Oh do fuck off Theresa

British citizens with foreign-born partners are to be given the choice of indefinite \”exile\” in countries including Yemen and Syria or face the breakup of their families if they want to remain in the UK, under radical immigration changes to be announced next week, MPs have been told.

The home secretary, Theresa May, is expected to confirm that she will introduce a new minimum income requirement for a British \”sponsor\” without children of up to £25,700 a year, and a stringent English speaking test for foreign-born husbands, wives or partners of UK citizens applying to come to live in Britain on a family visa.

The ghastly woman has forgotten the most basic point about this whole thing.

When the home secretary published her proposals in May she said that it was obvious that British citizens and those settled here should be able to marry or enter into a civil partnership with whomever they choose

Yes, of course.

\”But if they want to establish their family life in the UK, rather than overseas, then their spouse or partner must have a genuine attachment to the UK, be able to speak English, and integrate into our society, and they must not be a burden on the taxpayer. Families should be able to manage their own lives. If a British citizen or a person settled here cannot support their foreign spouse or partner they cannot expect the taxpayer to do it for them.\”

No, fuck off.

This is to misunderstand the most basic point about this whole government thing. It is not so that some middle aged racist can impose her views on the way that the citizenry live. Rather, it is that we hire the occasional middle aged woman to collectively organise matters so that the wishes of the citizenry are more easily achievable.

Including, obviously, the ability of those married to each other to sleep apeace in a joint bed in our green and pleasant land.

It isn\’t the job of government to say that you cannot go marrying Johnny Foreigner. Nor is it the business of government to say that if you do so you must live in exile. Your job, you miserable old trout, is that if a British citizen decides to do the marital hokey cokey with someone not of our tribe then you are to issue the documents that makes them one of our tribe.

\’Coz that\’s what this tribe thing is about, see, marrying into us makes you one of us. The very act of that marriage by one single citizen makes you so. And it is your job to make that issuance of documentation as simple and easy as possible.

So get with what your job is in a free and liberal land, stop trying to do the thinking that you\’re clearly no good at, and get down into the basement and get turning that mimeograph that churns out the passports.

By definition one whom a Briton embraces as a spouse is a Briton. With the same rights of residence, work, freedom and liberty as one whose ancestors were here before the Romans came to Rye.

That the law is not currently this way is an error in the law and your job as Home Secretary is to correct that error.

In short, fuck off would you?

39 thoughts on “Oh do fuck off Theresa”

  1. While no fan of Ms May, surely she is supposed to be in charge of those who impose the law as it stands, not be someone whose position requires changes in the law.
    If the law doesn’t say something at the moment, collectively is it not down to parliament to change the law to meet their requirements?

    Or we can get the law changed – not quick or easy, but campaigners have had some successes over the years. Just some might campaign for a change one way, while others campaign for another.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    Rather, it is that we hire the occasional middle aged woman to collectively organise matters so that the wishes of the citizenry are more easily achievable. …. It isn’t the job of government to say that you cannot go marrying Johnny Foreigner. Nor is it the business of government to say that if you do so you must live in exile.

    But there is an inherent contradiction between those two positions. If the British electorate say they want a different arrangement on marriage to a foreigner, then we hire this ghastly woman to give it to us. The wishes of the citizenry are not set in stone. There is no inherent reason why they should be in favour of marrying any foreigners. Indeed we have a precedent for this – Pericles changed Athenian law so that only the children of two citizens were citizens. He did it to screw the aristocracy (and unfortunately himself along the way when his legal children all died) and with popular backing.

    ‘Coz that’s what this tribe thing is about, see, marrying into us makes you one of us. The very act of that marriage by one single citizen makes you so. And it is your job to make that issuance of documentation as simple and easy as possible.

    No marrying one of us does not make one of them one of us. It makes them one of them married to one of us. With luck their children will be some of us, but even that is dubious given that a lot of them were invited here only to decline becoming some of us and are marrying a lot of them as well. And their children are quite clearly not becoming part of us either.

    This horrible woman’s job is to enact the laws we the public want. I suspect most of us want to end the abuse of the immigration system through marriage. It is terribly illiberal, but it is still probably popular.

