[What follows is a lightly amended version of an unscripted talk given by Mr. Lucas at the Symposium on 29 November 2014]
I want to say at the beginning, first of all, that I really like hostile questions: they are much more interesting than friendly ones! So if what I am saying strikes you as being either nonsense or illogical or factually incorrect, please stick your hand up and say so. It will make for a much more interesting discussion. I shall start off by trying to take you back in time, to the pre-1989 era. Hands up anyone here who was born before 1989… Anyone here who was born before 1989? Right, hands up anyone who remembers life before 1989… OK, well I do. So I am going to tell you a bit about it, and the title is: ‘The Power of the Powerless: Past Struggles and their Current Lessons’.
I used to cross the Berlin Wall pretty much every day when I was the Berlin correspondent of the BBC. That was my job, covering East Germany, and I would go across ‘Checkpoint Charlie’, and you really felt you were crossing from one world into another, from one civilisation into another. West Berlin was garish, and lively and rather seedy in some ways, but indisputably a capitalist, free part of the world. And East Germany – East Berlin – was not. They were scared. They were scared of the Stasi, of the Russian occupying forces. You could not say what you thought in public. You could not say what you thought in private. My friendship with those Germans was constrained by that. I had to meet them secretly, with considerable effort sometimes, going several different routes on the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, trying to shake off the Stasi tails who were following me so that I could meet them and do something really subversive… like handing over a plastic carrier bag containing back numbers of Der Spiegel, which was the sort of thing that they wanted.
I also lived in the Soviet Union when it was the Soviet Union. I was the last journalist to be expelled from the Soviet Union in 1990 and I was told when I was expelled, ‘You will never be allowed back into the Soviet Union’. This is what the KGB said when they put me on a train leaving from Grodno, Belarus, to go to Poland. I was very pleased to go back to the Soviet Union under a slightly different name and a slightly different passport shortly afterwards and then witness ‘the evil empire’ come crashing down. The phrase, ‘The power of the powerless’, comes from Václav Havel, and if you have not yet read them, I really do recommend that you read Havel’s essays. There is a great biography of Havel that has just come out, by my friend Michael Žantovský, who lives just up the road from here, as the Czech Ambassador. He really brings to life this extraordinary man, and the extraordinary period of history that he both lived through, and, in some ways, encapsulated. The whole point of ‘the power of the powerless’ is that even in a totalitarian system, small acts of resistance, small acts of bravery, small acts of what he called ‘living in truth’ eventually build up and coalesce and then undermine the system from below. When he wrote that, it seemed like a really unlikely prospect. Havel was in jail in the early ‘80s, and that is really the time from which I want to start. It was the time when we had the final years of Brezhnev, and then the years of Andropov who was trying to reform the Soviet Union in a kind of hard-line way.
The world was so different then. It was hermetically sealed between East and West; it was very rare to meet people from so-called ‘eastern Europe’ in the West. It was very difficult for westerners to go to eastern Europe. Mostly, if you went you had to change a large amount of money every day into the near-worthless local currency. So for a student or someone with limited means, even going to somewhere like Poland or East Germany meant paying an effective tax of thirty or forty pounds a day. You could go to Yugoslavia, and my first adventures in the former communist world were in Yugoslavia, and I would go to Yugoslavia partly to meet Yugoslavs, and talk to them about their rather diluted, less oppressive form of communism. But also, it was a great place to meet East Germans, and Poles, and Hungarians and others, because Yugoslavia was one of the places that they could go to on holiday without too much difficulty. And also, what I noticed there, was a tremendous asymmetry of interest. For people behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ the West was a really, really big deal. People could watch western television, initially just by picking up transmissions that came over the border, which you could do in most of East Germany and the western and southern parts of the then Czechoslovakia. And increasingly through satellites. People would put satellite dishes on their windows. I remember covering May Day 1989 in Czechoslovakia. I decided I would go around Prague and count the number of people who had put out red flags, which was supposedly mandatory for May Day – that great communist holiday – and see the number of people who had put up satellite dishes. And, of course, satellite dishes were expensive; hard currency was scarce; it was quite difficult to put up a satellite dish, as well as technically slightly illegal. It was not actually allowed, although this rule was not really enforced, whereas red flags were there for free. All you had to do was put them up, and it was really interesting going around the suburbs of Prague, to see that satellite dishes outnumbered red flags. That to me was quite a big sign of the way things were going. Although people in the East were very interested in the West, they wanted western consumer goods; they liked the entertainment programmes on western television; they genuinely believed that the western system was better than the eastern one. They did not know perhaps as much about its disadvantages as they should have done. That was not true the other way around. For people of the West the East was a kind of ‘Black Hole’, and when I talked to my friends in West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and other countries, they would say, ‘Where have you been?’