Monthly archives: December 2008

The Big Lie Technique

Breathtaking lies from the White House press spokesman:

“Israel is only doing what is necessary to prevent terrorism. Nobody supports violence.”

The horrific thing is, some people do actually believe this ludicrous propaganda. But on the subject of supporting violence, I had a momentary emotion today of which I feel deeply ashamed. The BBC reported an Israeli civilian killed by a Palestinian rocket, and my involuntary reaction was:

“Good – they got one back. 340 Palestinian dead, but at least they got one of the bastards”.

I then froze in horror at my own thought, and said a quiet apology to the soul of the poor man killed, and to his family and friends.

I am happy to say my initial emotion still seems to me repulsive and aberrant, and if I think back on it I do not recapture any of that feeling. But if the Israeli offensive can make someone as dedicated to peace, and far removed from the conflict, as I feel that kind of instinct, even if momentarily, how truly counter-productive it must be. How much hatred and antagonism has been stirred among those related to the four young sisters killed in their bed, to give only one example? We are seeing not just the death of hundreds now, but the instigation of yet additional violence for decades to come.

Of course, some people will make money and/or gain political power and influence out of that. “Nobody supports violence” is bollocks. Some people profit very nicely from it, in a variety of ways.

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John Atta Mills elected President of Ghana

It appears that John Atta Mills has been elected President of Ghana. Although the result will not be declared until tomorrow, it now appears in practice impossible for Nana Akuffo Addo to close the gap.

There remain a number of concerns about the count which puzzle and worry me. In particular the swing ti Mills in the final fifteen constituencies to declare appears to be three times the average swing over the rest of the country. Constitutencies which together delivered a net majority to Nana Akuffo Addo of over 150,000 in the first round have yielded him a majority of only about 40,000 in the second round. Looking at each in turn and the swings in the surrounding constituencies, there is no readily available explanation that occurs to me. For example Bantama and Kumawu in Ashanti region, both in the final batch of results, showed substantial falls in Nana Akuffo Addo’s vote whereas all the other seats in Ashanti Region had shown a sufficient increase. Beyond doubt the last twenty constituencies to declare have been much better for Atta Mills than any rational amalysis would lead you to predict.

However I understand that the Electoral Commissioner, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, is inclined to accept the result as genuine. He was personally out and about during voting in some of the Volta constituencies which particularly concerned me earlier.

I would trust Kwadwo Afari-Gyan with my life. I personally witnessed him, just the two of us in the early hours of the morning, refuse to budge when soldiers held his wife and children at gunpoint and threatened them unless he falsified the result of the 2000 election. If Kwadwo accepts the result, so will I, and I urge Ghanaians to do so too.

Alternation of power is a healthy feature of democracy, and Mills is a good man. But the elephant in the room is the ex-dictator, multiple murderer and half (at least) mad Jerry Rawlings. Does he still control his protege Mills? We have no choice but to wait to find out.

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Serious Concerns of Fraud in the Ghanaian Election

I am becoming very concerned about the electoral process in Ghana. With 207 results declared, John Ata Mills has a lead of 200,000 votes, but in the first round Nana Akuffo Addo had a majority of 170,000 in the constituencies yet to declare – and has been substantially increasing his lead in his strongholds in the second round, while falling back elsewhere.

I hve already mentioned the extraordinary leaps in the NDC vote since the first round in some Volta constituencies. And now we have this extraordinary result declared:

Evalue Gwira (Central Region)

Nana Akuffo Addo 10,818 (minus 36,182 on first round)

John Atta Mills 9,094 (minus 5,906 on first round).

Elsewhere we have the extraordinary appearance of 50% more NDC voters in just three weeks. Here we have the disappearance of 75% of NPP voters in the same period.

In my book The Catholic Orangemen of Togo I introduce the concept of the margin of cheating.. There is regrettably cheating in elections in every country in the World. The problem becomes acute where the amount of cheating exceeds the margin of victory. That is the suspicion which will always hang over the Bush election win in 2000. It looks like this Ghanaian election is going to be won by a figure within the margin of cheating.

Incidentally, in Blackburn where I stod against Jack Straw in the last general election, almost a third of votes were cast by postal ballot – three times the national average. The postal ballots favoured Jack Straw by a margin far higher than the “normal” ballots. I would estimate that Labout boosted its vote by cheating in Blackburn by some 20%.