    And I think the right thing to do. British citizenship is valuable. Every immigrant changes it value it by some small amount. Often for the worse. Our out of control immigration system is devaluing it a lot. British citizenship is still the most valuable thing a British person usually owns. Why should they be forced to share it with some Thai prostitute or some Pakistani peasant just because someone else chooses, or is paid, to marry?

  3. No, you fuckwit – her job is to protect the rest of us from spongers.

    I don’t want to pay extra tax to meet the cost of translation services, housing benefit, income support and sundry other entitlements claimed by newly-imported spouses and partners of selfish slime buckets who you seem so eager to protect.

  4. SMFS does have a point.
    If we’re to go with this whole historic Briton thing, for most of that period banishment from the realm was a real & regularly used device. Should we bring that back?

  5. Is it a requirement that one must be a petty little fascist to be home secretary, or is it just coincidence that it always ends up that way?

  6. Matthew, I suspect only those with a particular frame of mind want the job. Whether that is fascist or not I have no idea.

  7. “…we hire the occasional middle aged woman to collectively organise matters so that the wishes of the citizenry are more easily achievable.”

    And if this is indeed the wish of the citizenry? That ‘their spouse or partner must have a genuine attachment to the UK, be able to speak English, and integrate into our society, and they must not be a burden on the taxpayer.’?

    It’s certainly mine, and that of everyone I know.

  8. There’s some discussion here about my relocating back to the UK & the viability of my lass, whose origins aren’t that dissimilar to a lot of immigrants from SE Asia, coming with me. She’s right alongside JuliaM on her conditions for agreeing.

  9. I am quite in favour of this. My wife is Colombian and I don’t think that therefore I am Colombian.
    Although perhaps £25k pa is slightly too much.
    I would rather put in the partners visa
    “Please do not ask for benefits for 5 years because a smack in the mouth can sometimes offend”.
    (I would put that in all visas).

    The only condition I would add is that no more Muslims can not come here.
    I am sorry but we can have free speech or we can let Muslims come here but as 14th Feb 1989 showed we can’t have both. And I would rather have some free speech (we can’t turn the clock back to the time before we had Muslims in this country) while we still have it.
    Also of course more Muslims more Islamic terrorists.

    BTW I do like the idea of banishment for those who try to enforce Sharia.

  10. SMFS (#2) has a point: “marrying one of us does not make one of them one of us. It makes them one of them married to one of us”

    We’re muddling up two things that used to be kept separate – citizenship, and right of abode. And how each of those is acquired can change, and has changed over the decades.

    Yes, a British citizen should be able to marry whoever they choose, and bring them to live here.

    But that doesn’t necessarily mean giving them citizenship – it just needs right of abode whilst married.

    So what then happens to the children? We don’t want to kick them out when they reach 18, or when their parents die, but do they gain citizenship, or merely right of abode?

    We could give them right of abode that ends on marriage – so if they’ve become one of us sufficiently to marry one of us, then they’re OK, but if they marry Johnny or Jenny Foreigner then they can go and live with them.

    That seems to be effectively kicking Mrs May’s plan down a generation, but it does seem to solve the perceived problem without removing any of the basic rights of citizenship.

  11. Unfortunately your summation is not entirely correct. My sister is a kiwi, married to a Pom for about 15 years now and living in the UK for 20 (30 years if you include school). But she can’t join your tribe due to being mentally handicapped and unable to support herself – so she can stay and live with her husband but never actually become one of you.

  12. Several Arab states with large migrant worker populations have very strict demarcation between citizenship and right of abode. But it’s an ugly solution – millions of people, many of whom have lived nearly their entire life in a country, not even being second class citizens there.

    Funny how ‘tribe’ issues show up the gap between good old fashioned Liberals and free-marketeer Conservatives. What Would Cobden Do?

  13. Any tribe- or Nation- that accepts as full members persons whose loyalty lies elsewhere weakens itself. If membership of a particular tribe confers benefits greater than obtainable elsewhere then there will be many applicants, and some of them will lie to get in.
    Bearing in mind that one of the major benefits of British citizenship is the right not to live in such hell holes as Syria and Yemen, allied to health care paid for by other citizens, and a bewildering array of other benefits also paid for by other citizens, it seems entirely reasonable to me that some test of loyalty be demanded, and I fail to see how a willingness to learn the language combined with a sponsor capable of supporting them without help from the general polulace is too much to ask.
    If British citizenship is given to people whose loyalty does not extend to learning our language, on the word of someone who lacks the means on his/her own to support them then then we are potentially extending the benefits of British citizenship, including access to welfare to the whole world and certainly to a larger part of it than can be afforded without seriously reducing the benefits to all.
    I doubt that there are many liberal enough to live themselves in third world conditions to demonstrate their tolerance and love of humanity.

