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Threat From Eu Rohs Legislation


nfortin

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Fair enough, Brian. Anyway, there's little point in dwelling on what's past. We need to look to the future. I have alerted local organists (including the secretary of our local organists' association) and written to my MP.

 

 

I quite agree but I wanted to sound of note of caution. More than once I have had to try to sort out a situation where someone who would have been perfectly willing to agree to a course of action if asked nicely has been so incensed by the approach adopted that they have dug in their heels and completely refused to co-operate. I expect Brussels bureaucrats are no different. I just wanted to ensure we did not shoot ourselves in the foot by adopting too confrontational an approach before we had established there was no alternative to that.

 

BAC

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Absolutely. Tantrums get no one anywhere. Rational discussion is what gets results. I've sat through many a business meeting which, to all outward appearances, was so civilised that no one not in the know would ever have guessed that, in actual fact, a blazing row was taking place. The moment you are less than professional is the moment people are going to start siding with the opposition.

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Greetings,

 

The first section of the scope article in the WEEE ( B) ) is rather interesting...

 

Scope - Article 2, Section 1 reads:

 

>>

This Directive shall apply to electrical and electronic equipment falling under the categories set out in Annex IA provided that the equipment concerned is not part of another type of equipment that does not fall within the scope of this Directive. Annex IB contains a list of products which fall under the categories set out in Annex IA.

<<

 

Solid waste, errr.. state, is part of another type of equipment which does not fall in the scope of the directive, does it not?

 

Best,

 

Nathan - reaching for his asbestos bowl of lead cereal in mercury milk

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I wish this was one huge practical early April Fool joke.  I really cant believe that this is happening.  Does someone know how to stuff a large 32ft organ pipe with explosives and fire it in the direction of Brussels please.  :o

 

====================

 

I must have missed this, and I just hope that Lee hasn't gone berserk and started to build a device. Metal organ pipes would be highly dangerous, and would almost certainly result in the death of the "gunner" due to instantaenous fracture of the pipe due to the enormous pressure-wave which explosives produce. (Good explosives burn at about 4 miles per second!)

 

I reckon a 32ft Open Wood may fair better, but it would be necessary to use metal straps to keep the thing from splintering.

 

However, it would be much easier to borrow a ready-made product from a museum, stuff it with sugar and weedkiller and pop in a cannon-ball. The ball may be aimed at Brussels, but it could just as easily land in Paris or Haarlem, so please be careful Lee.

 

If you do telephone around the museums, make sure to ask for the appropriate device.

 

It's called a "Bombardon"

 

;)

 

MM

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So you know the sugar-weedkiller trick, MM?

I liked to build rockets with this fuel when I was

12.

A strong tendancy to put the fire in the most unexpected

places, tough ( first stage of the rocket in Madame's X garden,

second under Mr Y's car, the third on the police stations's roof,

etc).

The Bombardon was a favorite with Hippolyte Loret (16' and 8')

Pierre

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Guest Lee Blick

MM ;)

 

Could be useful though, as we march towards Brussels, with our 32ft facade of organ pipes on a giant float, readily converted to a 16 turret tank at a the flick of the switch. Goodbye, EU Parliament!

 

 

P.S. I am not really suggesting terrorism or physical violence. :o

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There was a short piece in The Times Online about this today and also a brief mention on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning.

It even made Central TV News last night.

 

My MP (Andrew Smith, Oxford East) has expressed his surprise and written to various relevant ministers.

 

Paul

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Guest Barry Oakley

I have received the following e-mail from one of the West Midlands' MRP's, Mike Nattrass. Incidentally, out of seven MEP's contacted only two have responded.

 

BARRY

 

The EU Office here is saying that this directive will not apply to organs

and I think we now need to get a straight answer from the British Government

to ensure that they do not implement something that the EU did not intend.

I am watching this space and the more embarrasment we cause on this crazy

issue the better as this will lead to clarification...I hope.

