Forget fairness: concentrate on unfairness

Fairness is the latest political football, kicked disconsolately around England’s midfield with as little purpose as our footballers showed in South Africa. Or, to use another analogy, fairness has become a political cloaking device, providing cover for the Starship Enterprise of HB reform, or child benefit changes. But it is equally a cloaking device for the opposition’s lack of a real or incisive counter-argument against the relentless drift of our politics towards greater social division and neglect. And that process did not start in May this year, which is of course why the opposition is in such a pickle. All we have is a choice between Cameron and Osborne’s full-fat cuts programme, or Miliband and Johnson’s cuts-lite. No, I can’t believe it’s not butter either.

How has fairness come to be such a handy way of dissembling? Surely fairness is a virtue worth extolling, and why wouldn’t any decent-minded person sign up to it? The answer is simple: because no-one knows what it means. Fairness has become the Thomist theology of our day, and we spend our time fruitlessly arguing about how much of it can fit on the head of a pin. If we’re going to study pin-heads, I’d rather count angels than sift through the myriad ways in which fairness is used and abused.

The problem is that there is no such thing as fairness – there is only unfairness. Just as we don’t really know what healthiness is other than by the absence of disease, it is only by attacking unfairness that we can discern fairness. I know when I’m ill, and I know that I’m well when I’m not ill. I can define an unfair set of circumstances, and if I can remove that unfairness, then I’ll be left with fairness. The problem is that there is a tacit agreement amongst all politicians to deny this fundamental truth, and indeed to turn it on its head. Thus we are told that it’s naughty, churlish even, and naive in the extreme, to talk about equality of outcome. We are only allowed to talk about equality of opportunity. As if inequality of opportunity wasn’t absolutely an example of inequality of outcome in the first place.

So I’m unrepentantly going to point to what I think is the fundamental inequality of outcome in our society, the denial of which underpins all the nonsensical talk of fairness that so befogs us at the moment. It is the blatant fact that reward, in the sense of income from work, is totally, utterly, and irredeemably divorced from effort or deserts. Not only that, it is equally divorced from the social benefit that flows from it. This fact is so obvious that of course we hardly notice it. In my office, I see cleaning staff leaving just as I’m arriving. Most of them then go on to other jobs. As I’m leaving in the evening, they are back again. It’s hard, unpleasant, and vital work. I probably get paid 10 times as much as them. That is unfair. I have to make difficult decisions in my job, and as I’ve noted elsewhere in this blog, I’m bracing myself for making some even more difficult ones in the immediate future. I believe I’m “woath it” as Cheryl Kerl would say, but in so believing it is not necessary for me also to believe that the cleaners are 10 times less worthy. Of course this is but one of an almost infinite number of other exemplars: bankers versus social care workers, footballers versus nurses, celebrities versus refuse workers. The list goes on and on.

It is on the rock of this fundamental unfairness that all the superstructure of inequality rests. The talk of “hard-working” families subsidising work-shy scroungers is really the need to subsidise other equally hard workers on pitifully inadequate incomes. The talk of “broad backs” ignores how those backs got to be so broad in the first place. Doing something about this is horrendously difficult. I am not opposed to markets as such, and I’m not proposing that rewards determined by bureaucracy would be better than rewards determined through supply and demand. But without a frank acknowledgement that the rewards of work are not distributed either efficiently or effectively by the market as it is currently constituted then we will always be looking for the wrong policy levers, and trying to apply them in the wrong places.

Because there is no equality of outcome, there can be no equality of opportunity. The latter is a consequence of the former, and it is wishful thinking to suppose that cause and effect flow in the opposite direction. Until we face this inconvenient truth, Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband both, then no, we are not all in this together. Or, perhaps, we are all together in the same illusion.


Married or civilly partnered?

The issues surrounding the merits or otherwise of civil partnerships in comparison to marriage have been generating quite a head of steam recently. Today the BBC News website has published a story about a heterosexual couple applying to become civil partners rather than a married couple. This, as the article notes, is not a novel request, but it does serve to establish the last jigsaw piece creating a kind of symmetry of all the disputes crystallising around this contentious territory.

