Essays

These papers, like Harold Smith's book, were written because he suffered much ill health and feared that he would not survive. They are a message to future generations. Curiously, the essays increased Harold's will to live and, by exercising his brain, helped him to recover. There are, inevitably, some longueurs and some repetition in these papers, which cover every possible aspect of this great African tragedy, which saw Nigeria , the African Giant of a nation, reduced to a political basket case by Whitehall and Westminster treachery. (Carol Smith)                                         

 ’All the World’s a Stage’

 Bad Guys and Good Guys: Right and Wrong in Good Books

Good Guys, Bad Guys: A Hollywood Guide to doing the right thing

It's a Sin to Tell a Lie

New Labour - Same Old Lies

Secret Trials

Sing-Along Time - The Great Numbers

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ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE (Shakespeare. As You Like It. Act II Scene vii) - The Major Players

Dr Azikiwe:

The A, B, Zeek of Nigerian Politics

The Peripatetic Dr Zik

The Plot to Kill Zik

Zig, Zag, Zik

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa

Balewa in Brief

Nigeria's Lincoln?

Michael Crowder

Agent, Apologist or Historian?

The Word of an Historian

Fred Lugard

The Indiscreet Racist

The Legend of Lugard Avenue

Lugard's Lunacy and Perham's Infatuation

Memo to a Colonial Governor

Sir James Robertson

Rigging of Nigeria's Independence Elections by the British Government

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The A, B, Zeek of Nigerian Politics

"Zeek! Zeek! Zeek!" screamed the crowds of Nigerians in Lagos as Dr Azikiwe's cavalcade swept by, and our Nanny, Comfort, jumped for joy when she saw the great nationalist leader.

Of the three eminent Nigerian leaders only Balewa, who did not want Independence and was delighted with the continuing British rule through the qualified Independence granted, led his country as Prime Minister. If that is paradoxical it is not all, for the supposedly peaceful Balewa was assassinated in 1966 to considerable public acclaim, while the fiery turbulent Zik is alive and well at the age of 92. Chief Awolowo, whom I favoured in 1960 - perhaps because his ideas reflected my own which were Fabian, and he too was a Methodist - died some years ago. Like Zik, he had waited for a call to high office that never came.

A member of my old College, Magdalen, has written a biography of 900 pages of Balewa's life, and I enjoyed reading it enormously as it contains a great deal of fascinating information, much of it new to me. Trevor Clark served in the North of Nigeria and here we have the authentic voice of the Northern official. Not just loyalty, but love of the North, its peoples, and its leaders like Balewa. There was a great need for this account, which is not to say that it should be the only one. A more critical account, based on what was often suspected, but which I can demonstrate from direct experience, that Balewa was a stooge of the British and went along with the rigging of the Independence elections, is also needed.

If Southerners are prejudiced against Northerners and vice versa, I also have a prejudice in favour of Trevor Clark, quite apart from the playful desire to be friendly to a fellow Magdalensis, for while happy to argue fiercely with ex-Northern officials, I do have a reluctance to be beastly to them for the benefit of those who never knew what a rotten job it could be to work in Nigeria. It was poorly paid, often unrewarding slog in an extremely unhealthy part of Africa . Even so I am inclined to blame the evil acts committed by Balewa on his British masters. Balewa's many fine qualities are indisputable and are enumerated, even if just a little exaggerated, in Trevor Clark's 900 pages, which needs to be read alongside these notes for a balanced appraisal. Briefly, I am saying that democracy has not yet been tried in Nigeria , and only a qualified Independence has been experienced. Sovereignty is a myth too.

It is possible that Nigeria, even given a true Independence with a true democracy and genuine sovereignty, might have ended in chaos and tears for there were what seemed insuperable problems at Independence; but sadly we will never know, because of British treachery in which Balewa was an accomplice and a beneficiary.

In great books on Nigeria the authors thank a selection of experts and celebrities. I am not one of them, but I see friends and colleagues and acquaintances mentioned, and eagerly search for the truths and the secrets I know those people were privy to, but they are never mentioned. The British got away with their treason in Nigeria because it was well planned, took years to implement, and was recorded, orchestrated and hymned by many writers and historians, some of whom knew they were taking part in a conspiracy against truth. The conventional British line, which shows the British to have done a great job in Nigeria, is largely true if a line is drawn at 1956, for this is when the first stage of the Independence elections were rigged. After 1956 the treachery spreads, the covert actions are mounted, the cover story is peddled, and it all goes wrong and ends in a flood or sea of bloodshed, which even now in 1992 has probably not yet run its course.

Those who come across these draft notes towards a book on British treachery, which I will probably never see in print, will excuse my brevity. The length of these pieces reflects the energy available to me due to the chronic ill health I acquired while an official in Lagos . The spiteful will claim, have claimed, that I cannot tell the truth because sick. Whether malice is also a sickness is an interesting question.

What is absolutely true is that I am not in possession of all the facts. My authority for this is an excellent one, which will be acclaimed by my Northern colleagues, for it was Sir James Robertson himself. We were standing in his office - which seems strange, and now I wonder if that was so. It sounds awkward, but I think that was intended. It did not seem so odd at the time, but I was young then. These days I am rather keen on not standing too much. We must assume that the treachery was painful to Robertson and Whitehall . As he told me, it was necessary. No doubt it was done for the best of reasons. Zik and Awo were no doubt dangerous and - worse - unpredictable, and if 'elected', perhaps they would want to settle old scores with the Northern pro-British leaders like Balewa and Bello . It would have been unconscionable to have stood aside and let such skulduggery take place. It was just and sensible and prudent, in Nigeria 's best interest, to preserve stability and good order by a little nudge on the helm, as a parent might guide a child's faltering first steps. It was indeed much more than that, it was duty. So parents sometimes fib to their children - an unpleasant and irksome necessity. Young Smith would not understand all that and steps would have to be taken to silence him. The fact was that he knew far too much already. The Governor General confided all this to me as if it were a routine matter and nothing of consequence like the weather or cricket.

James Coleman's ' Nigeria : Background to Nationalism' is one of those great landmarks written with great energy by young Americans in the 1950's. Tucked away in the notes is a quotation from Zik, which I have never seen quoted anywhere in the hundreds of works on Nigeria that I have consulted. What is absolutely sure is that it was duly noted and underscored on Zik's intelligence dossier. It was from an address given at the time of his election as President of the NCNC in 1947.

"Let it be firmly impressed upon the minds of any person in this country that I regard all people who uphold the status quo and regard the present political servitude of Nigeria as the best of all possible worlds as enemies of progress. Just as worshippers of imperialism must be viewed as international criminals, like their Nazi counterparts, so must their adherents and stooges, who are in reality, accomplices.... But I warn [the stooges] that, when Nigeria shall come into her own, and we are in power... every one of them, indigenous or alien, shall be held to strict accountability and shall be impeached for high treason against the safety of the State of Nigeria."

The address was entitled 'Before Us Lies the Open Grave' and it was published in Zik's own newspaper, the West African Pilot for 31 December 1947.

One can see why Zik might need to be checked. However, the British were not all colonial oppressors. Was not Zik entitled to feel angry at those who denied him political freedom in his own land? Furthermore, who knows how many villainous deeds had been perpetrated by the British and were filed away in Zik's memory under 'Retribution'? Perhaps our people knew that Zik was informed in the matter of all this skulduggery and reasoned that he would naturally seek revenge. 'The Open Grave' was a bit ominous, to say the least. Even so, Zik's language was often inflammatory and exaggerated and could be replaced next day by his deploring the ranting of his young rebels, or a crusade against Communism, or a declaration to defend our British homeland, as at the start of the Second World War. If our people were confused by turncoat Zik, so were our enemies the Communists, because Zik had once stood on a Communist Party platform in London and expressed solidarity with the CP in its struggle against colonialism.

In 1956, a decade after 'The Open Grave', the British neutralised Zik. Zik's change of heart is demonstrated at page 476 in Coleman as Zik's 'masterstroke.' What Coleman does not know is what was behind Zik's apparent somersault. Doubtless Zik believed that, if he pretended to succumb to British blackmail to secure independence, once the British had gone he would be really free to take charge of his country. That was clever of Zik, but he underestimated British cunning. They anticipated that move and after 1 October 1960 were still several moves ahead of Zik.

The Northern leaders after Independence proved themselves to be not just passive dupes or stooges or lackeys of the British. They were quite ruthless and determined to put the vile and unspeakable Southerners down. Perhaps Trevor Clark does not quite bring this out. Zik might have known this because he himself was born and educated in the North. Had he really been just a harmless windbag under British rule? Is it possible that Zik too had acquired a streak of Northern ruthlessness during his upbringing in the North? Did Balewa underestimate the despised Southerner? The proverb Clark selects for his Introduction is apt:

Dan Hakin da ka rena, shi kan tsone maka ido, which translates as 'The blade of grass you despise can pierce your eye.'

6 April 1992

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The Peripatetic Dr Zik':

Dr Zik was robbed by the British at Independence of the power that he had fought for. If it seemed that in the election of 1959 it was his fellow nationalist Awolowo who was targeted by the British - as he was - it was only because Zik had been set up and neutralised three years earlier. Zik was nobbled by the Bank Enquiry of 1956, which simply sprang a trap elaborately prepared by British intelligence. In 1962, having clipped Awo's wings in the 1959 election, the same trick was pulled on Awo by the Coker Commission, as had been used on Zik six years before. The Senior Resident in the West, as he told me in 1960, had for years had a safe full of evidence against Awo. The timing was crucial. Nipping an offence in the bud can lead to a minor breach being corrected. Left to develop into a major misdemeanour and strategically timed, the same offence can be devastating.

Zik had a reputation for devious behaviour, which was well deserved, but he had learned from masters of deceit. The British used every possible stratagem to defeat Zik and there was no intelligence technique that was not employed against him. His 'phone was tapped; his mail opened, or even destroyed, routinely. Plots and dirty tricks were used; conspiracies and sabotage encouraged. That Zik survived this barrage of assaults by a determined enemy is a tribute to the skill of the old fox. Sadly, he did not survive unscathed. By 1956 Zik was caged. Suddenly he is a damp squib on the political scene. His trips to Northern leaders were not those of a major politician seeking alliances but a defeated burnt-out leader begging for scraps.

Zik was a realist. The Bank Enquiry had not only bankrupted him personally, but left his great NCNC, the vessel which would guarantee him power, drifting on to the rocks. The British had struck at his weak point, the money needed for political action. Suddenly to allow political action in a hastily constructed democracy, a house that Jack built, without provision for financing political parties, was irresponsible but calculated. Nigeria was a vast empire of small nations but its politicians were relatively poor people. The graft they employed to pay for political action was a necessary stratagem, hopefully justified in the struggle for freedom from the colonial yoke. What is lawful and decorous in a settled and mature democracy may not be fitting on the battlefield of a struggle to remove a great imperial power from its unlawfully won conquests.

The British built in the legal loopholes in the Regional Marketing Boards and stood back as both Awo and Zik used them to finance political action. The problem was one of perception and trust. For all their tirades against the British, both Zik and Awo were seduced by the English ploys of fair play, decent behaviour, cricket and the rule of law. Educated in the West, they succumbed to the temptation to see themselves as candidates for acceptance by the English establishment. Zik went further along this path after 1956 simply because he knew he had been beaten. He would rest up and bide his time. Meanwhile he would be President and wear a Field Marshal's uniform and try to get a string of medals. Forced to the sidelines, he would have a ringside seat at the humiliation of his implacable opponent, Awo, by the vengeful Northerners.

It would soon become evident to Zik that the NCNC might be next for the chop. With Akintola ruling the West in the NPC interest and a Mid West State ruled by the NPC, it was becoming evident that the East was no longer indispensable as the NPC's ally. The Northerners had never wanted Zik as President and had always loathed him, standing as he did for everything in the South that the North hated. Zik too was extremely frustrated. Since 1956 he had been a figurehead. The British-backed Okotie Eboh, with seemingly unlimited financial resources, now controlled the NCNC. Okotie Eboh had little or nothing in common with Zik, NCNC nationalism or the East. He was from the Mid West and was to all intents and purposes a close ally of the NPC. Okotie Eboh's power came from his unlimited funds. These came from British and other firms by courtesy of the British administration. My colleague Charles Bunker had established this conduit at the instigation of the Governor General in 1956.

The hypocrisy of the British is truly breathtaking. At the very time in 1956 when Zik was being exposed as dishonest, the British were pressurising commercial interests for contributions to Okotie Eboh, which would enable him to replace Zik as the power broker in the NCNC! Having defeated Awo and the Action Group as well as Zik in the North in 1959 by astonishing, blatant chicanery, the British exposed Awo in 1962 for his high-handed use of public funds. The treason of the British in all this chicanery, gerrymandering and election rigging was routine, but perfectly in order because it was deemed necessary to establish stability and unity in Nigeria . Now charges of treason were needed to reinforce the accusations of dishonesty against Awolowo. Unlike the substantial, real treason of the British, Awolowo's alleged treason was pathetic and laughable.

Nevertheless the British were merciful. They were happy to see Awo go to jail for only ten years. They could, after all, have had him executed. However, there was nothing really personal in all this. In British eyes, when it is a criminal's time to cop it, he should go quietly. Framing of likely guilty suspects is an old tradition with the British. Once Awo had been sent down it would be someone else's turn and there would be no hard feelings. In 1966 it became suddenly essential for Awo to be rehabilitated quickly and very neatly used to help persecute Zik, who had been last year's favoured British flavour. There is a practised symmetry here, distilled from centuries of uninhibited wrongdoing. The British have to be flexible and enterprising and sometimes ruthless with rascals and rogues and rebels, as they were with Ben Franklin when they opened his letters. Imagine the rage and disgust they felt when they found that Franklin had purloined letters and was spying on them? No one but an American rotter would stoop to such conduct! British hypocrisy is such a delight unless one happens to be on the receiving end!

There is no evidence that Zik had Balewa and Akintola and Okotie Eboh killed. He was, I think, out of town at the time. Who knows whether the sad news affected his recovery.

Zik had been sorely tried for ten years by the machinations of the British and the Northerners. It is ironic that, had he died, the young Majors' coup would not have been perceived, as it was, as an Igbo plot. Did it matter who put the young Majors up to their bloody deed? If everyone who wanted Okotie Eboh dead had been a suspect, the whole nation would have been on trial. The young Majors were seen initially as public benefactors. Sadly, because Zik was out of town, up to two million of his people were to die.

Had the British not cheated Zik and Awo of their rightful inheritance of power and the leadership of an independent Nigeria , it might have all turned out quite differently. It was the British who created Nigeria . Was it the British who aborted the new nation in a fit of pique on receiving their marching orders?

19 February 1992

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The Plot to Kill Zik

The British adored their stooge, Balewa. After all, he was British made. They heartily disliked Awolowo because he was clever, sensible and moral. Here was a true leader of his people to fear. It was Awo who could have united Nigeria as a sober, balanced and realistic leader. Awo had to be stopped for fear he would upset the Northern bandwagon. Ironically, Awo was safely in jail when the young Majors staged their military coup, which removed Britain 's boys from the political scene. How the British must have wished, as they contemplated the destruction of their highly successful master plan for post-Independence Nigeria , that they had activated the contingency plot to poison Dr Azikiwe. For if Awo was feared for his cleverness, and Zik ridiculed for his vanity and mercurial nature, it was Zik who had poured forth his hatred of the colonial regime for a decade through the pages of his West African Pilot, which was Britain 's bete noire.

My own appreciation of Zik's character - and he was certainly devious - came from my friend, Francis Nwokedi, who was one of Zik's highly placed lieutenants in the administration. Francis was one of our boys, and needed to display total loyalty to the British if he were to prosper. His opportunity came during the Enugu shootings where he displayed great skill in defusing what had the potential to be a highly embarrassing situation for the British. Francis was commended for his role, and established as one Ibo who could be trusted. He was rightly judged to be a capable, clever careerist, who was cynical about nationalist politics. He was cleverer than George Foggon, the Labour Commissioner, but shared his obsessive ambitions, and understood and got on well with him. For the British, Nwokedi was a type we understood well, as he fitted the stereotype of the Scot on the make, which fitted a number of the proconsuls we sent out to Nigeria . Nwokedi had no interest in Communism and was indifferent to abstract political ideas. As a cunning manipulator himself, he understood all too well how Zik had to be tricky and quick on his feet to survive so much British hostility. As I have recounted elsewhere, Francis explained to me how Zik would always be one step ahead of the British and most certainly never found at the scene of a crime.

Every Ibo civil servant was an unpaid member of Zik's own Intelligence Service. However, although the ubiquitous, loyal Ibo civil servant was well informed, the secret file system and exclusion of even top African civil servants from sensitive positions was intended to protect our political plans for Zik's future. Even so, it was not difficult to divine British attitudes to Zik and to guess that contingency plans did exist to 'silence' or neutralise him. For his part, Zik made it clear that he feared assassination by the British. The colonial regime pooh-poohed this as evidence of Zik's paranoia and his desire to project himself as a persecuted, fearless nationalist. Zik was open to ridicule by the British because he was conceited and vain and took strenuous efforts to avoid going to jail. On this score he had little to fear, for the British too wanted to avoid turning Zik into a martyr. We needed to neutralise him quietly. Assassination would have been counterproductive, unless carried out in such a way that no blame could be attached to the British.

Poisons were the order of the day for British covert operations, and 'Porton Down specials' for all occasions did exist, as Eden was aware when he ordered Egypt's Nasser to be poisoned following on the seizure of the Suez Canal. The Americans too, with whom we shared our knowledge of poisons and chemical and biological weapons, plotted a similar fate for Cuba 's Castro. Contingency plans to disable, eliminate or otherwise silence Zik most certainly did exist and what seemed to be Zik's paranoid fears and hypochondria were quite well founded. Even after Independence Zik's fear continued, and he travelled everywhere with a contingent of medical staff. By that time Zik had been effectively neutralised and apparently outwitted by British machinations. Zik had been shunted into the political wilderness with the prestigious but powerless post of Governor General and then, when Nigeria became a Republic, President.

The events of 1966, however, proved to the British that, if Zik had been neutralised, his power to use others to subvert the British master plan for Nigeria was still a reality. If there is a shred of evidence to link Zik with the awesome military coup of 1966, it has never materialised. Zik was in England receiving medical treatment at the time. However, there was widespread suspicion of a Zikist plot, which was to surface and lead to the bloody Biafran Civil War. I have explained elsewhere that, if Zik had been assassinated by the young Majors, two million young people's lives might have been saved in that totally unnecessary conflict.

This was the background to the sensational disclosure during the early euphoric years of Independence that a plot to kill Dr Azikiwe at Apapa (the port at Lagos ) had been foiled by the prompt action of the Intelligence Services. It was extremely embarrassing to the British because a senior British official was allegedly involved. The truth was richly comic. There was indeed a 'plot' at Apapa, but it was a plot of land, a highly sought after plot, developed by the Federal Public Works and Lagos Executive Development Board. The Board re-housed Lagosians from the squalor of Lagos Island , and a senior Nigerian politician wanted a plot for a relative. This was quite improper and was resisted as far as possible by the totally honest and incorruptible British official, but political reality removed any choice he had in the matter. He arranged to meet the politician outside the House of Representatives to discuss allocating the required plot.

The British had established a Police Special Branch during the colonial period and plain clothes meant that police were disguised as market women, clerks, or whatever. On this particular sweltering day outside the House of Representatives, the Police were well represented amongst the beggars and traders who hassled passing civil servants and politicians. It was the sharp ears of a beggar in rags who eavesdropped on a conversation between a senior politician and a British official. The Plot at Apapa was the subject of discussion. The British official found the matter distasteful and was nervous. If he spoke in a roundabout way, it was because he was not accustomed to backhander deals which were becoming the order of the day in other Government Departments. Arrangements for the 'plot' at Apapa were in hand. Everything would go according to plan. The 'plot' was ready.

At Police Headquarters the news of a Plot at Apapa could only mean one thing to an Igbo police officer. The beloved Dr Zik was due to visit Apapa with his usual cavalcade of cars and supporters. The British had been rumbled. Zik was to be assassinated by the British at Apapa. This was a total nonsense. The totally innocent British official was interrogated and his story of a plot of land ridiculed as a specious cover story. In due course he was to be sworn to secrecy and deported, despite his protestations. It was the cock-up theory in action. Proof of how easy it could be to manufacture conspiracy theories out of innocent happenings. Which does not, however, explain the total panic in the offices of the British High Commission and in Whitehall . It was true that a totally false story of a planned British assassination plot could still be politically embarrassing to Whitehall . What produced the panic amongst the British was the knowledge that there did exist contingency plans to assassinate Zik. The black farce, which had developed outside the House of Representatives, could have ended up as a major political crisis for the British in this capital of Black Africa.

The British were successful in suppressing news of the Plot at Apapa. Steps had to be taken to ensure that the thoroughly frightened British official never revealed details of what he thought was a total farce. Colonel Henderson was, I think, the Director of the LEDB whose career was cut short like mine. Our colleague, Arthur Skinner, the Director of Federal Public Works, tried to thwart his Minister's plans to award the Niger Bridge contract to someone who offered him a heavy percentage, and Arthur too, after a struggle, gave up. Neither of my colleagues knew anything of Porton Down specials or poisons but, strangely, Arthur like myself developed a rare tropical disease. He was to be diagnosed eventually as having tropical sprue, a disease rarely seen in Africa, but more common in the Far East . His disease would later be known as coeliac sprue and he would develop an associated condition, dermatitis herpetiformis.

How strange! When I stumbled on secret British machinations to destabilise Dr Azikiwe in the late 1950's and remove him from effective power, I was silenced too. I was warned by a Secret Service official to flee before they killed me. My health collapsed and I developed a tropical disease rarely seen in Africa - tropical sprue, coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis.

16 April 1993

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Zig, Zag, Zik

Of course Zik must have inspired the military coup of January 1966. Had he not been side-tracked into the ceremonial position of President? This was Zik, the great nationalist leader rendered powerless. This was tolerable when the NCNC was in an alliance with the NPC, which persecuted Awolowo's opposition Action Group. However, having broken Awo and put him in jail for ten years on trumped-up charges, the NCNC itself was now being targeted. Surely the millions of young Ibos in the Army, professions and the Civil Service, who loved Zik, must have let their love boil over into unconstitutional violence? This is an attractive theory and might seem logical and reasonable in explaining total unreason, but it is only a theory. There is little evidence of Igbo responsibility and none of Dr Zik's. Each assertion of Ibo involvement can be countered by a counter-argument. For example, the young Majors were largely Ibo? Yes, but the many more NCOs and ordinary soldiers were Northerners.

I have made some notes which seem to indicate Zikist involvement. I must in fairness take a contrary line to see if the weight of the evidence points elsewhere.

Whoever killed the Northern leaders and their allies, should not the abominable behaviour of those politicians show clearly that the Southerners generally had been provoked beyond endurance? In that respect the responsibility for what happened must belong to the Northern junta. Even if logic would implicate the Southerners, this excludes another pragmatic rationale, often found to be involved in explosive situations, and that is the cock-up theory. Illegality by the North did provoke a violent and illegal reaction from the young majors, but millions who might have dreamt of revenge were apathetic, as probably Zik was, even if tempted. It is even more probable that his respect for the rule of law totally excluded even thoughts of a bloody reaction.

A Zikist conspiracy theory might go beyond inspiring or backing the young Majors and extend to replacing them with General Ironsi, but reason knocks this on the head. There was no certainty that the Northerners would not respond promptly to the coup and place a Northerner in charge of the headless State. As it happened, when Ironsi did take charge, he abolished Zik's post as President. The latter point is made in a curious study of the coup by D.J.M. Muffett, a Northern sympathiser, who was a close friend of Sir A. Bello. (Let Truth be Told. 1982. Zaria ). Not unreasonably as a passionate Northern sympathiser, Muffett is extremely suspicious regarding Zikist involvement, but what is most conspicuous by its absence is any recognition that the British were deeply involved, not only in Northern politics, but through the total power of the North with every aspect of Southern and Federal politics.

Let us try to get closer to the killings, which showed that all claims made by the British for Nigerian democracy, sovereignty and independence were but myths. Why 15 January? Muffett's friends, Bello and Balewa, destroyed any prospect of Nigerian democracy when they took power by criminal false pretences following the rigging of the independence elections by the British. One foul deed leads inevitably to another and another. There was not only guilty knowledge, but also the small problem of the next election. There was also the fear of being found out. This is why the Western Region leaders had to be destroyed. Bello and Balewa, firmly controlled and directed by the British, had been acting criminally at least since 1956, and the West was still not at peace under the thumb of the pro-British North. A final solution was called for. The military would take charge and the date of 'Operation No Mercy' was set for 17 January. And the Army rebelled against their political masters. It was not unruly Westerners who were killed, but violent, criminal pro-British Bello and Balewa. Operation Damissa was not quite the operation Bello and Balewa intended, nor did they expect to be operated on with such surgical precision. It seems that they got some of their own medicine at the hands of the very young men they had depended on to eliminate their enemies once and for all.

Zik was in London . Even if totally innocent, perhaps he had with his remarkable political intuition guessed something was beginning to smell. It was true that he had been a party to the destruction of the West that took precedence over the preservation of Nigerian democracy, or even Nigeria itself. Zik's hands were not clean. He was now rebelling against his erstwhile allies, the NPC, because, having cut Awo down, they could bring Zik to book and settle more old scores. Zik's supporters had seen Zik's game and, while his life was to be spared, they saw no reason to let him continue to pretend that he was the all-powerful President. And let us note that the Igbo Majors were going to the rescue of the West. True they were next for the chop, but even so, what they did led to the release of Awo and his colleagues from prison.

Muffett says that Balewa dreamed of a coalition with himself in charge, in other words a recognition of the fact that there never had been any serious attempt to establish democracy in Nigeria . The British had always intended Nigeria to be ruled by a benevolent dictatorship. It was not only Balewa who was a lackey as was often said, but Bello too. It was all becoming a bit obvious and sick-making. Operation No Mercy was the last straw.

Given the scenario of 15 January and hindsight of a civil war that cost up to one million lives, I regret that Zik and the Eastern Region Prime Minister were not assassinated. Had they been killed, a million other lives might not have been lost, for the plot was perceived as an Igbo conspiracy. The deaths of two Ibo politicians would have silenced this accusation which had such deadly consequences.

Zik's behaviour was erratic and that was a fact, but the role of the British is not brought out in Muffett's account. If it were, Zik's peripatetic approach to politics might make more sense. Anyway, the zigzag approach worked for Zik. He survived while Nigeria died. Had British treachery been absent, Nigerian democracy might have been properly delivered, practised and perhaps even taken root. Zik the shadow happily had a long life; unhappily he was destroyed as a great political figure by British blackmail in 1956, when the British placed their best boy Okotie Eboh in position, supplanting Zik as leader of the parliamentary NCNC. In 1966 Zik zigzagged once too often. For the sake of Nigeria , it might have been preferable for him to die with Balewa, Bello and Akintola.

4 April 1992

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Balewa in Brief

Trevor Clark's biography is a loving life of an honest politician with no faults, who served Nigeria faithfully and was struck down while in pursuit of his ideals of peace, unity, and love of his disparate peoples...

Trevor Clark's biography is of a family man, a teacher and farmer and reluctant politician, who loved the British who had served his country so well. As Prime Minister he held his turbulent country together for six years. After his death it almost fell apart in a bloody civil war...

Trevor Clark's story is of a humble and deeply religious young teacher with high ideals who was totally incorruptible. His fine intelligence and wisdom, his golden voice and eloquence, his exquisite manners and good humour endeared him to all...

Trevor Clark takes some nine hundred pages to get this message, which I have condensed a bit, across. This fat volume is not only a tribute to the North, it is vast like the North, sometimes arid like the North, and heavy as a tombstone. Balewa was a party to census rigging, gerrymandering of the election in his constituency, rigging of Nigeria 's Independence elections, destruction of the parliamentary opposition, and a vendetta against Southern politicians. His dictatorial behaviour, his disruptive policies, his totally corrupt administration brought Nigeria to the very brink of self-destruction. Misrule, intolerance and pursuit of vendettas forced a peaceful and responsible officer corps to remove him from power. The coup was celebrated throughout Nigeria , crowds danced in the streets, and his beloved people ransacked and looted his home.

Balewa loved the British and was proud to be a lackey, an agent, a stooge of the colonial power. He did not seek independence, he did not want independence, he wanted the British to stay. Never was there a rebellious nationalist the likes of Balewa. Like many southern officials, I thought Balewa was a creep and a very small-minded little man.

'A Right Honourable Gentleman' is no worse than many similar dusty tomes on politicians, who have held high office serving British interests. I quite enjoyed skipping through Clark 's many chapters transcribed from the ever-trusty mine of Nigeriana, 'West Africa Magazine.' It truly is a great labour of love. God knows why anyone ever thought it necessary to stick it together. It is a miracle of words processed doggedly, and highlights the dangerous facility of computers to knock out sentences and string them together without much effort or pause for thought. Who will sell it? Who will buy it? I trust those who do enjoy it will not believe it.

 

11 April 1992

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Balewa: Nigeria 's Lincoln ?

A few weeks before Independence in 1960, my friend Francis Nwokedi invited me to dinner at his home in Ikoyi, where we both had our home in what had once been an exclusively white suburb. There was one other guest, a visiting black American who was an expert on co-operation. Because of the other guest's presence, it was not possible to talk on a personal level. I can only think now that ill health produced in me a kind of euphoria because I remember being quite cheerful. Perhaps it was the prospect of my early return to London where my wife and two daughters awaited my arrival. They had gone ahead by boat, taking our seventeen packing cases.

Perhaps because Francis knew that I was in very real trouble which had necessitated a stormy encounter with the Governor General, he seemed troubled. Otherwise he was in his cynical mood. God knows why, but at that time I sensed in my Nigerian colleagues an almost total lack of excitement as Independence loomed. I was particularly fascinated by the thought of the historical significance of this vast great new nation, almost an empire of nations, coming into being. Francis (as he had on other occasions) and his guest ridiculed and scoffed at my idealistic notions.

"What nation!" exploded Francis. "This place?"

Later, like an idiot, I raised again the question of those Nigerians who would be in the pantheon of great statesmen when the historians wrote their books in a hundred years.

"These people! Really, Sean" exclaimed Francis.

"Perhaps there will be people, small town Lincolns we don't know about..." I suggested. I then gave up.

I recall this rather sad dinner with Francis because it seemed symbolic. I was pessimistic about Nigeria 's future and I knew Francis was going in some way to play a major and significant role. Shortly afterwards I fled Lagos , using an air ticket that I had obtained surreptitiously. Francis's role as Permanent Secretary and my boss and also my friend made our relationship rather ambiguous. He answered to the Governor General who had said I knew too much and would be silenced if I spoke to anyone about how the British had rigged Nigeria 's Independence elections. Soon after I got back to London , Francis 'phoned. He had followed me to London . I refused to see him and put the 'phone down

.For months I frantically tried to alert Government circles to what was happening in Lagos . I spoke to eminent lawyers, top civil servants and was in touch with the Prime Minister's son-in-law Julian Amery, who was Minister at the Colonial Office. Everyone was incredulous at what I told them. The Permanent Under Secretary at the Colonial Office told Amery I had never served in Africa and that I was mad. When Amery, who was very perturbed, persisted, he was told it was a mistake. Of course, they knew who I was, but sadly a fire had destroyed all my papers. Only a file cover with my name on it had survived.

While this charade was taking place I was being offered honours and a top job if I would not say a word. The Governor General was in Oxford and, through Miss Margery Perham at Nuffield College , had established contact via my friend Philip Williams, who was a Fellow of Nuffield.

Shortly before leaving Lagos I had walked in the garden of Nigeria 's Director of Broadcasting, Richmond Postgate, who was a friend. There was thick bush alongside the garden and as we peered into it Richmond said prophetically, "I have a sense of evil things going to happen, some kind of cataclysm..."

He was not usually gloomy and despondent, but anyway we moved and he mentioned the possibility of my taking a job as his assistant in the Broadcasting Corporation. I knew this was not to be. I would only get Richmond into trouble with Government House. The last place they wanted me was in broadcasting!

When I had gone out to Lagos on the mailboat Apapa, I had been thrilled at the prospect of Independence for Nigeria . Leaving Lagos five years later I was extremely pessimistic. Liberals back in the UK were now euphoric at African independence. All too often a dialogue was impossible. They knew nothing, but sensed that there had been some kind of victory for progressives. If one tried to educate them, they wanted to know who were the good guys in the white hats. If they were Conservative, who was the Conservative goodie, or the Labour goodie. I was totally disillusioned with politics at this simplistic level. In fact, though I favoured independence one day, I now saw it as ludicrous. Independence in 1960 was a total nonsense. My experience in Lagos also affected my attitude to British politics. I found it hard to view problems from a party partisan viewpoint, and Britain seemed so small and its problems so puny.