No doubt The Vatican will have a view on this one !

I wish you well.

 

MIKE NATTRASS MEP

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There was a short piece in our local newspaper yesterday reporting that Caroline Jackson MEP, the Conservative spokesperson on the environment in the European Parliament, is "furious" that the directives could end up threatening pipe organs. She is quoted as saying "I have now written to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to ask him to ensure that the government interprets the directives so as to exclude organ pipes from its provisions entirely".

 

Nice one. But, even so, it would be more reassuring if the exemption comes from Brussels (and thus applies EU-wide).

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I guess there would also want to be an exemption for lead in conveyancing and pneumatic tubing as well as organ pipes. But I get the impression that organbuilders don't have a problem with lead-free electrical components in their organs in future.

 

I spoke to a friend who runs an electrical company. He doesn't like the new solder they have to use to comply with the new legislation but it's clearly not the showstopper that it is to the organbuilding industry.

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I guess there would also want to be an exemption for lead in conveyancing and pneumatic tubing as well as organ pipes. But I get the impression that organbuilders don't have a problem with lead-free electrical components in their organs in future.

 

I spoke to a friend who runs an electrical company. He doesn't like the new solder they have to use to comply with the new legislation but it's clearly not the showstopper that it is to the organbuilding industry.

 

==================

 

If anyone needs lead-based solder after July 1st................... :blink:

 

 

MM

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Some think the organ is not to be held as an electronic or electric appliance, though it has an electric blower. Thus this directive applies to the blower, not the pipes. The truth remains to be seen.

 

"Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2006 12:47:10 +0100

Reply-To: Ibo Ortgies <[log in to unmask]>

Sender: Pipe Organs and Related Topics <[log in to unmask]>

From: Ibo Ortgies <[log in to unmask]>

Subject: Re: More on the EU and pipes

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed

 