On the one hand there are arguments over whether the institutions of marriage and civil partnership stand in some relationship of superiority and inferiority: the focus being on the nature of the institutions themselves. On the other there are arguments over the differential access to these institutions between gay and straight couples. Stonewall’s refusal thus far to throw its weight behind the campaign for gay couples to get married has been causing an incendiary rift within the gay community in Britain. I suspect that most gay couples believe that they should be able to get married, and see civil partnerships as some kind of second best. The wish of some heterosexual couples, as in the BBC article already cited, to eschew marriage in favour of civil partnership, based on a rejection of marriage’s traditional association with sexist power and property relationships between men and women, is equally frustrated. There is some irony here, of course. It would be easy to dismiss both sides as simply being an example of the strange desire of human beings to want most fervently only those things that they are not allowed. Are gay couples wanting marriage, and straight couples wanting civil partnerships, merely joined in being equally petulant, foot-stamping toddlers?

I don’t think so. But I do think that there are some plain facts that need stating clearly in order to dispel some of the mists of confusion and double-think that are obscuring things here. First, that business about marriage somehow harking back to mediaeval notions of women as property to be disposed of at male whim and fancy. The laws of marriage have changed, and it is simply a fact that women are not property in the context of marriage today. Civil partnerships, and marriage, are about property though, and indeed that’s really all they are about. No matter what excesses of sentimentality and tastelessness the act of getting married, or becoming civil partners, may frequently entail, that is all flim-flam to distract attention from the more sordid reality. Civil partnerships were created for just this reason: to end the outrageous discrimination between straight and gay couples when it came to property rights – and I’m using property here in a broad sense, to include things like the right to act as someone’s next of kin, or to give medical permission, or to inherit, and all the other practicalities of life together.

So why do we need two institutions at all? That is a very good question. Because we don’t. We’ve got moral and religious commitment mixed up with legal commitment. The key reason why civil partnerships are not marriages has nothing to do with the law, and everything to do with religious objections from those who see marriage as a God-given estate. I happen to believe that to be true, although I don’t happen to believe that God has only given that estate to straight couples. In pursuing such an argument, I need have no dispute with the state or the law, but only with my fellow Christians, the majority of whom I believe to be wrong on this issue.

What we need to do is to separate out the legal issues from the rest. It is no longer tenable for one particular religious perspective to hold sway over the whole of society. Freedom of belief demands that the Christian church (and other faiths that have doctrines on partnership) should be able to determine whatever religious restrictions they believe proper in religious marriage, and I totally reject the idea that the law should be able to impose, for example, same sex marriages on the church. As I’ve already said, I want my church to move to that position, but until it does I must just keep fighting. I do not look to secular society to do that job for me. But the quid pro quo is clear: the church must give up its traditional claim to define what marriage is for all of society. If we had a single estate of legal partnership that applied to all regardless of sexuality, and which dealt with the wide issues of property relationships between couples, religious and other groups would then be free bolt-on their own particular perspectives in their own way.

The church has its own word for marriage (albeit shared with Indian religions): matrimony. It’s ironic that the root of this seemingly patriarchal system is mother, but let that pass. Let marriage be the one word that all couples use, gay or straight, but let it also be limited to describing the civil contract between couples. And let religious folk determine what matrimony means to them, without civil interference. If humanists, atheists or anybody else also want to design their own additional ceremonies and meanings, let them do that too.

Dependency: a problem of chickens and eggs

I’ve hardly been hiding my disagreement with the coalition government and its spending review. I believe their approach to social policy is about as wrong as it’s possible to be, but my disagreement is actually more about means than it is about purpose.

Iain Duncan-Smith’s desire to reform welfare is not in itself either wrong-headed or immoral. His identification of the “culture of dependency” as an element of the problem of welfare is not without seriousness, nor is it mistaken. And it’s not of course new either. Sir Keith Joseph’s articulation in the 1970s and 80s of the “cycle of deprivation” was describing exactly the same issue. In fact, the recognition of the “inheritability” (for the avoidance of doubt, not meant in a literal, genetic sense) of disadvantage, physical and moral, is a major biblical theme expressed in passages such as that in Deuteronomy about “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”. It’s pretty idle to try and deny that children growing up with alcohol or drug addicted parents, with domestic violence, in poverty, with emotional neglect or any other of the almost infinite varieties of cruelty and dysfunction that too many of our children are subjected to, will not be deleteriously affected by it. It’s obviously true that not all these circumstances have anything to do with poverty (other than poverty itself, of course) and still less that poverty is necessarily a causation of these other disadvantages. But we do know that there is a strong correlation between poverty and multiple deprivation of these other sorts.