. And I would say, ‘I have just been to Czechoslovakia, or I have just been to Poland’. [And they would reply,] ‘Why would you want to go there? They are boring places. It is concrete and grey; it is depressing; it is not really Europe; these people are kind of weird. What do they know about anything? Why are you going there?’ So you really felt a kind of what you would now called ‘orientalism’, a feeling that the so-called East was backward, exotic, distant, not terribly interesting, not very pleasant and not really a part of us. And that was quite a shock for those people from the East who came to the West. They did not like it very much. They felt patronised and excluded. It was very hard to explain that, for example, Prague is west of Vienna. You do not say to Austrians, ‘You come from eastern Europe’, but geographically Prague is well to the west of Vienna. Finland is not called ‘eastern Europe’, and Finland is on the same geographical strip as the Baltic States, which would be regarded as Soviet Baltic Republics and definitely part of Eastern Europe.
As well as this asymmetry, there was also a feeling that this geopolitical arrangement was set in stone. The Soviet Union had conquered eastern Europe in 1944-45. It had imposed its political system there. People who stood up to it had been killed, or jailed, or had emigrated or had been crushed. And it seemed incredibly permanent in the early 1980’s. We had seen Solidarity, in which I was very heavily involved, in London. I had organised a student campaign called ‘Student Solidarity with Solidarity’. Solidarity – the trade union Solidarity – had been a great expression of upheaval and revolt. The whole hopes of all the anti- communists in the world had hung upon this brave struggle by the Polish trade unionists. It had been an inspiration to the Czechs and the Hungarians and others. It had been crushed with martial law. It seemed to be ‘game over’. The Solidarity leaders were on the run, in prison, or had fled to the West, and although there were little outbreaks of strikes, and a thriving underground samizdat media, that had been crushed. The dissident movement in the Soviet Union had been really erased after quite an upsurge in the 1970s that had been really ground down to almost nothing in the 1980s. There was a tiny flicker of resistance in Lithuania with The Chronicle of the Catholic Church. A very small underground newspaper called The Chronicle of Current Events was being produced on typewriter and carbon paper in Moscow, but really the dissident movement seemed to have been crushed pretty much everywhere. It was clear that ‘the will to kill’ still survived. If you stood up to the Soviet Empire behind the Iron Curtain, you risked jail; your children would not be allowed to go to university; there would be all sorts of horrible petty persecutions. People like the great Czech dissident Jan Urban was working as a bricklayer; Luboš Dobrovský was working as a window cleaner; Dienstbier was working as a stoker; Havel was in prison. All these moral giants had been sidelined. It was very hard to see how they could get back.
And in the West there was an upsurge, rather brutal to me as someone who really knew the East pretty well, of anti-Americanism, anti-westernism. We saw the Greens in Germany bursting onto the political scene, saying this is neither Washington nor Moscow; we want a different, neutralist, green pacifist, feminist future for Germany. We now know that actually there was some KGB money behind the Greens, but at the time this seemed like a fresh, new take. Why go for this stale old East-West divide, when we can have something new? We had tremendous worries in Britain, in the Netherlands and also in Germany, about nuclear weapons – the idea that America and the Soviet Union were going to sort out their differences with nuclear exchange, and Europe would be burnt asunder. That would be the nuclear winter, and perhaps not just the end of Europe but of life on our planet. So we had enormous demonstrations, the biggest demonstrations I think Europe has ever seen. There were people demonstrating against the American nuclear weapons in Europe, and especially in Britain against the British independent nuclear deterrent. And those people felt they were dissidents, too, and they would sometimes try to strike up friendships and alliances with dissidents on the other side of the Berlin Wall, on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Of course that was a rather deceptive alliance, because ‘peace’ (in inverted commas), was ideology. The Soviet bloc used to say: ‘We are the camp that stands for peace. We do not want war. We want disarmament, and we particularly want the West to disarm.” When you pick it apart, it was clear that this was not really a demand for peace. It was a demand for an end to resistance, which is not quite the same thing. But for many westerners, there was a very deeply entrenched belief that the Soviet Union was ultimately not a threat, that the Soviet domination of Europe stopped at the Iron Curtain, and that we should not be trying to resist that.
