| Democratic Commonwealth Union |
"Democracy, Community, Unity and Peace - Forevermore!"
"March from Scipione" by Handel
|South Wales & Marches |
|Capital city||DCU Tiger Bay Capital Territory|
|Short name||Has short name::"DCU" (pronounced "Dee-Cee-You")|
|Demonym||Tigerian (Named after national animal) or Herefordian (Named after the DCU Home Region)|
|Government||Direct Democratic Meritocracy|
|- Supreme Commander||David Malins|
|Legislature||Supreme Command Select Committee|
|- Type||- Meritocratic Council (AKA "Chinese Parliament")|
|- Number of seats||- N/A (All Citizens and Working Guests form the council/group)|
|Established||December 21st 2002|
|Area claimed||Welsh Marches & Surrounds|
|Population||Population::6 approx. Does not include indigenous population|
|Currency||GBP Stirling (£) and Cardiff Taffs(T) (1T = £1 approx)|
|Time zone||DCU Standard Time (DCT = GMT +5mins)|
|National drink||Ginger Root Beer|
|National animal||Siberian Tiger|
|Patron saint||Saint David|
The Democratic Commonwealth Union (DCU), is a micronation and new nation project based in the Welsh Marches area of Great Britain.
The DCU was founded in 2002, seeking to protect ultra-local democratic interests and increase developmental independence for its communities. It is the Founder and Secretariat member of the Union of Non-aligned Micronations (UNM)
(It is also was a Security Council member of the former Union of Micro-Nations organisation, in which the DCU's Head of State Supreme Commander Malins, was formally elected as the second Secretary General of the organisation, which preceeded the Union of Non-aligned Micronations)
Governed as a confederacy of independent communities, groups and individuals, the DCU Government is responsible for the day-to-day security, services and foreign affairs of these communities, whilst encouraging participation in local non-partisan/non-party based democracy as Sector and Regional Councils within defined DCU Regions of Influence. The Supreme Command Select Committee is the highest central authority, made up of Cheifs of Staff and Field Marshals of services. It is represented by the Supreme Commander David Malins, who as Head of State is responsible for upholding DCU Basic State Law, negotiating foreign affairs, as well as defending the rights of the people of the state.
The national holiday is DCU Day on December 21st each year, in which the 2012 celebrations marked the 10th Anniversairy of the founding of the nation, where the Supreme Commander was given a state tour of the DCU Wales Region. Other times have traditionally had a small-scale parade that charts the history of the DCU's maturity and system: The parade is repeated to see in the new year and is usually broadcast live across the DCU.
The National Anthem of the DCU is "March from Scipione" by Handel with alternate lyrics "Forevermore" written by the Suprme Commander himself: The anthem reflects on the military heritage and the civil defense capacity of the nation that continues to play an active role to this day, whilst also looking forward to a time of peaceful co-existence, liberty and progress humanitarian & technologically.
- 1 Jumps from Crisis to Permanent Emergency (2003-2013)
- 2 Recent History (Reform Period 2014-2015)
- 3 Government and Politics
- 4 DCU Governement Agencies, Institutions and Bodies
- 5 Diplomatic and Foreign Relations of the DCU
- 6 Former Diplomatic Relations
- 7 Geography of the DCU
- 8 Broadcasting in the DCU
Jumps from Crisis to Permanent Emergency (2003-2013)
The DCU just 3 years after it's founding, found itself in a difficult situation in it's attempts to forge a way forward for itself and it's citizens - which would later be hit by multiple issues that stifled growth in it's industries & economy. This was due in part to the close dependency on the Parallel-Independence doctrine that could no longer guarantee progress whilst affairs in Britain were going badly wrong.
In February 2013, an Economic State of Emergency was declared, due in part to the harshest period of austerity & further financial collapse in 2011 in the British Isles since both the Victorian Era and The Great Depression - this limited the amount of resources that the DCU had to move forward - resulting in a heavily revised plan, until such times as the DCU could start to gain resources & support elsewhere for itself.
In hindsight, it is believed that this status of crisis, lasted for over a decade, until 2018.
Whilst various attempts were made, particularly to advocate for support of the most vulnerable in it's regions of influence, most of these attempts were futile until a change of thinking in politics occured a decade later in Britain.