  14. I doubt that there are many liberal enough to live themselves in third world conditions to demonstrate their tolerance and love of humanity.

    I was wondering what I was going to say about this as I tracked down the thread. But this is an easy target. I regularly go and live in third world conditions – admittedly with “first world” food (if you consider Glasgow or the US deep {fried} South parts of the “first world”) nominally for the benefit of the denizens thereof.

    Anyway … Our Theresa is a ghastly illiberal shit. But then she’s a statist-Right Tory. What did you expect. All we need to actually to is to put into law that we derogate from Article 8 HRA to the extent that we’ll not split a family up but we’ll quite happily let the spouses and dependants of evil shits live wherever the evil shits are welcome.

    If they choose not to accompany them – well. Choice is fine.

  15. “Funny how ‘tribe’ issues show up the gap between good old fashioned Liberals and free-marketeer Conservatives.”
    Not sure if those tags are much help here. More that immigration debates boil down to:
    1 Those who want immigration because they’ve a vested interest
    2 Those that have lofty principles they won’t compromise.
    3 Realists
    4Those that don’t want immigration, period.

    To us in group 3 it looks a lot like the pacifist issue. OK taking the righteous moral stance but, in practice, it depends on non-pacifists being willing defend the society that respects pacifists against those who would come & kick pacifist arse in a very non-pacifist way.

  16. What is funny about this is that this proposal involves giving UK nationals fewer rights in the UK than other EU nationals have under EU treaties when living in the UK. A Pole has a right to bring his Ukrainian wife to live in London with him, whereas if this law comes into effect, A British national will not necessarily have the right to bring his Canadian wife here. I am all in favour of allowing Poles to come to London and bring their Ukrainian wives with them, but this creates some really silly possible outcomes.

    The Danes tried this for a while. Danes married to non-EU nationals did not necessarily have the right to bring their spouses to Denmark, but did have the right to bring them to Sweden. It led to a lot of people living in Malmo and commuting across the bridge to Copenhagen. As far as I can tell, the only winners out of it were the owners of the bridge who got to collect more tolls, and also the Swedish tax authorities (who got to collect lots of taxes that would have otherwise have gone to the Danes).

  17. Thanks Tim, good post. It’s really quite odious that courting a girl from outside (as I have done) makes all and sundry think they’ve a right to stick their nose into your affairs, tell you how to live your life, and generally disapprove. The low spot of my personal experience was to be told my son, brought up in England, English speaking, had no right to residence or passport. I was told to get him a passport from his mother’s country (on Bush’s axis of evil at the time) as that was the only nationality he was entitled to. And that despite the fact that I’m a natural born British Citizen, of natural born British parents.

  18. JuliaM,

    And if this is indeed the wish of the citizenry? That ‘their spouse or partner must have a genuine attachment to the UK, be able to speak English, and integrate into our society, and they must not be a burden on the taxpayer.’?

    Define “genuine attachment to the UK”. Have a few CDs of Vaughn-Williams, know how to make Yorkshire pudding? I’m born and raised here, but frankly if the Bennites ever got in, I’d be getting the hell out of the place. What about people who move to the middle east for a few years, living in favourable tax regimes?

  19. I’m OK if you consider it none of my business, Dvid C, but why, specifically, was your son not entitled to a British passport?

    On a different matter, any immigration policy will discriminate against someone for arbitrary reasons. And I don’t think many people think complete free entry to the UK is practical. To my mind, just because a kid is born in this country, should not give his or her parents the right to remain in the UK if they are here illegally. Maybe tough on the kid, but no tougher than on all the other kids we don’t let in.

    Tim adds: My opinion? You’re born here, you’re a Brit. You’re born elsewhere to a Brit? You’re a Brit.

    Male or female parent who is a Brit (and shockingly, Britness does distinguish on this) shouldn’t matter.

    Born on these islands? You’re a Brit. Born to someone who has a passport from these islands? You’re a Brit.