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Vote Increases In Volta Region Lack Credibility

My last post mentioned that an advantage of statistical psephology is that it highlights anomalies as pointers to possible abuse.

I am concerned by some quite extraordinary figures of increased voting for the NDC in certain parts of Volta Region, which are difficult to believe can be genuine. This is particularly so as they occur in districts where there was no or negligible third party vote.

It is very hard to believe that in Hohoe South, for example, the NDC managed to increase its vote by a full 50% after the first round three weeks ago. Increases of 20 to 25% in Anlo and Avenor also seem extraordinary and out of line with what is happening in general.

These large apparent increases in voter interest have resulted in apparent voter turnouts in excess of 90%. There is a natural friction on election registers, due to death, people moving, being ill or away at election time, forgetting or not wanting to vote, etc. Voting levels in the areas mentioned are apparently well above the average for Ghana and at levels I am not sure I believe to be practical – another flash of a warning signal.

Further Projection

With 135 constituency swings now calculated, a run of very large swings to Mills has increased his projected majority ti 33,000.

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Ghana Elections Halfway Projection: Narrowest of Wins For John Atta Mills and the NDC

Having now calculated the exact swings between the parties in 115 of the 230 constituencies, and applying the average swing across those constituencies which have not declared, we now project a win for John Atta Mills and the NDC by 14,000 votes, or by 50.08 to 49.92%.

It remains a fact that our projections have been remarkably consistent; and that the methodology proved extremely accurate in predicting the results of the first round. But again it must be stated that this is so close that it could yet go either way.

I am making a projection based on sound psephological principles and a methodology used worldwide to project election results. The calculation is then purely mathematical. This is an exercise in prediction largely for fun, but it also has a use in that, if the methodology throws up any anomalies, they could represent fraud. In fact in general the consistency of results within regions in terms of swing trend tends to support the idea that these are fair and genuine elections.

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Ghana Election Projection: Too Close To Call (again)

Based on 37 constituencies for which I have full results, the current average swing between the second and first rounds is 2.9% from the NDC to the NPP. That would result in a overall majority for John Atta Mills of 28,000 votes. That is definitely well within the margin of error at this comparaively early stage.

Turnout is higher everywhere, except in Mion where a strangely low turnout resulted in a big swing to the NPP. That may bear investigation. On the other side, turnout in Anlo, where the NDC further extended its lead, reached suspiciously high levels and may also bear investigation.

But so far the patterns of voter behaviour appear consistent and explicable and the indications are that the election is broadly fair, despite both parties positioning themselves to cry foul if they lose.

The problem is that, if the result is as close as it looks at this early stage it will be, then small disputes become critically important. I pray that Ghanaians maintain their hard-won tradition of peace and democracy.


My calculator is suffering the strain and I have bits of paper covered in figures strewn all over the kitchen table, but with 53 constituency swings now worked out I am projecting a win for Atta Mills by just 8,000 votes. Again, that is so close as to be statistically meaningless.

00.39 I have now calculated the swings from 82 different full constituency results, calculated the swing in each, calculated an average swing, and projected this on to the first round results nationally.

The projection now shows a majoriy for Atta Mills of 20,000. Again still too small to be decisive, but there has been a real consistency to the projection results which reduces the margin of error. I am confident that, whoever wins, they will not obtain more than 50.2% and probably less than 50.1%.

01.31 With swings fully calculated for exactly 100 constituencies, the projection is for a majority for Atta Mills of just 5,000 votes. Again the projections are remarkably stable, but again the result is so close it could easily still go either way.

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The Continuing Horror of Palestine

The call by the US Presidential spokesman for Hamas to stop its rocket attacks on Israel, as Israel pours over 100 tonnes of high explosive into that cooped-up territory, illustrates perfectly the “Big lie” school of propaganda about Palestine to which the people of the United States have been subjected for the past sixty years.

Of course Hamas should stop the rocket attacks. But the Israeli response is wholly disproportionate. Only today did Hamas kill their first Israeli in the last twelve months. So far today Israel has killed 212 Palestinians, and counting.