http://listserv.albany.edu:8080/cgi-bin/wa...&T=0&O=D&P=6934 Hi, it is welcomed that Mr. Grassin from the estimated organ builder's organization ISO comments on the issue. The ISO, like the British IBO, is respected an honourable association, which represents equally honourable members, some of which are personal friends and some of which are and have cooperated and benefitted within the frame of the afore mentioned EU-projects. I'd like also to mention that some organ builders carry out research in other projects together with scientists etc., and everything which sees the light in form of publications, seminars etc. is highly welcomed. Mr. Grassin writes (or at least was quoted in the above mail), that some people do not have all the facts. That is obviously true, but one should also give all the facts. Especially when other people are publically asked to flood "the bureaucrats" (as some on this list put it) with protest mails etc. My point is, that obne should protest, whenever necessary, but one should know exadctly what the whole is about. In this case however, I think the arguments are not convincing (yet) - maybe they can be more substantiated. > Here they are in a condensed and plain > talk manner: The EU has passed two new sister laws, the first > addressing the waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) > and the second the reduction of use of hazardous substances (RoHS). > The latter 2002/95 is the one concerning us today. It can be > downloaded on >http://dkc3.digikey.com/PDF/Marketing/RoHSdirective_2002-95-EC.pdf: I think it is important to read the whole title, which is adressed by the directive, as provided in the link, Mr. Grassin kindly provided The directive is about " ... restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment" Not adressed are non-electrical or non-electronical equipment, like pipes, conducts etc. (which was alleged by the IBO call, s. below) Exempted are, however, tin-lead solder alloys containing more than 85 % lead (annex, no. 7), and without time-limit. Remember, this is for substances in electrical and electronic equipment, which pipes are not.) > [...] What does the law say? In essence, it says that any new > equipment which runs on electricity containing mercury, cadmium, > lead, chromium VI, PBB or PBDE cannot be sold in the EU from July 1. > The law is written in an all "inclusive" way: everything is under the > law unless it is explicitly excluded. Not everything: non-electronical equipment like pipes are not subject to the directive. > Then the questions become: 1) Does the organ run on electricity? > Well, unless you have hand pump or a water pump: yes That is true, of course. It is therefore up to everybody in the organ building business, using electrical and electronical equipment, to request of the producers of such equipment to avoid the mentioned hazardous materials. It is finally about the health of people and environment. I am certain that the ISO, the IBO and everybody thinks that the basic idea is a good one. Hardly any organ builder, I know, builds his own electronic wind supply or other electronical devices. As customers they can demand from the producers to comply with the EU-directive. And the producers anyway will have to comply already to the directive, independently from the demand of the organ builders. I appreciate very well, that the ISO, IBO and other professional institutions and institutes are concerned about the future of organ building (we all are, i think) and that they are in negotiations about the matter and bring forward good arguments, when discussing the matter on EU-level (better arguments than we have seen here on the list, hopefully) – as much (or little, for that matter) as the directive has to do with it. What I reacted to, however, was the unnecessary, alarmistic tone. In http://listserv.albany.edu:8080/cgi-bin/wa...&O=D&T=0&P=1482 for example where the distinction between the electronical equipment and the pipe work is blurred in words like: quote: >> Unfortunately, >> musical instruments are included on the hit-list and the legislation >> as it is currently designed will ban the use of lead in pipe organs. >> (Organ pipes are 50% lead, or more.) or quote: >> The effect on organ-building will be terminal. >> 1. This is not a safety issue - pipe makers live to a ripe old age, >> with no known damage to their health. >> 2. The use of tin-lead alloy is essential -there is no known >> substitute that will give equivalent musical results. >> 3. Pipe organs last indefinitely, and present no threat to >> the environment. All items which are not at all subject to the directive. That the change of used electrical equipment in blowers might be terminal to organ building, is in my opinion an exaggeration, which doesn't enhance the call's trustworthiness. Pipe maker's health should't be affected by electrical blowers. Statement 1 brinngs obviously pipe making into the discussion, without making clear that pipe making and electrical equipment have no connection. The musical results of tin-lead alloys (statement 2) refer to pipes. I do hope that the "musical results" of electrical blowers will not be audible (except of, that provide sufficient and musical wind to the pipes). The directive doesn't claim a threat by pipe organs (non-electrical equipment) as statement 3 alleges. I do hope and am convinced that the ISO and the IBO will act according to their usual objectivity. There is no use in alarmistic messages. Kind regards Ibo Ortgies"

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Guest Barry Oakley

This matter also appears in other sections of the forum, however, here is a reply I have just received from Michael Cashman, MEP, a West Midlands EU parliamentarian.

 

Dear Barry Oakley

 

Thank you for your email concerning the implementation of EU legislation on hazard substances in electrical equipment (RoHS) due to be implemented in the United Kingdom in July 2006 and the implications of this for organ builders. I am responsible for your area of the West Midlands, so Neena forwarded your email onto me.

 

The purpose of the law is to protect human health and the environment by restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in new equipment. Under the new rules products that are put on the market may not contain more than 0.1 per cent lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium and other substances that are known to be extremely dangerous to our health and environment.

 

There appears to be some misunderstanding about the Directive’s requirements and their impact upon the organ industry. Much of the reaction suggests that the organ industry will not be able to undertake repairs to large, historic organs such as those in Salisbury and St Paul’s Cathedrals and Birmingham Town Hall. This is not the case.

 

Since the law applies to new products only, existing church organs are not affected. Organists can continue to play pipe organs, you can enjoy their beautiful music and the industry can even continue to repair and upgrade them with lead without any further restrictions under RoHS.

 

The manufacturers of new organ pipes may, if they see fit, apply for a derogation

to continue to produce organ pipes containing more than 0.1 per cent lead. As far I am aware, no such derogation has been applied for yet.