This is not about inevitability, and we all know about those exceptional people that have overcome unimaginable privations as children to be successful and rich adults. But of course rags-to-riches stories are interesting in a way that rags-to-rags stories are not. They are also infinitesimally less common. They tell us precisely nothing about what might intervene in the cycle for the majority of children affected by it. These individual stories are mostly irrelevant, but they are worse than that: they feed in the popular imagination the notion that all it takes to emerge untainted from a difficult background is guts and hard work. Thus the converse is also embedded in the public consciousness: that those who do not emerge untainted must be both lazy and cowardly. This is why, to our collective shame, 64% of the British people applaud the coalition’s attack on welfare, and think that protecting the well-off (as opposed to the filthy rich) is morally superior to assisting the poor.

But there is an intractable problem that those of us opposed to these attacks on the poorest need to face. It is also true that some of the ways we have traditionally tried to redress the balance have in fact contributed to the very problem that they were designed to deal with. The “dependency culture” is not simply a figment of the right-wing imagination. The government’s policies will make the position worse because they will tend to concentrate poverty both in severity and in geography, as I argued in my last post. This is likely to reinforce dependency, not break it down. Those of us on the left cannot argue that the welfare system doesn’t need fixing because it isn’t broken. It’s obviously broken because it obviously doesn’t work – if by working we mean that it assists in breaking dependency and the cycles of deprivation.

I have no prescription to offer. But it is perhaps a start to acknowledge honestly that a new prescription is needed. I will continue to argue against this government’s methodology. But I know also that if we keep doing the same thing on welfare, we’ll continue to end up in the same place. We have to re-think it. Now is the time to start.

A very British apartheid

As the pieces of the jigsaw of the Coalition’s attack on social housing fall inexorably into place, it’s hard not to be tempted into thinking that it must be a part of a deliberate strategy to create a modern-day lumpen-proletariat. As Oscar Wilde famously observed, to lose one parent might be considered a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness. I am tempted to add that to lose several cousins as well looks like criminal negligence. Thus to cut capital spending on investment in social housing might just be considered an unfortunate but necessary austerity measure. To do so at the same time as removing aspects of housing benefit, at the same time as attacking security of tenure, at the same time as capping benefits in general, and at the same time as thereby undermining the future income streams upon which social housing providers depend to meet their borrowing: to do all these things simultaneously, and at the self-same moment as unemployment in public and private sectors is set to rise by perhaps 1,000,000 or more because of general fiscal tightening thus hugely increasing social housing demand – well that does seem more than simply ham-fisted.

But worrying about motivation is ultimately pointless and unnecessary. I’m not in the business of raking through the souls of Messrs Cameron, Osborne, Duncan-Smith and the rest. I don’t care whether they are deliberately wicked or merely criminally irresponsible. The issue lies in what the outcome will be. And I think that now there is a very real risk that the outcome will be social dislocation and fracture on the biggest scale we have known in the last 70 years. Even Thatcherism at its height did not carry the same risks: the dislocation then was targeted at specific groups – most notably the miners. But this government’s ambitions, if that’s what they are, seem wider and more pervasive.

One of Thatcher’s flagship policies was right-to-buy. It was hugely controversial at the time, and it has indeed had some very deleterious consequences for affordable housing supply. But it did have one more benign effect, and an effect that the last government tried hard to build on and develop. Often derided by the right, John Prescott’s “sustainable communities” concept was an extension of what right-to-buy had, possibly unintentionally, begun. Mixed tenure developments, with social rented, intermediate rented, market rented, shared ownership, and private freeholders have a greater chance of long-term success. Communities in which only poor people live, in which only those with multiple problems live, in which better-off people never live or even set foot – such communities will fail as surely as night follows day. Cameron’s attack on security of tenure will – if it works which I doubt – denude poor communities of their most successful members.

