Thoughts from Ghana 1204


I spent today at the University College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Bunso and the nearby Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana. Those who have read my memoir The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and other Conflicts I Have Known will know that rural development in Africa has been the abiding passion of my working life. The good news is that for the first time a paperback edition of The Catholic Orangemen should be out in a week or so.

The abiding impression of today was the extent of local awareness of environmental issues and the need to maintain a fragile but wonderful ecology. This faces enormous challenges. I was intellectually aware of the extent of illegal gold mining in Ghana but unprepared for the evidence of its scale. Rivers that provide the drinking water for millions have been transformed into dead sewers of brown sludge. Having known them as live rivers, I was really shaken.

Ghana is looking to develop its bauxite industry and finally bring its aluminium smelters to life. This will impact the precise area I was visiting and I know from Jamaica that the environmental impact of bauxite mining is hideous. It is perhaps the most destructive of all extractive industries. It is a horrid irony that the bauxite scheme should impact the exact area where local traditional leadership (the Okyenhene) has pioneered environmentalism.

I feel conflicted. Our standard of living in the developed world has been based on the destruction of the forests which we conveniently forget once covered our lands. We wish to keep what remains of wild Africa as untouched as possible, because we know that otherwise it impacts us. But we are not prepared to expend serious resources into raising the standard of living of those who would be denied the immediate material benefits of industrial mining. My instincts are all to oppose the bauxite extraction on environmental grounds. But I am not so intellectually dishonest as to pretend that, with all the pollution and illnesses and destruction, the industry would not bring important wealth and employment. It would. I do not feel morally able to lecture poor communities on why they should remain undeveloped when they are excited by rare hope. I suspect many of you will think I am wrong.

On a more positive note, I was inspired by the commitment of the faculty of the University College, their research interests and their ability to deliver a first class curriculum to the students with minimal resources. It struck me how a major improvement could be made to their efforts by the injection of comparatively modest sums into laboratory equipment, for example. I shall be working on this and in the longer term on developing possible academic collaborations.

I loved the new canopy walk at Bunso built to promote eco-tourism.

It has five of these bridges, all of which are high, and one very high indeed as it crosses a valley. It is a great deal more adventurous than the one at Kakum. And yes, I did cross them all.

I am often very critical of the FCO, so it would be churlish of me not to note that Jon Benjamin leaves Accra this summer after an extremely effective and principled tenure as High Commissioner, including playing an effective and helpful role behind the scenes in the third peaceful transfer of power between political parties since Ghana became a real democracy in 2000. The more so since, most unusually, the UK was acting against the desires of the USA, and I suspect Jon was pivotal in that.


1,204 thoughts on “Thoughts from Ghana

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  • Anon1

    The canopy walkway looks great. The one at Kakum was, I believe, built by a Canadian firm. Do you know if this one was built locally?

    It provides a great attraction to visiting birdwatchers, though I’m not sure what happens when you meet one coming the other way with all his gear!

  • nevermind

    Thank you for this important issue of sustainable development at a time when the terror narrative is smothering all and sundry, creating massive sympathies for us, just before the Brexit talks start.

    I worked on a ship in my youth and we moved bauxite from Turkey to Germany. The aluminium industry is one of the dirtiest in the world, with vast sludges being left to filter out the nasties, for decades. These dammed areas, always near watercourses, are subject to deluge and wind and other ravages, they are not safe.

    Remember clearly that the Bauxite was dusty and it covered everything on the ship, it took a days work to clean it from top to bottom and your hair turned white.

    Ghana’s cocoa planting is far more sustainable than Bauxite mining, and I would argue that it also employs more people, albeit the trend to use child labour still exists in places. I’m sure that there are ways and means to clean up this industry, but money men are never held responsible for the deprivation they cause to raise their bank balance.

    • Alcyone

      “Thank you for this important issue of sustainable development at a time when the terror narrative is smothering all and sundry, creating massive sympathies for us, just before the Brexit talks start.”

      A very strange declaration to kick off this sombre morning with the good people left dead and injured. I think you need civilising yourself. i pity you for the mind you occupy.

      • Anon1

        “terror narrative is smothering all and sundry, creating massive sympathies for us, just before the Brexit talks start.”

        Wrong on so many levels.

          • Republicofscotland

            There was a time Baal, I would’ve been surprised by your above comment, sadly not anymore.