I regard Hamas as an unpleasant aberration, but just the kind of aberration you will get when you steal the land of an entire population, and ethnically cleanse them into a ghetto so tight, poor and beleagured it is simpy a prison. What Israel has done to the Palestinians for decades, with strong US support, is as unconscionable as the crimes of Hitler and Stalin. It may not reach those tyrant’s full scale, but there comes a level of evil where further scale is irrelevant. After what has been done, and is being done, to the Palestinians, did people seriously expect them to turn round and vote for Liberals?

The Israeli state is an appalling racist aberration. Israel’s creation was, exactly like the growth of Hamas, an understandable but deeply regrettable phenomenon arising from a terrible evil done to a people, hijacked by a rampant religious extremism and its pre-existing plans. For cultural reasons, and in strong contrast to the religous extremism of Hamas, the religious extremism of Zionism found strong support in the West.

Zionism is complete bullshit. I have just as much right to claim the Celtic lake sites in Switzerland that were holy to my vague and supposed ancestors.

It is high time that thinking Europeans had the courage of their convictions and completely rejected the notion of the racist and mystic Israeli state. There can and should be no two state solution. What is needed is a single state, blind to ethnicity or religion, on the lands of Israel/Palestine. That is the only path that has any hope of leading to peace.

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Harold Pinter

It was over two years ago that I came home from Morrisons in Shepherds Bush, carrier bags dangling from both hands, their handles cutting into my palms and fingers. Emily, then twelve years old, opened the door for me as I rang the bell with my chin, and quickly taking the bags from one hand, she replaced them with the telephone.

“Dad, there’s some bloke on the line”, she said, “I think his name’s Harold Pinter.”

I did a quadruple take, paused to control myself, and spoke into the phone dubiously.

“Hello? Craig Murray here”.

The reply came in that stage whisper voice and laboured breathing that characterised the great man’s tortured years.

“Hello. This is Harold Pinter. I have just read your book. Bloody marvellous effort. Might I invite you to lunch?”

I accepted with great alacrity, and a few days later walked along to Holland Park, to his favourite Italian restaurant. He was chauffeured to the door and helped out of the vehicle, but insisted on walking to the table himself, doing so with enormous difficulty and in some obvious pain. He ordered a bottle of white wine and poured it himself, the extreme shake of his hand spilling a good deal of the contents of the bottle over his trousers, the table and me. He actually got quite sharp with me when I offered to take the bottle. He positively snapped:

“No, I can do it.”

When Harold Pinter snapped at you, it left you in no doubt what had just happened. I wasn’t sure how to recover and, with instantaneous but very conscious calculation, decided to risk a joke about his condition. I launched in:

“Hmmm, reminds me of the old joke:

‘Doctor, doctor, my hand keeps shaking’

‘Do you drink much?’

‘No, I spill most of it.’ ”

He laughed genuinely at this old chestnut, and handed me the bottle. We drank a good deal over lunch; I believe three more bottles followed.

He told me that he found his plays funnier than audiences did. He did not miss writing plays because he had become “sanctified”, and people felt they were not allowed to laugh at the absurd. On the other hand he felt his poetry was better crafted than his plays, yet did not get the same degree of analysis.

He spoke at great length about Murder in Samarkand, which he was kind enough to call one of the most important books written in his lifetime. He was full of absolute fury for Bush and Blair. He called them “Liars and thieves”, and he was rather despairing about the lack of really serious challenge to the attack on civil liberties in the UK and US. He said his great desire was to live to see Bush and Blair on trial in the Hague as war criminals. He realised he might not make it, and urged me to make sure I stayed alive long enough to do it.

He drew great heart from the young people in the anti-war movement, and suggested that, terrible though the government was, we should not fall prey to hopelessness.

I remember two things he said especially: “Hopelessness is the disease of old men”, and : “Bush and Blair are fucking cunts. You know, the English language has fantastic resource. Fucking cunts. Bush and Blair, fucking cunts. It is absolutely right for them.”

He said this quite deliberately in a voice the whole restaurant would hear.

All the other lunchers had long gone by the time we left the restaurant. At the end, he wrote on a menu for me the quote that appears on the cover of Murder in Samarkand. He insisted I did not wait around while they “load me in like a sack of coal”.