    As it happens I would qualify as a Brit under the current rules. But it would only require a birth or two on Empire service, in the empire, for me not to.

    My father learnt to swim in the Suez Canal. I learnt to do so off Ischia. If we had been born in these places, rather than transplanted to them as young children, under the current rules I’m not entirely certain that I would have a UK passport.

    I would still have an Irish one.

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    Richard – “Yes, a British citizen should be able to marry whoever they choose, and bring them to live here.”

    Why? Why should a British person be allowed to give a massively valuable gift unilaterally? Why shouldn’t the British public simply say that to be British you need to be the legitimate child of two British subjects?

    “But that doesn’t necessarily mean giving them citizenship – it just needs right of abode whilst married. So what then happens to the children? We don’t want to kick them out when they reach 18, or when their parents die, but do they gain citizenship, or merely right of abode?”

    Which is to say we either end up like South Africa – with a large coloured population with few or no rights, which is absurd – or we will not have the guts to enforce the system and it will be scrapped after a few years of making people utterly miserable. Or we take the third choice and we say British people can marry who they like, but their spouses gain absolutely nothing by it. If someone wants to marry their cousin from Bangladesh or some bar girl they met in Pataya, good for them. But it has no impact on the rest of us.

  21. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim adds: Born on these islands? You’re a Brit. Born to someone who has a passport from these islands? You’re a Brit.

    As it happens I would qualify as a Brit under the current rules. But it would only require a birth or two on Empire service, in the empire, for me not to.

    Which mostly punishes Canadians, Australians, White South Africans and Kiwis. But that is stupid I will agree. However there is also the other side of the coin. America recently passed a milestone. White Americans are now a minority of the newly born. Which means in a generation, America will cease to exist as it has up to now. White Americans will go the way of the Pequots or the Dutch New Yorkers. If they are lucky. It means liberal America, with all the benefits that has brought the world, will slowly die as Hispanic and Black Americans, with their very different political traditions, become the majority. Well, probably anyway. It is possible that people who rejected Adam Smith at home will become converts in America but I doubt it.

    I do not want Britain to go the same way. Britain ought to remain British. Britain clearly will not remain British under the current laws. They need to be changed. If most British people agree with me, I don’t see the problem in the idiots who rule us doing precisely that.

  22. So Much For Subtlety

    By definition one whom a Briton embraces as a spouse is a Briton. With the same rights of residence, work, freedom and liberty as one whose ancestors were here before the Romans came to Rye.

    Incidentally, and in passing, until recently there was one exception to this – Gay British people. They did not have the right to bring over the person they called their spouse until well within living memory of pretty much everyone on this site. Now we can argue about whether that was moral or not, but it cannot be denied that it can be done.

    Now I don’t much mind if Arthur C. Clarke wants to go off to Sri Lanka and blow teenagers. As long as he obeys their laws, that is fine with me. And let me stress there is no evidence whatsoever that he ever violated a single Sri Lankan law. But we did not let him bring them over to the UK as legal British citizens and I can’t say that the world was a much worse place for it. I don’t see why the world would be a much worse place if the pub owner down near where I used to live was similarly unable to bring the tiny little Thai girl who was probably at least a third of his weight and about a third of his age, back to the UK either.

  23. As people who actually know about, rather than merely rant about, the immigration system know, spousal visas are *already* non-recourse – the spouse has no rights to state benefits of any kind until they apply for British citizenship several years down the line.

    In other words, the problem that people who support this proposal are citing in its favour is one which the system has already solved. It Does Not Exist.

    Under the new proposals, a American banker or a Chinese engineer married to a British nurse would be banned from living in the UK, despite having a six-figure income and hence being a massive benefit to the taxpayer. An Anglo-American couple who met at uni, both now doing gbp21k graduate jobs, would be banned from living in the UK.

    Anyone think those outcomes are sensible, reasonable, just, culturally wise – or indeed, anything other than ‘fucking stupid and evil’?

  24. (meanwhile, Arthur C Clarke and SMFS’s pervy landlord neighbour, both being Brits with incomes in excess of gbp25k, would both face no problems at all bringing their questionably chosen partners into the UK under the new proposal).