The Governor General had said that I would never work again. That is exactly what happened. I was gloomy because of my ill health, but as so many people were offering me employment, I felt that, after a good rest in the UK , I would get back my health and the Governor General would be out of a job himself. Even if I were blacklisted, once the storm had blown over, I would be all right. Of course, I was not. My life had been threatened by the evil Peter Cook who was totally corrupt. Then, as my colleagues warned me, the ghastly Festering Sam Okotie Eboh had me in his sights, and finally the Governor General was threatening to silence me. Surely I was not the only honest Britisher in Lagos ? I have mentioned that Postgate, who was brother-in-law of my Professor at Oxford , G D H Cole, had offered me a job. Nwokedi had suggested I might like to teach at the new University in the East and, after my launching the National Provident Fund, had offered me the top job - name my own salary. I knew my days in Lagos were up and declined gracefully.

"You won't mind my appointing your staff, Sean," Francis had interjected before I could reply.

I saw a whole village of mission-educated Nwokedis staffing a new Government Department, and as they flowed in, would millions flow out?

The Haywooods put me up and gave me a farewell lunch. On the plane a telegram arrived for Smith, but it was for another Smith in the adjoining seat, who was Senior Resident in Ibadan . We chatted and were delighted to find that we had both read PPE, had the same tutor Harry Weldon, and occupied the same set of rooms at Magdalen College , Oxford . We were both ill - he was pissing blood - and both in trouble although he did not know it. He knew who I was.

"Smith, the young lawmaker," he said.

Postgate had talked of assignments in the North. "Hausa won't be a problem, Sean?"

"No," I had replied, as if it was a mere detail, but I knew deep down that I was leaving Africa and would never speak Hausa. Then Nwokedi had offered me the job at Zik's University or in Lagos running our Provident Fund. (The idea and achievement was totally Francis's.) Now Smith asked me to be his assistant in Ibadan .

"I hate the bloody paperwork," he said. "And from what I hear, you are good at moving it."

He then told me about the horrible corruption in Ibadan and said he had a safe full of incriminating documents involving politicians. I did not know how to say no. I felt very grateful.

"You don't want me, sir," I said. "I'm in trouble...the Governor General...I'm finished..."

So was he. He turned away and we did not speak again. At the airport terminal in London I picked up a paper and saw his name. His post had been abolished.

At a drinks party in Lagos before I left, a well-known African journalist introduced himself. He then said bluntly, "You are in deep trouble, Mr Smith, but you have friends. 'Phone this number in London . Say 'Donovan'."

The CIA lived up to their reputation. They knew everything about me and my experience in Lagos . Would I return to Lagos in the guise of a newspaper editor. And again, "Name your own salary." I declined again.

If this sounds remarkable, it is more than that to me, for - mainly because I became so ill for many years with a rare tropical disease usually found in the Far East - I was never to be employed again. The events unfolding in Lagos beginning in 1962 were horrendous to those, like myself, who loved Nigeria . To someone who had believed the tragedy inevitable but had tried to stop it, the pain was very real. Viewed through my own struggle to survive, it was absolutely awful. Paradox abounded. Had I been diagnosed, I do not think that I would have survived the treatments then available. What seemed a tragedy of delayed and wrong diagnosis - it was thought I had MS - turned out to be a blessing, because new medical discoveries saved my life when in extremis in 1972. I was indeed the first patient ever to prove that a new treatment for this rare disease could be successful.

In Lagos I had lost weight and complained to my friends at dinner of everything tasting metallic. We had even speculated as to whether I was being poisoned. Philip Haywood was Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education and recently (1991) while staying with the Haywoods in Bournemouth , Phil and Vera reminded me of our conversations on this matter.

A British puppet regime had taken power in Nigeria on 1 October 1960 and its fraudulent origin became evident in 1962 when the parliamentary opposition and the Action Group were destroyed. With the coup d'état "Operation Damissa" - of 15 January 1966 the old North, Britain's power base in Nigeria, was destroyed and four years to the day exactly on 15 January 1970, the Eastern collaborators in the British fix, the nominal independence of 1960, were also defeated and their rebel state of Biafra destroyed.

The strangest irony was that the apparent civilian victors of this tragic civil war were the Western leaders Awolowo and Enahoro, whom the British had robbed of victory in the Independence elections of 1959, and whom their puppet Balewa had jailed for ten and fifteen years in 1962.

What had British machinations against democracy in Nigeria achieved? Two million deaths! A generation of young Africans starved and killed. What kind of British foreign policy was this? The product of an alliance between scheming liberals, who sought an end to colonialism at any price, and Tory realists, who feared communist expansion in Africa ? This evil and treacherous gerrymandering appealed to the sick minds of Eden and Macmillan and ensured, with a terrifying symmetry, that Britain 's empire in Africa , born in bloody slavery, ended with the cruel and bloody slaughter of two million black subjects of the great white Queen.

Recently I read again the record of the civil war in Anthony Kirk-Greene's excellent but deeply disturbing collection of documents on the war. He, too, speaks of Lincoln and says rightly that, when thinking of General Gowon's great humanity and statesmanlike behaviour at its conclusion, he is reminded of that great American President. (Gowon was deposed in a bloodless coup in 1975 by the immensely popular General Muhammed but in 1976 the latter as assassinated by Dinka. Gowon appears to have been implicated in this assassination with encouragement from the British. All great men are flawed, and Gowon was apparently no exception.)

Kirk-Greene also mentions Balewa, who had a great reputation as well. Perhaps it was Balewa's conscience which troubled him and made him so deeply unhappy as Prime Minister. He knew he had won that office by fraudulent means. He knew every detail of the British Government's machinations. He knew, when he railed in private against British commercial interests exploiting Nigeria, that those same interests had financed his election campaign and that of his partner in Government - the NCNC, led by the great but burnt-out nationalist, Dr Azikiwe.

On 10 February 1957 Balewa wrote an extraordinary letter to his friend, the British Governor of the North, Sir Bryan Sharwood Smith. Those of us in Lagos knew how unhappy he was. He loathed Lagos and consoled himself with the company of young girls, thoughtfully procured by our people. He was not stupid and was very much a realist, and understood full well that he could only function as the ally of and spokesman for British interests so long as the British were in Nigeria . Without the British how could he survive? Could he win a straightforward, honest and fair election? It was doubtful and he knew it.

He wrote, 'I myself do not believe that the present type of federation can exist without the British Administration.' He did not want to be Prime Minister and was tired of politics. 'You will appreciate the delicate position in which I am now placed,' he wrote. His colleagues, like the notoriously corrupt Okotie Eboh, who funnelled funds from British firms into the pro-British political war chest, said he could not quit.

They were quite right. Balewa's role was crucial to the great deception planned and executed by the British. It had taken years to assemble and was a superb piece of political chicanery, of which the bosses of Tammany Hall would have been proud. Henry L. Bretton, an American Professor who studied British skulduggery in detail and at first hand, wrote that 'the very construction of the Northern Region...' (which had the majority of the seats in the Federal Parliament) '...in the form in which it entered the era of independence, represents one of the greatest acts of gerrymandering in history.'

With the greatest respect to the opinions of Anthony Kirk-Greene who served in the North during my years at Federal Government Headquarters in Lagos , and is a great Nigerianist, I do not think it would be in order to put Lincoln 's mantle on Balewa's shoulders. I have no reason to believe that Balewa was personally financially corrupt, but he was responsible for his colleagues in his cabinet, and most of them were. He not only held power by fraudulent means, but in his constituency he tolerated, if he did not actually instigate, total electoral corruption. His role in destroying the parliamentary opposition two years after Independence and consigning its leaders up to fifteen years in jail, even if done at the behest of his British advisors and friends, was not only desperate but vindictive and wicked. He was jailing and destroying the very people who had won Nigeria 's nominal independence. Of course, it - independence - was the last thing he had wanted himself.

Balewa was not a Lincoln and the British, by their treachery, sacrificed a true friend. Did he really expect the British not to sacrifice him? How could they be expected to respect someone who had so little loyalty to his own country's interests. He should have known that those who slavishly lick the feet of their British masters are always expendable. It is ironic that it was not the Lagos mob, which he despised, which broke into his palace and shot him, but his much loved British trained and uniformed Army officers. When the killing finally stopped exactly four years later to the day, two million young Nigerians, most too young to vote, had been removed from Nigeria 's always-controversial census total.

Balewa had some things in common with Lincoln , however. He was a poor small town boy. Balewa was not one of the rich and powerful Hausa or Fulani. Like Lincoln , his death was irrevocably linked with a great civil war. However, more died in Balewa's holocaust than in the US civil war. Like Lincoln , Balewa was an astute politician and an orator who was known, says the London Times, as 'the golden voice of the North.' Balewa was also very determined and a ruthless realist. He said that he longed to return to the North and the life of a simple primary school teacher, but in his heart he must have known that his political associates were right when they said only death would get him out of Lagos .

1 February 1992

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Agent, Apologist or Historian?

In one of his last contributions to an historical journal (African Affairs, January 1987) before his early death from Aids, my old friend Michael reviewed Nigeria's transition from a beacon of democracy at 'Independence' in 1960 to a basket case twenty-five years later, after a series of coups and military dictatorships.

Michael was a liar on a grand scale who was blackmailed by the British in 1960 to prevent disclosure of the fact that the Independence Elections were rigged. Michael was a promiscuous homosexual and he was pressurised to put pressure on the present writer who was his friend. Three British senior service officials had protested at orders from Government House to rig the elections in the British interest, and blackmail of Michael was just one of the tactics employed to shut me up. All that was sought was my word. Bribes included rapid promotion, a brilliant career in the Foreign Service, large sums of money and honours of my choice, which my friend Philip Williams (later the biographer of Gaitskell), who acted as an intermediary, interpreted as a knighthood. The stick was the threat to Michael; the threat to Philip, who was also at risk, promises that I would be permanently unemployed and, if I spoke out, killed.

Michael's carrot to persuade me to be a white man and not betray our chaps was a proposal that he should, with Government approval and on Government time, write a History of Nigeria (The Story of Nigeria). The deal was acceptable to Michael and he broke with me after a rather tearful and emotional parting. Lying in his teeth, he promised that, when he came to speak of the Independence Elections, he would tell the truth of how they were rigged. I pretended to believe him. He was my friend and, although vulnerable and weak, like many others I loved the man.

Nigeria was a basket case in 1960 because of British machinations. Democracy never even got to first base in Nigeria . The Independence was a fraud and the introduction of democracy a cruel sham.

How could a respected historian do this? Quite easily actually. One just went along with the story as made up, put around by the papers and accepted by a gullible public. Had Michael not been in pawn to Whitehall he would have been booted out of Nigeria , perhaps after a squalid trial. His career as an historian would never have got under way.

I was purposely silent for a time after Michael's imbroglio with Government House, but very soon, when it became clear that my lips had not been sealed permanently (I was overheard at a dinner party with US Embassy friends making indiscreet remarks) I too was carpeted at Government House.

Agent? Apologist? Historian of Nigeria ? My dear friend Michael was none of these things to me. He was a golden youth with great gifts of love and friendship, and I will treasure forever his joy and laughter and comradeship. We both loved Nigeria immoderately and perhaps excessively. Africa inspired us, excited us and changed and directed the course of our lives. We were both sons of Oxford and in our own way served Nigeria honourably.

12 May l994

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The Word of an Historian

We loved Michael Crowder. He would have been a joy to know anywhere, but Lagos was a different place once he arrived in Nigeria to edit Nigeria Magazine. We first met at the home of Richmond Postgate, the newly appointed Director of Broadcasting, and became good friends, partly as a result of a number of bizarre coincidences.

Michael was a very promiscuous homosexual, which was one thing we did not have in common. However, we had both recently left Oxford , looked like two peas in a pod except that my eyes were blue and Michael's brown, and we passionately loved Nigeria and its people and its history.

Michael gave me his word that he would reveal in his historical writings one day how the British had rigged Nigeria's Independence Elections, but unless he left papers which kept his promise... I waited many years and, in desperation, wrote to him, when I learned that he was in London , to remind him of his promise. His sister replied to say that Michael was on his death bed. He had been expelled from Nigeria and died of Aids. A tragic end.

In Michael's "Story of Nigeria", which he wrote with the blessing of Whitehall and the Governor General, Sir James Robertson, is the sentence, "...Sir James Robertson turned out to be the ideal man to represent Britain during the final phase of self-government." Self-government was an odd phrase to use on the eve of Independence and self-government. Michael was not usually so careless and inaccurate. There had been a pretence or form of participation in the routine of government before Independence , with Ministers appointed by Robertson to Departments which then became Ministries; but Michael was as cynical and truthful as I was about this pretence of black power, and his shrieks of laughter greeted all such instances of window dressing as bullshit.

If Nigeria was self-governing at national level, what were Independence and the Independence Elections all about? The Regional/State Elections had introduced a degree of autonomy at that level in 1956, but the real explanation for Michael's remarkable clumsiness was his knowledge of the enormous lie he was telling.

Michael was blackmailed by Sir James Robertson. He was threatened with a jail sentence and ruin if I continued to tell everyone how Whitehall had rigged the State Elections and the Federal Elections in favour of the Northerners. Michael was terrified and made his peace with Government House. He was no threat to the Whitehall criminals who planned the great evil. He was the ideal tool to fix the historical record and put a seal of spurious authenticity on this gross treachery, and that is what he did.

It is extremely painful to say of Michael, as I must despite my love for the man, that he was as deeply flawed as a historian can be. Michael lied and betrayed the Nigerian people he genuinely adored. Michael broke his word to me too. I was very innocent and naive, and thought most people who were educated were truthful, and that many would have done what I did, and taken a stand against Whitehall's treason which brought about the bloody Biafran civil war in which up to two million, mainly young, people died. I was wrong. Few, if any, I now know would have followed by example. Even those few hesitate when I mention the glittering honours and other prizes, the bribes, which I refused.

I will always remember Michael's laughter and infectious humour. I think of him often. We loved him.

25 March 1994

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The Indiscreet Racist

Fred was ingenious. To the African who objected to rule by a small clique of white men, Fred retorted that the alternative was to subject a large native population to the will of a small minority of educated and Europeanised natives who have nothing in common with them, and whose interests are often opposed to them... Only in 1943 were two very safe Africans appointed to the Governor's Executive Council. Africans were excluded from European Clubs until the early fifties when the first token Africans were allowed in. That was why I declined to join the Ikoyi Club in 1955. In 1960 I caused a stir when, accompanied by my African assistants, I inspected the Ikoyi Club. The Secretary went purple with rage and 'phoned every VIP he could get hold of. "How could you bring those people in here!" he screamed. This was the year of Independence .

Fred may not have been the legend of Margery Perham's heated and frustrated imagination, but he certainly left a legacy of dottiness and nasty racism behind him. Fred's racism was shared by Margery Perham, as Michael Crowder records in the 1972 edition of "The Story of Nigeria." This was a good book that I eagerly looked forward to reading. Sadly it was marred by major omissions of vital facts that Michael knew about.

"When I write about the Independence Elections," Michael promised me before I fled Nigeria in 1960, "I will tell the truth about how the Independence Elections were rigged."

Michael made a point of not writing in any detail about the Independence Elections. His private views of the British occupation were far more scathing than anything that ever appeared in his books. Yet, by not telling the truth about British treachery, he let down his many Nigerian friends and the Nigerian people whom he loved so much. Not even Africans loved Nigeria as Michael did. His history may have been flawed, but his love for the Nigerian people was diamond hard. We did not have the same sexual orientation, but we had so much in common as well as looking alike. I loved him dearly and felt heart-broken when his sister wrote to tell me of his last fatal illness.

12 May l994

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The Legend of Lugard Avenue

Margery Perham's contribution to the Independence issue of Nigeria Magazine is a tribute to her beloved Fred Lugard. As my friend Michael Crowder, the Editor, was one of her acolytes, she could do no wrong. It is not Independence that Margery writes about but, as always, Fred. Her panegyric is so over the top that one feels embarrassed. An encomium is correctly a speech in praise of a conqueror, so it is not inapposite to regard Margery's fulsome praise in that way.

"The name of Lugard will always be linked with that of Nigeria ," she announces and then suggests that Nigerians will ask themselves what part this man played in their journey. As Fred had left Nigeria in 1918 and he was generally regarded by Nigerians as a fanatical bully, which was much the view of his colleagues, the Colonial Office and Whitehall, it is doubtful if a single Nigerian was thinking of Fred, let alone thinking well of him on Independence Day. She refers to his legendary name - actually only legendary for the avenue in Ikoyi that had for some years in the 1950's some old-style, rat-infested bungalows, one of which for a few days I once occupied.

Margery tells us how well she knew Fred, almost hinting at a physical relationship with her hero. She worked closely with him, lived near him and, as we know, adored him. She did not, she says, know him in the prime of his manhood, but she thought age must have changed him less than most men.

"He kept his slim, upright figure, with the square shoulders and the erect head of the military man, to the week of his death. He kept, too, the vigour of his movements and the direct and resolute eyes of a man used to command, but in which I, as a friend, could read mostly his kindness and understanding."

The portrait of Fred which faces us, as we read of Margery's adoration, is of a fierce little, demented terrier of a man. On his first expedition into what became Nigerian territory, he was apparently hit in the head by a poisoned arrow. This might account for his notorious ill temper and inability to make friends. If Fred was famous for anything, it was for being pig-headed and controversial. Although he spent six years in Nigeria , the lengths of his leaves in England were notorious. He did not, characteristically, seek long leaves for his staff at the sharp end in the bush.

Fred's style was combative and he always preferred war-war to jaw-jaw, as befitted a conqueror. Margery spends a lot of space trying to find excuses for his disastrous leadership. Much the same goes for Fred's second term of office from 1912 to 1918. Nothing is ever Fred's fault. Always there is a reason why he made so many mistakes and achieved so little. The only accord one feels on reading Margaret's gush is when she records Fred as opposing Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia .

Fred married Flora Shaw, the Colonial Correspondent of The Times. Now the Lugard fan club had two very active members, swollen to three when Margery joined the team. In conclusion she allows mention of some other pioneers, but only to promote Fred to the top of the table and then to suggest that Fred in Nigeria deserved a place equivalent to that of Julius Caesar and William the Conqueror in British history

12 February 1993

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Lugard's Lunacy and Perham's Infatuation

It was inevitable that rich white Europe would impinge on poor black Africa . Sadly, the Lenin/Hobson thesis that this was a bad thing did great harm to Africa . One major problem is the widespread ignorance about Africa in Britain . Once it was agreed by 'progressives' and the Labour Party that 'imperialism' was a bad thing, it was even more acceptable to be ignorant. Getting out of Africa was the answer to all Africa 's problems. Yet the relationship would continue. Given the anarchy of former West African colonies in the 1980's, the fashion is changing and it is all right to say, "Pity our people pulled out!"

We left Nigeria too soon. There should have been more development of the infrastructure, of plantations and factories. The discovery of oil was, paradoxically, a major tragedy for Nigeria . Many British officials were fine administrators who, with very limited resources, did excellent work. The inevitable slow rate of progress had its good side too. There was less cultural shock.

Because of ignorance of Africa, Whitehall has got away with murder. Only one or two newspaper editors needed to be bamboozled, and Lugard and his successors could tell a pack of lies, especially with Whitehall 's backing, and there would be no problem.

What of historians? A few of poor quality, because access to Government files was nigh impossible. And so the officials themselves became the historians and they short-circuited the journalists. Now we had propaganda turned into instant history. First there was Lugard who, with his fantasies, wove a tissue of lies. Aided by his wife who was as expert a liar as he was, his fabrications still colour Whitehall's attitudes to Nigeria, which can be summed up as pale-skinned Moslem North good, black-skinned Christian South bad. When Lady Lugard died, her place as propagandist for Lugard's crazy ideas was taken on by Margery Perham, who gave the story a few twists to fit changing times. Posing as a liberal, she screened black nationalists and acted as an intelligence officer for Whitehall . Miss Perham was told by me and, if she did not already know my story it was confirmed for her by the Governor General, that the Independence Elections in Nigeria were rigged. She then negotiated with my friend, Philip Williams, who was her colleague at Nuffield College , Oxford . The deal was the one I had had before from her friend the Governor General of Nigeria , Sir James Robertson. If I kept my mouth shut, I could have a top-flight career in the Foreign Service. A top-up bonus was the additional sweetener of any honours I chose. I declined once again.

So when Miss Perhaps wrote in her volume on Lugard, "In public enterprises there are often two accounts of the proceedings, a smooth official story of progress, studded with compliments and congratulations to all concerned, and the true unpublished story of the bitter struggles and the personal conflicts...." she knew what she was writing about.

The line that was pushed right from the very start of Lugard's occupation of Nigeria , and extended through the sixty years of British occupation, was that the North was Nigeria , and the ever-shrinking South an alien and extra mural, marginal extravagance. The truth was that Lugard proclaimed Nigeria as his own creation, and the Nigeria , which had known the British in various guises for centuries pre-Lugard, was an abomination, an excrescence. It spoiled the picture of Lugard, the conqueror of an empire of disparate peoples. To be reminded that Lagos and the South were educated and relatively civilised places with schools, newspapers and Christian churches, spoiled a good story. It was as if, having pushed Sir Edmund Hillary on to the top of Everest, his guide Tensing had remarked, "We come up here for a picnic most weekends in the summer."

The first writer of note to blow the whistle on the Lugards, and their black magic or propaganda approach to fixing the historical record, was Ian Nicolson. (I.F Nicolson. The Administration of Nigeria , 1900 to 1960. Oxford . 1969).I met Ian when he was in charge of Establishments in the new office block in 1958. (This branch of the old Secretariat became, I think, the Ministry of Home Affairs). The Colonial Office had confirmed with him my account of how the election rigging was getting on. I recall Ian locking the incriminating papers in his office safe.

Lugard felt that things like justice should not get in the way of decision-making, and saw justice as part of military discipline. In other words, he could take the law into his own hands whenever he so chose. Sir James Robertson had maybe learned all this from Margery Perham, for he wholeheartedly subscribed to the same philosophy. If elections would put the wrong people into power, it was necessary to rig them so that our boys won. If someone like me protested, have him silenced. Lugard executed people as if he were swotting flies. Robertson, who was also out of the Mussolini mould, had been officially reprimanded for following his master's example and having natives hanged for trivial misdemeanours.

As a civil servant, I was protected by a Code of Regulations and a Public Service Commission and British Law, but Robertson saw no need to accept these. He was Commander in Chief and Governor General, and thought that summary justice was what I needed. He had tried tempting me into the Army with high rank so that I could be court-martialled. It would, he thought, appear more seemly. Even then, he would be ignoring military law, but it was a good try. In the event his well-rehearsed speech went as follows:-

"The Colonial Service is the same as the Army, and you know what happens if you disobey orders on active service - you pay the penalty!" That was it. Standing in his office, I was, in seconds, charged and found guilty. I was to be silenced if I did not accept his terms. He intended to have me killed, just as he had ordered others to be killed.

The Deputy Governor General, who had interceded on my behalf in 1957, had left Nigeria . Sir Ralph (later Lord) Grey had written to me mentioning my achievements and had said that I had been of some service to the State. And now I was on my own and, for refusing the orders of an insane Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, was now to be extinguished by an equally mad Governor General. As ' Nigeria ' started under British rule in bloody conflict, often unnecessary and unjust, so it was to the end.

Like Lugard, Robertson loathed black people. He had spent his life working for the Foreign Office in the Sudan , and shared his master's love of the light-skinned Arab. Ian Nicolson zaps not only Lugard and Mrs Lugard, but also their apologist (and Lugard's intimate friend) Margery Perham. At the end of his book, Lugard's claim to any kind of integrity or truthfulness lies in ruins. Mrs Lugard is branded as a highly effective and professional liar of the school of Goebbels , and Miss Perham shown to be as good a historian as Enid Blyton. Perham's infatuation for the loathsome Fred Lugard seems to have softened her brain and to have had her simpering like a love struck adolescent.

The tradition of Lugard, amazingly, lingers on in Oxford , not so much as a lost cause but as a memorial to despicable treason. Academics who play down the effect of evil British policy in Nigeria , such as the rigging of the Independence Elections and the ghastly loss of life that ensued, write selectively of that period. See how they ignore the manner in which British officials, academics, and others play down their role in inciting the Northern people to start a pogrom against Igbos resident in the North. A coup by British-trained young officers had petered out, and legitimate power re-established with the hand-over of power from Ministers to General Ironsi. At that point only a handful of lives had been lost, and there had been general jubilation at the overthrow of a wicked and despotic regime. The role of the British in the events which followed was crucial, but only a huge black hole will be found in the writings of British specialists on this matter. The British had sentenced Balewa to a certain death when they rigged the elections in his favour. Six years later he paid the price for his criminality. Blind with rage at the loss of their stooge and his accomplices, the British struck out against the Igbos who, they felt, had masterminded the overthrow of their beloved Balewa. In so doing they executed a million young children and a million other, mainly young, people.

In her day Lady Lugard had contrasted "the higher types of the Northern States" with the "cannibal pagans" of the South. "The nearer to the coast, the worse was the native type... Sorcerers, idolaters, robbers and drunkards, they were indeed no better than their country." The vituperation of a virulent racist is familiar to those of us who have lived through the aberrations of Hitler's Germany and South African apartheid. That disciples of the Lugard/Perham school, though thin on the ground, still hang on at Oxford , is not so much proof of tolerance as of downright ignorance, perversity and lack of scholastic rigour and integrity.

8 February 1993

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Memo to a Colonial Governor

Margery Perham wrote in 1960 that, "In public enterprises there are often two accounts of the proceedings, a smooth official story of progress, studded with compliments and congratulations to all concerned, and the true unpublished story of the bitter struggles and the personal conflicts...."

Margery knew of what she wrote. That same year she had acted in Oxford as an intermediary between the Governor General of Nigeria , Sir James Robertson, and myself. The offer was any honours I sought, plus a top job. In return I would give my word never to reveal that the British Government had rigged Nigeria 's Independence Elections. I declined as tactfully as I could. She was in touch through my old friend, Philip Williams, who was also a Fellow of Nuffield. However, she was Philip's superior and in a position to do him great harm. Following on my negative but diplomatic reply, she put the fear of God in Philip. He probably got the homosexual exposure threat that had already been given to another friend of mine in Lagos , Michael Crowder.

How strange to realise that, if I had accepted that corrupt bargain, I might perhaps have preceded Chris Patten in Hong Kong . Margery Perham's excellent work, from which I quoted, is her biography of Lugard who played a major role in inventing Nigeria , and between times preceded him as Governor of Hong Kong between 1907 and 1912. Although Lugard felt he had little aptitude (p.283) he was reasonably well qualified, if not as superbly qualified as Mr Patten. He did come to think (p.287) that he had made a grave mistake in going to Hong Kong and longed for the man's work that he had done before. He felt he was no more than a willing makeshift (p.297) for a Governor, despite his success. London would say in due course that Lugard was too ambitious (p.354), but he knew that for too long the British Government was not ambitious enough.

Lugard was aware, looking with anxiety over the hills of Kowloon , of a coming storm (p.358). He was not sorry to leave the Colony (p.367). He had staked his professional career to win personal happiness, and it seemed that he had been completely the loser. But as Margery Perham comments, life's gambles are seldom quite absolute in their results. Greatness was difficult to achieve (p.371) "within the cramping physical and political conditions of a Colony which calls for tact and ingenuity rather than for bold innovation and energetic leadership."

I suspect that it will be found that when Chris Patten leaves Hong Kong , his first contribution, as with Lugard, will be seen to have been one of character. Few "realise the immense importance of integrity in the man at the top. Lugard had", says Margery Perham, "absolute sincerity and simplicity, a rock like basis of physical and moral courage." I feel it is commendable that Chris Patten has shown, in a situation where our physical resources are limited, that moral resource has a real role too. The people of Hong Kong needed a shot in the arm, and a very cheeky young General, Monty-like but hatless, has given it to those beleaguered but brilliant people.

20 February 1993

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Rigging of Nigeria 's Independence Elections by the British Government

I was put on trial by the Governor General of Nigeria in 1960. Later in retirement he wrote his memoirs but he does not mention me. Although the book was published in 1974, I did not even hear of it until 1991. I had read every major work on Nigeria over several decades and nowhere was Sir James Robertson's book mentioned.

Clearly, in commenting on this book 'Transition in Africa ' I am prejudiced. After all I was found guilty of a major crime and severely punished. Naturally, having served my sentence, I am curious to know more about James Robertson. What is indisputable is that Robertson was a highly successful colonial administrator.

Strictly speaking, the Sudan was not a British Colony, and for most of his life Robertson worked for the Foreign Office, but the differences are not really significant. The Sudan was run like a Colony and Robertson's work was no different than it would have been had he worked in Nigeria , which lay to the West on the Atlantic seaboard.

The British Colonies were run in a highly efficient and economical manner. It is true that much that is now accepted as essential services, even in poor African countries today, was not on offer when men like Robertson ruled vast numbers of colonial peoples. However, it is still extraordinary just how much was achieved by what was by any standards an absolutely minimally staffed service. The pay was not good, the health prospects were poor and it was by no means certain that every successful administrator would reach the top of the tree and collect gongs and a knighthood.

The quality of the staff recruited was high and Robertson was not untypical. He was a very capable Balliol graduate with a second in Greats and a Rugby Blue. He learned Arabic and worked very hard under the most primitive conditions for many years before promotion and honours came his way. These were richly deserved. Britain got a bargain in men of Robertson's calibre. The caricature of colonial blimps by liberals is unfair, if understandable. Robertson was not narrow. He had had an excellent education and his work in the Sudan called for considerable intelligence, enterprise and stamina. He wielded enormous power and routinely shouldered responsibilities beyond any that his contemporaries at Oxford would have realised in the Home Civil Service or in industry.

He was, I imagine, excellent company, with an enquiring mind, an amiable, friendly, good-humoured manner, loyal to his friends and, in his own way, to his country. In different circumstances the sort of person most of us rank and file in the service in Lagos would have been pleased to work under. As it was, my job at the Department of Labour, a notorious place to work, was made much worse by Robertson's intervention which was openly criminal.

My friend Michael Crowder, who was to become a distinguished, but flawed historian of African affairs, was surprised at how big a man Sir James was. He was to write of him as a great bear of a man, someone with a large presence and quite a big physique. I was down to seven or eight stone myself, largely due to Robertson, and in those days he seemed big to me too. Now I am fourteen stone myself, Robertson seems average. Michael got the plum job of Editor of Nigeria Magazine because he had cultivated Margery Perham at Oxford and she had recommended Michael to her good friend, the Governor General. When Michael was summoned to a tête-à-tête lunch at Government House he was already indebted to Sir James, and the Governor General reminded him of that fact. He also in a matter-of-fact way told Michael that he knew that he was a queer and that he was friendly with someone who was a thorn in his, His Excellency's, flesh.

"You are living very dangerously, Mr Crowder," said Robertson, topping up Michael's wine glass.

To say that Michael was frightened was an inadequate description of the terror he felt. He could go to gaol! At that point his bowel control became uncertain.

"Tell your friend Smith to stop dabbling in politics, or it might look bad for you. Do you understand what I am saying?"

Michael fled Government House and came straight to me after an enforced rush to the bathroom. Michael was pale and shaken.

"He knows about you, Sean," he stammered. "It was because of you I got the invitation!"

We had both wondered why Michael had been honoured in this way. The notion that I dabbled in politics amused me but did not cheer Michael. Henceforth he would steer well clear of me.

It was His Excellency the Governor General who was completely immersed in politics at a level which astounded everyone who was privy to the secret. When Robertson arrived in Lagos in 1955 he was no routine replacement. His predecessor, Sir John MacPherson, had become Permanent Secretary at the Colonial Office and Robertson headed a team of Sudanese administrators charged to carry out one of the most extraordinary missions in British colonial history. His team was made up of Sir Gawain Bell, who became Governor of the North, and his close friend Geoffrey Hawkesworth, who would take up the equally vital position of Chairman of the Federal Public Service Commission. Why was this team of experienced Sudanese administrators chosen to arrange the handover of power to Nigerian politicians? Quite simply, because what was required to be done was extraordinary. It is doubtful if Nigeria 's top administrators would have carried out Whitehall 's orders. His Excellency might have said jocularly, 'They've all gone native.' This was a tough assignment for men who would do whatever was necessary.

"Why?" I pleaded, when I saw Sir James at Government House in 1960. "Why did you rig the elections?"

"Because it was necessary," he replied coolly.

And also possible. In the Sudan , international observers were present to monitor the British administration of the elections. Robertson's elections prove how essential it is not to trust British protestations of fair play in running elections.

I was a lawmaker, busy preparing new laws befitting the giant African nation about to be born. My Factories Act had been hailed as the greatest piece of legislation to be placed on the Nigerian statute book. The Attorney General of Nigeria had praised my work highly, and the Chief Secretary, Sir Ralph, later Lord, Grey, wrote a letter for my personal file stating that I 'had been of some service to the state...' The Labour Advisor to the Secretary of State said I had made an extraordinary start to my career - I was, after all, straight out of Magdalen College , Oxford - and he promised that I was assured of a brilliant career.

