. If he had’t tried so hard in the first place yesterday’s concession would never have been necessary. Miliband is trying to argue for authenticity but he’s done so at the price of highlighting that for four years he’s not been authentic.

    His problem now is that every time he mounts a photo opportunity to draw attention to Labour’s policy positions commentators will point out, not unjustly, that they thought he’d eschewed such fripperies. Yet again the focus will be on the leader’s style, not his substance — and this time Mliband will have only himself to blame for that.

    The biggest problem with his speech yesterday, though, was the timing.

    Friday saw the release of the latest GDP figures showing the UK economy return to its pre-crisis levels just as the IMF upgrades its growth forecast to show the UK growing faster than any other country in the world. There are all sorts of criticisms that can be made of the Coalition’s economic policies — that austerity delayed the return to growth, that the belated recovery is inherently unstable, that those benefiting from growth are primarily those who didn’t suffer recession.

    What did the Labour leader focus on yesterday? That in the words of this BBC headline, “I can’t beat PM on image”. If there were ever a time to make this speech (I’m not sure there was) it wasn’t yesterday.

    This isn’t the first time Labour’s timing has been, to put it kindly, odd. Miliband launched the major policy document, the IPPR-authored Condition of Britain, on 19th June: the same day as the crucial England v Uruguay World Cup match. Result: no-one (other than politicos) even noticed.

    Such flaws might seem minor. In a sense they are. The voters won’t properly tune into the political debate until at least the start of 2015. We’re living through the phoniest of phony wars at the moment.

    But the next election looks like it will be tight. Based on the current polls, Labour is in the stronger position, even on course for a small overall majority. Yet it will only take the Ukip vote to unwind a little and a few former Lib Dem voters to return and the Tories will start to overtake Labour. Unforced errors are a luxury none can afford.

    * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

    Highest ever rate of applications to university from poorer students new UCAS figures show

    by Stephen Tall on July 25, 2014

    The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has just published the latest figures of students applying to university this year according to free school meal status. What they show is that a higher proportion of pupils from low-income backgrounds are applying to university than ever before:

    ucas fsm uni figures 2014

    Around one in eight English pupils receive free school meals (FSM) and their application rate at age 18 to higher education is around half that of other pupils. For the 2014 cohort, application rates for the FSM group reached 18 per cent (a 1.3 percentage point increase, 8 per cent proportionally, from the previous cohort), and the highest on record. Application rates for those not in receipt of FSM were also the highest on record, reaching 37 per cent (a 1.2 percentage point increase, 3 per cent proportionally). This pattern of annual increases, with a larger proportional increase for the FSM group, is typical of the 2006-2013 period (except 2012).

    Three brief points:

    1) It’s clearly welcome news that applications from pupils from poorer backgrounds continue to rise. Opponents of tuition fees argued the reverse would happen, many scaremongering that a generation of disadvantaged young people would be put off – a potentially self-fulfilling prophesy that, thankfully, has failed to materialise.

    2) That’s not to say there aren’t issues with the new system that need attention. Most notably, there has been a sharp dip in part-time and mature students (most of whom won’t be picked up in these data). It is also quite possibly the case that the rate of increase would have been higher without the new fees system. However, that universities’ income has continued rising throughout the unprecedented austerity of the last four years has only been possible because of the Coalition’s reforms — as I pointed out here, Tuition fees: still a good policy.

    3) It is also clear that while the rise in applications for all students is welcome, the gap between those from poorer and wealthier households should worry us. This isn’t an issue of universities discriminating against poorer students. As UCAS notes, “there is a 19 percentage point gap between the FSM group and other pupils overall but this difference falls to between 1 to 2 percentage points across a broad range of GCSE attainment profiles.” In other words, the gap is the result of students from poorer backgrounds not achieving the exam results needed to progress to university. The key to improving the numbers of students from low-income backgrounds at university is addressing this attainment gap at schools.