A couple of days later a signed original from the ceremony of his Nobel acceptance speech arrived, together with some manuscript poems. A few weeks after he emailed me to offer me financial assistance as he had heard (correctly though I do not know how) that I couldn’t pay the rent – I declined but was most touched. He took an interest by email in Nadira’s progress through drama school and with her one woman show. I only ever saw him once again, and that in a large company.

Obviously of those who could really say they knew him, I knew him very little.

But I am deeply saddened by this passing, and I offer these recollections to add to the picture of a wonderful man, great writer, and true friend of liberty and peace.

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Oh Hush The Noise, Ye Men of Strife

As a seasonal thought, and a reminder that the Christian religion can be a force for good despite its abuse by Bush, Palin and their ilk, I wanted to share with you my favourite carol.

It came upon the midnight clear,

That glorious song of old,

From angels bending near the earth,

To touch their harps of gold:

“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,

From heaven’s all-gracious King.”

The world in solemn stillness lay,

To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,

With peaceful wings unfurled,

And still their heavenly music floats

O’er all the weary world;

Above its sad and lowly plains,

They bend on hovering wing,

And ever o’er its Babel sounds

The blessed angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife

The world has suffered long;

Beneath the angel-strain have rolled

Two thousand years of wrong;

And man, at war with man, hears not

The love-song which they bring;

O hush the noise, ye men of strife,

And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,

Whose forms are bending low,

Who toil along the climbing way

With painful steps and slow,

Look now! for glad and golden hours

come swiftly on the wing.

O rest beside the weary road,

And hear the angels sing!

For lo!, the days are hastening on,

By prophet bards foretold,

When with the ever-circling years

Comes round the age of gold

When peace shall over all the earth

Its ancient splendors fling,

And the whole world give back the song

Which now the angels sing.

It was a poem before it was a carol, and it is worth savouring it as a poem. It is actually American – and interestingly in the US nowadays the great third stanza, which to me sums up the best ideals of the religion in which I was raised, is often omitted.

A week ago the Archbishop of Canterbury also reminded me that there can be much good in his tradition, with his strong comments on the economic crisis. His analogy of an addict returning to his drug, for the proposed government programmes for recovery, was extremely apt in so many ways.

Not the least worrying is the emphasis on reducing interest rates, and in the case of the UK government positively compelling banks in which they have a majority stake to start lending again. As a solution to a problem so evidently caused in large part by a colossal credit bubble, that is crazy. In particular, the desire to prop up the UK housing market is completely misplaced. My cramped, rented flat in Shepherds Bush is “worth” £350,000. There are over a thousand such flats just in Sinclair Road and Sinclair Gardens, and just in my own little corner of Shepherds Bush there are at least ten thousand of them. To buy a £350,000 house, even if you have £100,000 cash for a deposit, you should in rational lending be earning £75,000 a year. But the majority of households in this area have well less than half that income.

Your house is worth half what you thought it was last year. Live with it. Attempts to put patches on a bubble are stupid.

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Online Again

We are back online again after the site banned my own IP address from posting for two days! Finally comments are freed up; another bug in the system was giving people a message purporting to come from me, saying rather rudely that I would decide whether to approve comments “at my own convenience”, and that there was no need to follow up to find what had happened to your comment. It then dumped the comments somewhere into the ether.

Hopefully these problems are behind us.

I have received a very curt letter from the Inland Revenue saying that, unless they receive my tax return for 2006/7 by tomorrow, they will start to charge me £60 per day fine. I would love to give them my tax return, but self-assessment returns are now only accepted online. But when I give them my Government gateway number, my Unique Tax Reference number, and my National Insurance number, the system still refuses to accept my existence.

This has been going on ever since I left the FCO. But in previous tax years you had the alternative of filling in a paper form, so I just did that. This option has been withdrawn.

I have called the Inland Revenue helpdesk on many occasions about this over the last four years, and they have told me that it is because I used to work for the FCO. Certain members of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are blocked from online returns for security reasons (I cannot begin to imagine what). I point out it is four years now since I worked for them, but nothing happens.

In the meantime my tax for 2006/7 has been “assessed” – ie guessed – and I have paid the assessment in full. It is no secret that I am now a strugglling writer with, frankly, very little income. I am quite astonished at the effort they put into harassing me, especially when their system won’t let me in to complete the form.