The first stage of the Independence Elections took place in 1956 and were to decide the government of the three Regions, or States, which constituted the Federation. The British had always favoured the pro-British but very backward North, paradoxically because it did not seek independence at all, but was quite happy with the great powers bestowed on its hereditary leaders by indirect rule from the indifferent British. The chosen people were totally unprepared for independence and would inevitably suffer at the hands of the well educated and politically sophisticated Southerners who made jokes about British officials and ridiculed and even patronised them. The North lacked a University, even the basic elements of an elementary school system. Its civil servants at clerical level were Southerners and its administrators were almost totally British. Something had to be done.

I was astonished to receive orders from His Excellency in 1956 telling me to help fix the 1956 State elections. I was to head a covert operation and, under cover of a study of migration, to take all Labour headquarters staff and transport to help elect politicians backed by the British. I replied with a minute that said, 'No.' These were criminal acts, expressly forbidden by the election laws of Nigeria and I could not carry them out. The Governor General and the British Government had it in for the Action Group, the government party in the Western Region. Robertson's remarks about the Action Group in his memoirs illustrate his deep animosity and hatred towards them.

If that refusal to break the laws of Nigeria and Britain and the essence of democratic parliamentary system was dabbling in politics, I plead guilty. In truth it was His Excellency and Whitehall who were subverting the British Constitution and committing treason against the rule of HM The Queen.

Michael Crowder had received a menacing home visit from a senior police officer who made threatening gestures. My wife and I gave Michael all possible moral support in this grotesque and squalid blackmail by agents of the British Government.

Sir James told me that he had personally issued the orders to which I had objected; that not one of the many other senior officers involved had objected; that I knew far too much and if I would not shut up means would be found to silence me. I did not know all the facts. The operation was necessary. If I would not shut up I would never work again in a responsible position. The press would never be allowed to publish my story. Who would believe me? I would have to agree to work abroad. I was not to be allowed to be employed in the UK . A brilliant career lay ahead if I would give my word. The Colonial Service was like the Army: if you disobeyed orders, you paid the penalty.

Clearly Sir James Robertson was chosen for this treachery because it was known that he was a very hard man with an underdeveloped moral sense. Proof of this is to be found in his autobiography when he was severely reprimanded for executing three Africans who were allegedly acting as agents of the Italians.

I might have said, had I been allowed, that I was a civil servant. Even if I had been in the Army, I would have had the right to a lawful trial. As it was, my rights as a civil servant to appeal to the Public Service Commission were blocked by the Governor General's friend, Geoffrey Hawkesworth.

Amazingly, the Governor General's prediction was correct. The Colonial Office told its Minister, Julian Amery, in 1960 that I did not exist and when he persevered he was then told that all my papers had been destroyed. The Queen's friend, Lord Perth, was closely involved and can verify the truth of my story. His Excellency's Star Chamber trial verdict ran beyond his death in 1974. In thirty years the British Press has played its prostitute role and has been shamed by the bravery of a small County paper, the Wiltshire Times, which published my story in 1988.

Lord Grey has been available to inform successive British Governments of the truth of my account, but they do everything possible to pretend they have not been informed. Deniability is the aim. Having now had acknowledgements from Lynda Chalker, Chris Patten and the Prime Minister, that particular tactic is no longer sustainable. Blocking publication is proof of concerted Government action and an acknowledgement of guilt, if it were needed.

There is little point in listing the-sleight-of-hand deceptions and stratagems Robertson used to avoid the truth in his account. When he is assuredly guilty of treason against our most hallowed constitutional principles, he is a man without honour, as are those politicians and Whitehall employees who gave him leave to behave criminally. His actions in the Sudan and Nigeria led directly to the tragedies which befell those countries. In Nigeria a million people died in the Biafran Civil War because of his machinations.

The degree of complicity of Mr. Major's Government in the conspiracy of silence still surrounding these events has yet to be established. As before, I am sending copies of this statement to various notables, none of whom however has yet interceded, and all of whom must share some degree of responsibility for preventing the full and proper disclosure to the public of these disgraceful events. 

28 November 1991

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BAD GUYS (And GOOD GUYS): Right and Wrong in Good Books

The Administration of Nigeria 1900 to 1960: I F Nicolson

Catch 22 (and a Bit) - Smith's Word of Honour

Colonial Cadet in Nigeria: John Smith

Crime and Punishment: Fyodor Dostoevsky

Nigeria by Walter Schwarz, and Nigeria: Background to Nationalism by James S. Coleman

The Nigerian Federal Election of 1959: K W J Post - The Last Great Act of Treason?

Poor Bloody Africa: The British Destruction of African Democracy: ('The Guardsmen: Harold Macmillan, Three Friends and the World They Made' by Simon Ball)

Transition in Africa: Sir James Robertson

The Trial: Franz Kafka

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The Administration of Nigeria 1900 to 1960: I F Nicolson

The Governor General of Nigeria , Sir James Robertson, told me in 1960 why the British had decided to destroy democracy at its birth in this giant empire named Nigeria . We had favoured the North since Nigeria was invented. A crackpot named Lugard was largely responsible. His women disciples, including a lovesick academic Perham - later to offer me a knighthood - were not only infatuated with Lugard, who looked like a demented rat, but were crazy about the North.

The best book on Lugard and his lady friends is by I F Nicolson, 'The Administration of Nigeria 1900 to 1960.' It is sad that Nicolson did not write a second volume taking the story on from 1960. Anyway, Nicolson knew that we had rigged the Independence Elections, for we discussed this in his office in Lagos , and he placed my files and papers relating to British corruption in his safe.

We had decided to give power to Balewa, a Northerner, because he was quite a benevolent person who could be easily guided by our people. He was not really a politician and was quite gentle and honest for a political stooge. Idealistic young Sandhurst-trained officers shot Balewa in 1966. A pro-British officer, General Ironsi then took over, but he seemed to be under the influence of a friend of mine, Nwokedi - an Easterner. There was a counter coup and Ironsi was killed.

When the Governor General ordered me to get involved in the first stage at State (or Regional) level of the Independence Elections in 1956, I refused. I was to assist the Minister of Labour Okotie Eboh, a notoriously crooked politician and friend of Robertson. Okotie Eboh was my Minister. He too was shot, to everyone's delight, with Balewa the Prime Minister.

The British had planned for the Western power base of Awolowo, a nationalistic leader, to be destabilised. For all I know, the Southerners had won the Independence Elections, but no way were they to be allowed to run Nigeria after the British left. Nicolson knew this in 1958 because Colonial Office officials were stunned when I told them what Macmillan had planned for Nigeria . They asked Nicolson to confirm what I told them and he did. The Colonial Office then returned me to Lagos to see Nicolson.

Nwokedi, who was my senior colleague, was one of our golden boys and a friend of mine. He was an ally of Dr Azikiwe, who became Governor General at Independence and later President. Nwokedi was largely responsible for the Biafran Civil War starting. The British organised a pogrom against Dr Zik's Easterners resident in the North, and Ironsi was killed as were tens of thousands of Ibos. Kirk-Greene participated in and wrote about these events, but has yet to reveal the squalid truth. This pogrom made civil war inevitable. Two million died.

Although our stooges got shot, the British were resourceful and for another thirty years have played an active role in deciding who would rule as military dictator. Our sponsored dictatorships have been relatively benevolent. Nigerians have never known democracy so do not miss it too much. Western style democracy does not appeal to them, as they dislike the very idea of joining an opposition. As the Government controls the spoils, many Nigerians leave the losing Party and join the winning Party to get some loot.

I told everyone that what we were doing in the late fifties was wrong and would lead to disaster, but I was told by the Governor General to shut up or be killed. I fled Nigeria in 1960 and for my pains I never worked again and have been targeted by British Intelligence to ensure that I never blew the whistle on British treason in Africa . I declined a knighthood and large sums of money in return for my silence. The Governor General told me that I was the only honest Britisher in the Nigerian Colonial Service!

2 June 1997

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'Catch 22' and a Bit: Smith's Word of Honour

My career and health were destroyed during Government service in Nigeria . However, Whitehall thinks that I am a thoroughly bad hat and will not talk to me. That is not totally true. They will talk to me. They had said that for nearly forty years, but only if I give my word of honour. The rewards on offer were mouth-watering - knighthood, tens of thousands of pounds (in 1960's money), a great career with rapid and instant promotion in the Foreign Service. They say I will not talk to them. I say they will not talk to me. The Catch 22 and a Bit is the terms on which they will not talk to me. They will not talk to me unless I give my word of honour never to reveal why they want my word of honour before they will talk to me.

They want my scout's honour, cross my heart - which, as a boy - I solemnly believed was the highest form of oath, especially if one added '...hope to die' as a postscript. They deny rigging Nigeria 's Independence Elections, which of course privately they freely admit that they did, and are furious about it because I would not join in. They feel about me as both major party leaders feel about Mr Ashdown. He is allegedly sanctimonious, smug, pious, condescending, patronising, or - in other words - honest.

They must have my word of honour never to reveal what they say they never did, i.e. rig Nigeria 's Independence Elections. How can I swear never to reveal something that they say they never did? After a long pause Sir Humphrey would say, "Well, you must stop saying we did it!"

"But you did," I insist. "You sacked me because I wouldn't take part at a very high level..."

"Well, of course, we did. We know that. The point is that nobody else knows!"

"I know..."

"But you won't know when you have become one of us. Just keep your mouth shut."

"After I have given my word?"

"Exactly. Give your word. Forget all about it. Keep your mouth shut, or else..."

"Or else?"

"You will regret it. An officer in the Colonial Service is exactly the same as an officer in the Army who disobeys orders on active service. You know the penalty...!

"I declined your offer to become a Colonel in the Army."

"You are impertinent, and you know far too much. You can never be allowed to return to the UK ."

It got much worse.

Mr Major's Government recently denied that they had me poisoned in Lagos . It was just a coincidence that I developed a permanent gut-wasting disease and lost half my weight and looked like a skeleton. It took twelve years to name the disease that rarely occurs in Africa . I was saved in extremis and my case troubled the specialists. The Government said that Porton Down, which manufactures poisons that mimic tropical diseases for use against enemies of Britain , had not poisoned me.

I asked how they knew. They replied that the Director of Porton Down had told them so. (A few weeks later he was reprimanded by the House of Commons for lying to them on another issue.) I told the Ministry of Defence that I would have been very surprised if the Director of Porton Down had said anything else. It was noteworthy, I added, that at the time Porton Down had a branch in Nigeria where they were testing poison gas and other means of keeping the Queen's peace.

Curiously, the Government had also built a vast, very expensive mental hospital in the bush nearby. What it did was a mystery as it was kept fully staffed but empty. It must have been like the hospital in the film 'Coma', with its warehouse of spare bits of corpses. When the distinguished American author, John Gunther, heard about it (probably from the CIA), he went along and asked why such an expensive facility was kept empty at such cost when the need for hospital care in Nigeria was so great. The Superintendent told him that, although there were indeed many thousands, even perhaps millions, who needed help, they were not the type of patients for whom the hospital had been designed. It could not possibly be connected with Porton Down experiments involving dropping poison gas from the air and seeing what happened if it accidentally drifted over African populated areas...

A Rear Admiral recently wrote to me to say that I now had his permission to publish my remarkable story. He added, somewhat unnecessarily, that this did not mean that I would be published. The Government wanted it known that they were no longer banning publication. Even the Cabinet Secretary was anxious to tell me that I was no longer banned by the Major Government. Nothing changed of course. Except that I was sounded out about accepting a pension, on the usual terms of course. The interview with an MP only took place on condition that I agreed that we could not discuss why the interview was taking place. In other words, officially, I suppose it never happened. Certainly nothing came of it. Presumably because I refused to give my word never to reveal something quite dreadful, which officially never happened.

Over to you, Mr Blair!

12 May 1997

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John Smith of Kano , Colonial Cadet in Nigeria

John Smith's 'Colonial Cadet in Nigeria ' is a book of great charm, which filled me with admiration for the author and rekindled the love of Nigeria I shared with him. This modest, honest, straightforward and not uncritical account is of the final years of an occupation which lasted only sixty years, and already thirty years have passed since the British withdrawal.

The book is also invaluable for demonstrating how indirect rule worked. What was initiated as an inexpensive way of running an occupied country with a handful of administrators necessarily entailed a very close relationship between the people at all levels and the British. The record was a proud one. If there was modest development, there was also the minimum of interference with the native culture. Remarkably too, for this was imperialism triumphant, there was also deep affection and even love. Nevertheless, every effort, including blatant criminality, was made by the British to ensure that in the independence elections, the pro-British Northerners won. The British were the servants of the Emirs and the Native Administrations and the political party - the NPC - formed with the help and encouragement of the British to contest elections, ran the Northern Regional Government and, in due course, the Federal Government.

In John Smith's account, the opposition party NEPU is viewed as an intrusive/disruptive element. The British certainly often appeared to turn a blind eye to the harassment NEPU suffered at the hands of the Native Administrations and the Emirs. John Smith is so innocent of the undemocratic stance that he portrays while protecting his charges, and this was not untypical, that one can almost feel this total identification with the interests of the Emirs. In rigging elections in the North (and Northern officials, while admitting the fact, will be hurt that what they did should be seen, not as duty arising from necessity, but as election rigging) the British did nothing unusual. It was merely an extension of the extremely varied, normal routine, which primarily was to act in the Emirs' interest.

Indirect rule was not simply a system where the British used the rule of the Emirs, that is to say, where the Emirs were the agents of the British. In many ways, as Smith demonstrates, it was the other way around - the British were the agents of the Emirs. When Northern officials are charged with fiddling the elections, they openly admit it but express astonishment. Why the fuss? That was their job. They organised the election arrangements superbly, despite tremendous problems, and went on without hesitation to ensure total victory for their bosses, as a natural continuation of the same process. What seems criminality on a grand scale to the impartial observer was to the British simply a matter of getting on with the job.

Faced with a Southern official, who levels charges of gross corruption, the Northern official is bemused, amused and then a bit put out. "Come on, old chap," they say, "That's putting it a bit strong. It was our job to look after our people. Outsiders and trouble makers had to be checked." The point that I am making is that the British stood for order and stability and keeping everything quiet and peaceful. Quite how British officials became so indoctrinated with this ethos of the status quo is a mystery to me. Perhaps it was acquired at Oxford from Miss Perham. Aliens were missionaries; Southern officials; forces of evil like trade unionists; radicals like LSE-trained education officers; insensitive industrialists; foreigners; and particularly representatives of international bodies; and Southerners. The election business simply added NEPU politicians; nationalists from the South; political agents and journalists; busybodies; and other do-gooders to the list. All had to be and were outwitted with great skill by Northern officials.

John Smith alone can be safely excluded from anything improper. His integrity and intelligence are exceptional and remarkable. There were other Northern officials of the same high calibre who served 'their people' (and by that, without sarcasm, I mean the Northern peoples) with tremendous love and devotion far beyond the call of duty. I may seem confused and ambivalent in both indicating criminality and yet admiring Northern officials. I understand this, and that same paradox is an essential part of the record of British rule in Nigeria and particularly the North.

To progressives, ignorant of what the British did in Nigeria , I will be looked on as totally reactionary, and my views will be seen as very close to the Northern officials, whom I apparently criticise. I would point out that Northern officials were rarely responsible for initiating the policy they carried out. In some ways they had to make the best of a bad job. As individuals they were often men of exceptional calibre, as were Southern officials too.

 

17 June 1992

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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT (Prestupleniye i nakazaniye) Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1866)

A horrible crime has been committed, but the core of Dostoevsky's novel is Raskolnikov's attempt to find a moral justification for his crime. He was, he claimed, going to use the money for which he committed murder, to become a benefactor of mankind.

The Governor General of Nigeria , HM The Queen's personal representative, confessed to me in 1960 that he was a criminal in that he was rigging Nigeria 's Independence elections. His point in seeing me was to offer, firstly inducements to buy my silence and, secondly threats against my well being and, indeed, survival if I refused to give him my word to keep quiet. Why had the British Government decided on this criminal folly? I put the question to Sir James Robertson that day in his private office in Government House on the Marina , overlooking the lagoon.

"Because it was necessary," he replied calmly. "Look, Smith," he added, losing his composure momentarily. "You don't know all the facts..." Nevertheless, when he later adopted a more threatening posture, he went on to say that I already knew far too much!

The political situation in Nigeria deteriorated rapidly after independence. The British puppet regime, headed by Balewa, had waged war on its opponents in the South. A military coup was acclaimed by the people, but swiftly, following splits on tribal lines, a bloody civil war broke out which cost the lives of two million young men, women and children.

Those who do not believe that the British Government is capable of such infamy may be tempted to vent their anger on the messenger. The truth is that I opposed this criminality from the start, and paid a high price for being loyal to our democracy and traditions and the rule of law. I have researched deeply into the question of the motives for this treason for thirty years, and if the reasons or excuses which I produce do not seem adequate, I must stress that I would concur in that judgement. These are the reasons or excuses I have discovered, and unless Lord Grey, for example, who is still alive (1992) is prepared to enlighten us further, we may never - as the criminals may have destroyed the records - get a better explanation.

Raskolnikov's motives are one by one proved to be false, as perhaps Robertson's too will be one day. It is evident that there was deep mistrust of Dr Azikiwe, the nationalist leader, by the British., In 1943 the British Colonial Secretary described Zik as 'the biggest danger of the lot.' Over the years Dr Zik had made some bloodcurdling speeches which had thoroughly alarmed the British. In 1947, for example, he labelled imperialists and their accomplices as international criminals like the Nazis, and promised retribution when Nigeria became free. Nine years later Zik was proved right, because it was during the first stage of the independence elections that I got my orders from H.E. to interfere massively in the election and began to appreciate how hollow were British promises of an open, free, fair and honest election. The British for their part would say that they had to get their blow in first, knowing what Dr Zik had in mind.

It is highly probable that the British were going to favour their allies in the North anyway, and looked around for evidence of extremist threats to justify what they were already planning to do. It might be said of Dr Zik's extremist and sometimes inflammatory speeches that he had the role of a dedicated nationalist to maintain. It was important to appear to be a valiant fighter against the imperialist yoke. Personally, I always regarded Zik's hyperbole as a joke. He was an armchair rebel and had not the slightest intention of going to jail or sacrificing his very comfortable life style for the cause.

The British might argue that what they were doing was in Nigeria 's best interest. It is, however, more likely that, in subverting the democratic process to place Nigeria in the hands of pro-British elements, Whitehall was only seeking to protect its own interests. Do the British care that this treachery caused the deaths of two million Nigerians? In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov suffers a crisis of conscience, but we have seen no signs of contrition from the British Government. Raskolnikov, whose name is derived from the Russian word for 'schismatic' is an extremely complicated character. So too were the British, who were presenting themselves as thoroughly honest and decent democrats, while flagrantly destroying Nigeria's first experiment in democracy after years of autocratic colonial rule. According to the election results as presented by the British, the majority of the Nigerian people had voted, not for their nationalist leaders, but for the feudal elite who had little interest in democracy or even the welfare of the whole of the Nigerian nation.

When the criminality has the approval of a British Prime Minister like Macmillan or Eden, not even a police inspector like Porfiri Petrovich, an astute psychologist, will be smart enough to bring the criminals to book. The question of punishment, therefore, only arises when it is decided how to punish those who tried to expose the criminality. The criminals were awarded high honours for their treason, which resulted in the deaths of two million people.

Dostoevsky's Raskolnikov suffered a crisis of conscience because he murdered two women. How conscience-stricken should one feel for two million?

In truth, the more one kills the less one feels. Constant repetition obliterates the moral sense, perhaps. And the architects of Nigeria 's bloody contest, where treachery in the name of unity had Nigerians rejoicing in the deaths of Nigerians, witnessed no killings, so why should they even regret their evil machinations? Could it be that conscience stirs, not in direct, but inverse ratio to killing? Put that way, one understands both Raskolnikov's unhappiness and Whitehall 's oblivion.

Bomber Harris planned mass killing of German civilians without the slightest concern for his victims, because he had killed individual Kurds, and twos and threes and small family groups while strafing rebellious tribesmen from the air in Iran . Our boys in blue, who carried out Harris's orders, sometimes dropped their bombs in the sea, and most often five miles from their intended targets. It was alleged that it was to stop this cowardice or regard for women and children that cameras were fitted to our bombers to record where the bombs were released - a unique reversal of conventional morality. Those who declined to kill were punished, as I was punished for refusing to betray the people of Nigeria .

Dostoevsky's debate as to whether or not the end justifies the means is now something of a cliché, but it is as vitally important as ever. Necessity makes us bend the rules, ignore the law, flout convention and decency. The necessity is to ensure that things come out right. The desire is to take the chance out of political events. It may not work, millions may die cruelly, but at least we tried. When the perpetrators of crime are those charged with preventing it, the title of our novel should truly be 'Crime without Punishment', or 'Punishment of the innocent is no crime and this is your very own criminal Government telling you so.'

20 July 1992

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Nigeria by Walter Schwarz and

Nigeria : Background to Nationalism by James S. Coleman

Schwarz is a typical writer on Nigeria . He writes of Independence giving the official story; he reads some academic accounts, chiefly Coleman, and a recent history or two, usually Michael Crowder, and blends them into a readable, informed and useful account. That is what journalists do. They act as an intermediary between reality and the general public. When journalists, as reporters, write from Damascus as the shells fall, we can check their accounts against other journalists' copy. When journalists write books they are not 'there' when they write of earlier events, but may use their writing skills, unwittingly and no doubt unintentionally, to such effect that we almost feel they were there. Academics do this too, when they have got rid of student nuisances, and settle down with a pot of coffee or a glass or two of sherry to their 'real' work.

I wish the many journalists who wrote about Nigeria 's independence and what it meant for Africa had spoken to me. I would have told them it was a total fake. They were conned into thinking that it was the British Empire 's finest hour. A great trust had been fulfilled, etc. etc. The Governor General, who was not the blimp that they might have imagined, but an Oxford-educated street fighter, experienced in covert intelligence, anti-Communist operations, terrorism and pulling the wool over inquisitive journalists' eyes, knew how to deal with Fleet Street. Each important journalist was given a minder to make life pleasant and protect our sensitive and pure-minded scribblers from bad influences, i.e. people like me. It was also thought a good thing to keep them happy and amused with the sorts of comforts which they would expect. When journalists said that they would like to meet the locals, or get some local colour, or get their feet wet, the administration knew exactly what they wanted and laid it on - plenty of drink and black girls, or even boys.

Well, at least Schwarz had read Coleman whose work is excellent. I met many young Americans in Lagos but have no memory of Coleman, although he was apparently around the Labour Department where he met one of my colleagues, Tokumboh. He also spoke to Bola Onitiri who lodged in my home in London as a student while I was in Lagos . Bola returned to Ibadan as a Professor of Economics with a very rosy view of the British. They had indeed looked after him rather well, and I had done my bit too, I suppose. Anyway, it was usual then for Nigerians to keep their heads down and never ever to show signs of not loving the British and all their works. From their point of view I was extremely dangerous, a viewpoint shared incidentally by the Governor General, as he told me himself.

So Schwarz gets his stuff from Coleman who got it from Tokumboh and Bola Onitiri who followed the Yoruba tradition of telling the white man what he wanted to hear. This is a universal custom in the downtrodden (a misnomer, really, speaking of the Yoruba. They are rich, conservative, proud, even arrogant and patronising) when replying to questions from the powerful. The British police do not have to beat people up to get confessions. Most of the British lower classes know what is expected of them and readily comply. (Care on the part of the police is necessary because the confessions often go way over the top and have to be edited down rather than exaggerated, and cut and edited to dovetail in with the rest of the 'evidence'. Was it ever thus?)

The story in Schwarz is the official story. It sounds truthful and realistic and authentic. The central truth nevertheless is a lie. It is understandable that this should happen because the British took very great care to cover up their criminality. The British are not stupid. They know the penalty for being found out. They had, moreover, a lot of experience in the business.

Why did I not seek out the reporters? I did. I told everyone I could, and this got back to the Governor General, who was very angry. The actual incident involved my being overheard over dinner at the Lagos Resthouse restaurant talking to an official of the American Consulate and one of my young American friends. The latter was one or more of the following. He was a post-graduate student, a writer, a historian, a do-gooder, someone vaguely attached to the US Consulate or a CIA man. There were quite a few young Americans around like this. Coleman and Bretton were not untypical.

The administration was not making life easy for me. I now see why they kept me on the move, or on the hop, around various offices in Lagos , under threat and very much under a cloud. If I had got settled, I might have had more time to seek out visiting academics etc. to tell my story to. As it happened, no-one published my disclosure anyway, so maybe it would not have made any difference. Just to make sure, my friends were subjected to the most awful harassment. That explains why Michael Crowder's version of Independence , which he wrote little about, is deeply flawed, because it is a lie, pure and simple.

Did Tokumboh and Onitiri know that the independence elections were rigged? Of course. What Coleman would have done if they had told him the truth, or if I had spoken to him (and it is possible that I did) I do not know. Look at the curious case of Ken Post, who wrote the authoritative study of the elections and gave the British a glowing testimonial, not just a clean bill of health. Ken knew much more than he 'let on'. But having done his duty, he was suitably rewarded by appointment to Ibadan University . Had the British known that Ken was a Marxist who did not believe a word of it, would it have made any difference? The fact is, they got what they wanted.

Coleman did not know? Did he not speak to his own Consular people? Did he not speak to the State Department? Did he not speak to the CIA? Did he not speak to Nigerian journalists? Did he not speak to any honest British officials? It seems not.

Sources are like a stream. Maybe it does not matter whether you drink from the stream or not. Michael Crowder was a wonderful friend to have, and I cherished and was for ever proud that I had known him. He liked me too. Yet Michael gave me his word that he would blow the whistle on British treachery one day, but he never did. Histories go on being written, the stream of life flows on, and the old lies are still there in the bed of the stream.

23 March 1992

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'The Nigerian Federal Election of 1959' by K W J Post. The Last Great Act of Treason?

'The last great act of the British Raj.' So wrote Ken Post, a young British academic-to-be (if his researches were acceptable) of Nigeria 's Independence Elections of 1959. As the elections were rigged, Ken got it wrong, but British colonial historians often quote his verdict with approval, for he supported their prejudice that the British had behaved honourably.

The bulk of Nigeria's territory lay in the Northern Region and the British backed up the Northerners' demand for 50% of the Federal parliamentary seats by stating in the 1950's that the North did indeed have over 50% of Nigeria's population. At that time I was in charge of statistics in the Department of Labour's Headquarters in Lagos and I did not believe a word of it. What were the true figures? I did not know, nor did, nor does anybody else. An American, Professor Henry L. Bretton, believed the elections to have been rigged. He wrote that "... the very construction of the Northern Region, in the form in which it entered the era of independence, represents one of the greatest acts of gerrymandering in history."

I have written to many of the academics involved, including Ken Post, about Nigeria 's independence elections, which were in two stages. None reply to my letters. I wrote to tell them of how I had been ordered by the Governor General to rig the elections. It was beyond question, without a doubt, that in fact the last great act of the British Raj in Africa 's largest British territory, practically an empire of nations rather than a colony, was treason. In 1956 a conference was held at Nuffield College , Oxford , to consider how Nigeria 's elections could be studied. When I asked the Warden of Nuffield to see a report on this conference, I was told it was not available, for quite spurious reasons. Had a study been made of the election at Regional level in the North, which preceded the 1959 election, it would have been quite clear that the election was a total farce. It was decided that it was not possible to study that election.

A totally inexperienced young graduate student, Ken Post, is selected to make a one-man study of one of the most complex and important general elections to be held in Africa . The African giant, Nigeria , is the most populous country on the continent. Its sheer physical size and ethnic diversity is truly incredible. On election day, where would Mr Post position himself? He could as easily have stayed in London and read the Nigerian newspapers and British official reports. And as all newspapers in the major part of the territory were British-controlled - a licence was required from the British to start a newspaper - his information, his primary sources were British in origin, not Nigerian. However, Mr Post could speak to the voters and write to them? Sadly, the voters were mostly illiterate and did not speak English anyway. It seems Mr Post spoke no African languages and employed no interpreters.

Yet Mr Post produced a detailed, fact-filled, fat volume which appears quite intimidating, and reached very clear and decisive conclusions. British public relations had transformed a poor, squalid, backward colony into a beacon of democracy, a model democracy, the twelfth largest democracy in the world. And yet in six years the window dressing had slipped to reveal near total anarchy, the destruction of the parliamentary opposition, trumped-up treason trials, a totally corrupt political elite, a military coup, the assassination of three Prime Ministers, a bloody pogrom, one of the bloodiest civil wars in world history and the total destruction of that democracy, hailed by Mr Post and given his imprimatur of being fair, decent and honest.

One in five Africans is a Nigerian. The most important black African State has been described as the African Giant, the Brazil of Africa, and the Texas of Africa. In area it covers 923,768 square kilometres (356,669 square miles) and is four times the size of the United Kingdom . From Badagri to Lake Chad is about as far as New York to Chicago . Communications in Nigeria were primitive if not non-existent. If Mr Post visited a town, it would be a different world from the surrounding area, which it might be impossible to reach.

Of course, Mr Post knew that this was a British election. British officials were in control of the electoral machinery. It would indeed have been very surprising if Mr Post had returned to his supervisors, his professors at London and Oxford , and announced that it was all a great fix. Would his book have been published? Did the award of a doctorate depend on this work? Would he have been appointed by the British to the post of Lecturer in Government at Nigeria 's prestigious but sole University, had he discovered and published the truth? What did the roll call of distinguished professors of presumed great integrity intend by this unlikely of all academic, but also of incredible politically explosive potential, projects?

Presumably they knew that Nigeria 's terrain is extremely varied, ranging as it does from thick coastal mangrove swamps and rain forests to dry savannah regions in the extreme North. Eminent geographers claim that there are 434 ethnic groups in Nigeria speaking 395 mutually unintelligible languages. The major groups are the Hausa-Fulani, the Yoruba and the Ibo, and some ten groups account for some eighty per cent of the population. Remarkably, nearly 50% of the population may be under the age of fifteen. (Remember that all British, Nigerian, official and other figures are largely guesswork. I did my share of guessing when compiling those official reports! As the official who planned and drafted Nigeria 's major Act of Parliament in the welfare area, the Nigerian Factories Act, and planned and pioneered the prestigious National Provident Fund, I needed reliable figures if anybody did!)

Mr Post had an impossible task. I do not question his integrity. In fact, he compiled a comprehensive, detailed, exhausting and voluminous work. If I question its accuracy, value or integrity, it is because it is almost totally dependent on tainted and very suspect British official sources which I had conclusive evidence were corrupt. When I was invited to a meeting with HE the Governor General, Sir James Robertson, to discuss all this at Government House in 1960, his personal assistant, the beautifully mannered and charming John Bongard told me not to mention unsavoury matters.

"You mean the election rigging?" I asked.

"No. He wants to talk about the election rigging, but don't mention buggering black boys," said Bongard.

When I asked the Governor General why he had rigged the Independence Elections, he replied quietly, "Because it was necessary."

Livy said, 'Treachery, though covered up, always comes out in the end.' 'Deeply concealed acts of treachery,' said Cicero , 'are often disguised with the pretence of duty or necessity.'

Carefully read, Mr Post occasionally indicates reservations to his general thesis, but he carefully skirts the rocks that would sink his vessel. Quite simply, the fact that the British-controlled NPC exercised totalitarian power over two-thirds of Nigerian territory made the election results a nonsense. There had been a secret agreement inflicted on the Southern leaders, binding them not to campaign in the North. What sort of election was this where the pro-British party, which was hardly recognisable as a normal political party, was guaranteed success?

'And so in 1960 Nigeria 's leaders (with, be it noted, the enthusiastic mandate of an exemplarily administered general election behind them) moved into sovereignty...' I was a returning officer in Lagos where the pretence and reality almost met. However, through my network of official contacts throughout the country, I heard of British officials and their agents lining up every available voter to vote for pro-British candidates. Mr Post got it wrong. This was the greatest act of sophisticated gerrymandering and skulduggery of any election in the so-called free world (in modern history). Two distinguished historians, both friends of mine, were blackmailed into silence because they knew this truth.

If Nigerians after 1960 (although British officials were still in place over large areas) rigged elections shamelessly, they had learned from experts. Let us consider how the British ran an election in Prime Minister Balewa's constituency in 1964. In the general election that year an 'affidavit described how three abortive attempts had been made to nominate a candidate in the Prime Minister Balewa's constituency. At the first attempt, the nominators were arrested; the second time they were carried away by thugs; on the third occasion they were kidnapped and held until the lists closed.' In sixty one constituencies in the North, NPC candidates were returned unopposed. It seems the nominations of the opposition candidates somehow were overlooked. (Martin Meredith. 'The First Dance of Freedom.' Abacus. 1985. P. 179). As the British were still running the administration in Northern Nigeria , one can see why Balewa was so grateful to them.