    My recommended reading for today July 25, 2014

    by Stephen Tall on July 25, 2014

    Here’s some of the articles that have caught my attention in the past couple of days…

    Ukip may well win a seat in May 2015. But the least likely person to get elected is Nigel Farage

    by Stephen Tall on July 24, 2014

    Nigel Farage, Leader, UK Independence Party (UKIP)This week saw the latest in Lord Ashcroft’s polls of the marginal battleground seats that will decide the result of the next general election. This crop focused on 14 marginal Conservative-held seats where Labour are in second place.

    The overall news was half-encouraging for Labour. As it stands, Ed Miliband’s party is poised to win 11 of these 14 seats next May. The average swing from Tory to Labour of 4.5% would be enough to win 53 Tory seats, which, as as Ashcroft notes, “combined with the 17 seats my recent polling suggested they could gain from the Lib Dems, would be enough for a small overall majority”.

    Of course, this poll is a snapshot, not a prediction (as Ashcroft repeatedly stresses). A similar exercise conducted by Ashcroft for PoliticsHome in 2009 pointed to a Tory majority of 70 seats and we all know how that turned out a few months later. Usually the governing party picks up support as the election nears, while the opposition party loses support. We’ll see how that historical pattern bears out in Coalition conditions and as voting becomes yet more fragmented between five national parties, as well as the nationalists in Scotland and Wales.

    But the most newsworthy finding from Ashcroft’s poll was that Ukip would win two Conservative-held seats, Thanet South and Thurrock.

    In Thurrock, where the party won five councillors in May, Ukip has already selected a candidate, Tim Aker MEP. The poll finds Ukip support at 36%, ahead of Labour on 30% and the Tories pushed back into third place on 28%.

    Thanet South, where Ukip won seven out of eight councillors in 2013, is expected to be the seat for which Nigel Farage finally plumps. There Ukip support stood at 33%, with Labour and the Tories tied on 29%.

    If I was a betting man — and I’m not: my one and only political bet was on Iain Duncan Smith being elected Tory leader at 14/1 so I decided to end my betting career on a high — I’d bet against Nigel Farage being elected anywhere as an MP in 2015. Quite simply, he’s too toxic to too many voters.

    There were some who claimed that had he stood in Eastleigh in the February 2013 by-election, Ukip would have won. It is far more likely, though, that one of the reasons Ukip came so close to winning was because Nigel Farage didn’t stand. Instead, Ukip wisely selected the sensible-sounding Diane James.

    In the recent Newark by-election, Ukip did select a high-profile candidate, Roger Helmer. Though they did well to come second, they once again fell some way short of polling even 30%, the minimum share of the vote needed to win a seat. As I noted then:

    There is anecdotal evidence that Ukip, the new protest vote party, has generated its own protest vote: both Labour and Lib Dem canvassers reported voters saying they would hold their noses and vote Tory to make sure Nigel Farage was thwarted.

    If that were true of Mr Helmer, it will be true in spades of Nigel Farage. It’s true that in Newark the by-election soon became a two-horse race between the Tories and Ukip, whereas both Thurrock and Thanet South now appear to be three-way marginals which complicates anti-Ukip tactical voting. It is possible, therefore, that Mr Farage could slip through the middle. But overall I think it’s far more likely that his presence on the ticket will solidify support for both Labour and the Tories (the latter of which has savvily selected a former Ukip leader as their candidate in Thanet South).

    So yes, Ukip may well get an MP (or more than one) elected next May. Just don’t expect the name Farage to be on their roll-call of honour.

    * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

    Good news: Voters places themselves and the Lib Dems in the centre. Bad news: that doesn’t mean they’re liberals

    by Stephen Tall on July 24, 2014

    “There’s no future for the Lib Dems as a party of the centre,” goes the cry from radicals on both wings of our party. So I was interested to see this polling data from YouGov (hat-tip Adam Corlett) looking at where voters place themselves on the left-right axis and where they place the parties and their leaders. And yes, I know we don’t buy into the idea of a binary left-right axis, but it can’t be entirely dismissed.