Recent History (Reform Period 2014-2015)
After much discussion and some interest being expressed for citizenship applications, not to mention worrying information internationally that would put current transport networks in jepardy for 90% of the population and hundreds of thousands of indigenous people in the regions of influence, the DCU started to commission a new transport policy that looked at advancing and bringing the costs down of green vehicle technology.
In June 2015, the DCU's Cycle Fleet became the very first in the micronational world to have access to two commissioned e-bikes for duties and those areas of the DCU that were traditionally difficult to travel to by public transport. It is also the first fleet known to combine simplified technology to charge a lightened battery pack on the move from various sustainable sources.
After this success, alongside the calls for assistance from potential new citizens, it was decided by the Office of the Supreme Commander to issue Policy Reset Directive 2015 - This made (other than the basic policies already set in place and the constitution) all other policies made during the ad-hoc administrative eras obsolete as of midnight DCU on July 12th 2015. Policy from that moment onwards, whilst overseen by the Supreme Command Select Committee, would be the responsible of the Meritocrical Group Council of Citizenry and Working Guests in a committee debate fashion across the entire nation as it was envisioned at the foundation of the DCU.
During this time,The United Kingdom Of Deheubarth And Carbery (UKDC) established diplomatic relations for the traditional Kingdom of Dehubarth located over to the DCU Wales Region's border west of the Clydach Gorge/Swansea/Pontadawe Valley. A Coalition was proposed by UKDC to combine the micronational interests of the South Wales and Marches Area (the coalition proposed was to include UKDC, DCU and Independent Kingdom of Hay Governments).
Also, further diplomatic links have been received from The Confederation of Leylandiistan & Gurvata
Media continued to be a mainstay area of trade and industry in the DCU, with various advanncements and opportunities being made available of which the DCU Government is providing assistance.
October 2015 Expansion - DCU Deheubarth Region Planned
On the 23rd September 2015, KIng Rhys of The United Kingdom Of Deheubarth And Carbery (UKDC) abdicated and renounced his claim on Deheubarth.
After general discussions regarding the future of the claim, the UKDC Government decided to allow the claim to be granted accession into the Democratic Commonwealth Union as a new DCU Deheubarth Region of Influence (the flag on the left was never used). A hand-over ceremony was to be conducted between King Rhys and Supreme Commander Malins in October 2015, however, due to ongoing issues, this ceremony was postponed, but guarantee of the trusteeship meant the handover was completed anyway.
In mid november, after the former UKDC Government had cut all communications with the DCU (for reasons only known to the Fmr UKDC), the DCU Government felt it inappropriate to continue to continue referring to the new region as Deheubarth, and instead took an unprecedented step, by state directive, to merge the planned Deheubarth Region into the DCU Wales Region of Influence, expanding that region to three times it's original size.
The DCU Wales Region of Influence now covers all areas between Abergavenny, Milford Haven, Aberythswyth and the Brecon Beacons National Park.
2016 Constitutional Commission Administration
The DCU Government of the day, after suffering a large blow of the loss of a high-ranking commander in early 2016 due to unchecked problems still occuring in Great Britain, the Office of the Supreme Commander adjourned the government of the day Sin Die, and formed a special Constitutional Commission to act as the de-facto administrators of the DCU.
It was initially decided that the DCU would go back to its foundations, with NCRPT given primacy over all other national functioning bodies, since most of the problems faced were caused by unchecked corruption/crime in Great Britain that was worsening community cohesion.
8 months after the initial lack of contact, it had been decided to re-enact the handover ceremony of the Deheubarth Region and have discussions over communications to shape the future direction of the DCU in the North Atlantic.
2018 Micronational Flag Changes
After using the 'Union Jack' in the first quadrant of the flag for nearly 15 years, with the abuses to Human Rights that the UK had been purportrating, it was decided to swap the 'Union Jack' for the British Commonwealth Republic Tricolour, as a protest against the host nation's actions that were inadvertantly harming DCU Citizens and Indigenous people in the DCU Regions of Influence - This also minimised the impact on the changes required in the flag, whilst keeping the 2nd Blue, 3rd Red and 4th White quadrants on the flag, as well as the other Regional variants of the DCU Ensign intact.