Post's Eurocentrism and Britishness is evident throughout his study. " Nigeria still has the test of running a Federal election without the assistance of a largely expatriate administration." In fact the staff who ran the 1959 election were almost totally Nigerian. Should they not be credited with running an honest election too? Is Post suggesting that the presence of one Britisher produced an honest election? That, without that one Britisher, the staff at each polling station were probably corrupt? This maligns the whole Nigerian nation and is quite monstrous. To one like myself who had been intimately connected with British chicanery in these elections, it is absolutely infuriating to find Post's flawed reporting passed off as objective evidence of British fair play.

If the relative honesty of British and African peoples is to be put in the scales in a Nigerian context, is the integrity of the people who conquered by force of arms outside the rule of law to be valued higher than the innocent victims of this conquest? If Mr Post's innocence leads him to believe that the British were impartial in a contest between the pro-British North and the nationalist South, his study is undermined. The British handed power to the North at Independence , not because of an election result, but because it was the only condition on which power would be granted in 1959. In fact the election was totally rigged. With the evidence of interference known to me, no-one would accept that the British behaved honestly in the 1959 elections. If Nigerian-run elections post 1959 were corrupt, the Nigerians lacked the expertise to pass them off as honest. The British had that expertise and successfully pulled the wool over the young and inexperienced Mr Post's eyes in 1959.

The 1959 elections were orderly, efficient and largely peaceful on polling day. The British arrangements went smoothly. It is these attributes that Mr Post confuses with fairness and honesty. In truth he was watching the Africans exclusively. His verdict exonerates those he observed. This was one of the greatest confidence tricks perpetrated by a colonial power in Africa on a subject people. Mr Post was selected by the crooked British to see if one of the African parties was interfering with the election. Had he examined the machinations of the British in the way they set up the contest, he would have been compelled to cry fraud! By and large the verdict of the election had been delivered before polling day. Mr Post had no authority as an observer to state as he does, for example on page 345, that polling in the 311 constituencies and 25,000 polling stations went off with remarkable smoothness. This is a measure of his inability to appreciate what he was really doing. And even had there been 25,000 impartial Mr Posts to warrant such a sweeping statement, it would have proved little. People who rig elections are crooks but not necessarily stupid. They do not do business in the open, but in private, as one would expect.

As Post reminds us, the registration and poll were voluntary. Allegations that the British in the major part of the country, the North, which covered at least two thirds of Nigerian territory, marshalled every adult male who could walk through the registration and polling booths, apparently escaped Post's attention. He expresses no surprise that the politically inexperienced and apathetic peasants in remote rural areas with few if any attributes of civilisation - tarred roads, clean water, schools or medical provision - produced a percentage poll of 89.2. Knowing British chicanery, Mr Post was right not to be surprised. From reports I received from contacts throughout the country, I was not surprised either. The lower figures of 74% in the East and 71% in the West are acceptable as a reflection of the higher literacy and political awareness in the coastal regions and were certainly due to truly voluntary registration and voting. The Southern figures were comparable (if somewhat lower) with voting figures in British general elections, as Post notes. In the North, incredibly, albeit with British assistance, the percentage poll was 10.5% higher than in the British General Election of the same year! Even Mr Post acknowledges that the British in the North lent a hand to get Northerners to register. Yet he draws back from the realisation that the British would complete the job and marshal largely illiterate peasants through the same booth to vote for their pro-British masters. Why bother to tackle the enormous job of registration if the voters were not going to turn up to vote? And as Post records on page 205, it appeared that almost the entire eligible male population was registered in a majority of Northern constituencies, 'voluntarily'. Presumably if the British had 'helped', registration would have been 200%.

To recap: In addition to the illegal gerrymandering, that I witnessed, by my British colleagues which would have, if known, rendered the election results null and void, the British had given the pro-British North 50% of the seats. They had forced the Southern nationalists to keep out of the North. 'Voluntary registration' had achieved near total figures in the North and voting percentages were also incredibly high. In these British-arranged circumstances a Northern (and British) win was an absolute certainty. Any informed person betting on a Southern win against these odds would have been declared insane. And did those who registered know what they were doing so voluntarily? Post adds a footnote to page 205 to suggest whether they were really aware of what was happening was an entirely different matter. A knowing Post gives us here a cynical smile. Post does not really believe they registered of their own volition. If they had, we would have to assume that they knew what they were doing. Post thinks that preposterous, as it probably would appear to most people. And here Post gets himself into a logical bind. He cannot bring himself to admit the truth. Yes, they did not need to know what they were doing, because they were not registering of their own volition. Mr Post, by his own admission in that footnote, gives the game away. Just another British fix.

Another astonishing fact was that the Northern Emir-controlled Government party, the NPC, did not even need to fight its opponents in the West and East. They could sit back and let the Southerners fight each other. The NPC contested only one seat in the West and none at all in the East. The NPC was indeed an unusual political party. The truth is that it was not a proper political party at all, but a regime devised to perpetuate the wishes of the British, both before and after the Independence elections. No wonder Post remarks on page 240 that the outsider experienced difficulty in penetrating the inner workings of the NPC.

In 1956 the present writer was ordered by the Governor General to take all Department of Labour staff and vehicles to campaign in Warri for the chief stooge of the British in the South, Festus (Festering) Samuel Okotie Eboh, the most corrupt and probably therefore the politician most favoured by the British in the South. I refused to take part in this criminality as already stated. Now in stage two of the Independence elections we had the NPC sending a team headed by a Federal Minister to Warri to campaign for the leader of a supposed opponent! The truth of course is that Okotie Eboh was the politician charged by the British to tie the NPC and NCNC together so that a pro-British alliance would rule Nigeria after Independence . Dr Azikiwe, who had been blackmailed by the British to ally himself with an implacable enemy, dutifully visited the Northern leaders in May 1958 to cement the deal, which had been set up even earlier in 1956 at the instigation of the British.

Okotie Eboh was the most important politician for the British. This is why such extraordinary measures had to be taken to make sure he won. I knew this in 1956, which is why the Governor General warned me that I knew far too much. If I revealed what I knew, he said that means would be found to silence me. The British could always deliver election results to please their friends, even when one British official broke ranks. There was one exception and it illustrates how grotesque Post's conclusions were about the Independence elections.

On 7 November, shortly before the general election, a plebiscite was held in the Trust Territory of the Northern Cameroons , organised by the same British officials whose behaviour we have been discussing. The Northern Cameroons ran alongside the Northern Region and the NPC expected the British to deliver the goods as usual. But the British failed; the Northern Cameroons did not vote to become an integral part of Northern Nigeria . The NPC leaders were furious. It could only be that the British were delivering the goods elsewhere. Suddenly it was quite clear. The British wanted the Northern Cameroons so that they could build a military base. Wrong, said the British. It had to be pointed out to the Sardauna of Sokoto, the feudal and totally undemocratic leader of the North, that, although 'our people' had run the elections, the suspicious United Nations had insisted on sending UN officials to supervise the elections.

However, the British do not give up so easily. In the 1959 vote there had been 70,401 against 42,979 to postpone a decision to join Northern Nigeria . In 1961 those who did not want to join the North had increased from 70,401 to 97,659, but those who wanted to join the North increased from 42,979 to an astonishing 146,296, a more than threefold increase. This remarkable turnaround could not possibly be due to the presence of one very experienced Northern hand, Mr D.J.M. Muffett, who was a close friend of the Sardauna? Mr Muffett had been the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Nigeria during the 1959 federal election and his robust approach to registration had produced figures the Soviets would have admired. Now, to resolve an intractable problem, the Sardauna appointed Mr Muffett as Resident General in the Northern Cameroons and the results were as gratifying to the Sardauna as the landslide win for the North had been in the 1959 General Election. Mr Muffett had been resourceful, enterprising, inventive, daring. He attacked problems head on. What would the Sardauna have done without such brave captains?

Post makes no reference to the celebrated presence of the CIA and its role in the Independence elections. He does mention that Patrick Dolan's public relations firm was working for the Action Group Government of the West. The informed would know that Dolan was a close friend of Wild Bill Donovan, chief of the CIA. Dolan was a spy and war hero known for mission impossible tasks against the Nazis. Post did not mention this, presumably because it might have drawn attention to the fact that the whole of the SIS, MI5 and Nigerian special branch and related agencies were deployed during the Independence elections to make sure that 'our boys' won.

Francis Nwokedi, whom the British had chosen to have the key post in Nigeria after Independence , head of the Foreign Service, was my friend. It was an uneasy friendship and it existed and survived, not in spite of, but because I criticised Francis and stood up to him. He despised crawlers. He knew I was like his wife Betty, which is what she told him. I thought he could have been bigger than he was. I knew he had played along with the British, but this was a ploy - or was it? Anyway, he was also a close friend of Dr Zik, but the British did not know that. Not that it mattered after 1956 because Zik had been broken at last. He was now a burnt-out case, and could be relied on to be a ceremonial President with no power at all after the election.

As I have remarked, the Governor General said that I knew far too much, and he would know. I have indicated how I knew so much. It should be remembered that I was part of the British establishment. The Labour Department expatriate staff made no claim to be very cerebral. (The African staff were, however, quite brilliant). I made friends in other departments including one that will not surprise the astute reader of what has gone before. One informant was in charge of counter-intelligence. Another tapped all leading politicians' 'phones. As the Governor General rightly said, "I knew too much." This rigged election put into office a gang of crooks who for six years ransacked this great giant, this great empire of a nation, a commonwealth in itself. 'Nigerians' are so diverse, so exuberant, and so full of excitement and laughter... When the military rose against these crooks, a civil war started and one thousand days later up to two million young Nigerians were dead. This was treason to our democracy.

I have written this election study as a duty, a debt, that I owe to a dear friend now dead. Philip Williams, the biographer of Hugh Gaitskell, pioneered the study of elections at Oxford . One of his students once interrupted us at tea at Trinity. He was to be Dr David Butler. David was sent away because at that time Phil, who was a don at Trinity where he had sumptuous rooms, and I were being served tea and toasted crumpets from a silver tray by a uniformed butler. As Labour people, neither Phil nor I saw anything amiss in this. We believed that the workers deserved the best. After tea Phil would unroll great charts and we would explore the mystery of some general election.

"How do you do it, Phil!" I once exclaimed.

"I'll tell you a secret, Harold," Phil said very seriously. "You get the results, you get all the information you can, you take a dozen pencils and note pads and you knock yourself out for weeks analysing it all!"

In 1957 I told Phil how we had rigged the elections in the first stage Regional (State) level of the independence elections. I had resigned from the Colonial Service and taken a job as Personnel Officer at the Esso Fawley Refinery. We started a second baby; we had a house, a car, a dog and a cat as well as a well-paid job. However, I knew too much, and the British Government took my job, my car, my home, my dog and cat (I still grieve for them) and forced me to return to Nigeria . If you are surprised, I must tell you that the SIS has unlimited power. Anyone who stumbles on secret operations is liable to be silenced. You are a non-person. You have no rights. You cease to exist. That is exactly what the head of the Colonial Service told Sir Julian Amery, the Government Minister for the Colonies. He told Amery I did not exist. I had never been in Government service; I had never served in Africa .

In 1960 I fled from Lagos and reported to Phil at his home in Chorleywood on the 1959 election and how we had rigged that one. The above report is the study Philip might have made - but so much more ably - had he not been blackmailed into silence because of me. (As was another historian friend in Lagos , Michael Crowder.) Margery Perham, the doyenne of Oxford Africanists, put pressure on Phil. She was acting for her friend, Sir James Robertson, the Governor General. There is a four-letter word for Perham and it is not one to be used lightly, and it is not lady. She made an honourable man suffer as her dishonourable friends made millions of young Africans suffer even more.

Ken Post worked incredibly hard to produce this book on Nigeria 's Independence election. If I cannot accept its conclusions, and I wonder if they were dictated, I can acknowledge a magnificent if flawed work, which my dear friend Phil Williams would have thoroughly enjoyed. The book is packed full of brilliant description, facts and analysis, and is truly the creation of a first-class scholar. I am told that Ken now has serious reservations and takes a less sanguine view of what he so brilliantly studied. If I appear to have been over critical in pursuit of what I know because of secret information not available to Ken, I hope he will appreciate the necessity that was dictated by the tragic consequences of this despicable treachery by the British.

Another American Professor Schwarz also believed Mr Post may have been too sanguine in his conclusion about the fairness of the elections. Certainly one of Nigeria 's great nationalist leaders totally rejected Mr Post's conclusions. When Chief Awolowo found himself charged with treason by a Government fraudulently elected, the prosecution based its case on the thesis that he had turned to insurrection having lost faith in the ballot box as a result of his experiences in the North in the 1959 Independence election. Did Balewa think up that masterpiece of sophistry all by himself?

The Russians were always damned because in their kind of elections the Government or official candidates always won with thumping majorities. In some of the roughest and undeveloped terrain in Africa, Professor Post records registration and voting figures which can only be compared with the USSR . Even with Nkrumah on the rampage, Ghana only came up with voting figures between 20 and 30%. Nigerian figures of 90% in the North simply demonstrate British zeal going overboard when trying to do a chum a good turn. Remember that few British colonial civil servants had experience of elections either. If only the Britishers' enthusiasm had stretched to providing tarred roads, clean water, schools, hospitals, and other basic services for their Northern friends, but the Emirs did not want them.

As Sir Alan Burns proudly pointed out, '...no attempt was made to force upon Nigeria all of the doubtful advantages of modern civilisation.' Evidently most of the British in the Burns' mould regarded the North as some kind of private zoo or reservation. In the capital, Lagos , with relatively civilised facilities, the percentage poll was 76.2%, which is still highly creditable. The North produced a percentage poll of 89.2%.

The election studies in Nigeria were modelled on studies of British elections since 1945, made under the auspices of Nuffield College , Oxford . The aim was to preserve a careful, contemporary record of events important in history. The first stages of the Independence elections took place in 1956 at Regional (State) level. Strangely, the one election in the North which scholars would have been most keen to know about, was not able to be studied. These were the first direct elections to the Northern House of Assembly. The reason was, of course, that they were rigged. Somehow this did not seem to fit in with '...a sentiment among Europeans that if they are to go it must be with honour, honour defined by European standards (sic) of good government and democracy.' This was the clarion call by Professors Mackenzie and Robinson who, with Miss Perham, the guru of all matters colonial, headed the colonial studies scene at Nuffield and Oxford .

It was really the British colonial officials in the North who were determined that it was their Southern counterparts - the mission boy nigger lovers - who would be powerless. Did Dr Azikiwe and Awolowo really believe that the British were going to hand over the richest black colony in Africa to nationalists who loathed the British? ( Ghana was small beer and of little concern.) The means to this end was the census and it was said that British officials in the early 1950's had wanted to bolster the North, and that this had influenced their counting.

The only people who would be in a position to question Ken Post's endorsement of the Independence elections as fair would be fellow academics. This is why two historians, one an election specialist, later to be eminent, had to be blackmailed into silence. Michael Crowder and Philip Williams were my friends. If I could not be blackmailed because my record was clean and I was a respectably married heterosexual, pressure could be applied through my friends who were more vulnerable. Michael was on the spot in Lagos and very promiscuous, and Sir James Robertson personally threatened him with prosecution if his friend Smith did not keep his mouth shut!

The name of the game in handing over Nigeria to the pro-British North was to make safe a vulnerable target for Soviet penetration. An oppressed colony was assumed to be an obvious target for Soviet imperialism. A newly 'independent' nation safely inside the Commonwealth with moderate and responsible, i.e. pro-British leaders, would expand the free world. Nothing need change in the economic relationship. There would be no savings as the colonies paid their own expenses. The prisoner paid for his own handcuffs even if they looked like a silken cord. A handful of doctorates and knighthoods cost nothing. Years of planning and grooming and fine tuning to be thrown away so Awo and Zik could rule? The idea was preposterous. The independence arrangement, strategy, plan, was executed perfectly. It was a well-oiled machine. It was pure theatre and at the end of the play the performers applauded the audience. The players thought the play was over - it had only just begun.

Britain gave Nigeria to Balewa on a plate because independence was not granted at the point of the terrorist's gun. Had it been so, Awo or Zik might have won the prize. If Awo and Zik had, paradoxically, delayed the transition, they could probably have dictated their own terms. Awo and Zik thought they could deal with the British stooges from the North most easily when the British left, but they were wrong. Both were easily outmanoeuvred by the simple, but ruthless, Balewa and his British advisors. For Awo and Zik, in truth, Independence had come too fast. Our Northern puppets, who had never wanted independence, had to be rushed into it. That was only Act One, although some thought Independence was the name of and the whole of the play. Act Two was the destruction of Awo and Act Three the elimination of Zik.

I do not say that all the events in Nigeria between 1950 and 1970 were planned by or dictated by the British, but some very treacherous covert action did take place. If the central aim - to keep power in pro-British hands - is appreciated, then much falls into place. Zik thought he was the ace, but he was not. Awo was the ace. Zik was the joker in the pack. Zik was easily railroaded into the presidential siding and given a set of uniforms to play with like a black Barbie doll, while Awo was beaten up. How the British High Commission rejoiced when Awo got ten years and Enahoro fifteen years in jail. Revenge was sweet!

The Coker Commission helped to prove that even if one doubted the charge of treason, Awo had undoubtedly diverted millions of public funds into his party machine. However, this had been known to British intelligence for years. Had they nipped this in the bud, they could not have used it to jail Awo at their convenience. I know this to be true because the Senior Resident in the West, a fellow Magdalensis named Smith, told me he had all this stuff in his safe in 1960, and it had been there for some time. Post was told all this too, as can be seen from his book. Polling day was on 12 October 1959. Post dates his Preface 31 August 1961. The following year the Coker Commission was set up to - surprise, surprise! - discover what had been known all the time and help put Awo out of politics. One major threat to British control of Nigeria had been removed.

Awo may have thought that diverting funds to further the pursuit of freedom from the colonial yoke was morally justified. The British were not the sort of colonial street fighters who let moral considerations deter them from going for the jugular. Awo went to jail, not because he was charged with being a criminal - that was irrelevant - but because he trusted the British to be moral. After all, they could have made provision for political party financing from public funds. They could also have acted quickly to stop the offence. Of course, that would have seemed hypocritical when the British were financing the NPC - the party which drew on the major geographical area and major part of Nigeria 's population - from public funds. The British bided their time like Fabius (who gave his name to the Fabian Society), and like Fabius, when they struck, they struck hard.

Mr Post's study is replete with voting and registration figures, all of which have passed through British hands. As such they are tainted, very suspect and quite unacceptable. Sir James Robertson in 1960 not only accepted that the elections were rigged, he was anxious to convince me that they were, in order to underline the trouble I was in. He emphasised that the orders had come from him and that hundreds of senior officers had been involved in this covert operation. He stressed that I was the only one to object.

I already knew that the 1956 State (first stage) Elections had been hopelessly compromised. This was how my troubles had started when Sir James sent me personal orders to take all Labour Headquarters staff and vehicles to assist the NCNC campaign against the Action Group. This was the Minister of Labour's constituency although he himself was not standing. The order came through Francis Nwokedi who was, like Okotie Eboh, a close friend of Dr Zik. I was friendly with Nwokedi, who was to head the Foreign Service after Independence; serve with Ironsi in the Congo; be Ironsi's close colleague after the military coup; be responsible for the Nwokedi report which proposed scrapping the Federation and precipitated the Northern pogrom; and finally became a Biafran leader, gun runner and hawk.

Also in 1956 the Governor General ordered my boss Charles Bunker to pressurise British and other firms to provide large sums of money, cars and petrol to Okotie Eboh who was the National Treasurer of the NCNC. It was this vast financial power which made it possible for Okotie Eboh to become the major force in the NCNC, drive Dr Zik into a back seat and seal an alliance, as the British demanded, with the NPC.

With all this evidence and much more, the elections were clearly a total fraud and the British role had been entirely criminal. It is for this reason that there is really no point in examining Mr Post's numbers as if they were factual. This criminality also reinforced commonly expressed doubts about the integrity of the Northern census returns, which had been designed to back up a demand that the North be given 50% of the parliamentary seats.

If all British chicanery were planned to give Nigeria unity and stability, the strategy was badly misconceived and totally flawed. British gerrymandering could put the NPC in power in 1959 but could the NPC retain power and, worse still, win an honest election without the British presence? The answer was evidently in the negative. Thus was born, probably at the instigation of the British and with the connivance of the remaining, mainly Northern, British administrators and the huge British High Commission staff, the strategy to de-stabilise and destroy the parliamentary opposition so ably and democratically exercised by Chief Awolowo. This and the gross corruption of Britain 's puppets inevitably led to the military intervention that ended in a bloody civil war in which up to two million innocent young people died.

I do not know the true Northern census figures. Neither do I know the true election returns for the 1956 and 1959 elections. I do know that these elections were totally rigged and that the British, not the Nigerians, engaged in wholly reprehensible, criminal behaviour. If the Nigerian politicians did engage in corrupt electoral practices post 1960, they had been taught by their masters in 1956 and 1959.

There was nothing personal in the vindictiveness shown to Awo and Zik by the British. The nationalist leaders were not rotters; they were intellectuals who were rather unsociable and aloof, and did not suck up to the British, unlike the Northern creeps. Awolowo and Enahoro were men of considerable intellect and principle, but they would tangle with the British. Not too long after they were condemned as treasonable, criminal and evil, they were reinstated and back in harness at a Federal level with the full backing of the British and their Northern dupes, for it was Zik's turn to be worked over and taught a lesson. In fact, the wily Zik, when he saw defeat looming in the civil war, ratted on his party and his people and was allowed to join the winning side. Of course, it is wrong to talk of anyone winning in a barbaric war, which cost the lives of a generation of young people. Neither the Nigerians nor the Biafrans won this bloody contest. Surely there were only losers? Not quite. It is true that the Nigerian people lost, but it was the British who won for their allies in the North ruled as always and even survived when split up into many states, because none of these states crossed the frontier between North and South. The integrity of the North survived even the fragmentation intended by the creation of many new States.

The game plan was to keep Nigeria in Britain 's pocket and in the free world. Both of these aims have been achieved by British foreign policy towards Nigeria during the thirty years since the nominal Independence . The necessary arrangement between colonial power and the Nigerian 'successor elite' (W.H. Morris-Jones) even outlasted the collapse of the USSR and its allies, and the end of the cold war. The operation was a great success. Tough that two million Nigerian young people had to be killed to protect British interests in the cold war, but as the British would say, omelettes cannot be made without breaking eggs.

I should very much like to have Professor Post's answers to the following questions: -

    1. Does he stand by his assessment of the election?
    2. What were his qualifications to make the study?
    3. Who suggested he make it? (He clearly obtained co-operation from the colonial regime). Did this affect his conclusions?
    4. Where did he spend polling day?
    5. Did he feel competent to make this colossal study without any assistance?
    6. Did he obtain a higher degree for this study? Is the book identical with his thesis? Can I obtain a copy of his thesis?
    7. Did the academics, whom he acknowledges, suggest changes in his book?
    8. Was he under any pressure to give the election a clean bill of health?
    9. What constraints were there on his freedom to report truthfully?
    10. I myself spent polling day in charge of a polling station in Lagos . How would he feel if, based on that experience, I made generalisations and drew conclusions about the election throughout this vast nation?
    11. Did he employ any interpreters or conduct any interviews during the campaign?
    12. Apart from election returns, which came from colonial government, what were his sources?
    13. The North, it was claimed, covered the major part of Nigeria 's territory and population. The only newspapers in the North were Government-controlled. As those papers were under the control of the Colonial Government, as was the radio in the North, what were his sources other than these papers, radio, and colonial government election returns?
    14. Where did he go during his study? What was his mileage? Did he travel only by car?
    15. Would his study not have had more claim to impartiality, if made by a non British academic?
    16. When he made this study, how old was he? How had he voted, if ever, in British elections? What were his political party affiliations?
    17. Did he make any further election studies?
    18. What are his views on the election now?

9 February 1992

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('The Guardsmen: Harold Macmillan, Three Friends
And the World They Made' by Simon Ball)

Poor Bloody Africa : The British
Destruction of African Democracy

Macmillan's Machiavellian Machinations

'It is out of season to question at this time of day, the original policy of conferring on every colony of the British Empire a mimic representation of the British Constitution. But if the creature so endowed has sometimes forgotten its real significance and under the fancied importance of speakers and maces, and all the paraphernalia and ceremonies of the imperial legislature, has dared to defy the mother country, she has to thank herself for the folly of conferring such privileges on a condition of society that has no earthly claim to so exalted a position. A fundamental principle appears to have been forgotten or overlooked in our system of colonial policy - that of colonial dependence. To give to a colony the forms of independence is a mockery; she would not be a colony for a single hour if she could maintain an independent station.

Three British colonial officers protested at the British rigging of Nigeria 's Independence Elections. (Two gave in to pressure. It was decided that I was the ringleader and should be punished accordingly. In fact, Charles Bunker was my senior officer.)

The remarkable way in which I was treated - vilification; vindication; commendation; threats; vindication; hostility; offer of a knighthood (with permanent exile); vindication; denigration - puzzled me until I read every book on Macmillan, his diaries, biographies, etc. Only then did I realise I had been treated in accord with Macmillan's personal philosophy. However, as Macmillan had by this time killed three million innocent Africans with Labour's help, I could hardly feel badly done to. I was very lucky to be alive. Had I come near success as a whistle-blower, I would have been killed. This was no problem for MI5/6 who have many killers to hand. Actually I was a failed whistle-blower because poisoned by Porton Down, which was the view of a Minister of Defence who had reason to know!

For twelve years I suffered the devastating effects of a poison, which destroyed my gut and simulated tropical sprue, which is rarely found in Africa . All this time Porton Down had the antidote. This was naturally denied me. The chance survival was remarkable and only after many years of medical research did I feel confident enough to re-commence my whistle-blowing. By this time the British had created a wasteland in Nigeria . This proud showcase of democracy had become a total basket case, thanks to Macmillan's Machiavellian machinations.

Macmillan evolved his Casablanca philosophy while resident Minister in North Africa . The rest of Africa, particularly Nigeria , suffered from Macmillan's criminal tactics in the 50's and 60's, and the documentary evidence is beginning to emerge. Macmillan adored what he learned in North Africa . He was exhilarated!

'The purely Balkan politics we have here are more to my liking,' he wrote. 'If you don't like a chap, you don't deprive him of the whip or turn him out of the party. You just say he is a monarchist or
has plotted to kill Murphy' - Macmillan's American counterpart - 'and you shoot him off to prison or a Saharan concentration camp. Then a week or two later, you let him out and make him Minister for something or other. It's really very exhilarating.'

In 1960 Macmillan rigged Nigeria 's Independence Elections and put Northern stooges in power. He then jailed Opposition leaders. Chief Anthony Enaharo got fifteen years on trumped-up treason charges! This was sheer effrontery of Macmillan when he was the one who was destroying democracy. Chief Enaharo is still alive, outraged and seeking justice. Following a coup and a British counter-coup, he then released Chief Enaharo and his colleague, Chief Awolowo, made them Ministers in the military administration and with massive supplies of British arms encouraged them to wage war on their fellow nationalists of the Ibo nation in the East. This was passed off as a civil war in which three million innocents died. It was a classic example of British perfidy and followed exactly the tactic proclaimed by Macmillan a few years earlier in North Africa . No doubt it was very, very exhilarating! And the African victims of his treason to British parliamentary democracy? They were not human beings. They were, in his words, 'only barbarians'.

My own treatment as a whistle-blower was not much better. His son-in-law, Julian Amery, through the Governor General, Sir James Robertson, threatened my life should I succeed in alerting the British public. At the very least, they promised, if I did not accept permanent exile to the Far East , I would never work again. They kept that promise with the help of successive British Governments. Mr Blair has done nothing to help me, or to correct this massive betrayal of the African people. Yet he is fully informed and went on to deceive the British people about Iraq and, following in Macmillan's footsteps, waged an illegal war.

Mac, SuperMac, devious? Devious is not the word. Insane is a better one. Drunk with power? Hitler was insane? Mussolini was insane? Nasser was insane? Eden was insane? Macmillan was insane? Is Blair, who lied to Parliament, not insane?

A Dagger in His Heart

Without oil, and without the profits from oil, neither the UK nor Western Europe can survive.”
Harold Macmillan, 4 October 1956. The Macmillan Diaries.

At the time Macmillan recorded this view, he was heavily engaged with Suez . This glaring example of dirty work abroad was a total failure. Undeterred, Macmillan re-read a life of Machiavelli, and turned his attention to Nigeria and its newly discovered oil fields. On 21 July 1956 he had written, "The Government's position is very bad at present. Nothing has gone well. In the Middle East we are still teased by Nasser and Co; the Colonial Empire is breaking up; and many people view with anxiety the attempt to produce Parliamentary Democracy in such places as Nigeria ..."

'Many people' doubtless included the oil companies, and Tory and Labour politicians. In fact, the first stage of the Independence Elections was rigged in 1956, when I, with my colleague Charles Bunker, was ordered by the Governor General to take a major role in the clandestine arrangement. It was evident on the ground that planning had been in hand for some time.

Although of great international importance, not one civil servant blew the whistle on the awful lies told by Government Ministers during the Suez affair. This was a largely public event, and one of its major aims (which was denied) was regime change. Blair, another lying Prime Minister, was more successful in Iraq .

It is clearly better to conduct dirty work abroad in secret. Macmillan kept a close eye on the independence arrangements for Nigeria , where a showpiece of democracy was to be cynically destroyed and a set of corrupt stooges invested with power. I blew the whistle on that treason in 1956 and Macmillan knew, through his son-in-law Julian Amery, the measures taken to shut me up. Suez was illegal, Nigeria was illegal if Suez was illegal. The British public still do not know of the treason which killed three million in Nigeria , but Tony Blair knew!

It seems that it was British parliamentary democracy that was being set aside by Harold Macmillan. Our stooges, who did not want the British to leave - the most backward and feudal we could find - had power thrust upon them. Nobody believed the mass of the people who followed their nationalist leaders could possibly have voted for those awful creatures and, in fact, very few did, but who cared when the British were counting the votes! Amazingly at the victory celebrations on Independence Day, not a single nationalist leader was on the platform when the Union flag was lowered.

Had Macmillan feared the Nigeria people were not ready for independence, he could easily have postponed it. After regime change in Persia and the Suez adventure, one might have expected Macmillan to be cautious. It was not to be. What is for sure is that it was not the welfare of the Nigerian people that Macmillan had in mind in screwing up democracy in Nigeria . There was also the small problem of consequences. What would happen to our stooges at elections when the British were not there to count the votes?

Clearly, the opposition had to be smashed, and in no time the leaders of the Action Group were framed on trumped-up treason charges. Would not this increase the risk of a coup? Our stooges were gunned down in 1966, and the Ibo were for a moment victorious. A British counter-coup restored our boys in power and sadly involved a pogrom. The Ibo declared for independence, and they were put down by the force of British arms.

Did Macmillan feel any regret? Why should he, when the Brits kept control of the oil fields? Only three million died, and they were black, and a hagiographer of Balewa records that only one person of note was killed. So that was all right!

Was Macmillan an honourable gentleman? Or a cruel war criminal? Was he a democrat? He was certainly not going to own up. Indeed he took extreme measures to prevent the present writer telling the British people of his exploits.

The Brits had sold the Nigerians into slavery. Then they stole their country. Then they stole their mineral resources. Then they killed them. What next, one wonders? It would seem that Macmillan did not believe in teaching by example.

Nigeria , after decades of British misrule, is now a total basket-case. After so many coups, assassinations and military dictatorships, it is totally corrupt. However, the British are not blamed. The Nigerians must carry the can. How could you expect such corrupt people to run a parliamentary democracy!

The truth is, of course, that democracy has never been tried in Nigeria . Divide and rule wins again, and the British will write the history books!

One paragraph from an article by Michael Meacher in the New Statesman of 18 October 2004 states:

"Between 1976 and 1991, Shell was responsible for 2,976 oil spills in Nigeria , yet has largely refused to clean up properly or pay compensation. (This despite Shell having admitted to making illegal payments to Nigerian officials of £1.2bn in total.)"

The Guardian of 30 October 2004 gives us an insight into how the West encourages Nigerian corruption. Under the heading, ' US vice-president mired in claims of bribery and corruption...' we have the following:

" British authorities have opened a new front in the widening investigation into allegations of bribery at Halliburton, the American oil services business, while it was being run by the US vice-president, Dick Cheney.

The Guardian has learned that the Serious Fraud Office has joined the international effort at the request of the US Department of Justice in Washington . French and Nigerian officials are already involved in the inquiry.

Halliburton has become a political liability for the Bush administration as the US prepares to vote in presidential elections next week. The company, one of the chief government contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan , has been dogged by controversy, which includes claims of White House favouritism in awarding the firm billions of dollars of contracts without being forced to bid and Pentagon allegations that the firm has massively overcharged for its work. It emerged late on Thursday that the FBI had launched an inquiry into how Halliburton secured contracts in Iraq , so far worth almost $9bn (£4.9bn).

The Nigerian investigation centres on $180m in payments allegedly made by a consortium led by Halliburton to secure the contract to build a natural gas plant in Nigeria . The cash was allegedly channelled through a US-owned oil engineering firm in London called MW Kellogg and was handled by a company executive based in Berkshire. The funds were said to have been paid into a Swiss bank by a British lawyer."