    As YouGov explains, “tracking data compiled over as many as 12 years gives a clear sense of how the main parties and their leaders have been perceived as shifting on a left-right scale. The two charts below shows mean scores based on 100 being “very right-wing” and -100 being “very left-wing”.” I’ve super-imposed onto YouGov’s graphics where, on average, voters currently place themselves:

    voters left right spectrum you gov 2014

    Three quick points:

    1) The Tories are seen to be a more right-wing party (+46 on the scale) than Labour is seen to be a left-wing party (-37). However, the Tories are seen as slightly less right-wing under David Cameron than they were seen under Michael Howard or Iain Duncan Smith; while Labour is seen to be slightly more left-wing under Ed Miliband than under Gordon Brown — and a huge amount more left-wing compared to Tony Blair.

    2) Ukip is seen as even more right-wing than the Tories (+56). That a significant number of Ukip supporters voted for Mrs Thatcher in the 1980s then Tony Blair in 1997 is less surprising when you realise Blair was regarded as a centre-right leader (albeit of a left-wing Labour party).

    3) The Lib Dems and Nick Clegg are seen as pretty much in the centre, tending just slightly to the left (-6 on the scale) – almost exactly where voters place themselves (-4). And interestingly Nick Clegg is perceived to have moved to the left since the Coalition was formed.

    voters left right spectrum you gov 2014 - 2Enough about the perceptions of the parties – what about the voters’ views of themselves?

    As the table on the right shows, a plurality of voters (20%) place themselves squarely in the centre. A further 28% say they are either slightly left-of-centre (14%) or slightly right-of-centre (14%). In total, then, almost half of all voters (48%) place themselves at or close to the centre. This compares to minorities of voters who self-describe as very/fairly left-wing (14%) or very/fairly right-wing (12%).

    It is, of course, obvious to anyone who’s looked at the Lib Dems’ poll ratings lately that simply being close to the slightly left-of-centre sweet spot where the voters on average self-identify is not in itself enough. The party has serious trust issues over the breaking of the tuition fees pledge, is tainted in the eyes of many of our 2010 voters by dint of the Coalition with the Tories, and has been heavily pilloried by the media for four years. That has had a huge and cumulative negative impact on Lib Dem support. Much of this is unfair and massively over-blown by our opponents (and too often we Lib Dems turn healthy self-criticism into unhealthy self-harm) – but it is reality.

    However, what this polling suggests to me is that however damaged the Lib Dem brand is — and only time will tell whether that’s a short- or long-term issue — our political positioning is about right. Right not just because we’re close to the political centre of gravity, but right because of our situation.

    As I wrote last month, “if Lib Dem members really want to remain in government after May 2015 then we will have to do a deal next time with either the right-leaning Tories or left-leaning Labour. We may not place ourselves in the centre, but our circumstances do.”

    And as I’ll never tire of pointing out to those who demand the Lib Dem leadership stake out radical liberal positions, the blunt reality is that we’re simply not going to be in a position to deliver on them. Not now. And not after May 2015 either. Unless, that is, they’re policies which we can show enjoy significant popular support. Which is why Mark Pack is dead right to urge Lib Dems to get campaigning in favour of civil liberties rather than simply beating up on the Lib Dem leadership for failing to win liberal fights (for example, over DRIP) when they’re vastly out-numbered by authoritarians both in the Government and in Parliament, and the public is largely indifferent.

    Yes, we’re liberals. But we’re also democrats, and we need to start winning a few more arguments in the court of public opinion rather than simply believing that all we need do is more noisily assert the purity of our liberalism.

    * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

    David Ward: “if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes”

    by Stephen Tall on July 22, 2014

    A year ago David Ward, Lib Dem MP for Bradford East, had the party whip temporarily withdrawn after he accused “the Jews” of “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel”. Though he apologised for blanket-labelling he said he would “continue to make criticisms of actions in Palestine in the strongest possible terms” and has tonight lived up to his word on his Twitter feed:

    david ward tweets

    His tweet, “The big question is – if I lived in #Gaza would I fire a rocket? – probably yes”, has echoes of Jenny Tonge’s 2004 comments that she could consider becoming a Palastinian suicide bomber. She was sacked from the front bench by Charles Kennedy for that remark, and eventually resigned the whip in 2012 after testing the leadership’s patience to snapping point.