          • Alcyone

            You mean you don’t agree with my chocolate observation below? I really believe there are some God particles within, that connect to another dimension: Time & Space, then Ecstasy–clean Ecstasy.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            I even agree with you sometimes, RoS 🙂 .Lighten up. To be clear, I agree with Anon that Alcyone’s interjection is (as usual ) unpleasant, irrelevant, and intended to generate strife. Probably best not to repond to that poster, in fact, and I shall not do so again.

          • Alcyone

            Comprehension problems this morning Baal? As also indicated by your copy/paste numbers below? NHS Urgent care centres open. Even to slithery lizards. 😉

            Hope that’s Light enough!

      • J

        “I think you need civilising”

        ‘Civilisation’ might imply some attempt at intellectual honesty on its own terms. You might simply have taken the original comment as recognition that our politicians, media and their masters will inevitably use this event. And you know they will. Instead you took the opportunity to demonstrate your moral authority.

        Good for you.

        • Anon1

          “our politicians, media and their masters will inevitably use this event.”

          At the moment they are using it to tell us what a wonderfully peaceful religion Islam is and how anyone who thinks otherwise is a hate-filled racist.

        • bevin

          I agree Alcyone is the precise working definition of a ‘troll’ always looking for an occasion to pop a malicious and ultimately irrelevant drop of poison into a conversation that might develop constructively into an analysis of the foundations of a system which we will ether learn to think about in a rational, long term (say fifty year) sense or reconcile ourselves to watching destroy life.
          Nevermind raised a very important matter, central to the post, he added his own life experience to his argument-something that is really the only justification for these forums’ existence, going beyond the not very helpful echoing of the massage of the media- and all was headed in the same direction to which Craig poinred.
          Then Alcyone stepped in, aware that he would immediately elicit the choruses of warmed over emotion and officially approved sentimentality which turns days when we should be tackling the future into second rate Remembrance Days.
          Does nobody understand what November 11 1918 signified?

          • bevin

            A little more pithy perhaps, Alcyone, like the author of Positively Fourth Street whose philosophy you so admire?

          • Alcyone

            “I wish that for just one time
            You could stand inside my shoes
            And just for that one moment
            I could be you

            Yes, I wish that for just one time
            You could stand inside my shoes
            You’d know what a drag it is
            To see (read) you”

            Pithy enough?

            (I don’t know about his philosophy, but he, Dylan, sure is a Master Poet and Musician. If you think it’s ‘philosophy’ because of his depth, so be it. One thing he is surely not, is a petty historian always drawing from the same Bank of Memory.)

  • Sharp Ears

    Came across this when looking for more on an outfit who campaigned for Trump in return for $millions.

    Building Totalitarianism – Trump, Bannon and British Data
    14/03/2017
    After working for Trump’s campaign, British data firm eyes new U.S. government contracts
    During last year’s race, President Trump’s campaign paid millions of dollars to a data science firm, Cambridge Analytica, that touted its ability to target voters through psychological profiling.

    Now, with Trump in office, Cambridge’s British parent company is ramping up its U.S. government business by pursuing contracts that could be driven by the new president’s policy agenda, according to multiple
    people with knowledge of the firm’s activities who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private interactions.
    /..
    http://www.defenddemocracy.press/building-totalitarianism-trump-bannon-and-british-data/
    and
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/politics/after-working-for-trumps-campaign-british-data-firm-eyes-new-us-government-contracts/2017/02/17/a6dee3c6-f40c-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html

    Cambridge Analytica is the American offshoot of SCL. Alexander Nix CEO. Behavioural change!

    SCL have many projects and their eyes have fallen upon Ghana. Its tentacles extend thus:

    SCL Social is currently undertaking one of the largest socio-political research projects ever to be conducted in the West African region. Working in partnership with both the Ghanaian Ministry of Health and a major British infrastructure company constructing district hospitals throughout Ghana, SCL Social is investigating the relationship between the Ghanaian population and its healthcare system. In addition to providing clear strategic recommendations that aim to support the Ghanaian Ministry of Health in optimising healthcare policy and service delivery, SCL’s Target Audience Analysis (TAA) methodology will ensure consequent communication campaigns are focused on the most appropriate groups within the population.
    /..
    https://sclgroup.cc/social/projects/ghana/
    https://sclgroup.cc/social/projects

    Ominous.

    • nevermind

      If I’m evil, you are blind, you poor sod. My comments were by the by and I welcome this healthy thread arguing for a sustainable Ghana cutting through the usual smothering with speculative fear.