Harold Macmillan and his influence by Machiavelli started something. He had no love of Africa or Africans. He shared the racial prejudices of his class and his time. A good man who failed to rise to the challenges of his time. Of course, he had a dagger in his heart.

The Macmillan Diaries: The Cabinet Years 1950-1957

For much of my life I have deeply respected Harold. Even now, when I have reason to be very critical, those earlier sentiments push to the front. He was to me a very liberal, one-nation Tory, who seemed to care for working-class people. He was a literate person, and it is a joy to be educated by him! I just wish I had access to the London Library to get at those multi-volume biographies he so enjoyed.

Then why am I angry with this war hero, this very decent man? I think he was flawed. I blame the unfaithfulness of Dorothy for the dagger in his heart. It was his duty to forgive her. He loved her. One so wants it to be all right. Yet she wanted too much. Like Churchill, he settled for what he got. Took it on the chin. Stiff upper lip. I want to scream, "Bugger that for a lark! Break free!"

There was regime change in Persia , viewed as a success, but which influenced Nasser and young Egyptian nationalists. Then Suez , and secretly Nigeria , which is how he came to destroy a showcase of democracy, kill three million innocents, and ruin my life.

In R W Johnson's review of Simon Ball's Book on 'The Guardsmen: About Harold Macmillan and His Three Friends' ( London Review of Books, October 2004), we see revealed a transformation of Macmillan following a near encounter with death. A hero from the trenches of World War One, a Balliol scholar with a first in Mods, Churchill's Minister in North Africa in World War Two, Macmillan was a man of substance. This was pure Casablanca . He thoroughly enjoyed the Balkan politics he experienced. In later years getting out of Empire he used 'every unsavoury trick in the book ('The Prince?) to cut corners.' He understood 'the urgent need to leave the age of empire behind, whatever the costs.' He got away with 'lies, wiles and charm.' The Africans were 'vain and childish.' 'Power' as Macmillan understood it, was not a matter of morality or immorality. Morality did not come into it.

The Governor General of Nigeria , Sir James Robertson, had met Macmillan when he was on his way to South Africa to make his 'Wind of Change' speech. In 1960 when I was in Government House in Lagos , Robertson was telling me that he had rigged the Independence Elections to let me know how much trouble I was in.

'Why?' I pleaded.

'Because it was necessary,' he replied. He then went on to threaten my life.

Ah, necessity and Machiavelli, and oil! Without oil, without the profits from oil, neither the UK nor Western Europe can survive. Of course, that was before we discovered oil in the North Sea , and squandered it.

On 14 November 2003 the Guardian reported that Bush and Blair had decided at the President's ranch in April 2002 to work together to leverage oil resources in Nigeria and other areas of Africa to secure a guaranteed supply of oil from new sources in Africa. Oil production was likely to double. The Middle East was volatile and the USA and the UK have agreed a set of co-ordinated measures 'to help achieve our objectives.'

In other words, more of the same chicanery for Nigeria . If capitalism was so successful, why was it necessary to resort to those vile machinations? Except that stealing was more profitable than buying. Why was honesty not an option? No lessons can be learned from this chicanery until British historians stop acting as if they are on the MI6 payroll.

No doubt Macmillan had his reasons for rigging Nigeria 's Independence Elections, but he was keen nobody should find out. Nigeria ended up a basket-case like the rest of poor, bloody Africa, with more coups, dictators, more suffering people, and all the time Macmillan kept his dark secret, and the oil flowed as did the bribes. What did he make of the pogrom in the North, I wonder. Of Biafra , of all those starving children? This was also necessity? Harold, a cowardly child killer? A war criminal? Afraid to come clean and admit what he did? I wrote to him once and accused him. The letter is somewhere and I think he replied, but I do not want to hate him, and I leave the letter lost from view.

I also wrote to his son-in-law, Julian Amery, about the tragedy of his brother John, who was a traitor and hanged. I felt his pain and did not rebuke him for the pain he gave my wife and children. I was so anxious that I almost thanked him for giving me a mock trial and vindicating me, although I knew in my heart that this was a cruel display of Machiavellian deception.

When democrats are capable of such folly and cruelty, I despair. They were proud of their families. They regarded themselves as honest and decent. They went to church and were believers. So what went wrong? What was missing?

A small consolation for me is that Harold was very rude about the Colonial Office. As it happens, Jack Straw has just sent me for £10 my personal file, which is heavy with treachery, revenge and lies. These people loathed me because I tried to blow the whistle on Harold, and conspicuously failed. Harold's accomplices in Nigeria were all gunned down, but I doubt he lost much sleep about their fate. Had I succeeded in exposing this evil, perhaps they might have survived and enjoyed a pleasant retirement like Harold's.

That was not to be, for the corrupt English gentlemen in on this fix made it clear to me that they would kill me first. I have only survived because I am a failed whistle-blower. That is why Harold's diaries are such a disturbing read for me.

Consequences: No Lessons Learnt

British dirty work abroad is nothing new, and a leading exponent in the late 1950s and early 1960s was Julian Amery, Macmillan's son-in-law.

I discussed this with him, and his major point was that each intervention should be evaluated separately. My point is that no lessons seem to be learnt. Also no heed was given to the consequences.

Regime change in Persia was thought to be a great success. This encouraged belligerence in Suez . However, the young Colonels in Egypt had drawn a different lesson from our dirty work in Persia .

Suez was a disaster with awful consequences for the Middle East . They have clever people at the Foreign Office or traitors who recommend disastrous policies.

The election rigging in Nigeria must have been thought very clever and successful. Actually no one was fooled, and a coup was discussed everywhere. The bolshie Yoruba opposition had to be jailed as our stooges could not face an honest election. Awolowo got ten years. Enaharo got fifteen. Innocent politicians were incarcerated at the behest of a British war criminal, Macmillan. The Zikist opposition had been bought to collaborate with our stooges and for six years bided their time. Then they struck. Our stooges were shot, i.e. they got their just deserts. A pity the Colonial Office escaped justice!

A counter coup involving a pogrom put our boys back in charge. We released the bolshie Yorubas from prison and put them in charge of waging war on the rebellious Ibos and Zikists. People on the British payroll often turn out to be rebel leaders like Mossadeq in Persia , Nkrumah in Ghana and Nwokedi in Nigeria .

What is termed 'collateral damage' is due to lack of planning. In Nigeria the war, wrongly seen as a civil war, took three million lives. It should have been stopped, and a small force of British troops could have done just that.

Will we never learn? A policy that is ethical and honest is rarely considered. Boy politicians like 'James Bond' dirty work against foreign demon monsters. The real monsters are, of course, in Whitehall .

Empire State Building and the Twin Towers

Ill-treat the natives, and they will retaliate. Practise dirty work abroad, and you will soon practise it at home, e.g. I protest at our destroying democracy in Nigeria , and my human rights are extinguished in the UK . The major reason for not following the precepts of Machiavelli is that your opponents, if you do, have a perfect excuse for playing the same game, and you do not have control of the consequences.

Harold Macmillan thoroughly enjoyed wartime dictatorial powers in North Africa, and in peacetime enjoyed applying the same tactics in the rest of Africa . We did not build a viable democratic state in Nigeria , the better to go on the rampage there through our stooges. The consequences are the destruction of the twin towers. Mass destruction, as with the twin towers, cannot be justified, but retaliation can be understood, even if condemned. If we do not learn why the 'terrorists' retaliated and learn a lesson, the terrorism will continue.

Harold Macmillan and Julian Amery enjoyed being unprincipled 'state' terrorists. It was fun. Much more enjoyable than parliament and democracy, for democracy is slow, grinding hard work. Did Tony Blair enjoy hoodwinking Parliament and taking Britain into an illegal war? The answer is 'Yes'. He thoroughly enjoyed his criminal activity. Once he realised that the Brits had been doing this for decades, he did not disapprove. He could not wait to join in the fun.

Is there a better way to run this country?

'All things bright and beautiful
War destroys them all.
All things bright and beautiful
Are not revered by all...'

Take retaliation. A young Nigerian, on learning that Britain destroyed democracy and killed three million of his people, might believe that Britain was an unlawful society and wish to take revenge.

I get pretty angry for being unlawfully punished; being denied the right to work and feed my family; being branded a traitor; being, in effect, outlawed, censured, ostracised; being exiled in my own home and country. Nudge, nudge, everyone secretly approves of killing 'niggers' - even three million. Too strong? Everyone is content to look away while we do it? Nudge, nudge; know what I mean; wink, wink. Smith is a wrong 'un and deserves what he gets. We cannot put him in court or he would spill the beans. Nudge, nudge; wink, wink; know what I mean? And it is true that nearly all MPs for half a century know exactly what nudge-nudge, wink-wink means. I take care not to get bitter or violent, for there is nothing the bad boys of MI5 would like more than to have some excuse for incarcerating me. Even though, as a pacifist, I harbour dangerous thoughts - not retaliation, but dreams of delayed justice, which are pure fantasy.

If that means that the whole of British society is an organised conspiracy against truth, that is the way it seems sometimes, for many journalists and editors are on the Government payroll.

That leaves the common people, the real enemy of corrupt politicians. I like to think they are fundamentally decent. We have to believe in something.

Is there a better way to run this country? Do we have to plead necessity, like dependence on oil, as an excuse for criminal activity abroad? Do we have to kill millions out of necessity?

I do wish Government would speak to me. , However, I am feared because dangerous. I might reveal to the public the fact that our leaders indulge in criminality. They love to demonise foreigners as James Bond monsters who must be zapped or tricked.

Is honesty the best policy? We could start being honest with ourselves and facing up to what we do. Because we did not engage in Empire State Building , we have enemies who destroyed a symbol of our way of life, the Twin Towers . The Bush/Blair response drives a highway through our liberties and freedoms and leads to Hitler and Stalin. There are alternatives, which call for hard work, patience and perhaps discipline and sacrifice. Punishing the Smiths will not make these problems go away. I can only continue to write letters and hope to find a good apple in the barrel. There are good politicians. We need some brave ones.

November 2004

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Transition in Africa: Sir James Robertson (Confession of a Witness to the Death of the British Empire )

It has been suggested that tribalism is the reason for the tragic history of Nigeria since Independence in 1960. See Margery Perham's weasel words in Sir James Robertson's 'Transition in Africa ', an apology for treachery and treason.

The very occupation of a territory with politics banned must, I suppose, bottle up tensions and suppress real or imagined discord. Meanwhile, totally irrelevant issues are made meaningful. What is real to the occupying power, like a war, affects the Colony because the local administration wills it. So l00,000 Nigerian men served in the British Army in the Second World War, mainly in the Far East. My clerk, Mr Fadeyebo, was ambushed by the Japanese and wounded while floating on a river raft in Burma . When the survivors were rounded up on the riverbank, the British officers and men were bayoneted by the Japanese. When a Japanese officer approached Fadeyebo, he feared the worst, but the officer said, "This is not your war, black man, we are not at war with you", and he was left with the other wounded Nigerians lying under the trees. Two of them survived. (The experience of war must have affected those of the 100,000 Nigerian soldiers who survived, but although important, this fact is irrelevant to my present concern.)

We are often told that the aim of British foreign policy has long been a unified Nigeria . Those of us who lived in Nigeria before Independence might question the truth of that because we recall how the British governed strictly in accordance with the maxim of 'divide and rule'.

The manner in which 'Nigeria' was created was of course the responsibility of the British, not of the millions of Africans of hundreds of tribes who one day found themselves contained within straight lines drawn on the map of West Africa, and told they were subjects of the Great White Queen. A great event for a young African who could now, if a missionary came to his village, go to a missionary school, become a Christian, get a job as a Government clerk and own a bicycle. Other events would mould him, events largely dictated by men in a foreign land, as a foreign war had taken Mr Fadeyebo to Burma . If a clerk was befriended by a sympathetic British administrator in the rush to Independence in the late 1950's, he would find himself sitting behind that white man's desk at Independence , living in a European house with servants and a brand new Ford Consul parked outside.

If unity is required, do you exacerbate tribal differences by dividing the nation on tribal lines, creating a Northern Hausa/Fulani Moslem State; a Western Yoruba, Moslem/Christian State; and an Eastern Igbo Catholic Christian State ? Do you confine missionary activity to the South so that the Moslem North has no schools, and all the educated Africans who staff the Government civil service come from the South and are mainly Catholic Ibo? When the educated South inevitably produces nationalist leaders, do you, seeing the danger to the feudal backward North, provide an educational system in the North? The problem was ignored and nothing was done.

It seemed to the disinterested observer before Independence that the British did everything to emphasise and exacerbate tribal differences. Even the system of rule and administration was different. Indirect rule in the North confirmed the power of native chiefs, who naturally found that their interests were identical to the British. In the South the British could speak in English to the missionary-trained locals, which might be a mixed blessing when the village bright boy returned from London with better degrees in British law than the big white chief, who often made up the law as he went along. (British officials had to learn a local language to pass a promotion bar. A thankless task because when he had passed he would be promoted to a region where his newly acquired language was useless.)

At one time, so strong was the split between North and South, that separate stamps were printed. The different policies, systems, languages had their effect on the British rulers. Those in the South encouraged the missionary schools and inspected them. Work had to be found for school leavers, and public utilities and plantations sprang up to absorb them. Clean water, electricity supplies, dispensaries and roads followed in the wake of enthusiastic British administrators, who were dubbed 'nigger-lovers' by their less active polo-playing colleagues in the feudal North.

We must not labour the point. The North, West and East were not truly separate countries. Lagos , more or less, ruled them all, and Lagos was controlled in turn by Whitehall . Take away the brakes on political activity, have three Prime Ministers each leading his own 'tribe' and each looking to the British overlord for fair play, equal treatment and perhaps occasional favours in return for loyal behaviour, and any pretence of unity might disappear, especially when a scramble starts to be the privileged one to whom the British would hand over the keys of the whole kingdom.

The other major assumption shared by all commentators was, of course, that the British would hand over power without fear or favour to whichever political party commanded a majority in the second and final stage of the Independence elections which took place in 1959.

It was true that the British always got on well with the leaders of the Moslem (and to a degree pagan) North. This was well known to be so, and no one would bother to deny it. The Northern chiefs were so happy with British rule that they did not want the British to leave at all, particularly so if the bolshie Southerners, whom the Northerners loathed almost as much as their British administrators - if that were possible - were to take over in Lagos. Naturally the British did not wish to upset their Northern friends. It was even said by the British that if the Northerners were not guaranteed freedom from rule by the Southerners they might march on the South and drive the despised missionary-trained bolshies into the sea. It was left unclear whether the chiefs would do this themselves or whether they would depute the task to their British advisors.

Was this to be an intractable problem? It will be seen that if the North won the national elections, there would be those who would suggest that the British had favoured the North and given them a helping hand. Poor losers of course. However, if the North were to win it would solve what might otherwise be a terrible problem.

Not everybody trusted the British, but nobody cared what the communists said. Uncle Joe did not get where he did by winning elections either. As for the Fabians and other do-gooders, their doubts were quashed by the very fact of Independence being granted at all. Had not they campaigned for this in so many pamphlets and speeches? It was almost unbelievable and euphoria short-circuited their critical faculties. Even the British had been happy to confess to imperialism and an empire won by conquest, but suddenly it all became a sacred trust which had been accomplished. It only remained to see to which of the carefully trained and nurtured responsible leaders we would hand on the sacred flame. More succinctly the creeps were at long last going to be paid off.

It was true that successive Governors General had found the southern nationalists, led by Zik in the East and more parochially perhaps Awo in the West, a bit of a trial. Zik had just emerged from a Government enquiry into his running of a bank. He had not been exactly cleared but neither had he been jailed, and a more subdued and perhaps wiser Zik, after winning a vote of confidence in a fresh election in the East, seemed prepared to co-operate with the British.

Nigerian statistics were always a bit problematical. My own experience as head of the statistics branch at the Department of Labour had not been reassuring. The number of unemployed in Nigeria - a derisory figure which British politicians would have envied - on slightly closer examination turned out to be the total calling in at the handful of Labour Exchanges in the larger towns.

A possible insoluble problem suddenly loomed less large when the British announced that the North contained 50% of Nigeria 's population. What had seemed to be a three-legged race now seemed to be something else. The NPC ruled the North with little opposition, but the West and East were at each other's throats. The North could be unbeatable. The only question was which of the southern leaders would decide to throw in his lot with the North. A Zik in opposition could be dangerous, but a new less belligerent Zik might be safer in Government. One might have thought a largely Moslem West would get along better with the Moslem North, and indeed, once the tragic and futile Biafran war started, such an alliance would come about.

If the British in Whitehall had been able to influence events, these were the thorny problems they would have mulled over. Had they done so, the right man was available to advise, because a former Governor General, Sir John MacPherson, was the top official. If anyone advised Harold Macmillan on Nigeria 's possible intractable problems, it was Sir John.

If Sir John disliked Zik, he positively loathed Awo whom he regarded as a smart arse. Awo had responded to the news, which must have been a blow, that the North would have 50% of the votes, with a cheerful resolve to take the war into the North with a small army of election agents and propagandists. Awo had modelled his party machine on the British Conservative Party, and he was to command his troops from a helicopter, from which he would descend and perhaps seem like a god to the simple northern peasant. Awo's plans were noted by the new Governor General with some dismay. Was this another intractable problem looming on the horizon?

Whatever ideas Whitehall came up with to ease the transition, one big decision was taken. It might have been thought desirable to leave everything to the experienced men on the spot. On the other hand, if there were intractable problems, would the experienced men on the spot necessarily be the right men? Even top officials could get to love the country and its people. Tough decisions might need tough people who could take an overall view without sentiment. There were liberals in the Colonial Office, but very few in the Foreign Office. The Foreign Office ran the Sudan and when the Foreign Office cracked the whip the Sudan administrators jumped on the Sudanese. Not everyone trusted these tough ex soccer blues to observe the rules when it came to Sudan 's turn to hold elections, and the presence of international observers was insisted on. It is a tribute to the reputation of the British in Nigeria that no one questioned their ability to run honest elections. Not that there had ever actually been any elections to speak of, but that was perhaps the reason no one questioned the honesty of the British. They were after all granting elections and they were going to go! Quit! Exit! Depart forever! No more Governor General in white suit and plumed hat. No more Government House tea parties. No more Union Jacks and Empire Day. No more Residents and District Officers to kow-tow to. Already these local and powerful gods were being renamed Local Government Advisors! What a come down. Little wonder, except in the North, that they deserted their sacred trust almost to a man in favour of the generous compensation lump sum and pension. Or was there a more sinister reason for the defection of these dedicated officials? Had they been ordered to cross a bridge too far?

In came experienced Sudanese officials as Governor General in Lagos , Governor in the North and Chairman of the Public Service Commission. Tough policies might produce casualties and a strong man running the Commission to which unhappy British civil servants would appeal, was a sound precautionary measure. A new Governor in the East rounded off these precautionary measures in the run up to the General Election, which would be in two stages, at Regional (State) level and finally at the Federal and National level.

Unity was now the overriding theme, and it was sensible that it should be so. Precious little had been in evidence during British rule. This great nation not only contained one quarter of Africa's black people, it was in West Africa, unique in having no permanent white population, not one, as white settlement had been banned as the region was so unhealthy. Other colonies amounted to nothing against this giant. Nigeria would be the major force in black African politics. Economically it was rich and would be extremely wealthy when its newly-discovered rich oil fields came on stream. What is not often realised was that the bulk of the British Colonial Service - a misnomer really - was employed in Nigeria . As the colonies employed and paid the officials, only a small secretariat ran the Colonial Office and they were from the Home Civil Service. The so-called Colonial Service was really a small recruiting office, mainly charged with finding decent people to work for small pay in often awful and unhealthy conditions in Nigeria .

But was the necessity of unity being used to cloak some tough policy decisions? Certainly when I questioned British policy in Nigeria in an interview in 1960 with the Governor General, Sir James Robertson, I got a very tough answer. No one could be really surprised when the North won the Federal Elections in 1959. Quickly, the Governor General - even before the results were all in - declared the North the winner and as rapidly blessed an alliance with Zik's party, the NCNC.

I was not at all surprised for I knew, even before the 1956 State elections at Regional level, that this was how it was going to be. The Governor General in 1960 confirmed to me what he had let me know in 1956. There had been an intractable problem and means had been found to resolve it. Unity had made this necessary. The Northern census results were to be challenged in many ways, but they were never to be confirmed or accepted as accurate, and that is still the position thirty years on.

Was that all the necessary action to be taken? Had Zik not been brought to heel with a carefully prepared Bank Enquiry that could easily have jailed him? A close friend of Zik told me more than I can reveal. When I questioned him, as I was a great admirer of Zik at the time, he said,

"The next time there is trouble, Zik will be abroad. He will never be caught as he will always have an alibi."

"What cynical rubbish," I replied.

Having said that, my friend was clearly wrong when it came to the Bank Enquiry, because the British nearly nailed Zik, whether they were justified or not.

After that close brush with the law, a great manipulator took control of Zik's party. Zik had made many great personal sacrifices for his NCNC and had personally financed it for years at great personal cost. Now he was broke and someone who could raise vast sums of money, as if from thin air, would be the real power-broker in Nigerian politics. Chief Festus Okotie Eboh - 'Festering Sam' - was not only a very cheerful character and master crook, he was much loved by the British in Lagos and Whitehall . Okotie Eboh was not his real name - he thought it sounded good. Like Robert Maxwell, not much about him was what it seemed. Like Maxwell too, he was greatly feared and he was also a great wheeler-dealer. The Governor General knew him to be a thief, a master criminal, a trickster, someone totally corrupt. He was also something of a rapist. Not the first person one might think to be made Minister of Finance by the British, after a spell as Minister of Labour.

The NCNC made him Party Treasurer and British officials, principally Charles Bunker, a Senior Labour Officer, were ordered by the Governor General to extract large donations from multi-national companies for the NCNC and NPC. Thus, in 1956, four years before Independence , Government-approved corruption was institutionalised and at a national level by the British. This was the first lesson in democratic politics that the British taught Nigerian politicians. As the NPC in the North were inexperienced in these matters, the British arranged their finances, so they came from Native Administration (local Government) funds. Okotie Eboh thought big, and decided when he became Minister of Labour that he owned the Ministry, so why should he not sell its offices if he chose? He sold a prime office site opposite the Lagos Railway Station to a company, which had long had designs on the site. The Governor General had him over at Government House and told him to be more circumspect next time as people were talking! The importance of Okotie Eboh was that he was the man who could use his newly-acquired wealth to weld the Northern NPC and the Eastern NCNC together. The wedding actually took place with the blessing of the British in 1956 before even the first stage of the Independence Elections. I was a witness at this wedding. It was about unity, and two totally different parties coming together in a partnership to solve an intractable problem. It was a secret wedding and most people believed it took place in 1960 after the results of the Federal Independence Elections were announced.

Awolowo was to pay a big price for being rude to the British and being a smart arse. The British wanted revenge. That very word was to be used, although when Sir James Robertson recorded it, he said it was only natural that revenge against Awo should be sought by the parties who formed the Government. As to why anyone should seek revenge on Awo, Sir James could only suggest that he had invaded the privacy of the Northern Chiefs' harems by flying overhead in a helicopter. The real truth was that he had actually dared to send the British to Coventry and his Party would not speak to British officials! Presumably it was because of this helicopter prank that the British harassed Awo's Action Group when it campaigned in the North and meted out brutal treatment, including turning a blind eye to the murder, of AG campaign workers.

It was in the name of unity that the British Government rigged the Nigerian Independence Elections most successfully from start to finish. I almost wish that Sir James Robertson had not placed his trust in me and confided to me the British Government's plans in 1956 before the elections took place. It put a very heavy and grave responsibility on my shoulders.

29 November 1991

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THE TRIAL (Der Prozess, 1925): Franz Kafka

The confrontation of an individual and a baffling bureaucracy is something I have experienced since the day in 1956 when I realised that British democracy was a fraud. Kafka's hero, Joseph K, is accused of a crime that does not exist, and is made to feel guilty. His attempts to obtain justice lead nowhere. I know these feelings too. My 'crime' was to refuse to break the law by rigging Nigeria 's Independence elections. How can I clear myself when I have committed no crime? No crime?! Did I not refuse to obey Whitehall 's orders! Did I not let my colleagues down by refusing to commit treason against the Nigerian people! Have I not tried to publicise this evil, covert action which led to the deaths of two million innocent Africans?

I thought that I could walk away, but the Queen's men were determined that, like Humpty Dumpty, I was going to take a great fall and they came after me.

Like Joseph K, I have tried to obtain justice from an authority that will not communicate with me, for the very good reason that they have pronounced me dead. All my attempts to obtain justice have been fruitless. I brought something new out of Africa, a plea for justice for the African people, but they say that that was impossible for I was never in Africa . Will my struggle too culminate after thirty years in total frustration, loss of dignity and death like a dog? Undoubtedly, though I would rather die a dutiful and faithful hound than live for one day as the criminal politician or evil bureaucrat who refuse to answer my letters.

Destroying Nigerian democracy was evil of a very high order. Those who have looked the other way are the many notables, politicians and journalists who have been deaf to my pleas. A handful of politicians and journalists have given me encouragement because they could do no more. They have sustained me. Edmund Burke spoke for me and my experience when he said that "for evil to triumph, good men need do nothing."

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GOOD GUYS, BAD GUYS: A Hollywood Guide to doing the right thing

Bad Day at Black Rock

The Carry On Series

Casablanca

The Empire Strikes Back

Gone With the Wind (of Change)

High Noon (in Lagos)

High Plains Drifter

Hold the Front Page

Little Caesar

A Matter of Life and Death

Mr Smith Goes to Washington (Westminster)

(Mrs) Sanders of the River

Touch of Evil

Twelve Guilty Men

'Z'  

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'Bad Day at Black Rock' (with Spencer Tracy. MGM. 1955)

 

'Abubakar from the Black Rock' is the sub-title of an interminable account of Balewa, a Nigerian politician's life, by a superb writer and splendid historian, Trevor Clark. Anyone who can write so much - 888 pages - about so little deserves superlatives. Apart from that, Trevor was at my Oxford College , Magdalen, and even more we served in Nigeria together. (I bitterly resent ill-informed criticism of colonial officials. Some, acting on orders from Whitehall , were dreadful scoundrels, but the vast majority were first-class people, doing excellent work under very trying conditions in extremely unhealthy places.)

Like Balewa, the hero of Trevor Clark's fascinating work, Spencer Tracy is faced with a hostile community. Under Clark 's vivid and imaginative direction, his hero Balewa is transformed from a squalid traitor to his people, a puppet of the British, to the man in white who takes on all those vile enemies of his masters and dies tragically in the struggle. This seminal suspense thriller - the guilty nation motif becomes a cliché - has a dramatic unity, an economy of word and action which is sadly lacking in Clark 's master work of 888 pages. But as in Clark 's riveting presentation, the moments of violence, long awaited in the film, are electrifying. Truly an admirable production in an age of flabby Hollywood epics that meander on forever. (For my filmic insights I am indebted to Leslie Halliwell's Film Guide and William K. Zinsser of the New York Herald Tribune.)

 

The man in the white suit in the rough desert terrain, where man depended on his horse if he was to win through, was Balewa, a simple homespun farmer and teacher. When the call came, he knew what he had to do to serve his people, his nation, his faith. It was true that his colleagues ransacked and plundered the national coffers. It was necessary to rig elections and destroy democracy in pursuit of a higher, if highly questionable, morality. His opponents had to be imprisoned, and his actions inevitably led to a bloody civil war in which a million young people died, but 'He Never Faltered In His Duty.' This is a true story of epic proportions not yet told by master storyteller Trevor Clark. ('The skill of some sequences, the mood and symbiosis between man and nature makes this film sometimes superior to High Noon.' G.N. Fenin.)

 

Who knows, one day 'Abubakar from the Black Rock' will be filmed, and Pauline Kael will write, 'A very superior example of motion picture craftsmanship,' as she did of Dore Schary's morality play featuring Spencer Tracy, the good man fighting evil.

 

Even as I write, Mr Clark's epic story is probably being winched into the hold of an ocean-going freighter bound for a film tycoon's reinforced desk at MGM. Will a blacked up Alec Guinness play the martyred leader, beloved by all his British friends, but cruelly served by his own giant nation of a hundred nationalities who thought 'he had it coming' as they say in Westerns? I trust, anyway, that Mr Clark has better luck than I had when my own script of these events was to be filmed in the late 60's. The Director wanted to move the action to the West Indies , change the title and turn the hero into a heroine.

 

'The Girl from Black Rock,' with numbers by Andrew Lloyd Webber is truly a fate worse than the tragic death of this simple man, who fell into bad company as the sun set over the great and illustrious British Empire. [Fade in theme tune. Close-up, 'The End.' Roll credits. Feature prominently 'Director: Trevor Clark. Cut.]

 

Postscript

 

The total cost of publishing Mr Clark's epic work was paid for by the British taxpayer. The cash went from a secret Foreign office account via the old Colonials 'Friends of Nigeria' to the publisher. This was an MI6 wheeze to ingratiate the British with Nigeria 's latest military ruler and win some arms contracts. The book was the centrepiece of a ceremony in Nigeria to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of Balewa's assassination. I am the only person known to have purchased a copy of this splendid work. It was worth every penny. I have never laughed so much!

 

30 April 1992

 

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Carry On up the Creeks: Carry On Series: Up the Khyber, et al. (Anglo-Amalgamated. Peter Rogers, Director)

 

In all the Carry On films, there is one English idiot who believes that everything is pukka and above board, and that our people are decent, and the natives (i.e. whomever we happen to be against at the time) just need a bit of good advice to be jolly decent types too. This nutter, often played by Kenneth Williams, is sometimes cast as a clergyman or otherwise wet character. The other British stereotypes are colonels who are lunatics, captains who are drunks, lieutenants who are lechers, and a cockney crew of anarchical layabouts. I have omitted the streetwise world-weary senior NCO's, the linchpins of the Army and Empire who keep the whole show afloat. They are unshockable, ingenious, forever resourceful, and know every fiddle, whether at lower rank or Commanding Officer level. Their tricks of the trade are nudge-nudge, wink-wink, watch it, keep your nose clean.

 

The noodle, as vicar, teacher or academic - usually a professor - has led a sheltered life. It is only when removed from that backwater and put into life-or-death situations that he faces real moral dilemmas. In war films the academic as commando killer is Jack Hawkins in "Bridge on the River Kwai". In real-life war, some academics adapt quickly, perhaps because of a brutalised public school upbringing, to the cruelties of war and reveal a vicious, cruel streak. In war there is no moral problem, particularly in a good war against Hitler. Academics love intelligence work because it is competitive, brainy and to do with problem solving. Perhaps they like deceit. Crossman, who was a natural liar, plainly adored black propaganda and being paid to lie.

 

There are, of course, moral dilemmas in war. Soldiers are told not to take prisoners. The parachute brigade never did, which is why their first act, when at risk of having to surrender, was to bury their beloved red beret, lest they got what they usually dished out. In 1946 a young RAF pilot mounted a chair outside the Abbey in Bath and told a largely indifferent group of passers-by that he had protested when he learned he was to drop bombs on civilian targets in German towns. He had believed the propaganda lie that we were fighting a clean war against the beastly, murderous Hun. The young RAF officer was now reduced to the ranks. He was no longer a pilot, no longer an officer, and he had joined the real world. The men in the cookhouse he now worked with probably took it for granted that we were killing civilians.

 

When the British Government (1956-1960) rigged the Nigerian independence elections, colonial officials were stunned. It was extremely hard to believe what was happening. There were cynical and dishonest officials who exploited these machinations to advance their careers. They entered enthusiastically into this treason. I was one of those who protested. Most thought of their pensions and kept their heads down.

 

Perhaps it was extremely naïve and foolish to try to divert this criminal juggernaut once Whitehall had given the go-ahead. For me there was no choice. Probably the English have been indulging in this kind of duplicity, hypocrisy and treachery for centuries, particularly against Ireland and our colonial empire. There is a vacancy, a role in all these evils, for one lone voice to protest. I have no regrets at having fulfilled that role when Britain retreated from its imperial responsibilities in Africa in ignominy.

 

8 June 1992

 

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Casablanca - Play it again, Festering Sam, but Circumspectly

 

Clark, in his monumental biography of Nigeria's first Prime Minister Balewa ('Right Honourable Gentleman': 1991) tries to distance him from his totally corrupt Minister of Finance, Chief Festus Samuel Okotie Eboh, better known as Festering Sam to the British colonial officials who had to serve under him.

 

For a time in 1958, shortly before he moved from Labour to Finance, I had a desk outside Festus's office. My boss, Francis Nwokedi, knew full well that I loathed Okotie Eboh and Festus's intelligence service must have alerted Festus to this fact. However, Francis was inviting international experts to the Ministry of Labour in connection with the Provident Fund Scheme he inaugurated and which I helped to set up. He wished to make a good impression on these specialists and I was made the official responsible for looking after them and keeping them happy. Lagos was like a film set in those very heady pre-independence days. A great mammoth production was being planned and my international VIP's were the beginning of a flood. I was delighted because Lagos became a much more interesting place. It had always been vibrant and exciting in the black capital, but where we lived in the exclusive white suburb of Ikoyi one could so easily die of boredom.