 

I hope this is helpful

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Michael Cashman MEP

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To me Mr Cashman's letter suggests a lack of interest and commitment. It essentially does no more than repeat the official Commission line as set out in their letter last week to the IBO:

http://www.pipes4organs.org/docs/IBO2.pdf

 

"In the meantime, we would like to emphasize that, in any event, since the law applies to new products only, existing organs are untouched by the Directive and major repairs even with lead may still continue. This should address your concerns regarding the upgrading/rebuilding issue, though, since this is a question of transposition of law, you may wish to have this point fully clarified by the DTI.

 

"Equally, even if it is found in the final analysis, that pipe organs fall within the scope of the Directive, manufacturers can still apply for an exemption."

 

I wonder whether the Commission really understands the nature of rebuilds. I rather suspect that rebuilds would have to be limited to the (re)use of existing pipework. If you want to add a new stop with metal pipes would it be OK to use a redundant rank from another organ? Maybe. Would it be OK to make new pipes? I doubt it.

 

As the IBO points out, an exemption might not be granted. Even if it is, the IBO tells us that exemptions are valid only four years, after which they have to be renewed (and could be refused).

 

Organ builders need more certainty than that.

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Does someone honestly think that the organ is an electric or electronic device? The UK seems to be the only country that thinks so. This directive applies to such devices only, so manufacturing organ pipes is not threatened. I would compare the organ with a car: they contain electric and electronic components, but they are not electric devices. As stated in the quote in my previous message, the blower or the piston system may be affected by the directive, but not the organ as a whole.

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Guest Barry Oakley
Would it be OK to make new pipes? I doubt it.

 

As the IBO points out, an exemption might not be granted. Even if it is, the IBO tells us that exemptions are valid only four years, after which they have to be renewed (and could be refused).

 

Organ builders need more certainty than that.

 

If this is the IBO's attitude then they are IMHO taking a very negative stance. Mr Cashman makes an acceptable suggestion and, as he says, no organ builder has yet made application. Perhaps they should do so, even if fresh applications need to be submitted at four-yearly intervals. With each application they can submit increasing evidence (as has been known for a long time) that nobody in the industry has contracted or suffered any injurious disease from the manufacture of organ pipes, soldering of connections or handling or manufacture of circuitry.

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Does someone honestly think that the organ is an electric or electronic device?

The directive says:

‘electrical and electronic equipment’ or ‘EEE’ means equipment which is dependent on electric currents or electromagnetic fields in order to work properly
This seems to me to cover any organ that is not hand (or water if there are any now) blown. There is nothing that says that it does not apply to the whole of such equipment, even though it might seem obvious to us that it shouldn't. This is why there is potentially a problem. It needs to be dealt with because our government has a record of placing the letter of such directives above the intent.

 

Paul

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I would doubt it's as simple as that, Barry. If the IBO accept the exemption agrument they are setting themselves up as a hostage to fortune. Once the principle of using an organ-pipe exemption is established it would be very difficult to get a ruling that pipe organs are outside the scope of the directives. It would effectively close that door. Irrespective of whatever evidence the IBO might then submit, the Commission would always have the last word and might at some decide that there are other issues such that the exemption should not be continued. These could be anything - even down to digital instrument manufacturers complaining about being put at a competitive disadvantage (and nothing gets the EC going quite like claims of unfair competition).

 

Anyway, why should the IBO be put in this position when, as Marko implies above, the lead organ pipes has no adverse environmental implications? They should never have been caught up in these directives in the first place - and we should continue to press the EC to agree this.

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To me Mr Cashman's letter suggests a lack of interest and commitment. It essentially does no more than repeat the official Commission line as set out in their letter last week to the IBO:

http://www.pipes4organs.org/docs/IBO2.pdf

 

"In the meantime, we would like to emphasize that, in any event, since the law applies to new products only, existing organs are untouched by the Directive and major repairs even with lead may still continue. This should address your concerns regarding the upgrading/rebuilding issue, though, since this is a question of transposition of law, you may wish to have this point fully clarified by the DTI.