      You can all speculate as much as you like, mine is a cocoa with a single malt.

  • Alcyone

    Cocoa > Chocolate (I mean proper hand-made dark chocolate truffles) > Food of the Gods.

    Btw those gaps around the planks of the bridge are enough to make me feel dizzy!

  • Ba'al Zevul

    A rather disturbing back story to this:

    http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/British-Duped-Ghana-Millions-Of-Dollars-In-Bauxite-Sale-To-Chinese-186000

    Preliminary findings by The Herald put the country’s loss close to $20 million from the sale of 80 per cent shares of TBAC ; majority shareholders -previously British Aluminum Company – to the Chinese group.

    While the British group, based in Ireland, told Ghanaian officials that their 704,204 shares of Ghana Bauxite were being sold to the Chinese for US$10, 620 million, the Chinese on the other and were busily announcing that they were rather paying US$30 million for the minerals.

    This may simply be, as is sometimes the case in reporting of this kind, part of a vendetta against allegedly corrupt officials. Or, as is often the case, we can drop ‘allegedly’. But globalisation seems to be the underlying problem.

  • Clark

    Kinlochleven’s main industry was the smelting of bauxite into aluminium. It was the first village in the world to have electricity connected to every house, and became known as “The Electric Village”. It’s a very quiet place now.

    • Loony

      Well done – you have discovered that Africa uses much less energy than the west. What does this tell you?

      Does it for instance provide any sort of base from which you can analyze the likely depths of your own delusional thinking? How can you reconcile a demand for more immigration with a demand for less global emissions?

      Go try living in Accra without any heating – should be pretty easy. Next try the same thing in Dawson City – see how it all works out for you. (Can’t find Dawson City on a map? – No problem pick a place in the UK. Same result it will just take longer to achieve

  • bevin

    We do not need more bauxite. But that is not the point: it can be sold to those who can make a profit from using it ti make, to a great extent, things which we do not need either-including armaments.
    The problem with positing cocoa production as an alternative is that we really don’t need that, in the form of a commodity for international trade, a tenth as much as the Ghanaians- among the pioneers of National Liberation in our African empire, where WEB DuBois lived out his last years while sheltering from the McCarthyite storm- need to return to the position that they had reached before imperialism barged in and stole their future.
    Which is to say that what Ghana should be looking at is increasing its self sufficiency-not increasing its commodity production, international trade is a mugs game for such countries which always get the worst end of the bargains. It should aim for self sufficiency in food and look to co-operation regionally for development.
    Isn’t that something like the idea that Ghadaffi had and which led to his and his country’s demise at the hands of imperialism in the service of bankers and brokers who grow fat on the famines of the poor?

    • Loony

      You should stick to political theory as you clearly don’t know much about aluminum.

      Aluminum is necessary for high speed rail systems. Some say that high speed rail is a method by which aggregate emissions can be cut, Aluminum is also used in the auto industry – here it plays a role in increasing fuel efficiency. Aluminum is ideal for aircraft. Maybe we don’t want any aircraft, but for so long as they exist then aluminum aids both safety and fuel efficiency.

      Aluminum is used in construction – most notably bridges and high rise buildings. Maybe we don’t want any bridges or buildings but for so long as they exist then we need aluminum. Aluminum is thermally efficient and helps buildings stay cool in summer and warm in winter – again contributing to a lowering of ongoing energy use and hence emissions. Aluminum lowers the cost of construction versus other alternatives – this in some way contributes to the concept of affordable homes. Maybe you would prefer unaffordable homes or no homes at all.

      Aluminum is the best option for long distance power lines – perhaps we don’t need any more electricity, or perhaps we need much more expensive electricity.

      Aluminum is also used in pc’s smartphones, tablets and TV’s. Here it helps prevent the devices from becoming overheated and catching fire. Perhaps there is a demand for more people to incinerate themselves.

      So yeah, it is difficult to argue with your well researched analysis that “We do not need more bauxite”

      Also of interest is the fact that God is not a communist. Whilst God supplied the world with plenty of bauxite he chose not to distribute it evenly throughout the world. This means that under all credible circumstances Ghana has more bauxite than it requires for its own consumption. Therefore it seems fairly logical that Ghana would look to sell some its surplus bauxite. The human condition does not seem well disposed to “bauxite hoarding”

      • Alcyone

        Loony, you grossly misunderstood bevin. (Btw i don’r read him.) What he meant was that he and his friends here like Ros, nevermind & co do not need aluminium for their hats, where tinfoil will do. 😉

      • Stu

        Missing from that screed is the fact that Aluminum is 100% recyclable so there is no reason why we should need an ever increasing amount.