 

I had, however, given the white administration a very nasty shock such as it had rarely received before. The Governor General was incensed and personally censured me. My sin was to protest at the complex arrangements for rigging Nigeria 's Independence elections. As a consequence, the administration sought to relieve my boredom in various ways. Threats to my life and, if I survived, my health and career became so common that they failed to excite. I retreated to London , but was seized by the throat, shaken, and returned to Lagos where I was moved around a series of dismal, downtown, ramshackle offices. My move to the Minister's suite was a pleasant change from the sewer stench of Alakaro from where millions of black Africans had embarked to become black Americans.

 

While at Alakaro I inspected the bars, hotels and the drinking dens of Lagos . It was something to do. I had been denied access to the files and papers in Central Office lest I got up to more mischief. Had I not written an infamous minute on a command from HE Sir James Robertson, the Governor General, which had given him apoplexy and caused me to be banished from headquarters? "No, Sir," my minute stated categorically. "This would be a criminal act." As Robertson was violating the extensive election laws of Nigeria , he was a criminal, as were the whole of the administration employed in the election rigging. I had it on the highest authority, the Governor General himself, that only one senior British officer had defied him and refused to join in the fun - me.

 

Some of Lagos 's low dives, though in no way as sophisticated as Rick's Bar, reminded me of Casablanca . That town is said to be the ugliest in Northwest Africa, as I suppose Lagos is the ugliest in West Africa, and - the lagoon apart - perhaps the ugliest on the whole continent. In the 50's it was certainly one of the most insanitary, unhealthy and least graceful British outposts in the Empire. Of course, Rick's Bar only existed on the back lot of Warner Brothers' Burbank Studio in 1942, but its corruption and seediness was pervasive and real, and that is what I encountered in bars and brothels, where sailors from around the world and others seeking the low life got together during the late and early hours. Casablanca's original title, 'Everybody Comes to Rick's' was not too applicable because I visited these Lagosian bars in mid morning when the festivities had expired, as had the remaining clients who were sleeping it off, slumped over tables or on the floor. (As we inspected the bars and brothels, it occurred to my African assistants that we should also inspect the place where top British officials - whites only - met together. Our visit to "The Club" caused consternation, but that is another story.)

 

I was accompanied by a team of black assistants armed with notebooks, who would seek wages' books and official records. The book usually proffered was the 'dash' book which recorded bribes to officials and to which our names would be added, even though I spurned the bribes tendered. The bar manager could cheerfully pocket the bribe I had refused. I was offered money, whiskey, girls, boys and, at one celebrated hostelry which never paid its staff any wages at all, the proprietor's wife and then - in desperation - his daughters. I was told that I was the most difficult person to please in the whole colonial administration. A sentiment the Governor General probably would have endorsed.

 

I certainly was not Bogart. We had one thing in common though. Neither of us got the girl. Some beautiful girls offered dalliance on the Minister's conference table or desk, but they were the Minister's girls and I suspected that he had put them up to it. Casablanca is a damn good film, but also a philosophic treatise on moral responsibility versus emotional needs and compulsions. (Film buffs will suspect rightly that I have been reading John Kobal's 'Top 100 Movies.') I recall Esther who had been very naughty but also had a fine brain. She would unfold her lappa, a loose wrap-around skirt, by my desk and then lean over it. It would get even hotter in that office and my friend Cathy Polkinghorne, passing by, would yell, "Remember you're a happily married man, Sean!"

 

Our Commissioner of Labour, George Foggon, was credited with putting through some very unsavoury deals for Festering Sam. It did George no harm for he was promoted to the Colonial Office. However, Sam's thirst for crooked deals had not been slaked. He had the Governor General's approval too as he told us after being carpeted by the Governor General. Carpeted, not for being a crook - he was after all our most pro-British politician and a great fixer - but for being careless. "Be more circumspect," he told us Sir James had warned him. Sir James had told him that he had details of every crooked deal that he had a finger in. That was unsurprising because MI5 opened his mail and tapped his telephone and kept a close eye on him. To control him we needed to know what he was up to. Not to stop him, but to use the information to blackmail him lest he forget who was paying the piper. He had to put through our crooked deals. To head off nationalisation, to protect British interests in return for large donations to his bank account in Switzerland and his Party funds.

 

Sam could certainly have played Sydney Greenstreet who bought Rick's night-club. Sir James Robertson was a very serious criminal but lacked the charm of Claude Rains. I suppose he was closer to Conrad Veidt's Nazi Commandant. He seemed that way to me in his office at Government House, when he looked at me icily and said that, if I did not give him my word to keep secret the fact that we had rigged Nigeria 's Independence elections, means would be found to silence me.

 

I met enough scoundrels in Lagos to populate Rick's Casablanca many times over. I suppose my friend and later eminent historian, Michael Crowder, was a natural for Paul Henreid's part. I tried to protect Michael when he was pressurised by the Governor General to put the screws on me. Michael's sexual preferences made him at that time an easy choice for a blackmailer and thug like Robertson. I encouraged Michael to put aside such loyalty as he felt for me. He gave me his word that he would one day tell the truth about Britain's vile machinations and what happened to us, but although he was a prolific historian, he never did, nor will he ever because he died from Aids recently.

 

Bogart's eternal anti-hero was much too starring a role for a bit player like me. It is said that Bogart and Bergman did not know how the screenplay would end while they were making the film. In my humble role in a contest between good and evil, played against a backdrop of the retreat from Empire, I was unlike the street-wise Bogart and resembled more an innocent abroad. I somehow thought I would be able to walk away from this ghastly and shocking plot, which undermined our claim to be the world's most distinguished and pre-eminent democracy.

 

The Governor General brought me down to earth cruelly. He said that I knew far too much and that I could not be allowed to return to Britain . He feared that I still harboured the notion that the British had not rigged the elections. Indeed, against the direct experience of the orders he had sent me, I still longed to be told that it was all a misunderstanding. Sir James intuitively knew of these hopes and dashed them. He wanted no misapprehension. He wanted me to know the truth of the real trouble I was in. He was not pussyfooting around. He had rigged the elections because it was necessary. When he made remarks about carrying out orders, I realised or thought I did - perhaps I was clutching at straws - that we had this in common. Momentarily I softened towards him, but almost immediately he was threatening me. He said that I would never be employed again, and the hopelessness of my stand submerged me in a profound gloom which hangs round me to this day.

 

With the arrival of TV in the late 1950's, some very fine actors found that they had made their last film. They too never worked again. I know how it is to struggle to survive, to battle with chronic ill health, to suffer the slings and very real arrows of outrageous fortune. My reputation has been slandered, my character defamed, I am told that I am obsessed, a sick old man, bitter, a liar. This from criminals who were responsible for the deaths of up to one million young people in the Biafran War which flowed inevitably from our criminality in rigging Nigeria's independence elections. The euphemism actors use is 'resting'. They travel abroad, they claim, or are writing their memoirs in the sun. All too often they are employed as shop assistants or clerks.

 

Bogart was the man who embodied Raymond Chandler's classic dictum, "Down these mean streets a man must go, who is himself not mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid." After the Colonial Office got me sacked from my post of Personnel Manager at the Esso Refinery at Fawley, I was recognised by both workers at the plant and colonial officials on leave delivering the post in Lymington near the refinery. Having been humiliated and kicked around, it was hoped that I had learned my lesson and Whitehall returned me to Lagos . They cannot do that, you protest. I can only answer that Whitehall and MI5 can commit murder without a thought of exposure or punishment. Top officials in Lagos wondered that I had not been eliminated because of my defiance and what I knew.

 

No academy awards for seeking to defend the rule of law or our democracy. Tough. I would rather walk mean streets than live well with a string of honours, but have no honour.

 

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'The Empire Strikes Back' ( USA 1980)

 

This galactic screen epic, like its predecessor, 'Star Wars', is simply Flash Gordon Rides Again - but faster. And who better to star in "The Wind of Change," another colossal production, but SuperMac! Harold Macmillan was a man who walked alone. Turning away from his partner, Lady Dorothy, who loved another, Macmillan headed for the Big Country, Nigeria , in the Big Continent, Africa , to do what a Macmillan had to do. The African Giant was ripe to be independent, and Big Mac had a problem. How was Nigeria to be controlled in the British interest when it was 'free'? The natives were restless, and two of their tribal leaders, Zik and Awo, unfriendly. The third leader, Bello , was our man but inclined to be bellicose. Someone more diplomatic, but still ruthless, was sought amongst his deputies. Thus was Balewa, a simple teacher, chosen to do SuperMac's bidding and destroy the hostile Zik and Awo.

 

But hold on, is not SuperMac the hero of this astounding motion picture classic? Sorry, no. SuperMac is playing Darth Vader. Right. So the heroes are really Zik and Awo, and they form a Rebel Alliance to fight Darth Vader? Well, yes, they are heroic, standing up to the dastardly British, but the first trick Darth pulled was to split them and make them fight each other.

 

Balewa, Darth's man on Earth, is appointed ruler of Nigeria by SuperMac, and everyone is happy. Except, that is, Zik, who is robbed of political power, and Awo, who is jailed for ten years, and their peoples, who are tricked, conned and robbed that the evil empire may thrive. Tough for them, but the good news is that for six years the British are happy. As Balewa had four wives, lots of girl friends and particularly adored fornicating with black Lolitas, there are parts galore for female friends and family of everyone connected with this incredible production. Sadly, just when almost everyone - well, all except the Nigerian populace - is having a ball, some bolshie Army officers shoot Balewa stone cold dead.

 

The British were horrified, and Balewa was not too pleased either, but his feelings got overlooked in the tumult that followed. "Who did it, and who was behind it?" demanded the British. A General who looked as if he might be a possible replacement for Balewa disposed of the young Army officers pretty smartly. Ironsi was ambitious, but not too pushy; bright, but no intellectual; and honest without being too principled. He had promise. Did the beastly British, playing the role of Darth Vader, finger Zik and Awo and execute them horribly? Sadly, this was not possible. Awo had a reasonable alibi. The cunning rogue had forced us to jail him for ten years. And Zik was in England , claiming to need medical attention. He would certainly have needed it if our boys in Nigeria could have got their hands on him. (Were the young Majors not from his tribe?)

 

In Balewa's homeland, the North's revenge was planned. The Empire would Strike Back. First Ironsi, the General, was dispatched, and then the British organised the angry Northerners and set them on those of Zik's people who were residing in the North. Thousands and thousands of peaceful men, women and children were hacked to pieces, and the survivors fled back to Iboland, which rapidly trained an army and declared independence, calling itself Biafra . However, the Evil Empire had only just started, and now under the pretext of putting down the rebels, the killings could really commence. Fighting against overwhelming odds, with makeshift weapons, the Biafrans fought valiantly, but were inevitably vanquished. Two million died. The Empire had truly struck back with a vengeance.

 

Like all great war productions, the 'Wind of Change' gave us bloodshed with some mythical and Sophoclean overtones, which would please SuperMac who saw himself as a Thinker, someone above the drab routine of workaday life. Did SuperMac's production lack some of the inventiveness, humour and special effects of its predecessors? Perhaps, but it did good business. A recent big book on Balewa tries to make up for our neglect of the dead teacher whom we used as a front to protect our interests in the African Giant. But how to write off those embarrassing two million dead? Well, they were only common people, Trevor Clark tells us. Only a single man of distinction died, and he was a poet and presumably did not count.

 

The motion picture epic Empire had a Muppet as its spiritual guide and, not to be left behind, Clark demonstrates that the British Evil Empire had its spiritual puppet, too, in Balewa. The British were well cast as the 'droids' and the tired and emotional Wookie was tailor made for... CUT. Roll Credits.

 

(Acknowledgements to Leslie Halliwell's Film Guide and Time Out Film Guide. Fade in theme music - a War Requiem. End credits on 'A British Empire Film Production.' The End. LIGHTS.)

 

16 June 1992

 

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Gone with the Wind of Change... MGM, David Selznick. 1939)

 

The Ibo and the Yoruba are transplanted in the New World and their plight on the ole plantation is the backcloth for, on the superficial level, "a re-run of the 'Taming of the Shrew' by Shakespeare out of Ethel M. Dell" (James Agate) - or how a Southern girl survives the Civil War but loses her man - and more seriously the case for racism, reaction and sexism presented in the best block-busting, bonk-busting and bodice-busting epic style that Hollywood could command. Both the largely fictitious, elegant, honourable and decent South and Scarlett, as bitchy Southern belle, get raped, which was the nightly lot of the Ibo and Yoruba in the ole log cabin back of Tara , both ante bellum and post bellum. Scarlett smiles submissively after her rape - it was in marriage after all - and the African sought consolation in Christianity, which was also cheap and available.

 

A century later the British almost left Africa with honour, but not quite. In the great British tradition of a Whitehall farce and an Ealing comedy, SuperMac declared Nigeria free of the Imperial boot and replaced it with the soft shoe shuffle of Northern puppet rule. Government of the people, by the Emirs, for the British, was, as a winning formula, pilot-tested in the North and then extended to the whole of Nigeria . The Northerners, if not quite white, were certainly not quite black, and had some old scores to settle with the uppity Ibo and Yoruba. Come to that, so had the British and, at independence, having rigged the elections to favour their Northern friends, the British withdrew temporarily to watch the fun which rapidly escalated into a bloody civil war.

 

Quite what went with the wind of change in Africa, apart from any claim to honesty or honour by Whitehall man, historians will in due course tell us. In the meantime, I note that more died in 'Biafra' in the 1960's than in the US civil war of the 1860's - more also than British losses in World War Two.

 

The Governor General, while admitting British treachery to me, added dryly, "No one will believe you, Smith." Sadly, that is not the problem. All too many turn away, not because they do not believe, but precisely because they do and are frightened. Ah well, tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett observed and as for Sir James Robertson, and Macmillan and his criminal gang, frankly I don't give a damn. Rhett Butler could not have put it better.

 

(I acknowledge with gratitude my reliance on Leslie Halliwell's and Time Out's Film Guides for filmic insights.)

22 June 1992

 

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High Noon (in Lagos )

Stanley Kramer staged a contest between good and evil in 1952 on a Hollywood back-lot with the help of Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. When the marshal seeks help from the frightened townsfolk, they turn away, and he has to take on the revengeful bad men alone.

 

This epic film of the classic struggle between right and wrong reflected the menace of McCarthyism, which at that time threatened democracy in the USA . Idealistic Americans, liberals and democrats, as well as sympathisers with bolshevism, were persecuted and ruined. McCarthyism itself was part of an undeclared world confrontation, the Cold War. Remote peoples in Asia and Africa were judged by issues they barely comprehended. Were they likely supporters of bolshevism? The verdict could leave whole nations laid to ruin by the shock troops of the forces of democracy, MI5 and MI6, the CIA and the SAS, and US military advisors.

 

In the build-up to Independence for Nigeria the intelligence agencies sent in their advance men, and soon the flow became a flood. Who amongst the nationalist leaders could be trusted to keep Nigeria safe for democracy? Daftness prevailed and nationalists, who were liberals, were truly socialists, who were truly crypto-communists, and subversives, and enemies of the free world, and monsters, and truly a menace, and enemies who must be exterminated, eliminated, neutralised, extinguished.

 

That is why Nigeria 's Independence elections had to be rigged by the British. It was necessary, as the Governor General confessed to me in his office in Government House in 1960. Not expedient, desirable, essential, required or a damned good thing, just necessary. In fact, whatever the excuse or reason dreamt up, this covert action was a colossal disaster. Not for the British, of course. They had moved on to deal with a pressing problem elsewhere by this time and what had seemed so urgently necessary was now forgotten. Up to one million young Nigerians were to die in a bloody civil war because of British machinations - a blood bath that was surely totally unnecessary.

 

When I replied with a terse minute, 'No, Sir, this would be a criminal act,' to the Governor General, I did not know that the covert action I had refused to join would have such tragic consequences. I knew what the Governor General was up to was evil. Much to my surprise, people I told turned away or went into shock. Then my colleague, Vic Beck, approached me. His senior officer had been ordered to pressurise British multi-nationals for large sums of money for pro-British political parties. He had carried out his orders and was conscience-stricken. The three of us sought advice from Government House. This was the correct procedure. The orders were confirmed. They came from the Governor General. My colleagues ran when a mighty roar of fury came from Sir James Robertson. How dare we question his orders! My colleagues, I learned later, fingered me as the ringleader. I was not, but as the one who stood his ground, it was understandable that everything should be thrown at me. My excellent work, the testimonials to my considerable achievements, the outstanding reports on my work by my superiors, were as nothing now I stood alone.

 

I felt like the marshal in High Noon, but Birth of a Nation was also in there somewhere. The feeling of isolation increased when the colonial government and Whitehall blackmailed my friends so they too turned away. I had been moved away from my colleagues and now my friends kept their distance. Word got around that I was dangerous and I was treated as a leper. I had let the side down. I had gone native. I had betrayed our people.

 

Gary Cooper was victorious. I failed to blow the whistle on British treachery and a million died in a totally unnecessary, bloody, civil war. However, I survived to tell the tale even if only in a limited manner to the cognoscenti.

 

Workers in my care were beaten to death in Spanish Fernando Poo, despite my pleas. The British did not want to know. I fought other battles unsuccessfully. One afternoon I helped to rescue the body of a dockworker from the lagoon outside Government House. Was he one of the workers who had sought my protection when I was Port Labour Officer? The docking company, which enjoyed a monopoly, employed a goon squad to discipline troublesome workers. Messages of support came my way from the African office staff at the Department of Labour Headquarters. Others tried to be supportive while making clear I was on my own. There were thrills, tension and excitement in my version of 'High Noon'. There were surprises, plot developments and twists as the story unfolded. I was thrown back on myself and found inner strengths I did not know I possessed. I did not need Grace Kelly at all, for in my wife Carol I had a totally honest and upright partner who never flinched from her duty. In London too, we found frightened politicians, cowardly editors and those who spoke great liberal thoughts, but felt no need to defend our democracy.

 

Those of us who take a stand never regret it, for to do so would be to kill off the people we were, to become someone, a lesser kind of person, other than we are. Maybe it is only in Hollywood epics that the guy in the white hat wins and then only because he kills the evil bastards with his trusty six-shooter or Winchester rifle. For all my pacifism I could be tempted by that violent solution, though I know in my heart it would not work.

Maybe if my story is filmed (not as unlikely as it sounds as one effort has already been made) a good-looking hero will win through decisively and press home the moral that crime does not pay, and that a man has to do what a man has to do; that good will always triumph over evil and that a man must be true to himself. I find that last sentiment appealing. I will drink to that, stranger. And now I ride away up a dusty road into the far horizon.

 

2 May 1992

 

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High Plains Drifter (or the Lower Levels of Moral Decay)

 

The citizens are threatened by villains and turn to Clint Eastwood, but Clint has a score to settle with the citizens too. Evil can only triumph if good men let it. Clint kills the bad guys, but is really pissed off with the gentry too. They deserve hell, and Clint gives it to them.

 

I once watched a potentially great nation set on an evil course which would tear it apart in a bloody civil war in which, it is said, two million innocent people died. When I intervened to try to stop Nigeria 's Independence Elections being rigged, the British Government threatened to kick the shit out of me and a lot of good people stood by and watched a great nation destroyed and a lone dissenter gagged.

 

Since that time I have struggled to survive and have told my story to Prime Ministers, Presidents, Archbishops and Cardinals, politicians of all parties and self-proclaimed but bogus tribunes of decency, like Guardian Editors, the law and goodness knows who, but to no avail. Nobody wants to help me, it seems. There are brave, decent, honest people about, and I find them, but we are few.

 

Some critics seemed to have difficulty with the plot of this film - High Plains Drifter. It was over the top and too violent. They wanted the bad guys to be killed painfully, and Clint obliged, but that was a side-show. The villains he had in his sights were the cowardly evil citizens who let the roughnecks, the yobbos loose on the State. We know that, if not checked when they spread terror in a locality, they can spread their wings and become Hitler's and Tito's children and destroy States and plunge Nations into bloody war.

 

I could perhaps have murdered one or two of those I know to be enemies of the State who were responsible for the deaths of millions of Nigerians, but I cannot take revenge on all those who stand by and let evil prosper. It has been my duty to alert everyone to evil and make sure that all understand and be given a chance to take a stand, and this is very time-consuming. So much so that thirty years pass, and Nigeria is still denied democracy and suffers dictatorship and repression, and I have become an old man.

 

Clint drifts on high moral plains and is god-like in dispensing justice. I suspect ordinary cinema-goers, unlike the circuit critics, had no problems with the plot of this film. There is little justice in the factory or on the farm, and they know the top people of Largo were mean-spirited bastards, and shed no tears when Clint the Director zapped them.

 

Strangely, after thirty years, I feel closer to the evil crooks of the Macmillan and Eden regimes who murdered the Mau-Mau suspects in Kenya while supposedly interrogating them, and produced a bloody civil war in Nigeria . One can so easily understand them. One can also understand their henchmen, the top civil servants like Sir John MacPherson, the Permanent Under Secretary at the Colonial Office, who masterminded the death at birth of Africa's greatest new democracy. Others like Sir James Robertson carried out their orders and executed on a grand scale what started as evil ideas in the heads of a few sick politicians.

 

Some of the good guys, who sympathise but forget to even tell me or offer even moral support, are disgruntled because they feel that their own cowardice is being made evident. And when they learn of the bribes I was offered, they become really disturbed. They feel bad and blame the messenger, one Harold Smith.

 

Clint Eastwood has his hypocritical and cowardly town elders paint their town buildings red and put on a welcoming party for the cowboy villains cum destroyers of democracy and civilisation whom they have allowed to flourish through their treasonable neglect. I know that hatred and desire for vengeance too. It is negative and pointless, but to pretend one does not feel great anguish and pain at their treachery would be to lie. If I could afford a helicopter, I would drop a thousand gallons of red paint over the offices of the Guardian and the Observer newspapers. I would dig up the bones of countless victims of journalistic genocide and encircle those buildings. It would do no good, but it might assuage the pain in my heart.

 

15 March 1994

 

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Hold the Front Page (Howard Hughes, 1931) and as 'His Girl Friday': (Howard Hawks, 1940, and Billy Wilder, 1974)

 

This is the greatest newspaper comedy of them all, and the one journalists (like almost everybody else) love. Best to see Wilder's coarse and tacky version first, then toss a coin between 1931 and 1940, for they are both great classics. As a Cary Grant fan, I like the 1940 version best, but this is a bonanza of a triple-layered birthday cake for any film buff. This fast, frantic, black farce chronicles journalism as mythology, as a 'vanished race of brittle, cynical, childish people rush around on corrupt errands'. (Pauline Kael).

 

The journalist is involved if he chooses, but he can always retreat into his role as observer. Each day a new edition with a new story. The central plot in The Front Page involves the intrusion of reality into the partly make-believe concerns of the reporters' room when an anarchist, awaiting execution, escapes and hides in a celebrated roll-top desk.

 

When a great new nation came into being in 1960, I witnessed its birth. Here was a magnificent, historic event, presented as a triumph for Britain and democracy in our newspapers. Yet I knew it to be a tragedy and a black day for British honour and decency, because Whitehall rigged the independence elections. I have written enough letters to Fleet Street over a period of thirty years, telling the true story, to fill that roll-top desk to overflowing. Like the anarchist in the desk, my story undermines the presentation of a daily rag as 'The Fourth Estate,' a pillar of our freedoms and shield against tyranny. If newspaper columns truly were the first draft of history, the truth of our treason in Africa would have held the Guardian's front page and perhaps altered the course of history, for that treachery dragged in its wake a bloody civil war in which, it is claimed, two million people died.

 

"Your story is of no interest to our readers," wrote one of the Guardian's senior executive editors. Remarkable in itself, because an acknowledgement is a rare event. No journalist from Britain 's national press has spoken to me, seen me, or given me an interview in thirty years, despite my success in being published in small local papers and magazines. The D Notice is deniable and not even necessary, when major government secrets are involved. This is knighthood material and highly prized. What I will not be bought for is quickly put up for sale by hacks seeking honours for dishonourable behaviour.

 

The papers, which record my battle to make a first draft of history, will shortly be placed in the archive of the Melville Herskovits Library at North Western University , Illinois , courtesy of Professor Jean Herskovits. In a series of essays, of which this is one, I have tried to address the questions historians are already beginning to ask. One of these questions is why Fleet Street or Wapping has refused to publish. Sir James Robertson, the last Governor General of Nigeria , was superbly confident that no one would publish, and told me so. They would not be allowed to, he said. It seems that he was correct. The British Government then proceeded to proclaim, not only a version of history that was totally false, but also that I did not exist. I had never been employed by Government or even been in Africa , so how could I have received secret orders from the Governor General to interfere with the independence elections? The person making a fuss was clearly quite mad.

 

I have for thirty years felt very close to the anarchist in that roll-top desk. Maybe I too will escape one day and see my story hold 'The Front Page.'

 

10 July 1992

 

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Little Caesar (Edward G. Robinson. Mervyn Le Roy , US , 1930)

 

'Those who live by the sword, die by the sword...' If only it were true! This cautionary note prefaced Warner Brothers' splendid gangster film. Edward G. plays Rico Bandello who makes like Al Capone, and he 'died by the sword' with the memorable words, "Mother of God, is this the end of Rico?"

 

            It was the end of Rico, but the city politicians who looked the other way, and the Chief of Police who terrorised jaywalkers, they did not die by the sword. They died with money in the bank, provided by Rico or Al. Rico was determined to gain sole control of an empire, and died in the struggle. If he had been wearing the cocked hat and plumes of the Queen's personal representative, Sir James Robertson, Governor General of Nigeria , he would have known a few tricks that street criminals were unfamiliar with.

 

Jimmy Robertson wanted to win sole control of the Nigerian Empire of one hundred nations, and rigged the Independence elections. He chose for his sidekick to put through the big deal, not the dancing gigolo Massara played by Douglas Fairbanks, but the present writer. When I declined this signal honour, Jimmy got tough like Rico, and threatened to have me silenced. As a Balliol man and a Scot, Jimmy put it in a refined manner. "If you don't shut up, means will be found to silence you!"

 

Jimmy was pretty good, playing Rico. He sounded vain, cruel, jealous and vicious, every inch the ruthlessly ambitious mobster. In truth, Jimmy was a gangster on an epic scale like Hitler and Mussolini, who both adored gangster films. They killed in millions. The crooks Jimmy installed to run Nigeria got their hands in the till, destroyed the opposition and in due course died at the hands of young idealists, sickened by the stench of corruption. By this time, Jimmy was in an English country garden, killing green fly. The civil war, which broke out as a consequence of Jimmy's subverting democracy in Nigeria , took two million, mainly young, lives.

 

"Why?" I asked Jimmy. We were in his study in Government House, overlooking the lagoon that gave Lagos its name.

 

"Because it is necessary," he snapped. "Nobody will believe you," Jimmy told me. "And you will never be employed again."

 

I fled from Nigeria , having surreptitiously obtained an air ticket. I sought help from Whitehall , but they denied knowing me. Indeed, they said that I had never existed. So who was pleading for help? A madman they said. They told that to Julian Amery, who thought he was in charge, as he was a Minister at the Colonial Office and the Prime Minister's son-in-law.

 

Do you recall Cary Grant at a prestigious Embassy reception trying to alert everyone to the fact that the charming diplomats are Nazis and determined to kill him. What was that film? That was how I felt, seeing distinguished lawyers who told me that it could not be happening. God damn it, it was against the law! We are a democracy! Top civil servants said that it could not happen! It is against all the regulations! They told me that I was a highly thought-of civil servant who was destined for higher things. Such kind people to reassure me that all was well. Then they turned away. I was never employed again. Whitehall had claimed that I did not exist despite being the brilliant young civil servant, who had put great laws on to the statute book of Britain 's major African colony. Two million black people truly ceased to exist and they too are forgotten. In their case it is because they are black. Only one person of significance died in the Biafran civil war a British historian has recorded, the rest were common people. "Mother of God, did the British Empire have to end like this?"

 

'One of the best gangster talkers yet turned out... a swell picture.' (Variety).

(I am indebted to Leslie Halliwell and Time Out as always for filmic insights.)

 

2 August 1992

 

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A Matter of Life and Death: - The Staircase to Heaven - (Powell and Pressburger: The Archers: 1946)

 

And did not the Archers hit their target! A propaganda film, which is nothing like a message film and was released anyway after the war ended. A joyous, heart-warmingly English production - full of a simple patriotism - which must surely be one of the greatest films ever made. A triumph for David Niven, because his nervous limitations and lack of big star quality are just right for his part and contribute to the film's success. Some said that he was never as really nice as this, but he did return from Hollywood to fight, and was truly a gallant soldier.

 

But what was that target but a love affair between a GI girl and a RAF pilot, symbolising the Allies - Britain and America - working together for victory? Powell said, "...all films are surrealist. They are ... something that looks like the real world but isn't."

 

The war was over; we had won. Millions had died and it was not then realised that area bombing by the RAF had slaughtered very many women and children. Our gallant RAF aircrews were heroes and butchers at the same time. It was not their fault. But if we excuse them for the necessary slaughter of the innocent, we must excuse the German soldier who obeyed orders too?

 

Quite what the film is about is not clear, and perhaps that is part of its appeal. It is a beautiful film, and the craftsmanship is everywhere in script, acting, and atmosphere. For those who knew the wartime years, it is superbly accurate. Those were grotesquely happy years for so many of us because, despite privations, we felt good. This was the good, just and necessary war. It was the good people triumphing over evil. True our moral victory was spoiled, inter alia, by Bomber Harris's lack of a moral sense and the way we rapidly rehabilitated the most vile of the Nazi middle ranks and recruited them for our struggle against Communist Russia. Yet democracy had triumphed and the decency, which shines out of Roger Livesey and Niven and Kim Hunter, epitomises a wartime England and the essential England of kind, sweet, warm-hearted, good people we love.

 

Yet Powell and Pressburger fearlessly show us a heaven full of the war dead who are at peace and serenely happy and untroubled, and Niven is betwixt and between; and there is table tennis and chess and a village and a GP with a camera obscura. Somehow, despite the chaos and evil of war, simple goodness and cheerfulness are portrayed... And the war to end war produced a Cold War and a plague of wars, all too often in poor, neglected areas of the world. One such was in Nigeria . The British had installed a pro- British regime at independence, following fraudulent elections. When that regime was ended by a military coup, civil war broke out and two million innocent young men, women and children ascended Powell and Pressburger's staircase to heaven.

 

The British deny that two million died because the British foisted a corrupt Government on Nigeria . After all, they have not yet admitted to rigging Nigeria 's independence elections, though they assuredly did. In the same way they did not admit to the systematic murder of the German civilian population by area bombing. Sadly, neither in peace nor war does the British Government let truth get in the way of its often covert operations. The thousand-bomber raid which Niven was part of in this film would be said to be bombing military targets. Only the beastly Nazis bombed women and children. Only ten years after our Second Great War to defend democracy, I was ordered by Whitehall to fix Nigeria 's elections. A further ten years, and in 1966 the killing, consequent on this treachery which I opposed, would commence.

 

Unlike the Archers' World War Two epic, there was no good side to the Biafran Civil War. When the evil commenced which led to that civil war, three of us opposed the treachery planned by the British Government. We were swept aside and the other two ran like hell. Like Niven, I too hovered between heaven and earth as I struggled to survive a tropical disease and its crises. My mind left my body and soared into the heavens, and I had the key to all wisdom and was suffused with happiness as I looked down on the planet. But sadly I was made to return to the twisted, agonised body that I glimpsed, sprawled lifelessly on a rumpled bed. I had my own lovely wife to return to, and she nursed me over the years until new medical breakthroughs provided a lifebelt.

 

I hope that those who have struggled through moral crises find the strength to be true to themselves, and that they too find joy and moral support in this magnificent, English, classic film.

 

11 July 1992

 

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 Mr Smith Goes to Westminster

 

(cf. 'Mr Smith Goes to Washington ': James Stewart. D: Frank Capra. 1939)

"I am going to make you famous," said the film producer, but the film never got made. Jimmy Stewart's little man came out on top, but that is because it was not real life. So I can dream I came out on top too. Exposing corruption in high places is a dangerous pursuit. Jimmy Stewart's film was thought to be dangerous, too, for setting a bad example and it influenced me. I had four years at Oxford and was stuffed with democracy, decency, freedom and fair play. I went to far more films at Oxford than lectures (maybe six or seven of the latter) and although I read many books on ethics and moral philosophy and the law, it was the Westerns and Twelve Angry Men and the Grapes of Wrath, and the Hollywood- message films in which I really graduated. John Kennedy's father gave the film his personal recommendation while he was Ambassador in Britain at the outbreak of the war against Hitler and the Nazi evil empire. "This film," said Joseph Patrick, "will do inestimable harm to American prestige all over the world."