And this is a kind of apartheid. Not for Britain the crudities of racial apartheid, pass laws, and the paraphernalia of separate development imposed by law. No, we prefer separate development imposed by economic necessity. An apartheid which is self-sustaining, in which poor people almost disappear from the consciousness of the majority. We don’t need to go there, physically, emotionally, or morally. Until, that is, our breakfast marmalade is rudely interrupted by news that we have created our very own banlieues, and that cars are burning in those places we’d wiped from our collective attention.

The first refuge of the scoundrel: declare war on “benefit cheats”

It never takes long for an administration in difficulty to start kicking the cat. Thus Mr Osborne hopes to deflect some of the chorus of criticism coming his way on Wednesday by means of a little pre-emptive strike at that long-suffering folk villain, the benefit fraudster. In a kind of society-wide act of psychological transference, we are all encouraged to exorcise our own discontents in a collective orgy of finger-pointing. Benefit fraud is a wonderful opportunity for the politician bent on misdirection. Just as a conjurer gets us to avert our gaze onto the breast pocket of his jacket whilst he fiddles around with his coat sleeves, so we are invited to get worked up into righteous indignation about the mote of benefit cheats whilst ignoring the plank of mass unemployment and the tax shenanigans of the very rich.

Would that this were a fault only of this new coalition. Sadly they have been taught well, as much by their Labour predecessors as by their own antecedents of the Blessed Margaret and St K Joseph. The rhetoric of benefit fraud is balanced by that of “hard-working families”, and is usually spiced up with dark references to immigrants enjoying a spot of benefit tourism. Why stop at one folk villain if you can buy one and get one free? New Labour’s menacing advertising campaign warning us all that state surveillance will get us in the end if we work and claim at the same time was a perfect example of the genre.

I’m not suggesting that defrauding the benefits system is an acceptable activity, but the attention given to it is spectacularly disproportionate. In 2009/10, benefit fraud cost about £1bn. Not insignificant to be sure, but equal to the amount lost by benefit officers’ mistakes and mistakes (not frauds) by claimants. In the previous year, tax avoidance cost the exchequer a massive £25bn. The total reduction in government spending the Chancellor is seeking is about £155bn per annum in order to bring current year spending into balance with receipts. So faced with those figures, where might you be directing your most vigorous efforts?

As part of this latest phoney war on benefit cheats, the government is to employ an extra 200 staff to snoop into the affairs of people living in fraud “hotspots”. I don’t know how much of the total £1bn is accounted for by these concentrations of wickedness, but let’s make a very generous assumption that it’s 50%. So to chase up £500m we are going to invest at least £6m in staff salaries alone, and we have no idea how successful they might or might not be. What we know for sure is that their salaries will only be the start of the costs incurred. We are promised that they will be using “high-tech” methods and for high-tech read high-cost. These methods will also include data-sharing with credit reference agencies and other dubious intrusions into people’s financial and personal privacy. This was the government that would eschew their predecessors’ illiberal snooping, but it turns out that that was only the snooping on residents who wish to flout attempts at curbing waste and increasing recycling. Chips in bins are a disgraceful intrusion: breaching the Data Protection Act is merely an unfortunate bit of collateral damage.

It’s patently obvious that the war on benefit cheats is nothing to do with a considered, logical approach to helping the deficit reduction plans, nor one which is based on any proper cost-benefit assessment. But that is not its purpose. It never has been. Benefit cheats provide the same function in the UK as the Roma do in France. They are an escape valve for the anger and resentment that the “austerity” measures are building up. They are the government’s way of asking us to pick a card, any card. And they are no more effective than a card sharp’s tricks are magic.

NHS reform: the good, the bad and the ugly

Regular readers will know that I try (not always successfully, to be sure) to avoid judging ideas more on their provenance than on their content. So despite my inbuilt suspicion about nifty ideas on the National Health Service emanating from the Conservatives, I think the principles which inform their latest such idea deserve more than a merely tribal, allergic rejection. Indeed, I think there are aspects which belong in each of the categories in this piece’s title.