    David Ward’s defenders will say his tweet is, at worst, a clumsily worded attempt to empathise with the plight of Palestinians. But he must know there are far better ways of empathising than by appearing to condone the murder of Israeli citizens.

    He must also know that his words, this empty ratcheting up of the rhetoric, achieve nothing for the cause of peace in the Middle East.

    He should apologise, but I doubt he will. If he doesn’t, he’ll leave Nick Clegg with little choice but to withdraw the whip, permanently this time. David’s comment wasn’t an off-the-cuff ad lib in a public meeting, this was a deliberately worded tweet. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion he’s spoiling for a fight, trying to out-Galloway Galloway, the neighbouring Bradford MP.

    I’ll leave the last word to the New Statesman’s George Eaton who put it best tonight:

    (As ever when the topic involves the Middle East, all comments will be pre-moderated before they appear.)

    * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

    The Lib Dems’ ‘bedroom tax’ U-turn: new poll on what the voters think about it

    by Stephen Tall on July 20, 2014

    The Lib Dems announced a few days ago the party’s 2015 manifesto would propose reform of the ‘bedroom tax’ / ‘spare room subsidy’, which would means no tenant would have any of their housing benefit withdrawn unless they had turned down an offer of a smaller property.

    It was a long overdue climbdown – as I wrote in April 2013: “The principle of the ‘bedroom tax’, then — to try and maximise the availability of social housing and reduce the chronic waiting lists — is a reasonable one. Where the policy clearly breaks down is on a human and practical level. Though the Coalition has responded to concerns raised by introducing exemptions for foster carers, military families and so on, it will not have covered every eventuality. The harsh reality is some people, some of the most vulnerable in society including the disabled, will be made poorer.”

    Some political commentators have said, regardless of the policy’s rights or wrong, Clegg has made a mistake. His issue with the public is trust, and therefore to renege on a policy he’s previously supported will simply compound that impression. It’s a risk, certainly, though I take the more old-fashioned view that it’s better to take the decisions you believe to be right than stubbornly stick by decisions you think, in retrospect, are a mistake.

    I was interested to see YouGov’s polling on the ‘bedroom tax’, released today (hat-tip Mike Smithson), as they’ve asked the two key questions. First, how many support it. An secondly, what do voters think of the Lib Dems’ partial U-turn? Here are the results:

    bedroom tax yougov july 2014

    As can be seen, the ‘bedroom tax’ is divisive (and has always been so), though a narrow but clear plurality oppose it. Conservative and Lib Dem voters support it, Labour and Ukip voters oppose it – reflecting the likelihood that Labour and Ukip voters are more likely to be affected by it.

    What did surprise me was that Clegg’s semi-U-turn gets a reasonable hearing from voters. True, by 44% to 38% the public reckons it reflects badly rather than well on him – but that’s a lot more evenly poised than I would expect given voters’ disillusion with politicians generally, and Clegg’s own negative ratings. Some 76% of Lib Dem voters, 42% of Labour voters and 34% of Ukip voters reckon it “Reflects well on Nick Clegg – it’s right to change your mind about a policy if it turns out not to be working”. The voters most likely to think him hypocritical are… Tories.

    * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

    My pick of 15 top books to read this summer

    by Stephen Tall on July 20, 2014

    reading summer - photo by hans van der bergThe newspapers are awash with summer best-reads at the moment, as well-known writers pick the books to relax with by the pool. You know the kind of thing: “It’s at this time of year I typically embark on re-reading Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu, translating it into Russian (which I’m learning to relax as I prepare for my Grade 8 piano exam) from our rustic cottage in Tuscany.” Or, alternatively: “Here’s a book written by my mate.”

    Always eager to copy a trite-and-tested and formula, here’s my list. Some I’ve read; others I’m looking forward to; a couple I doubt I’ll even start. But in a parallel universe, they’re all ones I would make the time to read.

    Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain by Robert Ford and Matthew J. Goodwin
    How do you explain the Ukip surge? Ford and Goodwin’s book is a must-read for those wanting to understand what has driven this party from the fringes a decade ago to topping a national election this May. Here’s Mark Pack’s review for LDV and my take on it all here.