2019 Cultural & Societal Reformation Directives & Missions
At the beginning of 2019, the DCU passed the Anti-Cultural Hegemony Act - after coming to conclusion that alot of the difficulties faced by the DCU in wider society (especially during the past decade, disguised by virtue signalling also by those responsible most for stagnation in wider society), was due to a forced hegemony in both culture and societal concepts that destroys creativity, indiividuality and free thinking - and that for a society to change progressively and with tolerance, it needs to be free to think independently and to be given the tools & exposure to experiences outside comfort zones. In one examplar instance at the beginning of the decade in around mid-2006, a trial radio programme tape, was smashed up, all because it was 'unfamilar' to the listener - rather than in hatred or dislike of the content - which was taken as a rather extreme reaction. DCU advances to more prominent local stations with unique programming demos from at least two DCU officers, resulted in the same 'knee-jerk' reaction to something different from post-modern music & subject matters - all because it was deemed 'unfamilar to the listener' ( resulting in the words 'disloyal' being used in the same agressive way), even with familiar songs sung by different artists.
Since most of the situations that has led to the DCU difficulties stemming from a lack of cultural exposure (though this lack of cultural exposure was externally forced by wider society & compliance tactics by authorities & 'mainstream' media in Great Britain), along with an often forced compliance to 'like' the same things via Neuro-Linguistic Programming (often referred to as 'brainwashing'), the DCU, after being told of a new opportunity within the Regions of Influence, decided to take more assertive action, in order to give a cultural & societal 'jump-start' to the wider community.
2020 - The 'Crazy-19' Crisis
After enduring the internationally-driven geopolitical & pseudo-science issues in the host nation that threatened the DCU's security & safety, the DCU Government on September 22nd 2020, already at it's highest alert civil defense alert level 'Z1-Amber', made a decision to go into Emergency Continuity Discussions, in order to avert adverse harm to the administration, and possibly if required, to evacuate the DCU Government from the host nation, to set-up a Regional Government in Exile and establish a new national region in a host nation in which to continue it's work without let or hindrance.
In addition, on the 28th September, the DCU Pseudo-Science Prevention Act 2020 was announced, in preventing pseudo-scientific corruption & violations of liberty, by stating that any agreements or policies brought forward, would need to adhere to fundamental liberties & freedoms of free society & enterprise, as well as ensure 'proof beyond doubt' to ensure the ends justifies the means first-time round - which also reduces the risk of unconstitutional influence over the day-to-day actions of the DCU citizenry & indigenous populations in the Regions of Influence.
2021 - The 'Crazy-19' Crisis Continued
In January, the DCU's alert level was raised to it's highest point - On the 9th January, the DCU Civil Defense Emergency Communications Network, was activated to provide timely release of information, with news bulletins also being put front & centre on the DCU's website, as well as on local frequencies. This was as a response to the attempts to crush all liberty around the world by many bodies, groups & macronational/supranational governments and a near-critical escalation of Geo-Political tensions (not least the worrying trend of draconian censorship) - The DCU, by that point under the emergency command of the Civil Defense Bureau due to defense needed in case war broke out, felt it neccerry to provide the service, in order to prevent violations by the host macronation of the DCU Anti-Intolerance Act 2006.
In February, DJFM Industries, the main business in the DCU, was commandeered under Emergency powers to the full Civil Defense effort.
Further, in March, a special order was made, increasing the focus on long-term survival of the nation's population & economy - with Commonwealth Resources being made a key area to strengthen by various methods, including the acquisition of physical currency & precious elements, food stocks & information dissemination materials.
Government and Politics
For most of its existence since being founded over a decade ago, the Supreme Command Select Committee (Chaired by the Office of the Supreme Commander) has ultimately governed the day-to-day services and running of the Democratic Commonwealth Union.
The DCU Government's Supreme Command Select Committee includes Supreme Commander Malins, Acting First Officer Jennings and Justice Marshal Jones.
The major problems faced was that many decisions and issues were not being dealt with equally by the citizenry who were wishing to be involved, and lacked the resources inintially to allow participation. However, upon the Policy Reset Directive 2015 issued by the Supreme Commander on July 12th 2015, made all other policies obsolete in order to finally leave the past to rest and move to the future.
This created the highest direct-democratic level of government after the Supreme Command Select Committee, The DCU Citizenry & Working Guests Group (I.e. The DCU Meritocrical Council), where the citizens and honoured guests of the DCU work to highlight issues that should be considered a national priority or require the attention of the DCU Services. In practise, the leadership (ultimately of the Supreme Commander) is what guides the DCU's core practises day-to-day, where citizens and indigenous populations directly call on him and the general services without requiring this body.