So, from the top – what’s good in these ideas? First is the primacy of outcomes over process and procedure. One of New Labour’s most damaging legacies has been the usurpation of professionalism by managerialism. Whether in education, the health service, social services or housing, the Labour administration consistently valued auditors over practitioners. Targets, league tables, tick-box inspection régimes, uniformity masquerading as equality: the past 13 years has consistently focused attention not on effectiveness, but on the appearance of effectiveness as measured by proxies of one kind or another. Doubtless much of this was driven by the best of motives, and in a sense Labour was trying to provide a bulwark against the protestations of their “tax and spend” tormentors in the media by smothering them with statistics, and what were presented as “evidence-based” justifications for the massive increases in spending over which the administration presided. Unfortunately too much of that investment went straight into feeding the machine of inspections, auditing and the rest. In any event, the motivations are not in the end the important factor – the plain fact remains that all this superstructure has cost too much, and distorted delivery too much. If the new government’s proposals really do provide a way out of this vicious circle, then they are to be welcomed on those grounds alone.

There’s more good stuff in these proposals. The central relationship of trust in health provision is surely that between doctor and patient. If your doctor makes the decisions about your care and treatment, then at least you know with whom to remonstrate if you are unhappy about those decisions. But if these decisions are in fact taken by managers responding not to individual patients’ needs, but to averages and cost data, then those patients will not be able to engage effectively. This is double-edged, of course. Doctors in the proposed dispensation will be the ones doing the inevitable rationing of treatments that all health care systems have to undertake. There’s no point in beating around this bush. The health service will always have a limited budget for supply, whilst health demand will always be limitless. If this imbalance is not to be corrected by pricing mechanisms (and it surely must not be) then it has to be managed by rationing. And this is where the proposals run the risk of metamorphosing from the good to the bad.

Given that the trust between patients and their physicians is critical, sowing the seed of doubt in patients’ minds that their doctors’ decisions may be based not on what’s best for them as patients, but on what’s best for the GP consortium’s balance sheet, is likely to corrode that trust. There’s no easy way out of this dilemma, but I suspect that one of the trade-offs that patients will have to make is that in order to be closer to where decisions are taken, they will inevitably be closer also to the dilemmas, and sometimes the unpleasantnesses, of the reality of rationing.

And if we’re not careful, the bad will in turn slip into the ugly. If general practitioners are going to have to expose their patients to some difficult lessons in the language of priorities, those lessons will be very much more unpalatable if they are seen to include considerations of profit and loss for the doctors themselves. I might reluctantly concede that I must accept a less expensive treatment in order to ensure that fellow patients can also be treated: but not in order to increase the profits made by GPs and their consortia. I do not believe that profit and health care can be made to mix in a morally acceptable way. This is where the government’s proposals come unstuck. The last administration thought that quality could be driven by managerialism. The new one thinks it can be driven by market forces. Neither is true. We need a new commitment to health care as a social good, and not, on the one hand, as a weapon in political warfare or, on the other, as an engine of profit.

Some photographic pointers 1

It’s with some trepidation that I set out on a series of posts discussing photography. Indeed, it is only the encouragement of two of my Twitter acquaintances, @margit11 and @TaraBradford, that emboldens me to do it at all. There are so many professional photographers on Twitter such as the amazing Andy Marshall who, if they happen across this blog, will probably barely contain their mirth. But I have one advantage over Andy and his professional colleagues that may be of benefit for my target audience of amateur snappers: with a bit of application anyone can produce images as good as mine. The same can’t be said for his. And so at least I’m not going to be giving counsel of perfection, and depressing everyone in the process as they quickly realise that they have no hope of following it.

There are very many ways in which I could approach my task of meeting @margit11’s brief of addressing “lots of topics! Which camera good for [people] to start out? How to take [pictures] of water? Angles for buildings? [Very] bright sunlight?..” I’ve decided against the classic didactic route of taking people through the basics of photographic technique in the abstract – articles on exposure, or on composition, or on lighting. If anyone wants that there are millions (literally) of books out there that they can read. Instead, I’m going to discuss in each post an image of my own, and describe some of the challenges and themes that were involved in taking and processing the image, and sometimes, as in this post, look at a couple of images of the same subject to illustrate different approaches. A lot of the discussion will be technical in the sense that it will be about technique, but always in the context of its practical application in the specific image or images under the spotlight. It won’t be difficult to understand, and any technical terms will be explained in, I hope, a simple and straightforward way.