      • fred

        High speed trains and planes I can live without but that’s what they make beer cans from.

    • Anon1

      Hopefully he’ll fall off that canopy walkway. With a rope round his neck for good measure.

      • Alcyone

        Keep up your Deep Purple riffs Anon. It’s a sight to see when Baal is embracing you and dancing to the tune. 😉

        And I thank God the lizard has vowed to stop tailing me!

    • Ba'al Zevul

      PS: He usually visits a number of business opportunities in Africa on the same run. Rwanda, Kenya and Nigeria are likely candidates. And it will be interesting to see whose plane he’s using these days. Still Sawiris? Or some new sucker?

  • Anon1

    Looks like another ‘Allahu Akbar’ incident developing in Antwerp.

    #PrayForAntwerp
    #NTDWI

  • Anon1

    Alex Salmond has just arrived at the funeral of child-murdering terrorist, Martin McGuinness.

    Playing to the SNP’s core vote in Scotland.

      • Habbabkuk

        Krosby

        “Was McGuinness ever convicted of a crime?”
        ______________________

        Was Hitler (except for the Minich beer hall putsch)? 🙂

        ******************

        Actually MM was – in the Republic of Ireland.

    • Republicofscotland

      McGuinness played a important part in securing the Good Friday peace deal. Tributes to that, and that alone have come, from Obama, Salmond and Clinton who helped broker the deal, and who also said McGuinness played his part in the process.

      McGuinness surprisingly became close to one of his arch rivals at the time Ian Paisley, so much so they were known as the Chuckle brothers.

      Now you’d have been really in your element, if McGuinness had been black.

      • Habbabkuk

        What a stupid final comment, “RepublicofDarkness”.

        And do please stop telling us stuff which has been on the BBC and in the MSM for days now.

        If you have to act as a news service, at least do as Mary does and try to keep up to date!

      • Anon1

        “Now you’d have been really in your element, if McGuinness had been black”

        What? You are clearly desperate to paint me as a racist because I am critical of Islam, aren’t you. So you invent complete falsehoods. I will remind you and others here that you are on the record as a Hol0caust denier. I am not on the record anywhere as being a racist.

        I’m surprised you dare show yourself around here after Fred dug up that comment of yours about Scotland and the EU, you twit.

        • Republicofscotland

          Oops!

          I’ve hit the nail on the head, “critical of Islam” he says, now that’s a understatement if ever there was one.

          As for Fred, and showing my face, I’m showing my comments stupid, not my face.

          • Republicofscotland

            The most anonymous poster in here has the audacity to post that others aren’t showing their names.

            Or is it the height of stupidity or ignorance? I’m sure other posters will be at the very least mildly amused at your antics.

            I wish I could say the same. ?

          • Node

            @RoS

            I value your contributions to this blog but I do wish you wouldn’t encourage Captain Mainwaring. He made his comment about anonymity because he KNEW that you would say “look who’s talking” …. and you did. He just wants attention. If he ever makes a sensible comment, reply to it, otherwise ignore him. Carrot and stick. That’s why I haven’t responded to him in years, still waiting for a sensible comment.

    • kailyard rules

      So Anon1, the SNP’s core vote in Scotland are child murdering terrorists?

      We know we know.

      Your ignorance regarding Scotland’s voters is truly displayed.

    • Stu

      The difference between Martin McGuiness and Alex Salmond is this…… No one will ever accusse Alex of being a British agent.

  • Anon1

    Stand down, everyone. Man arrested for driving at crowd is a “French national”. Probably goes by the name François, wears a beret and carries a string of onions round his neck. Phew.

    • Alcyone

      LOFL ! = Laugh Out Fucking Loud; just invented this new acronym. Credit shared with you and Habby for inspiration.

  • Habbabkuk

    From our friend “Republicofscotkand”

    :”Shatnersrug/Rob.G

    Go back and take a screen shot of Habbs veiled threats, keep them, I have several stored from prior roundabout threats.

    If you feel intimidated by them take the screen shots to the police immediately, that way you’ll have a crime report number. But keep them for future reference.