All political interests are non-partisan (i.e. non-party political) - Whilst the nature of the DCU means that some citizens and indigenous people may support a UK party for the UK and EU elections, there is no such distinction in the DCU, as each person's views are taken as sovreignty in its own right, and also able to change and vary as time and experience goes on.
Meritocracy is used as a basis instead for leadership of services. If the candidate for a position (whether new or current) is able to fulfil the role, then they are able to continue, but are under constant scruitiny of the DCU population. DCU Government and Service Personnel are also not authorised to be paid for their DCU roles, but can take a sabbatical from other areas they have worked in via private or community enterprise. This is to prevent corruption, but also to allow the maximum dedication and skillset of personnel.
DCU Governement Agencies, Institutions and Bodies
The DCU has a number of services branches, agencies, institutions and bodies - other than the DCU General Services Corps (which provides other facilities without portfolio or particular expertise beyond DCU Standard Officers Training), there is:
- DCU Justice Bureau - Ensures compliance of the DCU Basic State Law and provides assistance in civil and basic state law violations - works alongside NCRPT on deterrance of crime and unethical acts.
- DCU National Crime Response and Prevention Team (NCRPT) - The DCU's Civil Policing Wing, with the power to investigate parallel-indepdendent matters, whilst the host nation deals with more serious criminal matters. Has a number of specialist patrol groups, including Cycleways Patrol in lieu with the DCU Strategic Cycle Fleet
- DCU Joint Aero-Aqua-Astro Nautical Service (JAAANS) - The joint Air, Sea and Space Forces Arm of the DCU Civil Defence Forces, responsible for all waterways, airspace and space monitoring/utilisation in the DCU Regions of Influence.
- DCU Strategic Cycle Fleet - The primary civil defense & logistics arm of the DCU, trained for specific VIP Roadborne defense and Long-Distance Traversing of the Cycleways in the DCU Regions of Influence, comprised of highly-trained Cycle Pilots (It's also the Primary Service of the Supreme Commander)
- DCU Rail (and Transport) - The overarching authority for Rail and Ancillery Transportation policy and management in the DCU Regions of Influence. (Was responsible between 2000 and 24th June 2004 for assisting the running of the Madley Vicarage Garden Light Railway - now defunct)
- DCU Communications Bureau - The Communications Authority for the DCU Regions of Influence: It enforces DCU decisions on broadcasting, radio-magnetic and other forms of communication, as well as co-controls the state broadcasters in the DCU Regions of Influence: DJFM Industries Television (DJFMITV) and Radio SMASH International, as well as a number of partners, including the Welsh Community Broadcasting Federation (WCBF)
- DCU Commonwealth Resources Office - Manages the shared assets of the DCU
- DCU Cycle Pilot Training Corps - Is the primary officer corps for the DCU, with a focus on cycle piloting as a specialist area
Diplomatic and Foreign Relations of the DCU
The DCU whilst not being always being visible in its activities, has always been a pro-active micronation in the local community of which it is based, as well as the wider micronational world through the likes of the Union of Micro-Nations and the Micronational Broadcasting Union.
The DCU currently maintains some informal and casual diplomatic relations with various other micronations as well as engages in business with some UK devolved institutions like the Cross Party Autism and Disability groups of the Welsh Government. It also had a stand in July 2019 at the Ystrad 'Big Get Together', featuring many enterprising projects by the nation, which was also the first time where the post-2018 DCU Flag was flown at a public event.
The DCU also produced a proposal for an alternative directly-elected chamber, based upon a mix of assembly & popular conferences that it hopes will be a model for many others to follow.