The taxable income I am trying to declare is about £32,000 – which means I will actually be due some money back from the assessed payment. I cannot help but contrast my treatment to that of David Mills, dodgy accountant husband of New Labour Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell, who for over four years did not declare income from Silvio Berlusconi, and from sources representing Italian gangsters, totalling over £1.5 million. That is fifty times my income in question, he was four times later with his returns than I, and unlike me he had not advance paid an assessment. Nor as far as I am aware was he physically blocked from filing.

Yet not only was Mills not fined £60 a day on his outstanding returns, he was allowed to reach a “negotiated settlement” of his tax whereby he paid £220,000 less than the amount due on the face of it. The justification of this was that the Inland Revenue would face legal costs if it went to court for the money.

Talk about one law for the rich….

Interesting fact – Her Majesty’s Adjudicator for Customs and Revenue is Dame Barbara Mills, David Mills’ sister-in-law. She did not hold that position when his deal with the revenue was reached, but she was Director of Public Prosecutions when the Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop a case against him for money-laundering.

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The Catholic Orangemen of Togo, Censorship, The Evil Rich and Traffic Flow

We now have copies of The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known spread around over twenty different jurisdictions, ready to be put free online on 12 January. More volunteers to host the PDF, in the UK or elsewhere, are extremely welcome. To volunteer, email to [email protected].

Schillings will have their work cut out to suppress the truth about the mercenary commander Tim Spicer now that the blogosphere has got hold of it. But the quite incredible timidity of the UK mainstream media when faced by Schillings, backed by a very wealthy man, is a real phenomenon. The hideous Alisher Usmanov is again on the verge of acquiring Arsenal football club. The national UK media, all of which received a pre-emptive letter from Schillings threatening legal action if they mentioned Usmanov’s unpleasant past (and present), is again making no mention of the criminal record of the convicted blackmailer, nor of his association with the Karimov family.

Both Usmanov and Gulnara Karimova have put down their money for ten million dollar plus apartments at 1 Hyde Park, the building under construction in Knightsbridge with the apparent purpose of bringing all the world’s nastiest people under one roof. I spent twenty minutes the other day more or less stationary on a No 49 bus as I was trying to get home to Shepherds Bush.

The junction in Knightsbridge, already one of London’s worst choke points, has been impossible for a over year now because of the building site and traffic for this bling palace being built right upon it. Site construction traffic blocks the junction, the traffic lights are frequently decommissioned and an underpass into Hyde Park that was a key traffic flow relief point has been blocked off. Permission for all this disruption would never have been granted for housing for ordinary people.

This blog has been down for a few days because, immediately after I sent out all the pdfs of The Catholic Orangemen, I suffered a massive hacker attack originating in both Glasgow and the Czech Republic which penetrated my substantial defences and exported a lot of information. I called in The Geek Squad to sort it – that really is a very impressive commercial service – but it took them a solid couple of days to get me up and running again.

I try not to get paranoid about all this. Hacker attacks happen for purely commercial motives. A month ago my laptop was stolen from my hallway and that happens too. Someone ransacked my Ghanaian office at night six weeks ago, and that also can happen to anyone. But I would have to be superhuman not to worry about it.

I have set up Atholl Publishing and am in the process of getting some copies of The Catholic Orangemen of Togo printed, perhaps abroad. This is not easy as, under our ultra repressive UK libel laws, printers, distributors and retailers can be threatened too. For the few hundred pounds profit they stand to make, it is just not worth the risk of hundreds of thousands of pounds of legal expenses. I have already had one distributor (as well as my publisher) pull out specifically quoting fear of legal action.

But I think I have cracked it, and you can now order the book here:

I hope we will get a button up next week. I do apologise it is so expensive – I should explain that of that price Amazon give me £8.10. After I have paid for design, image copyrights, printing the books, packing and transport, I calculate that I will make a profit of 60p per book if we sell them all!

Before Mainstream Publishing pulled out following legal threats from Schillings, they had themselves listed the book on Amazon as The Road to Samarkand (their choice of name!) I have asked them to delist it, but they have not yet done so. If you have ordered that from Amazon, please cancel your order (which the Amazon system lets you do quite easily), and re-order from the above link.