 

"Equally, even if it is found in the final analysis, that pipe organs fall within the scope of the Directive, manufacturers can still apply for an exemption."

 

I wonder whether the Commission really understands the nature of rebuilds. I rather suspect that rebuilds would have to be limited to the (re)use of existing pipework. If you want to add a new stop with metal pipes would it be OK to use a redundant rank from another organ? Maybe. Would it be OK to make new pipes? I doubt it.

 

As the IBO points out, an exemption might not be granted. Even if it is, the IBO tells us that exemptions are valid only four years, after which they have to be renewed (and could be refused).

 

Organ builders need more certainty than that.

 

=====================

 

As I see it, the problem is not so much that of perfectly sensible intent, but that of legal definition and the consequences of it.

 

Unfortunately, in order to make good law, it is first necessary to understand what it is that you wish to legally-define and then enforce, and in his reply, Mr Cashman demonstrates a deplorable (if understandable) ignorance of the issues at stake.

 

It is now the end of March almost, and this legislation is set to come into force on July 1st; a matter of 13 weeks or so. This means that any exemption could almost certainly NOT be granted before the law becomes operative and enforceable.

 

Time, combined with a lack of knowledge on the part of those concerned in the law-making process (and any amendments to be considered), is not on the side of the organ-building industry, and of course, there is a certain brinksmanship about to unfold.

 

I would suggest that organ-pipe makers are now being placed in the position of being obliged to ask, whether an organ is to be hand-pumped or winded by an electric-motor, before being able to supply metal pipes. The electrician, as a joint party to an ilegal act, would be just as guilty as the organ-builder, whether or not he knew the law. The same would be true of those concerned with electronic organ components and blowers, who would first be obliged to ask whether the organ is old, new or even contains any new pipework. Indeed, where does the buck stop.....the Church Council, the consultant, the vicar, the diocese, an organist who uses the instrument or the caretaker who fits a new fuse?

 

It doesn't help when replies are received from the DTI, who suggest that "other materials can be found, as they have in other industries." Further references to "electronic organs" merely cloud an already confused issue

 

One might hope that the lady at the DTI has a better grip on her tights than she has on the subject of organ-building, and with the best will in the world, it seems unlikely that anyone will be able to make organ-pipes from Soya beans before July 1st.

 

There is also a further consideration: that of legal expense, to a trade which isn't exactly cash-rich or backed by institutional investors.

 

In a reasonable world, we expect people to be reasonable. In the company of politicians, we expect some degree of comprehension and dialogue. In the company of lawyers, we expect some degree of legal clarity.

 

None of these things, thus far, appear to have surfaced; whilst everyone agrees that the work of organ-building using lead-based pipes was possibly not the intended target of the legislation.

 

Human nature being what it is, the politicians will suggest applications for exemption, the lawyers will do nothing unless they are promised payment, the civil-servants will push the problem onto someone else or sit on it for months. In other words, no-one really cares or can be bothered with the irksome intrusion from a strange collection of bespectacled craftsmen and organ-geeks.

 

The best trick of all, is to find the achillees-heel in the system, and then fire a very poisonous arrow in its direction.

 

If there are certain things which constitute weakness, it is the fact that politicians never admit to being "uninformed," "badly briefed" or "insensitive". Lawyers never like being exposed as "imprecise" or "incompetent" in any way. Civil-servants do not like complications and masses of correspondence.

 

I have therefore written to an MEP in the Yorkshire/Humberside area who sits on various legal committees, and pointed out the obvious fact, that wherever public money is directed towards organ-building, those responsible for the funding may be acting illegally after July 1st. As those responsible for funding decisions are invariably pillars of the EU community, and often politicians, they are effectively placing themselves in a classic double-bind and may be about to criminalise their own activities.