Nations invovled in Diplomatic Relations with the DCU
The following nations have diplomatic treaties, agreements or pending relations with the DCU Government (each diplomacy listed as "Active", "Semi-Active", "Idle" and "Defunct"):
The Metropolitan Electorate of Fidelis - Status: "Active": Formal Diplomatic Relations, with initial request for diplomacy granted in April 2018, as well as becoming the second founding member of the Union of Non-Aligned Micronations
The Confederation of Leylandiistan & Gurvata (Formerly The Democratic Republic of Laylandiistan ) - Status: "Active" Initial request for diplomacy accepted on September 7th 2013. Since the change in the nation, the DCU re-established relations with the current government as of the 22nd July 2015. (Note: Link leads to the official news agency "Béal na Tíre" of the Confederation of Leylandiistan & Gurvata)
The Federated Commonwealth of Malatora (Fed-Com) & Viridia-
Status: "Idle" (but casual "Active" diplomacy maintained with citizenry) Casual diplomacy and mutual recognition through the DCU-Malatoran Mutual Defense and Friendship Agreement 2010. FedCom citizens are also automatically recognised as posessing dual citizenship of the DCU and FedCom due to the recognition of the unique development of both nations under their respective Supreme Commanders. Much of FedCom transferred over to Viridia, where diplomatic relations in abstencia are maintained via the DCU-FedCom-Viridia Diplomatic Corrections Act 2016 (AKA DCU-FedCom Mutual Defense and Friendship Agreement (Viridian Amendments) 2010).
UPDATE: 2nd October 2019 - The Former Federated Commonwealth of Malatora (FCM/Fed-Com), after both a serious revelation from a citizen of the Fmr FCM (noting a foundation in long-held cricisms of the nation by external parties), as well as long and strained attempts by the DCU to maintain friendship & relations with the claimed successor - the Fmr FCM was issued notice by the DCU's Ambassador to the FCM, to satisfactorily clarify without enigmaticness, the situation in the Fmr FCM and the official position of it's views on relations that the DCU maintained in good faith under amended 2010 treaty obligations from 2016 onwards.
It was stated that if the DCU did not receive a satisfactory response to it's request, that it would render the initial decision in 2016 to overlook treaty stipulations null-and-void - and hence the right of Viridia to assume itself as the successor of FCM illegal from the 1st January 2020 ruled on by the DCU's Justice Bureau. The DCU Ambassador is awaiting the Fmr FCM's response.
The Kingdom of Lundy - Status: "Semi-Active" Was previously one of the first temporary autonomous members of the DCU Confederacy due to a state of emergency in 2012, at this time the Kingdom of Lundy was an Autonomous Protectorate, meaning that the defense matters of Lundy were the responsibility of the DCU Government and DCU Forces Lundy. However, Lundy now maintains a casual diplomacy with the DCU Government
The Sorrenian Federation - Status: "Idle" Formal diplomacy and treaty of mutual recognition pertaining to real-life micronational projects and sharing of assistance in each nation's aims and objectives as of the 29th July 2014
The Republic of Catawissa - Status: "Idle" Pending formal diplomatic relations, with initial request for diplomacy accepted on December 13th 2013
The DCU Government continues to pursue practical diplomatic relations with other nations, both locally and internationally - this is often dependent on the requirements of both nations at the time of writing.
Former Diplomatic Relations
The United Kingdom Of Deheubarth And Carbery (UKDC) - Status: "Obsolete". Had Formal diplomatic relations as the DCU's closest Western-bordering micronational neighbour, with initial request for diplomacy accepted on April 30th 2015. Whilst His Majesty's government of UKD&D was fairly young, their claims historically were granted to the Royal Family of the UKD&D by King John of England for assistance in the Norman invasion of Ireland in the 1100's AD, hence the DCU recognises in law the UKD&D as heirs to this territory. Later, due to the UKDC handing over it's territory over to the DCU, meant that the UKDC and its former Head of State's relations with the DCU is now defunct - hence closing the matter and the recent history of that nation.
The Republic of Kaleido - Diplomatic Status: "Defunct" Had formerly signed a diplomacy and recognition treaty Joint Communique (multi-national treaty) pertaining to real-life micronational projects and sharing of information signed 28th February 2013. This agreement was effectively made null-and-void on the 25th August 2014, due to the DCU Government declairing it had observed Kaleido violating its treaty with the DCU and other nations who had signed the Joint Communique, by what it seemed to be intefearence in the sovreign foreign policies of signatry nations by members of the Kaleido Government, which was continously denied in diplomatic channels and no evidence given to support their stance if they were indeed 'under attack', for which the DCU decided to severe ties for an undefined period to send a message that it "cannot reward other nations that intend to strangle independent, sovereign, non-threatening diplomatic relations with another over its innocent associations with another nation that the likes of Kaleido may have difficulty with."