First, some parameters. I’ll be talking exclusively about digital photography, and probably the posts will be as much about post-processing in image software as they will be about camera technique at the time the photograph is taken. Talking of software, although I won’t generally be dealing with a specific package nor providing step-by-step guidance, you might want to download the free GIMP package which gives you just about everything that Photoshop can provide, and which will certainly enable you to do anything that I might suggest, and heaps more beside. As for the type of camera, although I’ll not be assuming you have a high end digital SLR, I will be assuming that you’ve got a camera that allows you to take manual control of exposure when that’s necessary. If you have a totally automated camera with no manual override, well, there’s not much I can tell you except try and keep it pointed at the right subject! If your camera allows it, it’s better to set it to RAW rather than JPG (if that means nothing to you, don’t worry just now.) For things that don’t move, set your camera to aperture priority mode (and since I rarely take images of things that do move, my camera stays on aperture priority all the time, and all my posts will assume that unless I mention something else.) I’m assuming also some familiarity with the concepts of aperture (f8, f5.6 and all that) and shutter speed (1/250th, 1/125th, etc.)

So here goes! These two photographs were taken last June in France. They are of the very beautiful, but largely unknown, Château de Céré not far from Poitiers in the Centre-West of the country.

The most obvious thing about the conditions when these shots were taken is that it was sunny! Although that made it very pleasant for me, it made it very difficult for my camera. Our eyes are able to deal with vastly greater contrast between highlights and shadows than a digital camera can, and I wanted to capture both the details of the old stone walls where they were in shadow, and keep the beautiful vibrant blue of the sky. That’s not at all easy. In film cameras you can over-expose quite a bit before losing detail in the brightest parts of the image, but for digital over-exposure is deadly. As soon as the sensor reaches the limit of its capacity, then everything becomes pure and lifeless white. I’m sure you’ve probably all had the experience of taking a shot with a blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds (just like this one!) only to find that when you print it out the clouds have disappeared into a featureless white sky. Or, the sky’s been lovely, but your friends’ faces, or the building you were photographing, have turned out pitch black.

The second thing to notice is that in the first shot quite a bit of the château is in full sunlight, whilst in the second only the roofs of the turrets are. In the jargon, this second image is said to be taken “against the light”. That makes the problem of the contrast between the sky and the shadows even more difficult to deal with. You can see that the blue of the sky in the second shot is not as vibrant, as “saturated”, as it is in the first, and the clouds are not as well defined. However, the second shot is probably more interesting photographically, whilst the first looks a bit like a picture postcard. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it’s probably cheaper and easier just to buy one! Even in the first image though, the sunlight is not coming from directly behind me, and so there is still some interplay between light and shade on the walls, and the turrets have a pleasing three-dimensional look about them. This is important in architectural shots. Never take a building with the sun at your back: the picture will be lifeless and boring. It’s better to come back a bit later, and noon is never a good time! These shots were taken at about 4pm (2pm by the sun) and would have been better if it had been nearer 6pm.

In order to deal with the problem of over-exposure, I deliberately under-exposed the second image by just over 1 stop (a stop being the difference between adjacent apertures – e.g. f8 to f5.6 – or shutter speeds e.g. 1/60th to 1/125th). That left the bits of the château that were in shadow (i.e. in this case just about all of it) very dark-looking indeed, and I’ve had to rescue them in my software package. One side effect of that has been to increase the saturation of the colours, making the grass a very vibrant green, but I think it still works quite well, and doesn’t look exaggerated. The technical side is a bit complicated. You have to use something called “masking” which enables you to select some parts of the image to work on (in this case the shadows) whilst leaving other parts (in this case the sky) untouched. Using software to brighten the shadow areas in this way will increase the digital “noise”, a kind of randomly coloured, speckled effect and so there is a limit to how much you can apply the technique without ruining the image.

Finally, a few comments about the different moods created by the two shots. The first, with much of the château in full sunlight, creates a warm and “safe” feel, enhanced by the grand driveway, the open shutters, and the splash of red flowers. The second emphasises the fortress element, and the dark, rather forbidding, nature of the towers. Without the driveway in view, the château seems to be in a wilder sort of environment, and this is emphasised by the framing of the dark foreground trees. The first image puts one in mind of relaxed aristocrats enjoying themselves: the second of imprisoned princesses.

Technical details. Top image: 18-70mm zoom at 27mm; f8; 1/640th; ISO 200. Bottom image: 18-70mm zoom at 34mm; f8; 1/250th; ISO 200 (exposure reduced by 1.08 stops in post-processing)