Schillings have certainly cost me a lot of time and potential money. But I believe that the free internet posting will lead to a much wider readership for the facts they are trying to hide, and that is much more important.

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Is That Plinth Still Empty?

If that plinth in Trafalgar Square is still vacant, let us erect a statue to Muntadar al-Zaidi, the brave Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush. I gather they have beaten him up very badly indeed.

One day there will be a statue to him in Baghdad – possibly quite soon.

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Spartaci Wanted

Your chance to shout “I’m Spartacus!” Volunteers are wanted to post a PDF of “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” on 12 January. UK volunteers are very welcome, but as many jurisdictions as possible are helpful.

The downside is that you may have your collar felt by Schillings, and be disliked by some rather unfriendly mercenaries. OK, that’s a big downside. The upside is that you’ll get to read the book before everybody else.

Volunteers please email [email protected]

If you don’t have the facility to host the PDF, be ready to post a link to one on the day.

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Freedom of Speech is Worth More Than Money

My former publisher, Mainstream, have finally pulled out of publishing The Catholic Orangemen of Togo, intimidated by libel threats made by notorious mercenary commander Tim Spicer.

I have therefore decided to release the full text free on the internet on 12 January 2009. I do hope more people will learn about the truth about Spicer that way, than they would if Schillings had not intervened. I am very much hoping that I will be able to make some copies of an actual book available at the same time. But you should of course be aware that if you read it you will cause Tim Spicer “profound anxiety and distress”, according to Schillings. Possibly less, however, than that caused to the families of those killed by his mercenaries over the years.

Meantime, here is the epilogue to the book. You don’t get the full force of it unless you have read the history of British involvement in Sierra Leone in the book, but you still might find it interesting.

Download file“>Download file

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Perjured Police Must Be Jailed

My anger at the conduct of the Jean Charles De Menezes inquest has already been strongly expressed.

I only wish now to add that it is essential that the perjured police be jailed. The jury unequivocally and explicitly found that the police witnesses had lied and that the unanimous evidence of seventeen non-police witnesses had told the truth. There is no possible conclusion other than that the police perjured themselves, and conspired together to concoct a joint lie.

It is now therefore essential to restore some faith in the legal system that the liars are jailed, and jailed for a long time, not just for perjury, but also for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

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Ghana Election Result: Narrow Win for Akuffo-Addo Projected; Second Round Probable

Our analysis of the first 76 constituencies officially declared by the Ghana election commission shows an average swing to the opposition NDC of 6.36% compared to the 2004 election. If that average swing is projected across the remaining constituencies, the Presidential election result would be:

Nana Akuffo Addo NPP 49.27%

John Atta Mills NDC 47.82%

The other parties would have 2.88% between them. No candidate having obtained an overall majority, the two leading candidates would enter a second round.

Remember this is a projection based on swing. In terms of actual votes cast, Nana Akuffo Addo currently has 50.04%. But the remaining constituencies on balance have historically very slightly favoured the NDC taken together.

To show how our projection has moved as more results have come in:

After 55 constituencies declared projection was:

Mills 48.99%

Akuffo Addo 48.3%

After 66 constitutencies declared

Mills 48.38%

Akuffo Addo 48.71%

After 76 constituencies declared

Mills 47.82%

Akuffo Addo 49.27%

The narrowness of range of movement in the projection gives us confidence in its forecasting ability, and mathematically the range of movement should now diminish barring results well out of line with what has gone before.

A word of caution. This election is different to those of 2000 and 2004, in which there were fairly uniform swings to the NPP across the country. This election has wild regional variation in the rate of swing, with the NDC doing spectacularly well in some of the coastal areas of Central and Western regions. But to win outright Mills needs an overll swing of 10.3% – a very hard task. Paradoxically it is made harder because the NDC has historically done so well in Volta Region there is no room for it to pick up many more votes there, while the NPP is suffering a swing of some 6% against it in its strongholds – well below what Mills needs to win. Meanwhile the NPP has held its own well in the North.

But the NDC is exceeding the 10% target in some parts of Greater Accra, and the large number of constituencies there yet to declare could benefit Mills. This is an extremely exciting election.

It is also being conducted in a fair and orderly manner with a lot of voter enthusiasm. Yet it is being widely ignored in the Western media, which only wants to carry bad news about Africa.