 

Colonialism was a dirty word during the great world struggle for freedom, known as World War Two, and President Roosevelt said he was damned if he was going to pay out millions of dollars so that the British Empire could survive. Suddenly Africa was free to be poverty-stricken and, in Nigeria , pauperised by pro-British patriots in the pay of the Whitehall pariahs. I quit the Colonial Service in 1957 and went up to Church House, HQ of our Empire. This crook was sweating with fear. "You haven't told them... you know... what I did..." I shook my head. This jelly had put through crooked deals in Lagos . His face lit up, and he produced a set of native Nigerian costume and jiggled in it. "They gave me this," he grinned. Outside in the clean air of Victoria , I wondered why I had not pushed this squirmy creep out of a window. For the hell of it, I agreed to return to Nigeria because at heart I loved the place and missed it. I came back to Whitehall in 1960, having secretly obtained an air ticket. The white regime wanted me dead and conveniently I had somehow acquired a rare tropical disease usually found in the Far East . I was losing weight rapidly.

 

The Governor General did not want me near Westminster . He said that I could have promotion to the top and honours if I would keep my mouth shut and stay in Africa . Julian Amery was the Minister at the Colonial Office and the Prime Minister's son-in-law. I told him that our people had rigged the Independence elections in Nigeria . This one great act was supposed to wipe the slate clean in Africa . We were leaving with honour, having set the African free. Amery asked if I had really been in Africa . The top civil servant had told him that I had never set foot there. They also told Amery that I was insane. My lawyer, who knew Amery, assured him that I was not. They told Amery that Government had never employed me. The lawyer produced my contract. They said it was all a mistake. Of course they knew me, and I had been in Africa , but I was a liar, and crazy. They told Amery, when he persisted, that they could say no more as there had been a fire which had destroyed all my documents and records...

 

In time I told every Fleet Street editor, and they said, "Piss off." I told the Guardian, a once great newspaper, and they said the same. I told Frank Allaun, a radical MP, and he said, "How very interesting", and showed me the door, and became PPS to the Colonial Office. I told an academic at Oxford , and he was harassed and blackmailed into silence. This had happened to another academic in Lagos , too.

 

Capra's film was packed with slimy senators. I wrote a novel, telling my story, and it was nominated by the readers for a prestigious US literary prize, but Gore Vidal said that it was all too English - he had forgotten Capra's epic - and the prize was not awarded. Julian Amery's brother had been a traitor. He was hanged because he pleaded guilty. His lawyer was a QC, Tory MP, and a maverick. He cross-examined me to establish that I was telling the truth. He was deeply shocked. "We don't do this kind of thing, Mr Smith!" There was more of this when I met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who told me the Empire was a 'load of bollocks', and we both laughed. The Times and newsreels recorded this manic moment of truth. It seemed best to end that chapter there, as my health deteriorated further. In extremis I discovered God and gained a spiritual calm. Pregnant young girls came to our door, seeking shelter where they could give birth, and we shared what we had. Strangely, those were happy years because we lost sight of our anguish in the troubles of others.

 

In 1966 the corrupt pro-British politicians, whom we had placed in power in Nigeria , were shot. In the civil war that followed, up to two million young Africans were killed and a territory laid to waste. Where did I go wrong when I went to Westminster ? Why did my crusade not work like Capra's? Was it my lack of Jimmy Stewart's fast-talking comic panache? All I lacked was a hard-boiled dame, played by Jean Arthur, to be won over by my honesty, but I did not really need her. I already had a beautiful, very brave, young wife who needed no convincing of my honesty. Our film came out right, but sadly it has not yet gone on general distribution.

 

12 June 1992

 

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(Mrs) Sanders of the River (Alexander Korda, 1935)

 

If the de facto Mrs Sanders was usually a young black girl who has disappeared into the shadowy world she usually inhabited, the white Mrs Sanders, who contributed enormously to the survival of the Empire, also inhabits a shadowy world, for her role is rarely recorded or appreciated. (As always in colonial affairs, what seems a sensible assertion is too readily contradicted. Helen Callaway has compiled a fascinating study of European - usually British - women in Nigeria .)

 

As the Boys' Own Paper stereotypes are vaguely upper middle-class, public school boys, when women do make an appearance in the literature they are of the same class. We hear much of ADOs, DOs and Residents carrying the flag for Britain . These are the figures mocked for decades by left-wing critics. However, as the radical cynics grow up they sometimes see the light and begin to comprehend that they have caricatured honest, thoroughly decent, and worthy English people, not always very high in the social scale or rich, and none the worse for that.

 

If we rehabilitate the decent District Officer from his malicious and ill-informed critics, accept the essential role of the too-often unsung Nigerian clerks like Joyce Carey's Mr Johnson, bring centre stage the superb and often long-suffering British wives and their black sisters, the cast is still incomplete. Working-class England was surely represented in Nigeria but, like the women, it is invisible.

 

I have no idea how many ordinary British artisans served in Nigeria or how common it was for wives to accompany them. When we went out to Lagos on the mv Apapa, there were some railway wives who told us that Ikoyi was rather grand or posh and that they lived in the railway compound at Ebute Metta. How many non-commissioned troops served with the Army? The PWD, Posts & Telegraphs and the Salvation Army were all staffed by first-class people of largely humble origins. Even writing of class, one struggles to avoid snobbery and patronising phrases, but trying to find neutral nomenclature seems an impossible task.

 

The Labour Department's Commissioner of Labour in 1955 was George Foggon who had worked his way up from being a counter clerk in an Employment Exchange. Peter Cook, his Deputy, had been a railwayman. The Trades Union Officers and Trade Testers were of working class origin. The non-working class strand in the Labour Department consisted of ex-Army officers. We had Lieutenant Colonel Cheesely, Major Bunker, et al. When Vic Beck and I arrived in early 1955 we were, I think, the first graduates to join the Labour Department. We were both working class in origin, but we carried typewriters, the symbol of our new status.

 

How many other departments employed substantial numbers of working class Britishers? They all made a substantial contribution to the development of Nigeria . Did these working class men emulate the example of their betters and sleep with black girls? Was it always lust or did these lonely, frustrated men also discover love with women with whom they would share a common fate? They would flit about in the margins of the colonial record, as written up in the history books.

 

 

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Touch of Evil ( Paramount , 1952)

 

The main aim and achievement of the colonial administrator was the enforcement of law and order. We were the enforcers and the Africans were the ne'er-do-wells. In a sense, the very criminality of the people ruled is the raison d'être of the ruler. No criminality, no law enforcers, no rulers.

 

As a lawmaker in Lagos I suppose I should have been familiar with these ideas. As Labour Officers, we had labour legislation, even if of a very insubstantial nature, to enforce. However, we rarely went into court and there was much looking the other way. The people we knew best were not the Africans but our own colleagues and it soon became clear to the rookie administrator that few laws applied to us. We could not really be expected to prosecute each other, that would have been uncivil and letting the side down. In the Labour Department, if one chose not to work, no one gave it a thought. A senior officer could be brought out to do a job that never materialised and he would never be given other duties, except perhaps of a window-dressing kind. He would attend his office and, seemingly never suffering from boredom, would read the papers, then magazines and then sports annuals, racing form and fixtures.

 

The staff had a relaxed attitude to taking money from the Africans they served. Little and often was the motto and it was astonishing how the 'dash' would accumulate in the bank accounts of the trade testers in the Department. Black mistresses were conventional but Peter Cook, the Deputy, was special in preferring young boys and, although this was not exactly approved of, neither was it frowned on. When Okotie Eboh became Minister of Labour and thought up imaginative plans for making money, he met with no opposition from British officials, even when he came up with the wheeze of selling off the Ministry buildings.

 

Were we really the law enforcers, one might ask? Charlton Heston had a job like mine in Touch of Evil. He was a narcotics inspector, but he finds that the criminals are not the local people but his own police chief. I had much the same experience when I discovered that the voluminous election laws, designed to ensure fair elections, were flawed. They covered every eventuality that the British could think up to stop skulduggery by the wicked Nigerians, but did not cover chicanery by the British. They might indeed apply to British wrongdoing, but I cannot imagine a British Police Chief arresting our Governor General.

 

Arrest Sir James Robertson! Why, one asks, would one do that. Well, for a start, he was rigging the Independence elections so that our pro-British favourite Nigerian politicians, i.e. those in the North, would win. Elections are very unsettling and government is about order and stability. It was clearly in everyone's interest if Nigerians would win whom we could work with. This was not sabotaging elections, but actually improving on them. After all, it was our colony and we were not even voting in the election. It was necessary for us to have some say in the outcome. Desirable, necessary and a damned good thing. Such thoughts were clearly in Sir James's mind when he ordered me to play a major role in the election rigging and he was evidently very surprised and not a little displeased when I said, 'No,' and declined to join in.

 

Like the film made by Paramount in 1958 with Orson Welles as the corrupt police chief, life in Lagos was never quite the same again after I realised who was the chief crook in town. The confusing Paramount plot is laced with violence and perversion, which was much like life in the Labour Department. Indeed, in some respects Lagos was more crooked than the Mexican border town where Orson Welles was running the police force like one of Mrs Thatcher's state monopolies, where the enterprise seems to exist primarily to reward its chief executive with an astronomical income.

 

Further reversals of morality and convention were evident when Sir James decided to punish me for embarrassing him and calling him a criminal. I was supposedly protected from arbitrary punishment by Civil Service regulations, but Sir James simply ignored them. If I would join in the criminality and stop trying to blow the whistle, I could be much richer and could have honours. In other words, I would be approved of. The alternative, if I chose to be someone who observed the rule of law, was that I would be hounded and thrown out of the service. Government would ensure that I would never be employed again.

 

I thought that was diabolical. I thought the Governor General had more than a touch of evil. He had blackmailed my friend Michael Crowder, who was homosexual and vulnerable. Still, not everyone thought he was a rogue. One historian wrote a book, in which he extolled Sir James's virtues and said that he was a jolly nice bloke with a great bear hug, and was the best thing since sliced yam. The historian's name was Michael Crowder. Michael had promised me that he would reveal all about the rigging of the elections in his book, but he must have forgotten that he gave me his word. Nice one, Sir James. Not so nice one, old friend Michael.

 

5 May 1992

 

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Twelve Guilty Men? - Harold's Cabinet (Man includes Woman)

 

You saw the film 'Twelve Angry Men' on Channel 4 last Sunday. It is the kind of thing Channel 4 does.

 

There was this dispute and our Government took sides. Harold Wilson said that the Biafrans were guilty as hell, so he waged war on them. Hold on, the Government waged war on them. Quite so. Strictly speaking, the Cabinet agreed to supply arms to the Northerners who were in control, having shot an Eastern General who was in charge, a General Ironsi. The Northern lot was in control, said Harold, so they were the legitimate Government. So the Cabinet talked it over and backed Harold. That is what we thought at the time, anyway. That is what reminds me of 'Twelve Angry Men.'

 

In fact we now know that only two members of the Government agreed with Harold and, as one was Harold himself and the other was Michael Stewart who moonlighted for the US State Department, that was the only majority that Harold needed.

 

The Foreign Office had given Harold evidence that the Easterners were trouble and that the Northerners were nice boys who liked us. That was enough for Harold. He sent more arms for the Lagos crooks to use against the poor Biafrans (the Easterners) than the British Army expended throughout the whole of World War Two. If we did not send arms, said Harold, the Russians would. The Russians did anyway, but that only made Harold send more. Then the French, being absolute rotters who wanted our trade in Nigeria but would not take 'no' for an answer, supplied some arms to the Biafrans.

 

Harold got deadly serious and threatened really heavy intervention and carried out his threat. He visited Lagos again. We used to limit the treacherous activities of foreigners who wanted to muscle in on our market in Nigeria by burning their mail in the Lagos GPO unopened. I asked the MI6 bloke who chucked the letters in the furnace how he knew which to burn. I supposed that he must be a superb linguist. (I cannot reveal his name as I have given my word to our censorship at the Ministry of Defence that I will not).

 

'I only speak English, Smithy, old chap,' he said. 'Of course, I've years of experience in Vienna . What I'm telling you is in the strictest confidence.' He tapped his nose. 'Know what I mean?'

 

I reassured him on that point, having always had the most tremendous admiration for our James Bond boys with their unlimited libido.

 

'I never open them,' he said. 'I just look at the stamps. Letters from foreign buggers go straight in the fire!'

 

X slept with a revolver under his pillow. He was, of course, a crack shot, perhaps 007 and a bit. He also slept on his trousers to press them - an old Forces wheeze. If he ever got burgled, he would shoot to kill. One morning he had great difficulty waking up. When he did, he was sans revolver, uniform and everything. I was broken hearted.

 

Of course, the Northerners were our boys, our stooges, whom we had corruptly placed in power in 1960. Only two million died in the Civil War. Harold said that it only proved how right he was. And nobody of any importance got killed. If Harold has lots of black neighbours wherever he is, I know he will be happy. Ordinary Nigerians are lovely people - kind, hospitable and really sweet.

 

The Foreign Office are still very anti the French, and Mr Blair does his bit by being very rude to Monsieur Jospin. He paid the French Prime Minister his ultimate insult and called him a Socialist! Tony also warned Jospin not to try stealing our trade with Nigeria while we were engaged in bullshitting the Commonwealth into believing that we were being rough with our military thugs who run things in Nigeria . Now Tony is President of the New Europe which will live for a thousand years, Monsieur Jospin is going to find the postman does not call any more. He might even find Tony putting old fashioned British pounds into his opponents' party funds. He might even find the SAS occupying key points in Paris to protect him from subversion. Incredible? Not really.

 

Did I mention that we detested beastly Ibo/Biafrans because the Ibo young Majors shot our Northern stooges, headed by the rather sweet Balewa whose only vice was for virgin schoolgirls. (The least the British could do was to arrange a constant supply.)

 

Tony does not understand (or so my old chums at tell me) that the French think up rude things to say about him, knowing that GCHQ will pick it up and tell the JIC who tell Tony. It is all a tease really but Tony gets really upset. Having said that, Tony seems to have overlooked the fact that the French Secret Service is incredibly professional. It is really very naughty of Jospin to wind Tony up so!

 

Sadly, in our version of Twelve Angry Men, the Smiths did not succeed like Henry Fonda in turning round the Foreign Office idiots, and some two million Nigerians died. Was Harold drunk or insane or both? Our dear friend Marcia knows, but is not going to tell us. We must ask the French - they are sure to know.

 

We are giving Monsieur Jospin our account of British treason in Nigeria with regret, as we believe it to be shameful. We want M. Jospin to guide our young and inexperienced leader so that he steers clear from the temptations to which past British Governments have succumbed. We want our Government to turn over a new leaf and set a shining example in Europe for 100% probity and integrity. We are sure that we have Mr Blair's total support in this endeavour.

 

10 February 1998

 

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'Z' (France/Algeria, 1968)

 

How a political murder is made to look like an accident. Z is about fascism working under the surface of conventional crapitalist (stet) politics in Greece . It could never have happened in Nigeria . It is true that Nigeria 's great nationalist leader, Dr Zik, was railroaded into the obscurity of a flag-independence Presidency with nil power, but was this not accidental?

 

Of course, Balewa's benevolent dictatorship, benevolent to his Northern friends and the British, and dictatorial to most of the black polity, did give way to generations of rule by Colonels, and along the way two million died in a bloody, and totally unnecessary, and pointless civil war, but somehow the Greeks seemed to suffer more. After all, white suffering is more real, more poignant, more deeply felt, than blacks' suffering. The white man has so thoroughly brainwashed blacks that they sympathise with the whites who suffered so much in coming to Africa to imprison THEM. This is the ultimate slavery - a mind in handcuffs and chains while the body appears to be free.

 

When in 1960 I told a Director of BP in London of the suffering of Nigerian workers in Fernando Poo, he said, "Well, if the Spanish don't kill them, the crocodiles will eat them, so what's it matter?"

 

Another great nationalist leader, Awolowo, was jailed for ten years on trumped-up charges that could have been comic opera, but this was real life. The loss of democracy in Greece quite rightly infuriated liberals in the West, but the total destruction of Nigerian democracy by the British Government excites no interest because Nigerians are black. I would know, because for thirty years I have told Conservative politicians, Labour politicians, Liberal politicians, and all I get by way of response is not even an embarrassed silence but a total lack of reaction. They do not begin to care because they do not begin to understand that blacks are human. These same leaders who detest racism, or so they say, are more objectionable than the racists, in a strange way. The racists are sincere, if ignorant and inadequate people. Our liberals too often practise gentle, loving, benevolent racism. They speak nice words but practise foul deeds by deception, inaction and laziness.

 

Come on now, I exaggerate. Nigeria was only a beginner in democracy whereas in Greece we behold the birthplace of democracy. Z is based on the true story of Lambrakis, a Professor of Medicine, who was struck down by a truck as he left a peace meeting. Could anything like that happen in Nigeria with its free press? No editor needs fear getting a bomb in the post? It did happen in Nigeria ? Well, Z shows how the mechanics of fascist corruption may be hidden under the mask of law and order. The British are fascists? Is that what I am saying? Well, yes. The cold, calculating, evil destruction of democracy at birth in Nigeria is nothing if not fascist. And here our Nigerians, who loved British rule whatever its faults, will protest because they feel uneasy. They have been made to feel that they do not really deserve democracy!

 

This roman a clef, this political thriller with the style and pace of a gangster movie, exudes what was novel then but is now a cliché - a conspiracy. Those who write of conspiracy are now derided as fantasists in the organs of the establishment, which is itself a permanent organised conspiracy by the privileged against the common people. Well, they would need to cover their treachery, would they not? What else are the papers for?

 

Will Nigerians one day recover from the trauma of slavery and colonialism and neo-colonialism, and expose their own society to the eye of the liberated filmmaker and the lens of the camera? A is for Awo, B is for Bello and C for the long-suffering common people. Let us hope that, when movie studios in Nigeria supplant Hollywood , moviemakers will nevertheless put the comedy and laughs first and keep the message low key. Ordinary Nigerians are getting poorer and are really in need of a few laughs, as were the American people when Preston Sturges made them laugh with the likes of Sullivan's travels.

 

10 July 1992

 

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IT'S A SIN TO TELL A LIE

Friends, Britons, Citizens

The Prisoners

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Friends, Britons, Citizens

The Secret Services get your friends to admit that you are a total shit. A crook, a pederast, despoiler of virgins or whatever. Friends? Well, the boys have experience at this business. They play on envy, jealousy, ambivalence or whatever.

All people, Russians, Germans, Brits, are the same as are their Secret Services. When the East Germans opened their Secret Police files to the public, it was found that friends betrayed friends routinely, just as they do here. They lied and told the Secret Police what they wanted to hear. They may be frightened or just gratified, or just vile people, but they do it. And the Cold War was probably just an excuse. (See Philip Knightley on a looking-glass war in 'States of Secrecy, a Review of the File, a Personal History' by Tim Garton Ash in the Independent, 5 July 1997.)

The CIA do the same and were taught by the British. Whistle blowers and renegade CIA folk are hounded around the USA mercilessly. 'Why are you employing a Commie traitor? Do your customers know? Your advertisers?'

Your neighbours who rat on you are not evil but normal. They may be bad neighbours with a score to settle, but they are average, ordinary Brits. The Intelligence guys, however, are total shits, who will make up dirt if they cannot find a mouth to put it into and extract it as spontaneous grassing. Really principled, honest, intelligent folk are pretty rare and not a protected species. The bastards have consciences to warm their hearts. They enjoy being persecuted. They need the Intelligence Services to harass them, so they can feel like Christian martyrs. They make the average Secret Service guy going about his proper business as a super shit feel distinctly queasy and restless.

Why cannot these moral arseholes and principled pricks act human? A good question.

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The Prisoners

I am a prisoner. I live in internal exile. No income, no career, no reputation. The Intelligence Services gave me a life sentence. They can control me whenever they wish, which means whenever I get near to blowing the whistle on them.

Some Scots boys on the make are also prisoners. They are politicians, decent blokes at heart, and of course democrats. They are prisoners too. In theory they control the Secret Services. In fact, they are prisoners of a system they dare not change. When Ramsay Macdonald asked to see his Secret Service file he was refused. Harold Wilson used the Secret Services for dirty jobs and then was surprised when they played dirty with him. Even Marcia, who had guts, could not make Harold stand up to them. Because Harold was being blackmailed?

So Tony, Robin and Gordon are human and have skeletons in their cupboards. So what? Would the Secret Services dare spill the beans, spread the dirt? Tony and Company are too young to have dirty hands on Nigeria . Maybe they would, when in Opposition, have blown the whistle, but perhaps they felt powerless. I would not agree with that as exposure would have revealed the incredible criminality, and at the very least an enquiry would have been mounted. Look at the fuss, a mere nothing in comparison, of the 'cash for questions' furore! MPs were peddling supposed power and influence they did not really have. They should have been reported to the Trading Standards Officers.

How did Robin Butler not collapse in fits of laughter when the Cabinet discussed open government? The man in charge of all intelligence, black government operations, told to bring in measures which, if honestly operated, would destroy the Secret State which he controls! We know, of course, that open government is simply a charade, a pretence, a fake, a phoney. The real game is New Labour equals old fudge.

In a true democracy those who have sacrificed a great deal in defence of democracy would be honoured and not reviled. The secret black government can destroy my reputation, blacken my character, destroy my career, spy on me and take away all my rights. The élite statesmen, officials, dignitaries, Cabinet members, will not lift a finger to help me. Poor old Tony and Robin and Gordon are guilty of covering up treason, now that we have found out that there is to be no change of policy towards the Smiths by New Labour. Tony and Company will pretend that they did not know. No one will believe them, but they will get away with it as Mrs Thatcher did every day she was in power, and Robin and Company are her children.

We live in a pretend democracy which suits New Labour fine. With a massive majority, Tony and Company intend keeping the black Government intact and may even extend it, for measures will be needed to outwit and circumvent the supposed Freedom of Information legislation etc. Nothing will change. The black government will target the Smiths to prevent the State criminality, condoned by Tony's silence, being exposed to the British people.

The common people believe that it is enemies abroad who must be the whole point of having the Secret Services. Wrong! It is the public who must never find out about the criminal actions of the secret black government. The British public are the enemy who must be kept in the dark. The Secret Services exist to stop them finding out what is being done in their name. The Head of State, the Speaker, the Lords, the Judges, the Mandarins, the all powerful Cabinet Secretary are the enemies of democrats like the Smiths. We are dangerous, because we know far too much and we are honest. All the eminent people who turn away when we plead for help are not full-time criminals and fascists, only part-timers. Hypocrisy and self-deception are so common in British public life that the poor feeble troopers we are writing about, headed now by three new Scottish Musketeers, would be shocked at our truthful, accurate indictment to which there is no credible defence whatsoever. Not the ill-educated trade union barons of old, but the very élite of University graduates, elected on an anti-sleaze platform and precious little else of substance.

Tony and Robin and Gordon are decent people on the make like many a Scot. They are career makers, political artists, acting out a role. Whitehall politics is cant and nonsense and humbug. Aren't they good at it? When starting out they loathed the secret black government. Now they are part of it and think that they can control it. Whatever happened to conscience?

The Smiths are in hot water as ever, but it keeps us clean.

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NEW LABOUR - SAME OLD LIES

Britain - Springboard of Democracy?

New Labour - Old Fudge

The Pitfalls in Approaching a Member of Parliament

The Third Way: An Ethical Foreign Policy

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Britain - Springboard of Democracy?(or 'Knee-Deep in Dishonour' - Tony Blair)

Since Britain rigged Nigeria 's Independence Elections and destroyed black democracy in Africa at its birth, the military from the North, Britain 's allies, have ruled.

It is hardly surprising that one Nigerian - the Commonwealth Secretary General - believes that Britain is 'the springboard of democracy in the Commonwealth.' He would, wouldn't he? There are black Nigerians who think that they are white, and then patronise their fellow countrymen. Blacks can be discrete racists too.

The high comedy becomes sad black farce when the Commonwealth commends our henchmen in Nigeria for invading Sierra Leone to protect democracy! The Foreign Office loves the military regimes in Nigeria - they are our boys. They are forces for stability (!) and keep the oil flowing, and trade and business working for us. Multinational corporations or us?

As Nigeria , an artificial construct of recent origin, never enjoyed any democracy while the British had an army of occupation, and were not impressed by the phoney brand forced on the Nigerian people in 1960, they may never have really missed what they never had. If Mr Blair and Mr Cook ever officially knew that we destroyed democracy in Nigeria , they would be outraged! Of course, they do know because we have written dozens, if not hundreds, of letters to the Labour Administration and the Speaker. As we did not actually see them registering their total disgust, as they are true democrats, sadly they will deny knowing. Mr Major knew, as his Cabinet Secretary was in contact with us. As Sir Robin knows, and is still Cabinet Secretary, he would tell Mr Blair? We know how everyone but Mrs Thatcher knew what was in the newspapers and got away with it. Why shouldn't Mr Blair, having won a great democratic contest, be blind to the fact that a hundred million Nigerians were denied democracy by his predecessors?

Mr Blair is not a Mrs Thatcher, nor is Mr Cook a Foreign office patsy. However, many, many lies have been told by officials to cover up the democratic crime of the century. This criminality was of the highest order. It brings shame on our nation that for forty years the crooks have had absolute power and total control to prevent disclosure. Even so, Mr Blair does not know that we, the Smiths, are people of total integrity as he is. He may feel that the people who planned a Suez and lied their heads off to cover it up were far too morally superior to plan the rape of Nigerian democracy.

No one from New Labour has sent us a message of support and hope - yet. These are early days, however, and there is still time before the moral malaise and ethical stun guns of Whitehall immobilise and castrate New Labour's conscience, and capacity to distinguish right from wrong and then act on it. Mr Blair has promised honest Government and the people have proved that democracy can work by giving him a blank cheque. We seek jobs and a sound economy, but far more important is the moral health of our nation. A grave crime was committed by Britain in Nigeria . The Smiths have been sorely punished for doing their duty. Mr Blair knows this, but his Ministers and his office do not respond to our pleas for justice and redress.

Mr and Mrs Blair are barristers. They know that the state has broken many laws, even the mighty Magna Carta in its treatment of a civil servant who predicted that only disaster could flow from British criminality in Nigeria .

Mr Blair has won a great victory. Can he imagine British officials and Security Services robbing him of this great electoral triumph? Yet this is what we did in Nigeria . One hundred million Nigerians have no democracy. Is Mr Blair going to be the honest and truthful person he tells us he is, and whom we believe him to be? Will he order MI5 to intensify its bullyboy tactics to shut us up if we remind him of his promises?

7 June 1997

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New Labour - Old Fudge

I told the Governor General of Nigeria that he was a criminal. The election laws of Nigeria were similar to and based on UK legislation. He, Sir James Robertson, was rigging the Independence Elections. He admitted this - indeed he wanted me to know what he was doing so that I could be in no doubt how much trouble I was in. That was not the worst. He threatened to have me killed if I blabbed. Was he a criminal? If so why, forty years later, am I still a fugitive? An outcast? I am the one who got a sentence and has been treated as a criminal.

If the Blair Government continues to treat me as the wrongdoer, someone who needs to be targeted by Special Branch and MI5 and MI6, then they identify with, ally themselves with the Governor General and his criminality. They are accessories after the fact. However, in the same way as the Governor General then denied he had done what he did, Mr Blair's Government can deny he did what he did, whatever I say. I will, of course, know that they are guilty but they can stop me telling anyone else. They could deny knowledge of everything. Do I have proof I told Mr Blair's Government? They get lots of letters. I can copy my letters to them to others. That does work. I can write to their enemies too. That is embarrassing.

The criminals can be seen as individuals who seized the controls of the State apparatus for their own ends. They could be disowned. I could be rehabilitated. The Chief Constable in Wiltshire knows that I am an honest man who fought criminality exactly as she does. She should be on my side in a sane civilised society. The society, which allowed Nigeria 's Independence Elections to be abused so that the losers won power, was criminally sick or temporarily insane. Is it not time that the insanity was ended, stopped, and the rule of law re-introduced?

Only a few criminals were involved. The mass of the public, the officials, the politicians, the House of Commons, knew nothing of this criminality. This was a secret coup. In Hitler's Germany the criminals took over all the state and everyone was forced to take part. The allies declared that Nazism was a criminal conspiracy. It was wrong to carry out orders of a criminal nature. I disobeyed criminal orders, but did not become a hero. I got a life sentence. And many good people looked away lest they get punished too. Nobody wanted to know. They still do not want to know.

The Speaker does not want to know., Prime Ministers do not want to know. Top civil servants do not want to know. Judges do not want to know, although some told me how to get a pay off. I am told that I am honest. That apparently is a problem. They do not tell others that I am honest. They say I am mad, obsessed, paranoid - maybe they cross their fingers and mutter"...about the truth." Quite a lot of people do think that I am mad not to take massive bribes like a knighthood. Who gives a fig about a thousand and one lies; about democracy; and starting civil wars in which two million die. I care. Do you?

A state with a secret service is both lawful and criminal at the same time. But only for issues like mine. Really big state crime. They may turn a blind eye to warders beating the hell out of prisoners and police beating confessions out of suspects, but that is something else. Shoot to kill when the Irish and terrorists and colonials and foreigners are concerned gets us near the secret state, but polite society is not too bothered. Rarely do MPs question these abuses. MPs often have a girl or boy friend on the side and fear MI5's curiosity.

Honesty is the best policy? Honesty is its own reward? Honesty is a load of nonsense in a semi-police state like ours. We are creeping up to the millennium with New Labour - a moral millennium. Mr Blair will not let us down; Mr Cook promises to be a good guy with a white hat on a white horse. We shall have to wait and see, won't we?

22 May 1997

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The Pitfalls in Approaching a Member of Parliament

For non-Britishers who are unaware of the hypocrisy of British institutions, I should explain that you are only allowed to complain to the MP for your constituency. If he declines to answer your letter, there is nothing you can do. Even Party leaders play this game. An MP may correspond with you if you are lucky, but it is unlikely he will act for you. The laziness or irresponsibility of MPs is recognised in the strictly defined areas where one may complain to an Ombudsman. One has to approach the Ombudsman through an MP, but not necessarily your own MP.

It may be thought an MP will reject you if you are a critic of his Party or the Government, but that is not necessarily so. The truth is that MPs are powerless and know it. Even if they write to a Minister they are likely to be fobbed off. Awkward MPs can be silenced through the Whips' Office or pressure through their constituency officials. If all else fails, MI5 may harass or blackmail him. Few MPs do not commit indiscretions at some time and MI5 (and the Whips' Office) are ever keen to record them. Fiddling expenses, cheating on a spouse, or using prostitutes are fertile areas in which to provide pressure. MI5 is totally unscrupulous and, if they can totally misbehave with a Prime Minister, as they did with Harold Wilson, an ordinary MP does not stand a chance unless he is fearlessly brave and honest. He will also find MI5 has many Friends and the luckless MP may find pressure being applied from the unlikeliest source. Even if a paragon, he may have to cope with many ugly rumours that circulate about him.

However, your MP will be a paragon and does see you and listens and then changes the subject and bids you a cheerful good-bye. He may, however, really be interested until you mention the bribes you were offered. A dramatic change may take place. I am too cynical. Your MP is still interested. Then mention the knighthood you were offered to buy your silence. If I exaggerate MPs' interest in titles, honours and money, Labour leaders will tell you that hundreds of Labour MPs will do anything for them. Is there a Labour MP who does not hanker to sit in the totally undemocratic and abhorred House of Lords?

I omitted to mention that, if an MP valiant for truth is found, his Questions may not be accepted 'at the Table.' Various devices exist to stop a difficult MP even asking a Question.

And my complaint was not about the train service or a library closure. The State had threatened to kill me. The State was destroying democracy by rigging elections in the African giant nation of Nigeria . Two million would die as a consequence. Not one MP in thirty-four years wanted to know.

26 October l994

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The Third Way : An Ethical Foreign Policy? No Way , No Way , No Way

The mandarins plot against Governments in favour of the secret establishment. This is no paranoid fantasy, but the stark truth, for they control the flow of information, conceal many secrets, are adept at lies and deception, and control all the Secret Services, Armed Forces and the Foreign Service. As soon as possible they will curry favour with gullible Ministers, lead them astray, trap them and use blackmail.

On Day 11 of the New Labour era we were promised that the Queen's Speech would include a Privacy Law to protect us from 'the misuse of power by the State.' (Guardian, 23 May 1997.) A move the Government described as 'the first step on the road to a Bill of Rights.' The mandarins saw that off by mentioning some dirty washing Old Labour had carelessly left behind for the amusement of the mandarins.

In 'behind the Chair' friendly chats and briefings between Mr Blair and Mr Cook and Messrs Thatcher, Major and Company, New Labour has been put in the real picture on Nigeria, including the destruction of democracy by the British. Mrs Thatcher gloried in our treason and buttered up the Nigerian dictatorship while batting for Britain , i.e. encouraging arms deals and family business. John Major, on the other hand, has African experience and is totally honourable, and actually released the Smiths from press censorship, even if in the event it changed nothing.