What happened in the mid-1980s caught many people by surprise. It did not catch me by surprise because I had already seen – from inside the so-called communist world – that there was no enthusiasm for the system. Even the people who were trying to enforce the system did not really believe in it. There was a tiny handful in East Germany who still really believed East German communism was better than West German capitalism, who felt that the shame and disgrace of the Nazi period meant that you had to have only socialism as a guarantee against a resurgence of Nazism and Fascism in West Germany. So you could meet true- believing East German communists.
I never met a true-believing Polish communist. I met cynical, self-interested, whiney people who could see that their own privileges depended on this rather precarious balance between the opposition being kept down, the Soviet Union being kept happy, and the economy staggering on. They would argue that this is the only Poland we have, and we have to make the best of it. You had cynical people in the Czech Republic – or in the then Czechoslovakia – who argued the same. But when you read the ideological papers of these régimes, it was clear that this had run out of steam. It was very hard to believe that Brezhnev was a great guy and that this was the future of the planet; that this would be that to which we should all aspire. It was more of what the Soviet Union had stood for. And when Andropov came in, it was clear that he was trying to beef up the element of force and the element of efficiency, but it was very hard to be an idealistic, true-believing communist. You could be an idealistic, true- believing anti-American. You could be an idealistic, true-believing Green. But the Soviet Union had lost its ability to attract enthusiasm except among small elements of a sort of ‘hard left’.
I do not know if anyone here remembers the name Arthur Scargill… There were a few people like him on the far left of British politics who really believed that the Soviet Union was great, and that everything people like me said about it was lies. I even met people who had actually moved to Czechoslovakia, to communist Czechoslovakia. I belonged to the Prague Cricket Club in 1989, which was a very weird mixture. We had people from the western embassies. The British and Australian embassies were, I think, probably more interested in espionage than they were in diplomacy. We had the Indians who were there because they wanted to buy Czechoslovak weapons, and the Pakistanis because they wanted to buy Czechoslovak weapons to use against the Indians. Then you had a whole bunch of people who had moved to Czechoslovakia for ‘ideological reasons’, because they wanted to live in a socialist society. So we had to have a ‘no politics’ rule, because otherwise the teams could not really function.
Then the wall came down. It came down ultimately because Gorbachev realised that the Soviet system was not working and tried to reform it. As soon as the ‘will to kill’ had gone, the enormous dissatisfaction with the economic failure of this system began to crystallize, and we began to see countries pursuing different reforming agendas. The Hungarians for a long time had a system which was known as ‘goulash communism’. It was communism with something nice to eat in the middle of it, and Hungary quite early on did not really have political prisoners any more. It stopped restricting its citizens’ travel to the West, and it stopped restricting anyone else travelling. So, one part of the Curtain had a hole punched through it. It was an enormous shift in the world in which I had grown up, that suddenly the Hungarians said: ‘We are not going to kill people who try and leave our country, no matter who they are, whether Hungarians or East Germans, or Czechoslovaks. We are going to cut the barbed wire. At the border we are going to disable the automatic guns. We are going to take away the land mines.’ Although the Berlin Wall was still there, that really punched a hole in it, because in East Germany you could now leave your country where you had been locked up by going through Hungary, and if you were Czech you could leave by going through Hungary. So the régimes there, twenty-five years ago, banned their citizens from going to Hungary. This pushed Hungary further away from the communist camp, and then turned East Germany and Czechoslovakia into a sort of pressure cooker you could not leave. Finally, the Czechoslovaks said you could leave from their territory. That really turned East Germany into a pressure cooker… and the Berlin Wall, as we know, came down.