Joy FM is the vest source for Ghana election watchers. Unfortunately they have not yet given many percentages for the current elections, so we are working these and the swings out on my overworked calculator.

STOP PRESS projection after 92 constituencies with average swing of 5.9% to NDC:

Nana Akuffo Addo 49.50

John Atta Mills 47.59

I am now prepared to go with that as a firm prediction.

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Nigerian Fraudster emails

We all get from time to time those emails purporting to be from people who have stolen loads of money and wish to launder it, if we only hand over our bank account details. Until today, my favourite was last year when I received one claiming to be from the widow of Sam Jonah, ex-chairman of Anglo-Ashanti Gold. That amused me because Sam is a good friend of mine and I had just spent the early evening drinking with him!

But I just received possibly the most hopeless effort yet, claiming to be from…David Trimble! Can anyone beat that?

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The Great Lord Cochrane and the Astonishing Ignorance of New Labour

I appeared on Sky News yesterday to talk about the Damian Green case (by webcam from Accra), and was simply stunned when another guest on the programme, some idiot from, cited the arrest of an MP in the chamber of the House of Commons in 1815 as justification for police treatment of Damian Green. That excuse is being spread by New Labour across the media and blogosphere.

When this blog was very new, on 8 August 2005, I wrote that: “These are the most dangerous times for liberty in the UK since the government of Lord Liverpool”.

I never for a moment thought that I would see New Labour use one of the most infamous acts of Lord Liverpool’s ultra-reactionary government to justify their behaviour.

The MP arrested was Lord Thomas Cochrane. He was arguably the greatest fighting sailor the World has ever produced – very serious military historians will argue that he was even more daring and innovative than Nelson. This is from the official MOD website:

Cochrane was also a Radical. He was elected to Parliament to represent Westminster – at a time the only parliamentary seat with a broadly democratic franchise. He believed in one man one vote, and the abolition of taxes on food and newspapers, and the destruction of scores of privileges. He was also dangerously (to the government) popular and a war hero.

So Lords Liverpool, Eldon and Sidmouth had him arrested, on patently trumped-up embezzlement charges. There followed a series of trials, acquittals, demonstrations and a popular uprising freeing him from prison, after which he was dragged and arrested from the opposition front bench while about to denounce instances of very real government corruption.

Liverpool of course abolished habeas corpus, public meetings, and trades unions and his governrnent perpetrated the Peterloo Massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators. So I suppose it is not a shock to see this near-fascist government quoting Liverpool as a good precedent. Except that this is supposed to be a Labour government, and the entire Labour/Liberal tendency in this country was brought up for six generations to view Liverpool as all that was evil in conservatism. This was the period of Peterloo and the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Has anybody in this government even read E P Thompson’s “The Making of the English Working Class”?

Cochrane escaped abroad and continued to fight for freedom in the most literal way. He helped lead the anti-colonial struggles in Chile, Brazil and Greece. He formed makeshift navies for them, and with tiny resources and near superhuman energy and ability waged long and ultimately succesful naval campaigns against the Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish navies.

The arrest of Thomas Cochrane in the House of Commons was the lowest point of despotism in the UK since the death of Charles I. Those New Labour hacks who cite it in justification are ill-educated fools beneath contempt.

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The Disgraceful Sir Michael Wright, A Grovelling Tool of the Police State

One of the features of a transition to a police state is that those who should defend our liberties transfer their allegiance to the executive of the state. Viz the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Serjeant at Arms. Now we have a senior coroner. Sir Michael Wright, coroner in the Jean Charles de Menezes inquiry, who has told the jury they are not permitted to return a verdict of unlawful killing.

That is of course the obvious verdict from the evidence. Were it not so, the disgraceful Wright would not have needed to serve the police by so instructing.

Wright went on to give a completely one-sided summation of the evidence, restating police evidence and ignoring the evidence of many close eye-witnesses who contradicted it. In perhaps the most extraordinary passage in a summation in recent English legal history, he went on to justify the occasions where the police killers were caught obviously lying:

However, Wright added, even if the jury found the officers had lied, they would not be able to blame them for the death. “Many people tell lies for a variety of reasons … [including] to mitigate the impact of what might be a … tragic mistake,” he said.