    The Geek Manifesto: Why science matters by Mark Henderson
    How do you improve public services like health, education and clean energy? Start with the experimental methods of science (never forgetting to apply your own values – liberal hopefully). Published in 2012, this book is still just as timely.

    The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge
    Two of the Economist’s senior editors look at the current crisis gripping Western powers – voter disaffection – and argue that we need to look to the emerging economies and embrace their can-do activist reforms if we want liberal democracy to prosper. This may all sound a bit Jeremy Browne for some tastes but Micklethwaite and Wooldridge are always worth reading whether you agree or not.

    An Unexpected MP: Confessions of a Political Gossip by Jerry Hayes
    If the above all sound a bit hard-going, enjoy dipping into this frothy memoir by one of those things becoming an increasing rarity: a liberal Tory MP with a social conscience. It reads like an after-dinner speech and its anecdotes sound somewhat embellished. But it’s fun stuff.

    Power Trip: A Decade of Policy, Plots and Spin by Damian McBride
    A fascinating insider’s account of the court of Gordon Brown as Chancellor and then PM. It’s an wholly partial viewpoint – there’s no attempt here to give a rounded picture – from the civil servant turned spin-doctor who was forced to quit in 2009. He says he still loves Gordon, though the Brown who comes across here is comically awkward.

    Broke: How to Survive the Middle-Class Crisis by David Boyle
    One of our most original current liberal thinkers, Boyle examines how middle-class life has been eroded over the decades such that “today’s middle classes will struggle to enjoy the same privileges of security and comfort that their grandparents did”.

    The Blunders of Our Governments by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe
    Why do governments of all hues make such big mistakes? It’s a basic question explored here with examples ranging from the Poll Tax to the Child Support Agency to the Millennium Dome to the NHS’s failed IT system. Winner of this year’s Practical Politics Book of the Year.

    The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy by Tim Harford
    A quite brilliant economics primer, as entertaining as it is accessible – all done in the style of his essential Financial Times Q&As exploring the knottiest of issues fairly and concisely.

    The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster (Kindle Single) by Edward Lucas
    A controversial but highly persuasive account: ‘Drawing on 30 years’ experience observing the world of intelligence, Lucas depicts Edward Snowden as at best reckless and naïve, and at worst a saboteur. He stole far more secrets than were necessary to make his case and did so in a deliberately damaging matter.’ I approached this book expecting to think Snowden’s actions deserved the benefit of the doubt; that’s not how I left it.

    The Cruel Victory by Paddy Ashdown
    How could I not include Paddy’s new tome? I’ve not read it but Caron Lindsay has, and you can read her review here.

    The ‘Too Difficult’ Box: The Big Issues Politicians Can’t Crack by Charles Clarke (ed)
    27 chapters by 27 contributors looking at some of the knottiest problems we in the UK face: from our place in the world to the welfare state to public services and immigration, political reform and drugs. A range of contributors from all parties and none. One to dip into and violently (dis)agree with.

    A State of Play: British Politics on Screen, Stage and Page, from Anthony Trollope to The Thick of It by Prof. Steven Fielding
    How politics is portrayed doesn’t just reflect the reality, argues Fielding, it also shapes it. This is a fascinating overview which ranges well beyond the usual suspects – it starts with the BBC children’s TV show Big Barn Farm – mixing history and politics.

    Roy Jenkins by John Campbell
    We knew about some of his affairs, but the one with Anthony Crosland came as a bit of a surprise. One of the most important political figures of the C.20th now has a biography that explores his well-rounded life with both honesty and affection.

    The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark
    How did the First World War start? A century on, the question still rages, with Clark arguing the blame needs to be shared around Europe’s statesmen who stumbled chaotically into the conflict.

    Oh, and if you just want a good novel, here’s my suggestion:

    The Goldfinch by Donna Tart
    Deserved winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014, this is one of the only books about which I can honestly use the blurb-word ‘unputdownable’. It’s a big book in every way, perfect for losing yourself in on holiday, but also immensely readable. I may even read it again myself this summer.

    Those are my suggestions – what are yours?

    Photo by Hans Van der Berg

    * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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