That is a very brief, and rather impressionistic, account of what life was like twenty-five years ago. It involved tremendous bravery by a handful of people who did not think that they were going to win soon, people who were willing to make enormous sacrifices with their fortunes, with their own lives and with their families’ lives, risking jail, psychiatric hospitals, and other such things…, all because it was something in which they really, really believed. And it received a sort of echo in the West, particularly with Mrs. Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, but with some other people, too, who thought this the defining struggle of our age: it was not enough just for us to survive, but we wanted to win, to help those people on the other side of the Iron Curtain. There were all sorts of acts of solidarity. My own father – to whom our Chairman very kindly referred in introducing me – used to smuggle books into communist Czechoslovakia and to give philosophy seminars to people who had been philosophy teachers and philosophy students until the Soviet invasion in 1968, and were then working as stokers and cleaners and street sweepers… but still wanting to study philosophy. They would have their philosophy seminars in boiler rooms underneath hospitals, and distinguished philosophy teachers from Oxford and from other places would come to Czechoslovakia as tourists at considerable risk, because, had they been caught, they might have been jailed. And they came with what was seen as subversive literature, such as the New Testament in Greek, Plato’s Republic, the thoughts of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine… These things were not easily available under the communist system, and they would give seminars on these people. There is a wonderful Polish word for this, wszechnica, which expresses the idea of an informal university. It dates from days when it was not possible to conduct higher education in Polish. But there were wszechnicy all over Czechoslovakia, and in other places. It was pretty much a minority pursuit.
Now, fast-forward twenty-five years, and what have we got? We have the superficial triumph of the West. Everybody basically believes that capitalism is a better economic system than anything else. Even the Vietnamese have gone down this road; even the Cubans, one of the last hold-outs, have legalised possession of hard currency and small private enterprises. It is really hard – outside of the extraordinary eccentricities of North Korea – to find anyone who does not believe that the market mechanism is the best way of organising the daily needs of households. You can have tweaks. You can have arguments about what rôle the capital market shall play, what sort of foreign exchange régime you want, and about whether the State should own heavy industry, and so on. But basically capitalism has won the economic argument in a very broad sense, and particularly in Russia. Russia is in a way more capitalist than many of the so-called western countries. So, many people really believed that it was over. ‘It is over. We won. Now all we have to do is get on with making as much money as possible, and make sure there is no more room for ideology. All these old arguments about dissent and resistance and so on are just so much hooey.’
Actually, I think that is deluded. It is really hard to sustain it if you look coldly at the facts, because we have seen growing dissatisfaction with the way things work in the West from inside the West, partly on very reasonable grounds and partly on quite unreasonable ones. We have seen also the growth of a very powerful and well-financed anti-western campaign financed by Russia, which is particularly visible if you look at things like RT, which is Russia
Today. Hands up anybody who knows what I mean by RT. Hands up anyone who has watched RT. OK. The rest of you have not. Could you watch it? RT.com. This is the new anti-western television. It is financed by the Kremlin and it is effectively a Russian propaganda project. It does not mention Russia very much. It is not fronted by Russians. It does not sound Russian. The ‘R’ in RT which used to be Russia Today, is now just an ‘R’. You will see their advertisement for it all over the centre of London now. They claim they are being censored. There is now a launch in the Spanish language, and they are launching one in the German language. They have launched a particularly British channel. When you watch it you see quite a sophisticated critique of the western society and of the West in general. It makes out the West to be decadent; it makes out the West to be hypocritical. The West is weak. Also, the West is in some way menacing. The West interferes in other countries. (We can go a bit more into that in the Q&A.)
But behind that is the fact of a Russia resurgent in a way we never anticipated in 1990/91/92, for the most part. The lesson the West had drawn from the end of the Cold War was that we had won. That rule of law, the market economy and political competition: these basic elements of the western system were unquestionably right, and there was no more argument. It was just a matter of time before everyone else would follow the same approach. Twenty- five years later we see that that was a mistake, that we have a different system taking shape in Russia which is a kind of quasi-capitalism, a quasi-democracy with quasi-elections and quasi- free media. Everything looks on the surface pretty much as it does here. There is a Supreme Court; there are political parties; there are elections; there are varying kinds of media, some State- and some (supposedly) privately-owned. If you talk to many Russians they will say, ‘Our system is actually not that much different from yours’. But when you look at it in more detail, there is a very high level of control by the ex-KGB people who run the country. The elections look like elections, but there are no surprises in the end. My definition of a real election is when you do not know the outcome and you do not know who is going to win. There are court cases, but in the end the results of those court cases are the ones the Russian authorities want. There are supposedly free media, but they all tell the same story. It is not as brittle and oppressive as the old Soviet system, and it does not try to control everything. It just tries to control all the important things, and that is actually, I think, a much more supple and endurable system than the Soviet one.