Read that again.

However, Wright added, even if the jury found the officers had lied, they would not be able to blame them for the death. “Many people tell lies for a variety of reasons … [including] to mitigate the impact of what might be a … tragic mistake,” he said.

Incredible, isn’t it? So it is fine to shoot a completely innocent man repeatedly in the head, and lie about it in Court, because you are only trying to “mitigate the impact”.


Read it again.

However, Wright added, even if the jury found the officers had lied, they would not be able to blame them for the death. “Many people tell lies for a variety of reasons … [including] to mitigate the impact of what might be a … tragic mistake,” he said.

I still can’t believe the disgraceful old bastard said it.

I still do believe that we will come to recover from the terrible poison of the New Labour years, and return to being a liberal society. We will look back at all this as Americans now look back at McCarthyism, with horror and shame. And when historians write the history of these times, there will be a special footnote devoted to the infamous, the disgraceful, the appalling Sir Michael Wright.

There is a place reserved for Sir Michael in the deepest, blackest, hottest corner of Hell. He has already had much more time on this Earth than was allowed to poor Jean Charles De Menezes, who Sir Michael wishes us to believe was quite lawfully blown away by the police.

Let Sir Michael take his own good time to reach Hell. I certainly do not wish anyone to shoot him in the head while he is sitting peacefully on the Tube. But if they did, I certainly hope they deploy the defence “He was asking for it: he stood up”. And I certainly hope the judge agrees, and the words filter down to tease Sir Michael in his eternal torment.

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The Stupidity of Tories

John Stuart Mill was to my mind the greatest political philosopher this country has ever produced. If our New Labour governors had in their youth read Mill rather than pretending to read Marx and Trotsky, we would not be under such an assault on our civil liberties. Mill today is not studied in any of our state schools nor is he a serious part of the curriculum in almost any of our University philosophy departments. That is a part of the “dumbing down” of our education system, but it is not my subject today.

I was reminded this morning of one of Mill’s more mischievous quotes:

“Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative”.

With a small c, of course, that description embraces most of New Labour. But Mill also meant it with a large C, and he dubbed the Conservatives “The stupid party”.

What reminded me of this was David Davis being interviewed this morning. I have come to have a real respect for Mr Davis and believe his concern for liberty to be genuine. He made a number of good points on the Damian Green affair.

But just before Davis had been introduced, Sky News had announced that the Chief Constable of the British Transport Police, Mr Ian Johnston CBE had been appointed by the Metropolitan Police to carry out an “independent” inquiry into the handling of the Damien Green case, and that Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, had put out a simultaneous statement welcoming the move.

The Sky commentators had said that this would “assuage Tory concerns”.

I thought, “No, the Tories are not that stupid.”

Then along came David Davis and fell straight into the huge, naked elephant trap, welcoming Mr Johnston’s appointment and looking forward to the results of his inquiry.

For God’s sake, how many times? Legg, Hutton, Butler?

That would be an independent inquiry into the Metropolitan Police by Mr Ian Johnston, immediate past Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, would it?

Stupid doesn’t cover it. The problem with the Tories is that they still trust what we might broadly call “the Establishment”. They cannot get into their thick-boned skulls how far New Labour has politicised it and turned it into an instrument against the people.

Even now, they can’t.

Anyway, here is a preview of Mr Johnston’s report. You saw it here first:

The Metropolitan Police were investigating an allegation of a serious crime

They acted in a proper manner

They needed to search premises for evidence. Proeper permission was sought from the parliamentary authorities

Mr Green was suspected and rightfully arrested and detained

No Ministers were consulted on Mr Green’s arrest; there was no political interference

Some junior police officers were guilty of minor faults. Mr Green was held an hour or two longer than necessary. One or two more police officers than necessary were deployed on searches.

Mr Johnston’s terms of reference will exclude, and you will not see in his report, a log of all contacts between the Police and Ministers and between officials and Ministers discussing the case of Mr Green or his alleged source.

For the next one week, and when the matter is debated in the Commons, the government will refuse to comment pending the result of the “independent” investigation.

For God’s sake, Tories, wake up and smell the coffee!!!!!!!!

Over to you, Iain Dale. Are you that stupid?

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