    As far as I know giving an opinion on a event is not a crime in Britain, yet.”

    __________________________

    Yes, do that…and you could call on RoS to be a witness, I’m sure he’d oblige 🙂

  • Habbabkuk

    I notice that our Irish-American friend “Lysias” had kept very quiet about the late Martin McGuinness, despite posting frequently about Irish independence, Northern Ireland and British “colonialism”.

    One wonders whether to be surprised or unsurprised……

    • Ba'al Zevul

      I have no doubt whatever that he contributed to Noraid.

      Incidentally, did you hear Bill Clinton expressing the hope that the work McGuinness had started would be completed? Innocuous enough, until we remember that McGuinness’ sole, stated, and unchanging aim was to unify Ireland. No wonder Blair stayed away.

    • Mark Golding

      The Westminster Bridge ‘Put Up’ job – My sincere condolences to the family & friend of PC Keith Palmer. Keith’s death was collateral damage in an attack planned by the dark side of intelligence to keep the fear factor alive 1 year after the Brussels atrocity.

      Khalid Masood programmed just like the intensely studied suicide bomber was the ideal Manchurian candidate who left a convenient trail by driving a rented car (no need for ID left at the scene).

      It was a dumb plot albeit no need for acuity as once again the MSM has this barbarity and horror wrapped up in front page images and fake British rail posters.

  • Anon1

    Meanwhile, back in the Yookay:

    “A court has heard how three alleged terrorists who called themselves the Three Musketeers stashed a pipe bomb and machete inscribed with ‘kafir’ on the blade as they secretly plotted an attack.

    Naweed Ali, 29, and Khobaib Hussain, 25, both of Sparkhill in Birmingham, along with Mohibur Rahman, 32, and Tahir Aziz, 38, of Stoke-on-Trent, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of preparing terrorist acts between May 25 and August 27 last year.”

    http://www.itv.com/news/central/2017-03-22/arabic-word-for-infidel-inscribed-on-to-machete/

    • michael norton

      Masood was not born a Muslim but converted to Islam. He was said to be a “fitness freak” and bodybuilder.

      • michael norton

        When he hired the car, he described himself as an English Teacher.

        Apparently he had many names.

  • Sharp Ears

    What did the Human Rights Policy Department at the FCO have to say about Blair’s offensive wars on Afghanistan and Iraq?

    ‘Jon Benjamin has been British High Commissioner to Ghana since 2014. His last post before coming to Ghana was in Chile.

    Jon joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1986. He has previously served in New York (2005-2008), Washington (2005), Ankara (1996-1999) and Jakarta (1988-1991). He has also held several positions in the FCO:
    •Policy Officer for Burma and Laos (1986-1987)
    •Lead Policy Officer for Central Asia and Caucasus (1992-1993)
    •Chief of Staff to FCO Minister responsible for EU and Latin America (1993-1995)
    •Head of Zimbabwe Emergency Unit (2000)
    •Deputy Head of Drugs and International Crime Department (2000-2002)
    •Head of Human Rights Policy Department (2002-2005)’
    https://www.gov.uk/government/people/jon-benjamin

  • Republicofscotland

    I recall Charlie Chaplin once saying he entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest, Chaplin said he didn’t even get into the top three best lookalikes.

    I see parallels in here as several posters rush to take over Anon1’s mantle of producing as many comments no matter how tenuous, about worldwide terror attacks.

    The feeding frenzy is in full flow. ?

    • Anon1

      “worldwide terror attacks”

      You were saying yesterday, almost as soon as it happened, that the Westminster attack was a false flag.

      Not flip-flopping again are you, RoS?

        • Anon1

          That’s not all you said. You wrote:

          “I did point out last week the huge security service mock terrorist attack, less than a week later we have this event.”

          It’s pretty clear to me what you are suggesting, but others can decide for themselves.

          And why so shy about calling this one a false flag, RoS? You called every other terrorist attack a false flag.

          • Republicofscotland

            “And why so shy about calling this one a false flag, RoS? You called every other terrorist attack a false flag.”

            _______

            Really!

            That’s news to me, I was under the impression that I use the term “event.”

            The Oxford dictionary, doesn’t class event as a false flag.

            https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/event

            But I’m sure you know better. ?

    • Alcyone

      “no matter how tenuous, about worldwide terror attacks.”