Only twice has the DCU had to revoke a pending diplomatic relations recognition to a micronation - this was in regards to the Republic/Kingdom of Catan (Status: "Defunct") on the 14th July 2014, due to evidence and eyewitness testimony by other nations in diplomatic organisations that revealed fraud had been purpertrated by that nation - which later led to the Grand Union Micronational (GUM) Wrythe Convention being signed by GUM's member nations along with incomplete information as to the provision of recycling for a dubious floating island project to house that nation. As of April 2019, Catan's leader was sentenced for 16 months jail for a series of bomb hoaxes carried out at Sheffield Hallam University.
Another nation (name witheld - Status: "Defunct" was also barred from all contact with the DCU after evidence of 'trolling' and conspiracy to take by force a democratic micronational institution by 'divide-and-conquer' tactics for that nation's own ends in 2012/13.
In March 2019, an American-based kingdom, attempted to enforce a viewpoint onto DCU media outlets, that violated the terms of the UN Convention of the Rights of Disabled people, along with various Human and Disabled rights acts of the DCU's host nation, and also violating diplomatic principle of non-interference in sovreign nations.
Geography of the DCU
The DCU's Geography is influenced both politically and environmentally through various factors.
The DCU Regions of Influence are (above individuals and groups) the primary community administrative units of the nation, much like a patrol area. These are not to be mistaken for Sovreign Territory, which makes up less than 1% of the entire area of the DCU.
DCU Regions of Influence (& Territories)
Regions of Influence
- DCU Herefordshire
- DCU Welsh Borders
- DCU Wales
- DCU Glamorgan
- DCU Deheubarth (Part of DCU Wales until August 2016)
- (DCU) Capital Territories
- (DCU) Citizen Territories
Broadcasting in the DCU
Pioneering broadcasting solutions has been a major factor within the nation, most of the content of which is produced in the DCU Wales Region of Influence.
Radio SMASH International, founded in 1998, has provided the earliest audio records of the genesis of what would become the DCU, charting its development and providing unique community and micronational programming to many varied audiences to this day, ona number of broadcasting formats online and on the air.
Television broadcasting via DJFM Industries Television, (DJFMITV) has also been developed, albeit to a slower extent, particularly in live-stream simulcasts on the net since 2004 (much of these via popular online broadcasting platforms, but was intially restricted to "on demand" WMV dial-up downloads and youtube til around 2008.
Mid August 2017, was a significant point for DJFMITV and (former Glam TV) WCBF, when applicable content was monetised for the first time since they were first founded - this was decided due to the ongoing austerity and inflation, along with neccery upgrading of recording equipment for new television productions.
In December 2017, the Radio SMASH International and DJFM Industries Television jointly commissioned the launch of a new service for the Union of Non-Aligned Micronations (UNM) called "Voice of the Union of Non-Aligned Micronations - VoUNM" - described as the first accessible modern-mediums encyclopedia for the Micronational Community worldwide, it's purpose is to spread information, news and enable contact and community between UNM member states.
Notable programmes and shows have included:
- Torquing Motorsport Show The popular radio talk-show "Torquing Motorsport" presented by DCU former Justice Marshal Alex Jones MSc, simulcasting on a community radio station It is the most listened to DCU-made programme to be aired since around 2008, and continues to air without fail every 5pm on a saturday from a local station. These are now released via the WCBF youtube channel, where some of the archives are proving popular with listeners.
- "Oddities Theatre" - Planned for late 2018 and early 2019 - Currently 4 pilot episodes have been produced, which since March 2020 have been 'on loop' on the DCU's internal broadcasting network.
- The Radio ZERO programme, that charted the genesis of the nation when it was a group of friends known as The Trouble Busters, who did a show (known as an advert) in between selections of unique music and other features, including commentary of local events like the Trouble Busters Fayre and village summer fetes.
- "Radio SMASH International - 'Tiger Bay Calling'", aired regularly for 2 hour periods between 2009-2011 (originally developed under a different name for a 5-7pm slot on a student radio station, then was renamed when the casts were transferred to DJFMITV & Glam TV livestream feeds). Focusing on specialist and intellectual talk, unique versions of well-known tunes, along with a variety of guests both over the phone and in the studio. There is discussions in progress to bring back the programme in a different form for another network in the DCU Regions.