It is based on some very interesting, and ultimately contradictory, ideological elements, some of which are taken from the Soviet past: what one might call the ‘red’ element – which is nostalgia for what the Soviet Union did, winning ‘the Great Patriotic War’ as they call it, and for the huge sacrifice the Soviet Union made in defeating the Nazis… this giving them a sort of moral authority in dealing with Europe, which ought not to be challenged. That, of course, leaves out the fact that Hitler and Stalin used to be allies – the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact – which really set the stage for the whole of the catastrophe that followed.
There is also a kind of ‘white’ element based on the purity of Russia looking to a very strong rôle for the Russian Orthodox Church. There is of course a paradox in putting ‘red’ and the ‘white’ together. It was Lenin under the ‘Red Terror’ that did the greatest damage to the Russian Orthodox Church, to the monks and the nuns, with priests being sent off to work in the mines. The floors of the mine corridors were paved with sacred icons so that religious had to tread on them as they went back and forth down the tunnels. Now you have the Patriarch drinking toasts with President Putin.
There is a third element, which we may call the ‘brown’ one: semi-fascist ethno-nationalism, stressing the importance of Russians as a people, with one Russian ideologue saying that Russians have different DNA superior to that of other peoples. Putin uses language pretty close to what Hitler used to use about protecting ethnic Russians outside of Russia. Hitler used to talk about the Völksgenossen, or ‘ethnic comrades’, and Putin talks about the sootechestveniki or ‘compatriots’, in very similar terms, pointing to the duty to protect and defend ethnic compatriots wherever they are. That is very chilling if, for example, you come from the Baltic states where there are ethnic Russian minorities. You start feeling like the Czechs and Slovaks did in Czechoslovakia in 1938-39. Now what is odd about this red-white- and-brown cocktail, and this anti-westernism, is that it finds such an echo here in the West.
If you look at Putin’s friends they are a very funny mixed bunch. You have people on the left: so in Germany it’s Die Linke; here it is George Galloway; in France it is the French Communist Party which is still very loyal to whatever Moscow says. There are all sorts of left-wingers who see in Russia a counterweight to what they regard as the unpleasant, deplorable, intrusive, influence of the United States.
But then you have people also on the right. You have the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, Jobbik in Hungary, UKIP here, as well as commentators such as Peter Hitchens in The Mail on Sunday. This is different, as they see something socially conservative; a man who stands up to the ‘gay lobby’ and for traditional values, as well as for national sovereignty against all the pestilential, multilateral, rule-based organisations; a man who loves his country: we wish our leaders loved their country in the way that Putin loves his.
Then, in the middle, you have the ‘business as usual lobby’, people in Britain like Lord (Peter) Mandelson who is a great supporter of that approach to Russia, without allowing ‘human rights’ issues to get in the way. There is also the Ost-Ausschuss der Deutschen Wirtschaft, the big German business lobby that deals with trade to the East.
I think it a very strange lot. If you put them all together in a room they would all hate each other. But when it comes to looking at Putin they all like each other. So in regard of the ideological landscape, it looks quite different after the end of the Cold War era. In the Cold War we had an existential struggle between communism and capitalism, and although, as I say, there were these Greens who would challenge things, they were pretty marginal and most people said it was ‘better to be dead than red’. And yes, there were people who said: ‘We have to defend ourselves. We do not want communism to win. We are willing to pay quite a lot for defence and take some risks for the cause of freedom.’ On the Soviet side there was a very strong feeling that: ‘We will promote communism in the West, and we will crush dissent at home, but we will do it according to the rather rigid prescriptions of Marx and Lenin’. That has all changed.
We now have a sort of soft, quasi-anti-capitalism, a soft totalitarianism, and a soft authoritarianism in an East which is willing to attack us using weapons against which we have no real defence. Do we not say that we have here a free press and free media? ‘Surely you are not asking that the State get into the propaganda business again?’ Well, actually, I think we should. I think that if information warfare is going on, we should try to push back against it. That is a minority position and there are people who do not understand that we are properly under attack, and from Russia.