 

Now, wouldn't this mean that the polticians would be exposed as "uninformed, "badly-briefed" and "insensitive;" the lawyers exposed as "imprecise" and "incompetent" and the civil-servants given a lot of extra work to do?

 

Menawhile, we can safely assume that they are all bloody-fools, but we knew that already!

 

Let's see what response I get.

 

MM

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  • 3 weeks later...
Just a quick question. Has anyone actually read the directives? If so, do tell me why they apply to organ pipes. I haven't absorbed them in detail, but as far as I can see they are about the use of hazardous substances (including lead) in electrical equipment. An organ pipe is not a piece of electrical equipment, is it?

 

Is the IBO 100% sure pipes are included, or just worried that they might be?

 

Just playing devil's advocate in order to understand better.

 

As far as I am aware, there are two issues here -

1 - the directive (RoHS - Risk of Hazardous Substances) controlling the use of lead in consumer electrical items (and yes, the organ is a CONSUMER item as far as the DTI are concerned) - this is for health reasons, but as stated in an article by Richard Morrison in the Times "No one has ever been poisoned" by an organ.

2 - the directive (WEEE - Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) stating what percentage of lead can be used in new consumer items - this is to minimise landfill problems for the future. Obviously as most organs last in excess of one hundred years, and even when scrapped the pipes or the pipe-metal is reused, this directive is rather silly when applied to pipes in organs.

 

At the moment is seems that the great beaurocracy "mis-information" machine is at full speed, with the DTI giving one viewpoint (and apparently being immobile on this viewpoint), the EU Commission as a body giving another viewpoint, and Commissioner Wallström, Vice-President of the EU stating that neither of the directives apply to organs.

 

As for our fellow organ-lovers on the continent, the rumour is that the German "DTI" has exempted German organs from the directives, and from organ-building friends in Italy it seems that the Italians are doing nothing at all about it and will be ignoring it!

 

If any readers know the episode from Yes Minister "The Devil you Know", it contains a good description (this is without being rude to any European organ-lovers reading this) of Mr Hacker's view about EU officials from each country. Perhaps this applies in the case of these two directives...

 

See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080306/quotes - the second quote.

 

Clive.

 

:blink:

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At the moment is seems that the great beaurocracy "mis-information" machine is at full speed, with the DTI giving one viewpoint (and apparently being immobile on this viewpoint), the EU Commission as a body giving another viewpoint, and Commissioner Wallström, Vice-President of the EU stating that neither of the directives apply to organs.

 

As for our fellow organ-lovers on the continent, the rumour is that the German "DTI" has exempted German organs from the directives, and from organ-building friends in Italy it seems that the Italians are doing nothing at all about it and will be ignoring it!

 

 

======================

 

With all respect to Clive, I suspect that what he writes is also tainted with mis-information.

 

I know of no German exemptions, which would require EU exemption to be applied for and granted. The EU have stated that no exemptions have been applied for anywhere in Europe.

 

An act of derogation, which would lift the organ out of the EU directives completely, has yet to be addressed in full, but a formal answer to the question of derogation has been requested of the Trade Secretary.

 

I think it was Churchill who suggested that democracy was an awful form of government until you looked at the alternatives, but my view has always been, that with the alternatives, you at least know who to shoot.

 

:blink:

 

MM

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======================

 

With all respect to Clive, I suspect that what he writes is also tainted with mis-information.

 

I know of no German exemptions, which would require EU exemption to be applied for and granted. The EU have stated that no exemptions have been applied for anywhere in Europe.

 

An act of derogation, which would lift the organ out of the EU directives completely, has yet to be addressed in full, but a formal answer to the question of derogation has been requested of the Trade Secretary.

 

I think it was Churchill who suggested that democracy was an awful form of government until you looked at the alternatives, but my view has always been, that with the alternatives, you at least know who to shoot.

 

:blink:

 

MM

 

As I said, it is just a rumour!

 

Clive.

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