  25. So Much For Subtlety

    john b – “Anyone think those outcomes are sensible, reasonable, just, culturally wise – or indeed, anything other than ‘fucking stupid and evil’?”

    I agree they are stupid but I don’t think they are evil. What is more, given the best solution is to end all immigration totally, they are a step in the right direction – assuming they will ever be enforced which is doubtful – and so to that small extent they are sensible. However they are far too complex and poorly thought out.

  26. Your preferred solution would be that the Anglo-American couple are barred from living together anywhere? (since, presumably, in your view the US’s best option would be to implement similar rules).

  27. The low spot of my personal experience was to be told my son, brought up in England, English speaking, had no right to residence or passport. I was told to get him a passport from his mother’s country (on Bush’s axis of evil at the time) as that was the only nationality he was entitled to. And that despite the fact that I’m a natural born British Citizen, of natural born British parents.

    This is wrong – not morally, but legally. If the father or mother is a British citizen – otherwise than descent (i.e. they were born in Britain to qualifying parents – which is what I understand by Dave’s “natural born” – birther quibbles not withstanding), then the child is a British citizen under s2(1)(a) British Nationality Act 1981.

    Either there is a more complex situation here or you were badly advised.

    Tim add: Born to someone who has a passport from these islands? You’re a Brit.

    Not necessarily. If your parent has citizenship by descent and you aren’t born here, then you don’t qualify. Descent only goes one generation.

    So, if my daughter moves to the States (this is going to happen and doesn’t come back (this is not the current plan but …), her kids will be entitled to British citizenship but, even if they took that option, their kids would not unless they were born in the UK.

    But none of that changes the fact that the new proposals are just horrid …

  28. Tim:
    1) your knowledge of British nationality law is somewhat outdated. Before WW1, wives usually received their husband’s citizenship immediately and lost their own, and anyone born in the British Empire was a British subject.

    Many changes have been made since which are explained on the wikipedia article British nationality law. Since 1983 mothers can pass on citizenship and also at least one parent needs to have at least ILR for children born in the UK to be British.

    (Incidentally after 1983, “British subject” now refers to a few old Irish women who don’t qualify for British citizenship for some archaic legal reason – SMFS, misconception in post 19)

    2) Automatic citizenship by birth in the UK will lead to pregnant tourists overstaying, like in the US (which tolerates this to an extent because there is no free healthcare).

    3) Unlimited citizenship by descent can lead to generations of “Brits” never setting a foot in the UK. The US and Australia permit this, but require the parent to have lived in the US / Aus for 5 and 2 years respectively. So Surreptitious Evil’s grandchildren (post 26) should probably return to the UK to give birth, as the great-grandchildren can still be Americans if the grandchildren grow up in the US.

    Note that they will have to pay for the NHS despite being British, as the NHS is only for UK residents regardless of citizenship (misconception by Pat in post 12).

    Everyone forgets that none of this applies to EEA citizens, as Michael Jennings says in post 15. Bloke in Spain, post 7, might be interested to know that his lass can relocate to the UK with him for free (current fees for all the paperwork to eventually become British >£2,500.00, proposed >£3,600.00) and with no English tests or any income requirements, because UK citizens exercising their EEA rights e.g. by working in Spain, are treated like other EEA citizens.

  29. Automatic citizenship by birth in the UK will lead to pregnant tourists overstaying, like in the US (which tolerates this to an extent because there is no free healthcare).

    It will also result in an enormous gaming if the system. If you get leave an Air France flight from Lagos to Paris, the police check your papers as you leave the plane. One of the things they are looking for is women, who I have seen occasionally, who have flown whilst heavily pregnant with a bullshitted note from a doctor saying they are not as half far gone as they actually are. Their plan is to calve in France and remain indefinitely as the French won’t deport mothers with newborns. If the UK was dishing out citizenship to any sprog born on the island, there would be boatloads of Nigerian women turning up heavily pregnant for that precise purpose.

  30. It was the explanation cited by the UK government in 1983 when they changed the rules as part of a general, and otherwise mostly reasonable (*), round of “sorting out the legacy of Empire and citizenship” changes. And by the Australian government (so presumably most Commonwealth governments) in 1983 when they did the same.

    Basically “wasn’t worth worrying about before but now with mass-market jet travel OMG BIRTH TOURISTS!!!!”. It’s spurious bollocks, but it’s been part of Official Doctrine for nigh-on 30 years.