Russia uses energy, and the basic consensus in the West is that energy is more or less a business. One gas molecule or one electron is pretty much like another. Surely you are not really saying that NATO should start getting into the business of deciding which pipeline goes where? Well, actually, I do think energy security is a really important issue, and that we are being attacked by the Russians on that front, and that we should be taking a stronger position. But, then again, this is a minority position.
Then most of all there is money. The Romans used to say in Latin, ‘Pecunia non olet’ (‘money does not smell’), and that was our basic presupposition after 1989: ‘We are all capitalist now, and let us all do business’. But actually Russia is attacking us using money. This is an absolutely fundamental point, upon which I am going to stop, because I want to leave time for questions. If you think that only money matters, then you are defenceless when people attack you using money. That has been the biggest weapon against our system for the East: the ability to put money into places that matter. Into political parties: we have recently seen that the Front National in France is largely financed by a Russian bank. There are examples all over Europe of parties that either clandestinely or even openly take money from the Kremlin which puts money into politicians’ pockets, either when they are in power or when they leave power. They are very litigious so I shall be careful, as this talk is being recorded, of mentioning anyone by name, but if you just Google you will see how there are some really striking cases of politicians who have left office and gone straight off into lucrative jobs with Russian energy companies. Money goes into NGOs and money goes into universities which are very hard up. Think-tanks are very hard up. Someone comes along and says: ‘We should like to sponsor your programme’. That puts more Russian soft power and influence into the heart of what we do.
Then, of course, there is the Russian business lobby, the people who say: ‘My livelihood depends on this. We have put a lot of money into a new commercial property investment in Moscow and have no interest in Russian politics, but we know that if these sanctions continue we shall not be able to let this new office building we have just developed in Russia, and I shall not get a bonus this year which means that I shall not be able to afford my mortgage and my children’s education.’ That is a direct quotation from what somebody told me at a dinner party only two weeks ago. I started talking about all the dissidents in Russia and the human rights situation; the fact that there are 140 political prisoners; the fact that Russia has reverted to psychiatric abuse and treatment in the manner of the Soviet Union, perhaps still only in isolated cases; about the threat that Russia poses to NATO; about the threat it poses to our allies in the East; about the Russian-sponsored war in Ukraine. It was interesting that this man said: ‘I am not interested in politics, only in building the office complex that my company has in Moscow’. I thought: ‘What a difference from twenty-five years ago’. That conversation would have been impossible then, we did not then have a business lobby with large amounts of money invested in the Soviet Union and ready to apply pressure in the West saying, ‘My job, my children’s education, my mortgage payments all depend on doing this deal’. It was inconceivable. It just did not happen. Similarly if a politician in the West took money from the Soviet Union he would have been disgraced, probably charged with a criminal offence, and the security services would have taken an interest in him. It did happen in a few isolated cases, but it was extremely unusual. The idea that the Soviet Union would give money to think-tanks or universities or NGOs was unthinkable. It would have been extremely dangerous and it would have got those involved into a lot of legal trouble.
So that is where we are. We have got away from the era when people in the East, and inside Russia in particular, thought that the West was right and did not like their own system. They wanted their system to be like our system. They believed our media. They did not believe their own media. We built up what one might call a huge ‘moral capital’ on the other side of the Iron Curtain with people who really felt that, ‘If only the Wall came down everything would be all right’. Well, twenty-five years later a lot of that optimism has gone. We see even in countries that used to be ardently atlanticist like Hungary, Czechoslovakia, people basically singing the Putin tune. We see the German SED communist party, which I was convinced was going to disappear after 1990 when evidence of its crimes came out, now in power as a semi- respectable party of government. There has been a tremendous loss of moral authority and of moral standing in that part of the world. In Russia it is even worse. Inside Russia the population no longer believe the western media. They think the media is out to get Russia, and that the West is behaving very unfairly. The propaganda they hear every day on television has had a real effect.
I do not know how to get back to where we were. I do not know what we can do to get back the modern-day equivalent of the Soviet dissidents as they waged their lonely struggle for the values which they believed in and which some of us still believe , and which seemed to have triumphed twenty-five years ago and are now looking rather faded and tattered. I shall stop on that note.