      Nevermind Chaplin’s limelight, it’s time enough to shine a light on Rats like you and NM who show little empathy for the innocent victims of these lily-livered bastards. Rich talk from you about hustling in independence when you disrespect our democracies.

  • J.T. Ortman

    This very informative post uses development in a sense that makes the problem seem harder to solve. Development as economic growth requires either industrialization or foreign aid. But the picture changes when development is defined as the UN member nations use the term: progressive fulfillment of rights including economic and social rights, without discrimination. Like most African constitutions, Ghana’s is in compliance with the human-rights acquis required for responsible sovereignty.

    Effecting Chapter Five of Ghana’s constitution is not an question of funding or external balances. Economies like Ghana’s that issue their own currencies are constrained not by budgets but by resources (Modern Monetary Theory has established that, and acknowledging it returns development economics to its original purpose.) Rights-based development entails diverting resources from military other repressive capacity. The Ghanaian military budget is $120 million. That would buy a lot of lab equipment, for health or education rights, if Ghana joined the 22 countries without standing armies.

  • bevin

    This is a thoughtful piece at the OffGuardian website (Is this a link?)
    https://off-guardian.org/2017/03/23/snow-death-and-the-bewildered-herd/
    By Edward Curtin. It is not for everyone, of course having first originated at the dreaded Global Research site of which Habbabkuk’s Nanny has such a horror-the poor thing.

    “Wherever you go in the United States these days, you sense a generalized panic and an inability to slow down and focus. Depression, anxiety, hopelessness fill the air. Most people sense that something is seriously wrong, but don’t know exactly what. So they rage and rant and scurry along in a frenzy. It seems so huge, so everything, so indescribable. Minds like pointilliste canvases with thousands of data dots and no connections…”

    ‘ John Ralston Saul, a keen observer of the way we live now, mimics George Carlin by saying, “If Marx were functioning today, he would have been hard put to avoid saying that imaginary sex is the opiate of the people…”’

    “If you shower the public with the thousands of items that occur in the course of a day or a week, the average person, even if he tries hard, will simply retain thousands of items which mean nothing to him. He would need a remarkable memory to tie some event to another that happened three weeks or three months ago….To obtain a rounded picture one would have to do research, but the average person has neither the desire or time for it. As a result, he finds himself in a kind of kaleidoscope in which thousands of unconnected images follow each other rapidly….To the average man who tries to keep informed, a world emerges that is astonishingly incoherent, absurd, and irrational, which changes rapidly and constantly for reasons he cannot understand.”
    Jaques Ellul wrote that in 1965.
    “Inexplicable violence is almost always the sign of deep fears being released and there can be no deeper fear than mortality unchained. With the disappearance of faith and the evaporation of all magic from the image, man’s fear of mortality has been freed to roam in a manner not seen for two millennia.”

  • Anon1

    UPDATE:

    French man who attempted to drive car into crowd in Antwerp is called “Mohammed”.

    I’m sure you’re all as shocked as I am.

    • RobG

      UPDATE:

      The ‘Operation Freedom and Democracy’ pilot who dropped bombs on Syria today (killing a huge number of civilians) was called John.

      It’s a matter of perspective, perhaps.

    • Alcyone

      No laughing matter, but LOFL at the way you put it. I wonder what is RatofScotlands response?

    • Loony

      I don’t know where you get your news from, but the FT is reporting that he is called Mohamed, NOT Mohammed as you claim.

      Deliberately misspelling the name of a person could be construed as a form of racism. Much more importantly the accurate spelling of this particular name is absolutely essential in order to make sure that this name never enters the list of “most popular boys names.” – since to include it could be construed as a form of racism.

    • nevermind

      More shockingly, Mohammed was absolutely blathered, phished, betrunken, a drunk driver!
      When you kill someone here by driving in to two teenagers you don’t like, and you have a rich daddy, you get 1.5 years in prison and after another year they allow you back on the road.
      Most importantly, you are not called anything, not even murderer.

      Message from Europe today is that ‘they will not punish the UK, that they will show understanding’. The sympathy is flooding in as to be expected.

      How many Yemeni’s died yesterday and the day before, by means of hands holding our arms, how many died in South Sudan because they can’t get past the armed factions, some arms provided by us. Whether they died of starvation or a bullet does not matter, the problem is oil and gas and those who stoke conflicts for their very own interests.

      Sorry for not playing the detailed terror narrative with you here, or debating Michaels spinning of violence, the finer nuances of grammar or the gold bearing sediments of Essex, etc.I have not read any papers or watched the news, no need to.