    (it actually exists, not because of QUEUES OF SPROGGED UP AFRICANS, but because governments want to keep the guestworker and permanent resident classes firmly separate. A bureaucratic nightmare that my friend who’s pregnant in Australia on a 4-year work visa is currently finding out…)

  31. (*) is “except for citizens of Hong Kong, the treatment of whom will in its own right consign Mrs Thatcher and all her advisers to a particularly fiery hell of stupidity. Although it was to the massive benefit of Canada and Australia”.

  32. >“except for citizens of Hong Kong, the
    >treatment of whom will in its own right
    >consign Mrs Thatcher and all her advisers
    >to a particularly fiery hell of stupidity.

    Hear hear.

  33. Ireland changed its rules to stop birth tourists in 2005, after the case of Catherine Chen. Before 1983, a tourist could get her child two passports by giving birth in Belfast!

    jonb, You mean “residents” of Hong Kong, and I think both governments were happy with the result. Yeah, most of them would have stayed put if given full British citizenship, but by not doing so, the UK prevents the eventual influx of 4 million extra people, and the PRC government gets to claim those of Chinese ethnicity as their own. Most of the affected people are quite happy with this situation, actually.

    HK has a chav problem as well, and by limiting the right to settle in the UK to those who would qualify anyway, i.e. educated and middle-class, this was avoided. In fact their visas were free of charge initially. Despite massive price increases, UK visas are still quite cheap today compared to Australian and Canadian ones.

    The reason Canada and Australia benefited was because they applied stringent criteria to who could actually qualify. That said, most HK immigration to Canada actually happened in the 1970s, and Australia in the 1980s (Whitlam did not inspire confidence). HK is now used as a stepping stone by PRC citizens who spend 7 years in HK first.

  34. I am still slightly intrigued to know what David C’s situation actually is. My understanding of the current law is that a minor child of a British Citizen by descent may become a British Citizen by registration if the parent has spent a qualification period living in the UK before the birth of that child. (This only works for one generation, so there are some cases where it does not apply, but it usually does).

    Even if this is not the case, any UK citizen then has the right to bring a minor non-UK citizen child to the UK to live, and at this point the child then gains a right to become a UK citizen by registration. (This is usually the best option, as in this case the child is a UK citizen not by descent and has the right to pass on UK citizenship later, whereas under the previous option the child is a UK citizen by descent, who does not).

    David C still may have been treated badly (the IND are capable of levels of bastardry that are beyond the comprehension of people who have never had to deal with them), but I am curious as to how they legally justify this.

    And john b, I am sorry to hear about your friend. The equivalent bureaucrats in Australia are bastards of a similar level.

    Until quite recently, Britain did not segregate a guest worker class from a permanent residency track class – anyone who had worked legally in the UK for for years, paid taxes, and otherwise obeyed the law was eligible for permanent residency, but we have lost that now. This is a hugely retrograde step.

  35. My understanding of the current law is that a minor child of a British Citizen by descent may become a British Citizen by registration if the parent has spent a qualification period living in the UK before the birth of that child.

    All that needs to happen is for the child to be born in the UK (s1(1)(b) BNA81). The mother (who need not be the British citizen) can be on a flying visit. Actually, neither parent need be a British citizen – they may merely be “settled in the United Kingdom”. Which, I suppose, would cover EEA parents or others with permanent right of abode but not yet citizenship.

    Still, I’m sure imposing an LVT will sort this all out.

    It is actually interesting that the child of a Gurkha or Commonwealth soldier, born in the UK to parents neither of whom are British citizens is a British citizen (s1(1A) BNA81).

  36. Yes, sure, and if I was having a child and in that position (I am a British citizen by naturalisation and not descent, so I can’t be) that would be a good move. But even if the child was born abroad, there are two routes to citizenship by registration under the current law.

  37. Whether EEA parents count as “settled” in the UK has been changed several times. Under the law applicable until 2000, the law said they did count as “settled” as soon as they got here, and from 2006 it said they did not and would have to apply for indefinite leave to remain in order for British born children to be British (or before they could apply for citizenship themselves). In 2006, the law was changed so that EEA nationals are automatically considered to be settled after five years, which is the time after which other temporary residents can apply for ILR.

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