      Vegetables and other food is getting expensive, so I’m busy in the garden.

      And thanks to J.T. Ortman for explaining the finer intricacies of Ghana’s constitutional brakes to development, much appreciated.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Talking of Ghana, here’s some Chinese work (they’ve been leading the field, in practice) on remediation of areas strip-mined for bauxite:

    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjU6Jud–zSAhXBk5AKHbqBA7YQFggkMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Flibrary.rcees.ac.cn%2Fbitstream%2F311016%2F24263%2F1%2FA%2520case%2520study%2520of%2520ecological%2520restoration%2520at%2520the%2520Xiaoyi%2520Bauxite%2520Mine%2C%2520Shanxi%2520Province%2C%2520China.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGkvsZMaSe6VSnENM82T228Y0FlMw&bvm=bv.150475504,d.ZGg

    It can be done, and has been. One important thing to avoid is clearing a large area for mining in one go, and trying to stockpile the topsoil. It degrades badly. Instead, replace the topsoil from each successive mined narrow strip with that from the next (or so) cleared area. Incentivising mining companies to take this approach will probably have better results than, say, trying to ban aluminium. No rehabilitation, no license, should be the order of the day.

    • Republicofscotland

      Alycone.

      Speaking of fascists, Mussolini, had a Italian train station mocked up to look like a ancient Roman building. So that when his friend, and ally Hitler arrived at the station, he could take in the atmosphere, of what a ancient Roman might have felt. ?

  • Habbabkuk

    All comments which encourage or otherwise support terrorism whether implicitly or explicitly; incite hate against countries, national groups or individuals, attempt to subvert UK democratic institutions and seek to undermine law and order will be used at some appropriate stage in the future. Free speech remains free of course but its practitioners must get used to the idea that its exercise may bring consequences with it.

    • Republicofscotland

      Habb. Your comment reminds me of Orson Welles 1938 live radio broadcast, The War of the Worlds.

      Well not that particular broadcast, but Welles, based his on a BBC broadcast in 1926, called, Broadcasting the Barricades, by a priest Father Ronald Fox.

      In his broadcast (Fox was a well, know satarist) Fox claimed that London had fallen to fanatical revolutionaries, and that Big Ben had been toppled, the National gallery ransacked, and the Savoy hotel burned to the ground.

      Fox also added that several prominent members of the government were hanged from lamposts on Westminster bridge.

      Fox’s broadcast caused panic and fear, and had most of the British public cowed with terror. Eventually when it was revealed as a hoax, the BBC and Lord Reith had to apologise profusely.

      I’m not saying that this event is a proven hoax, but you are intentionally trying to spread fear, using menacing comments like the one above. Without one shred of evidence that anyone posting in here supports terrorism of any sort.

    • RobG

      Habba, Uncle Sam & Co are conducting military operations in Syria totally against all international law.

      Or do you think you’re above the law?

      Do you think you’re ‘exceptional’?

      Do you think you’re the ‘Master Race’?

      You are on very, very dodgy ground when you start spouting legalities in all this, legalities that came into existence as a result of the Nuremburg trials.

    • Loony

      Do you really mean all comments, or just those that do not attract official support?

      I seem to recall quite a few comments that were intended to subvert UK democratic institutions in the run up to the assault on Iraq. The chief architects of that policy remain free to walk the streets.

      With regard to inciting hate against countries I think you will find that this is positively encouraged just so long as the object of your hate happens to be Russia, In the event that you do not consider yourself hateful enough to comment on Russia then it is permissible to practice on Iran and North Korea.

      If you feel the need to express hate against individuals then Donald Trump, Vladimr Putin and Assad of Syria are all officially sanctioned targets.

      Perhaps you are a secret misogynist but are afraid the climate is not right for insulting women. Fear not for there is an officially sanctioned outlet for your feelings. You can say anything you want about Marine Le Pen – with the only proviso that it must be insulting, and preferably untrue.

    • nevermind

      Your pathetic threatening bullyboy tactics here are childish and immature, as always, and readers will make their own mind up about it.
      was that a friendly knock on the door just now Habby, some neighbour from Brunni?

  • michael norton

    Khalid Masood was shot by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon’s armed security detail

  • fwl

    Good to hear Orangemen coming out in paperback. CM you might consider updating with a new chapter as you have kept in touch with politics in Africa.

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