Will Mr Blair match Mr Major's decency and honesty with regard to our disgusting record of treason in Nigeria ? Will his mandarins poison the well of his essential decency and honesty and total integrity. Whom shall we blame if this is what happens? Will New Labour turn into Old Wankers before our very eyes? Surely not...

5 June 1997

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! SECRET TRIALS - WHAT'S NEW, PUSSYCAT?

 Echoes of Nuremberg

 Freedom of Information

 Gerald Gardiner - Saint or Criminal?

Guilty Men

How to Justify a 'Kangaroo’ Trial

 A Magdalen Manner Notwithstanding

 My Nuremberg Trial

National Security and ‘Kangaroo’ Courts

Open Letter to Justice

Orwellian Unperson

 Supermac and Supershell: The Hartley and Maxwell Story

A World Turned Upside Down

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! Echoes of Nuremberg

It was in 1945 that the war crimes trials at Nuremberg commenced. There has been some question of their legality.

In 1955 I was employed by HM Government in Nigeria . My major task, for which I was recruited, was to draft a Factories Act, which I did in six weeks. I am not a lawyer, but did PPE at Oxford in two years, and a Diploma in Public Administration, despite leaving school at thirteen. As a time-served engineering craftsman I had previous knowledge of factory safety. It was a scissors and paste job, based on existing laws in other colonies, and my wife typed it.

I was very proud of 'my' Factories Act, which went on the Statute Book immediately and was given a great welcome. I have always loved the law, and enjoyed the legal studies which formed part of my studies at Oxford .

I was familiar with Nigeria 's comprehensive election laws, and eagerly waited for Independence and a great experiment in democracy and black majority rule. Yet in 1956 I was shattered to have orders from the Governor General making clear that the elections were to be rigged. The showcase of democracy was a fraud. I queried this policy through official channels, but was treated with great hostility and never allowed access to the Civil Service tribunals established for redress.

In 1960 I returned to London in very great trouble, though I had been charged with nothing.

(As a consequence of the abolition of the rule of law, a war started and three million innocents died - UN figures.)

In 1960 the Governor General had threatened my life, but also spoke of permanent exile from the UK and honours, top jobs, etc. The alternative was life-long unemployment, harassment, and surveillance by MI5/6. Mr Chester Barratt approached the Colonial Office but was told many lies. A well-known City solicitor, he had an acquaintance with Julian Amery, a junior Colonial Office Minister and son-in-law of the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan.

Tom Sargant was the Secretary of 'Justice', a recently formed all-Party law reform group, part of the International Commission of Jurists. The Chair of Justice was Sir Hartley Shawcross, former Chief British Prosecutor at Nuremberg . He was now a VIP at Shell Oil whose newly-discovered oilfields in Nigeria were a major reason for the abandonment of the rule of law by HM Government in Nigeria .

The Government had been dealing with my concerns since 1956. I was objecting too to harassment, which had wrecked an agreement I had reached with a handshake at the behest of Lord Grey, the Deputy Governor General. This gentleman's agreement was breached by the Colonial Office, and I had to return to Nigeria in 1958.

In 1959 Hartley Shawcross had been made a peer by his friend Harold Macmillan. The Lord Chancellor was Viscount Kilmuir who, as David Maxwell-Fyfe, had been Shawcross's Deputy Prosecutor at Nuremberg . They now teamed up with the Labour Shadow, Gerald Gardiner, who was to be Lord Chancellor in 1964, and Sir John Foster, QC, MP, who was a friend and lawyer to the Amery family. Sir John also had experience of war crimes and treason, as he had attempted to defend John Amery, who was executed in the Tower in 1945. Macmillan as Prime Minister and Iain Macleod had either ordered the illegal machinations I complained of, or had a hand in implementing them or the consequences.

Now, Tom Sargant explained to me that Maxwell-Fyfe, Shawcross and Gardiner had discussed what should be done with me, and they had agreed that I could never be allowed in an English court of law. I was perplexed because it was the Government which was acting criminally. I had protested through the proper channels, but never had a hearing. Maxwell-Fyfe, Shawcross and Gardiner had decided that an alternative 'trial' could be held at 'Justice' in secret. This was clearly a 'Kangaroo trial', which is illegal.

I attended because Tom Sargant was persuasive, and assured me of Gardiner's liberal leanings. If I told the truth I would be vindicated.

The 'trial' and outcome were a disappointment. Sir John Foster was to be prosecutor, jury and judge, and Viscount Kilmuir, Shawcross and Gerald Gardiner would decide on a verdict. Harold Macmillan would then accept the decisions and implement them. The charge was very serious for it was treason, of which I was innocent. I did not need a 'trial' or even a 'Kangaroo court' to tell me that. What I wanted was a trial of those guilty of destroying democracy at birth in Nigeria .

This was obviously a very high level 'trial', and presumably 'Justice' had been chosen to lend an air of respectability and legality to the proceedings. Surely even at Nuremberg the war criminals had defence lawyers?

I was a law maker and had never been charged with anything, but my life was threatened by a law-breaking Government! It was a nightmare, and I was ill. My weight was dropping and I was like a skeleton.

The eminent people who were trying me were the criminals who had robbed a newly-independent, giant nation of its rule of law and its democracy. Decades of bloody, unparalleled chaos and millions of deaths would flow from this Machiavellian treachery, which would set the tone for the whole Continent of Africa to be pitched into savagery.

The Nuremberg Prosecutors had represented good against evil, but had tried scrupulously to give Nazi leaders a fair trial. I was not getting a fair trial. Was I worse than a Nazi? Evidently there was a great hatred of me! Was there a pretence that the law could be set aside if the two major political parties agreed to do so together in secret?

Lord Shawcross in his memoirs deplores whistle-blowers like me, even if we expose gross criminality. Why could Britain not pay a fair market price for Shell Oil like everyone else? What was Independence meant to mean?

There were so many things wrong with this 'Kangaroo trial', and so much unexplained, that I could only conclude that the criminals had taken over the system.

I have dealt with the proceedings, the verdict and the sheer horror of this illegal trial elsewhere. Was this unique? The intention of this illegal 'Kangaroo trial' was to gag me for life, and get my consent to permanent exile. The threats to my life had not worked, for I had stood up to them. I was to be declared a winner and rewarded with honours and a top job, and be gulled into the acceptance of gross criminality. I refused the offer. The US State Department had offered me a safe haven in Washington . The CIA had approached me, and I met the Station Chief in London who was concerned for my safety. It sounds crazy, but I was fearless and defied them to kill me. I was blazing with a controlled anger at the treachery of the British Government.

Lovers of liberty and the law should regard these 'Kangaroo' proceedings as a disgrace to the British legal system and be hopping mad!

January 2005

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Freedom of Information 2005

I have no proof, other than my own experience - often unsubstantiated - that Macmillan destroyed Nigerian democracy. He wrote no confession of what he undoubtedly did. On the contrary, every precaution was taken to keep his machinations secret. There will be no flood of e-mails to investigate.

As the operation was carried out on a bipartisan basis involving the Privy Council, the question of legality never came into it. 'The hidden hand' and 'fancy footwork' exercised an 'enduring fascination for him.' 'The sheer devilry of his later adventures in foreign policy shocked some...' He found the Balkan politics of North Africa exhilarating. He favoured black and white partnership and black majority rule, but had no intention of handing over the reins of government to militant African leaders. (Africans were like children; they are vain; they easily get excited; they are barbarians. These were the ideas and beliefs of the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan.) It was evident that right and wrong did not come into it. Illegality did not worry him. The machinery for operating as an adventurer outside the rule of law was to hand in the Privy Council.

All this happened in Nigeria , and I was a witness. I tried to stop it, but I failed. After fifty years, no one is listening, and three million people died. A small handful of top politicians can create this mayhem from within a parliamentary democracy! Can the exercise of law stop it? These people can use all the resources of the State to shut you up, and they are not overly scrupulous. In Lagos during the 1950's, thousands of letters were burned unopened every day. These practices make a mockery of our democracy. This paper is a record of my attempts to expose the abuse of poor bloody Africa by trying to operate the Freedom of Information Act, 2001.

One can understand scepticism to what I suggest. Wasn't Maxwell-Fyfe devising constitutions for soon-to-be-free Colonies? I, too, was a lawmaker in Nigeria . What I was discovering was almost unbelievable, yet it was certainly proved to me that the really decent and popular David Maxwell-Fyfe was a total liar when he gave me a 'kangaroo trial'* at 'Justice' to shut me up.

In October 1960 David Maxwell-Fyfe went to Nigeria for the Independence celebrations. Not a single nationalist politician was on the platform. Those who had opposed freedom and independence welcomed him. Six years later Britain 's major stooges on the platform were gunned down. But for the British plotters, headed by Macmillan and Ministers like Maxwell-Fyfe, those African cheats whom we had selected to lead this great nation, would have lived out their expected span. Little did they know that men like the genial and decent David Maxwell-Fyfe had signed their death warrants.

February 2005

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                                    Gerald Gardiner - Saint or Criminal

Is it possible if one is a lawyer, especially a great reforming Lord Chancellor, to be a bit or a fraction of both?

In 1960, when I was trying to expose the rigging of Nigeria's Independence elections by the British Government, the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Kilmuir aka David Maxwell-Fyfe, got together with his Shadow, Gerald Gardiner, to shut me up with a 'Kangaroo' trial at 'Justice'.

The loss of three million innocent lives resulted from the election rigging, but they were Africans. Macmillan, the chief architect of this treason referred to Africans as 'barbarians'. The question of right or wrong did not come into it when outwitting these excitable children. It was exhilarating using power in a Machiavellian fashion. The Chair of 'Justice', Sir Hartley Shawcross, was evidently in close agreement, for these rascally Nigerians would probably interfere with the smooth running of the newly-discovered Shell oilfields if allowed to take power. As Shawcross was a VIP at Shell Oil, he would know about such things.

Sir Hartley and David Maxwell-Fyfe had also been the leaders of the British team of prosecutors at Nuremberg, and were accustomed to dispensing justice in original - some would say questionable - situations. Trying Smith in an official court would not be right at all, for the public might disapprove. Better to keep it secret.

Yet a year later Gerald Gardiner was to prosecute the leaders of the ETU for election-rigging. I followed this with great interest, having made similar charges against the AEU and been worsted for my pains. The facts seemed indisputable in the ETU case, and Gerald quite correctly proved that there was a conspiracy to fix elections. However, was this not a storm in a teacup compared with the British conspiracy to destroy democracy in Africa ? One in five Africans is a Nigerian. Our behaviour in regard to the Africans was sometimes very questionable indeed, as in Kenya .

If the ETU conspiracy was the biggest fraud in Trade Unionism, what was the British Government's conspiracy in Africa ? And why was Gerald covering it up? One could see why Sir Hartley Shawcross was playing a rather sinister role. One could see why David Maxwell-Fyfe was playing a rather seedy, criminal role, for he was a member of Harold Macmillan's Government, and he had plotted and approved the treason.

The answer may be simple in that Sir Hartley may have given a bundle of Shell shares to his colleagues. A dreadful suggestion, of course, but as reasons go it was a popular one, simple to understand and difficult to fault, referring as it does to the weaknesses that men are prone to.

If the conspirators had any concern for the person of the trouble-maker, who was such a pain to the Government, they did not show it and one may reasonably assume that they thought I deserved all I got. It was not as if I had been to a public school, where I would have learned not to snitch and rat on our people, the British. Evidently my years at Oxford had not given me the right code of behaviour.

I was the sort of bounder who would have argued that the rich had taken over charitable foundations, designed for poor scholars like myself. Viscount Kilmuir was a Scot like the Governor General, and had taken a Third at Balliol. I had had the nerve to push into Magdalen and get a Second, which was almost indecent when Gerald had taken a Fourth and been sent down from Magdalen. Poor old Hartley had not even got to Oxford and did not have a degree at all! I was just a pushy, elementary schoolboy who lacked loyalty and did not know his place.

These sentiments, which I guy and send up, were very real at that time. Labour and Tory politicians were also anti-Semitic almost to a man. Lyttleton was a rare exception. Negrophobia was common and Roy Welensky was rubbish to Macmillan, not only for being Jewish, but a poor Jew and a railwayman at that. The grandson of a crofter who had married an adulterous Devonshire only acted the role of an Edwardian country squire. In truth he took acting lessons from Bud Flanagan of the Crazy Gang. What an insecure little, Scots, bastard racist he was. His reference to Africans as 'barbarians' from a man who sucked up to Oswald Mosley in the 1930s makes one wonder whose side he was really on in World War Two. Perhaps he needed more acting lessons!

Salisbury , the real thing as aristocrats go, appreciated Roy Welensky. Salisbury was no parvenu and upstart, but Macmillan got his revenge. He set the Intelligence Services on Salisbury and Welensky, which proved Salisbury was absolutely correct about one thing. Harold was not a gentleman and, if proof were needed, the night of the long knives confirmed this.

Note: When one has read the memoirs and the biographies of the period and newer critical works such as 'The Guardsmen: Harold Macmillan, Three Friends and the World They Made' and 'Harold Macmillan and Britain's World Role', it is clear that we were all taken in, for the conclusive evidence suggests that Macmillan was a first-class Machiavellian monster, who poisoned the climate of politics of Westminster with his treacherous intrigues, and denied better men the opportunity to serve the nation.

January 2005

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Guilty Men

The Nuremberg prosecutors did a window-dressing job in finding guilty a handful of Nazi leaders, whom the Russians would have shot out of hand. If you could not find Nazi leaders who led a State, which systematically killed millions,, guilty, you were in the wrong job. Yet Goering ran circles round the prosecutors. Maxwell-Fyfe did better than his boss, Hartley Shawcross.

In no time after that whole regiments of Nazi killers were being settled in Britain by Ministry of Labour counter-clerks selected from labour exchanges, like George Foggon. It helped to be a Nazi sympathiser like George, who told me in 1956 that no Nazis were guilty of anything for they were simply carrying out orders. George thought that the Official Secrets Act was like the Hitler Oath - an excuse for anything. Harold Macmillan, a major war criminal, thought very much like George and awarded him high honours.

David Maxwell-Fyfe loved honours and his ambition as a collector was endless. He looked like Telly Savalas playing Kojak without the lollipop. His boss at Nuremberg , Hartley Shawcross, did not manage David's earldom, but made up for it with directorships.

At 'Justice', of which Hartley was Chair, they arranged a 'kangaroo' court* in 1960 to silence the Smiths who were establishing that the British Government had fixed the Independence Elections in Nigeria to place the newly-discovered Shell oilfields in safe hands. It helped that Hartley was a VIP at Shell Oil. The following year Hartley was rewarded with a 'goldmine' - a directorship of Shell Oil.

The Government has for over forty years denied that the Smiths exist. They deny that the Smiths got a 'kangaroo trial' at 'Justice'. They would, wouldn't they?

The destruction of democracy in Nigeria has produced for decades a basket-case nation and took the lives of three million innocents. To this day, Mr Blair is covering up this holocaust. 'Justice' will not answer the Smiths' letters. They compound their guilt.

February 2005

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            How to Justify a 'Kangaroo' Trial*

An illegal trial, if set up by a Lord Chancellor, is still not legal, especially if it is held in secret. When the accused is held to threaten State security by exposing State criminality, one understands why secrecy is desired. It is also understandable why the accused should not be allowed counsel. Those involved in the trial will be complicit in the State criminality and must therefore be trustworthy to the accusers.

If the trial is not a court martial, but is to be dressed in authority and made to appear legal, the use of lawyers and a quasi-judicial setting like the Head Office of 'Justice' is understandable. (An attempt had previously been made to second the accused to the Army as a high ranking officer, so that he could be subject to military law.)

The accused was attempting to use due process. His solicitor had made submissions to Government. Three years earlier a deal had been brokered by the Deputy Governor General of Nigeria . This was honoured by the accused but broken by Government. The civil service rights to a hearing had been denied over a period of two years.

An illegal, secret trial did take place at 'Justice' in 1960. The fundamental principles of a proper trial were absent. An attempt at justifying the trial was made. The accused was misled as to the purpose of the trial. Implicit in the trial was the approval of 'Justice' to the proceedings.

An illegal trial, sanctioned and instigated and authorised by a Lord Chancellor, is intimidating to an accused. De facto charges of treason had been alleged by Government. The accused was appealing against arbitrary punishment, inflicted when he had left the service of Government three years before. The effect of this punishment was to force the accused to enter into Government service again.

When the trial was held the accused was no longer in Government service. The accused fully co-operated with Government and respected the office and great authority of the Lord Chancellor and others. The accused was not allowed to negotiate the terms of the trial. He did, however, have reasonable expectations regarding justice and fair play.

At all times when in Government service, the accused complied with civil service regulations and used official channels to pursue redress.

The accused was at all times polite and well-mannered in dealings with his superiors. Correspondence was directed to the proper authorities.

The initial complaint was made in 1956. The 'Justice' trial was held in 1960.

It was admitted in 1960 by the Governor General of Nigeria that the British Government had rigged Nigeria 's Independence Elections. This was confirmed by other top officials.

Threats to the life of the accused were made by Government. Offers to the accused were made by the Governor General in Lagos and in Oxford .

Sir John MacPherson, the Governor General in 1956, became the top official at the Colonial Office. He was a personal friend of the Lord Chancellor.

The Minister at the Colonial Office, Julian Amery, was the son-in-law of the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, who approved of the illegal machinations in Nigeria .

The Lord Chancellor, David Maxwell-Fyfe, was a colleague of the Chair of 'Justice', Sir Hartley Shawcross, at the Nuremberg Trials. They were members of Gray's Inn and shared chambers.

Sir John Foster, QC, MP, who conducted the trial, was a political associate of the Prime Minister and the Amery family.

Gerald Gardiner, the Shadow Lord Chancellor, associated himself with Maxwell-Fyfe in setting up the trial.

It was evident, by the involvement of the Shadow Lord Chancellor, that Labour was allied to the Government in the machinations in Nigeria .

February 2005

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A Magdalen Manner Notwithstanding

The Chair of 'Justice' in 1960, Sir Hartley Shawcross, was a VIP showcase front man for Shell Oil. He basked in the reputation of having been the chief British prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials. The real chief, who did all the work, was David Maxwell-Fyfe. (Anyone who consults Kilmuir's 'Memoirs' will arrive at the same conclusion.) Shawcross was a fraud who derided Maxwell-Fyfe's intellectual abilities. In fact, Maxwell-Fyfe was the youngest KC for three hundred years. A wartime degree, complicated by service in the Army, brought him a creditable Third. Shawcross lacked a degree at all, and was not really in the top league where Maxwell-Fyfe belonged, and he probably envied him his popularity and success.

Harold Macmillan and Iain Macleod took Seconds and Gerald Gardiner a Fourth. The last-named was also derided by Shawcross who wrote that he knew nothing about politics.

Julian Amery was Macmillan's son-in-law, and Sir John Foster was the Amery family lawyer, and friend of Macmillan and Maxwell-Fyfe. The three Tory politicians attended Strasbourg together in 1949.

It was extremely interesting for me to be charged with treason in 1960 at 'Justice' by the Nuremberg team of British prosecutors. In 1956, as a colonial civil servant, I had refused to carry out orders I deemed criminal, namely to interfere with the Nigerian Independence Elections, which were being extensively rigged by the British Government.

The only treason in existence was that of the British Government. It was piquant also because the Nuremberg Code stipulated that it was not sufficient to claim that one was carrying out orders if accused of war crimes. Only lawful orders should be obeyed. Moral choice must be a consideration. Government efforts to strike down a 'public interest' defence in recent years are probably in breach of both international and British law.

Both Maxwell-Fyfe and Shawcross knew intimately the Nuremberg Convention. What were they doing lending their authority to a secret trial of a civil servant, charged with treason for disobeying criminal orders? As I was not allowed a lawyer to present a defence against Sir John Foster's charges, which were presented in a ferocious manner, it was not possible to make these points.

The authority of the court was questionable, of doubtful authority or legality. The charges were vague. There was no defence or jury. The verdict and judgement were to come from the Lord Chancellor, Maxwell-Fyfe, in agreement with his Shadow, Gerald Gardiner, and, whilst purporting to be a judgement in my favour, it demanded my word to keep silent about gross State criminality, and my consent to lifetime exile!

And this 'kangaroo court' was held near the Inns of Court at 'Justice', a law reform society with an interest in African justice!

Star Chamber treatment in modern times lacks documentation, but my case contained every element of this barbaric behaviour.

I experienced the duress of having my life threatened. I had already been illegally punished. Further punishment was threatened. If I refused to accept the 'judgement' of the court, I would never work again and would be subject to lifetime surveillance and harassment.

In his political intrigues against rivals, Harold Macmillan favoured 'the hidden hand' which drew on Machiavelli's doctrines. In a conflict with Salisbury over Sir Roy Welensky's policies in Rhodesia , Macmillan enlisted the services of MI5/6. To use these official dark forces against a ministerial colleague of such eminence reveals much about Macmillan's character and ambitions. It also demonstrates that the politicians, who were trying me in secret with the collaboration of eminent legal figures, would have no compunction in ordering the security services to impose life-long sanctions against me.

If the Whitehall establishment could show such contempt for the mighty Salisbury , they would certainly not hesitate to punish someone out of the factory and off the council estate, whether or no he had acquired a faint gentlemanly gloss, along with the manner and status of a Magdalen man.

February 2005

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My Nuremberg Trial

In 1960 I returned from Nigeria in disgrace, and the wrath of Government was evident. I protested my innocence and even employed a lawyer, but the charge of treason had been put around in public by Whitehall , and there were official threats to my life. These exceptional circumstances, like today, called for special measures. I wanted to be given a proper trial so that I could demonstrate my innocence, but Whitehall refused then, as they refuse now, to try 'terrorist suspects.'

Another ploy was to deny officially that I existed. Clearly, if I did suffer 'foul play' and disappear, Government would not be unduly concerned to discover what had happened. Another idea was to subject me to permanent exile abroad. The Far East was mentioned as a likely destination. As an Oxford graduate with some legal training and experience of the law, and holding a Diploma in Public Administration, I knew of the fine principles on which British law is based, and knew also that Whitehall was behaving as if the law did not exist where I was concerned. I was an outlaw, though it seemed to me as someone who was totally innocent that the British Government was acting as if we were part of the Nazi empire!

It now seemed that the four years I had spent seeking redress through the official channels of the Civil Service were totally wasted. I was never going to be allowed to appear before a Civil Service Tribunal as was my right. I sought the advice of the celebrated author C P Snow, who had been a Civil Service Commissioner, and he advised that I seek redress in the Courts. That also was supposedly my right, but Government was adamant - I had no such legal rights!

My reference to Nazi policies was to be proven absolutely correct, for Government now decided to give me a 'kangaroo trial'* under the auspices of the two British prosecutors at Nuremberg in 1945/6, Sir Hartley Shawcross and David Maxwell-Fyfe. I was in an even worse position than the Nazi leaders because their trial was held in public. I was to be tried in secret. The Nazis too were allowed defence counsel. I was not allowed that right, which is one of the essential principles of our system of law.

David Maxwell-Fyfe was now the Lord Chancellor, as eminent a legal position as one could encounter. Sir Hartley Shawcross, one-time Attorney General, was now Chair of 'Justice', under whose auspices I was to be tried.

Sir John MacPherson, the Governor General of Nigeria whose orders I had challenged in 1956, was a school friend of the Lord Chancellor. MacPherson was now Under Secretary at the Colonial Office and worked closely with my Minister Julian Amery, the son-in-law of the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan who had abandoned the rule of law by destroying Nigeria 's democracy.

I was approached by Tom Sargant, the Secretary of 'Justice', who informed me that the Lord Chancellor Maxwell-Fyfe and his Shadow, Gerald Gardiner (who was to be Lord Chancellor in 1964), had decided that I could never be allowed to appear in an English court of law. Therefore I should be tried at 'Justice' and cross examined by Sir John Foster, QC, MP a renowned prosecution lawyer. There would be no jury. Foster's conclusions would be considered by Maxwell-Fyfe and Gardiner and they would come to a judgement. A transcript was made of the cross-examination, and the following week Tom Sargant met with me to advise me of the verdict. I had been denied due process and subjected to an illegal 'kangaroo trial' under duress.

Tom spoke as if there had been a victory for Foster had said I was telling the truth. Presumably they had thought I had been lying? Now, I was to be awarded a large sum of money in return for my word to accept a gagging order and consent to life-long exile.

I rejected these terms, which were identical to those the Governor General had offered me in Lagos and Oxford , plus threats to my life, freedom and liberty. I had simply declined to take part in rigging Nigeria 's Independence Elections. I did not protest for financial gain. I was not even a whistle-blower, but simply a law-abiding citizen and democrat.

The Government immediately carried out Sir James Robertson's threats to make me unemployable and subject me to life-time surveillance and harassment. My treatment as a 'traitor' was very much the way 'terrorists' are handled today by the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke. 'House arrest' is not news to MI5 targets like myself, who are totally innocent of anything except embarrassing Westminster politicians by exposing gross misconduct.

The British public are regarded as the enemy, and must be kept in the dark about major breaches of the law and dirty work abroad. Party leaders, in collusion on 'Privy Council terms', believe they are above the law and deny 'due process' to anyone they dislike. A craven legal profession and the media co-operate in these criminal machinations. Whitehall and their allies have pretended that Harold Smith never existed or has died or disappeared.

The people of Nigeria and Africa now know of Whitehall 's breach of trust and dark machinations. In time, the British public will also know of this cover-up of the destruction of democracy, at great human cost, in Africa .

A 'Nuremberg Trial' of a law-abiding British citizen is another great scar on the conscience of Westminster politicians.

February 2005

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National Security and 'Kangaroo' Courts

The British Constitution is largely unwritten. No comprehensive document has been written which details what is legal and what is not legal. Our government has evolved. It was not designed. Pragmatism rather than principle is the rule. In recent times many changes and reforms have been introduced.

Yet there is still incoherence and extensive secrecy. The intelligence services are prohibited from furthering the interests of any political party, and are vaguely supposed to protect parliamentary democracy. When I pointed out that the SIS (MI6) Charter stated this objective, and therefore SIS should be on my side as I was protecting democracy in Nigeria , Mrs Thatcher changed the objectives.

As we have two largely conservative parties taking turns in office, it is no big deal to enlist support from ex-Ministers to get round the political party problem. James Callaghan is very sympathetic to MI5/6 and their machinations. If the two major parties collaborate on Privy Council terms, do they need to be bound by the law? They can operate in secret if in doubt.

Tom Sargant of 'Justice' told me that the Lord Chancellor, David Maxwell-Fyfe, had agreed with his Shadow that I could never be allowed in an English court of law, as the story might get out! Was this 'authorised' by written Privy Council decree? And justified with 'national security'?

If there is no transparency, how can abuse be checked? What of my legal rights? Can I never appeal?

Democracy was destroyed in Nigeria with the consequent loss of three million lives. Is secret policy reviewed at any point and rectified if seen to be wrong?

Iain Macleod was a party to the conspiracy to rig Nigeria 's elections, but when a long drawn-out war started as a direct consequence, he began to panic as the casualties ran into millions. He tried to put the bipartisan policy into reverse, but it was too late and three million innocents died.

February 2005

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An Open Letter to 'Justice': The Strange Case of Gerald Gardiner and 'Justice'

In 1960 following an approach by Tom Sargant, the Secretary, I took part in a mock trial at 'Justice' and was subjected to a ruthless interrogation by an eminent QC and Tory MP, Sir John Foster It was established that I was telling the truth about the rigging of the Independence Elections in Nigeria by Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, with the support of leaders of the Labour Party.

The 'trial' was set up at the instigation of the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Kilmuir; the Labour Shadow Chancellor, Gerald Gardiner (who became Lord Chancellor in 1964); the Government Minister for the Colonial Office, Julian Amery; and, presumably, with the knowledge of Harold Macmillan who was Julian Amery's father-in-law.

When I had returned from Nigeria in the early summer of 1960, a well-known City lawyer (and acquaintance of Julian Amery) had written to Amery on my behalf. The letter exists on my Colonial Office personal file (Overseas Service WAF/P 1949). Amery informed Mr Chester-Barrett that I must be a lunatic as the Colonial Office had never heard of me. After Mr Chester-Barrett had produced my Contract of Service, Amery admitted that they did in fact know me very well. Sadly, there had been a fire which had destroyed all my records. All that remained was a charred file cover bearing my name.

At that time I did not know of Labour involvement (on Privy Council terms) in the rigging of Nigeria 's Independence Elections. Tom Sargant made much of Gerald Gardiner's involvement with 'Justice', and I was enormously impressed. In a biography by his second wife, Muriel Box, Gerald is referred to as 'a man of immense humanity, generosity and humility ... motivated by a hatred of injustice ... who has devoted his life to bettering the lot of mankind.'

With the assistance of Sir John Foster and Peter Benenson (the co-founder of Amnesty) 'Justice' was set up in 1957 by Gerald as the British branch of the International Commission of Jurists. It would be an all-party organisation, consisting of leading lawyers representing the three main political parties, formed to 'uphold and strengthen the principles of the Rule of Law in the territories for which the British Parliament is directly or ultimately responsible: in particular to assist in the administration of 'Justice' and in the preservation of the fundamental liberties of the individual. It was also concerned to help the International Commission of Jurists to promote observance of the rule of law throughout the world.'

Naomi Sargant, had married Peter Kelly, a friend of my wife Carol. Peter and Carol were students at Queen Mary College . (Another student friend was Marcia Williams - Lady Falkender.) Naomi and Peter lived in a house in Victoria Park Square , Bethnal Green, owned by Peter Benenson, a friend of Tom Sargant.

My decision to go to Oxford in 1950 was motivated by my protest at Communist election rigging in the Amalgamated Engineering Union in 1949. I was blacklisted by the Union and became unemployable as an engineer. Had I known that Gerald was involved in a legal battle against Communists in the Electrical Trades Union on the issue of election rigging, I would have been very impressed. Gerald described the case as 'the biggest fraud in the history of British Trade Unionism.'

My studies at Oxford had taken me from Ruskin, where I trained in Bethnal Green as a social worker, to Magdalen (Gerald's old College, from which he had obtained a Fourth and been sent down!) The law had played a major role in my studies of the Poor Law, Industrial Relations, Local Government and Constitutional Law. In Nigeria I had drafted a Factories Act and, if I had not been chronically ill from 1960, I would probably have qualified as a barrister. As an Oxford MA with a Diploma in Public Administration, who had been invited to stay on at Oxford , this would not have been difficult.

In 1964 Gerald was held in such high esteem that he became Lord Chancellor in Harold Wilson's Labour Government. This was the background when Tom Sargant, father of an old friend, offered the assistance of 'Justice' in my whistle-blowing about the destruction of democracy in Nigeria . I was not alone in regarding this matter as political dynamite. The Governor General of Nigeria had accompanied offers of a knighthood and top jobs etc., with threats of permanent exile from Britain and threats to my life. The latter, which sound so melodramatic, were confirmed by a top British civil servant in Lagos who urged me to flee, and by MI5 and CIA agents there. A British Defence Minister later suggested in a letter to me that I had been poisoned by Porton Down! I had returned from Lagos like a skeleton and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, later corrected to tropical sprue, which is rarely found in Africa .

Tom Sargant informed me that in the opinion of Gerald, I would never be allowed in an English court of law. This was also the view of the Lord Chancellor. If, after a 'trial' under the auspices of 'Justice', I was proved truthful and my allegations correct, I would have 'Justice' on my side. I saw my career problems as secondary, and - incorrectly as it turned out - thought that 'Justice' would challenge Whitehall regarding the rigging of Nigeria's Independence Elections.

The numerous top jobs I had been offered in 1957, including a research post at the TUC and as a consultant to the State Department in London , would have been threatened by George Foggon, a corrupt Nazi sympathiser, who had tried to sack me in Lagos when I protested at the election rigging. Now in London , he had compiled a 'dirty dossier' which left out the excellent reports on my work, my drafting of the Factories Act, and a commendation by Lord Grey. Foggon described me to Esso as a traitor who must never be employed in the United Kingdom . He threatened reprisals against Esso by Whitehall if they employed me! After a long list of my character defects he concluded that I had 'all the faults of my race.' Some months later, after I had revealed some of his corruption to a Personnel Chief named Douglas at the Colonial Office, both Foggon and Douglas recommended my return to Nigeria ! The lies and character assassination are detailed in a copy of my personal file (Overseas Service WAF/P 1949), supplied to me by Jack Straw in 2004, after his officials and the Cabinet Office had yet again strenuously denied that I existed in 2003 .

I had fled Lagos after threats to my life. Francis Nwokedi, my Permanent Secretary, had flown to London to see me. I refused to see him. The CIA were offering a safe haven in Washington and had given me a password and an emergency phone number, which I had reason to use and met the CIA station chief in London. The Governor General had contacted my friend Philip Williams (the biographer of Gaitskell) and he renewed his offer of top honours etc. in return for my silence. Philip was frightened. Robertson had used homosexual blackmail in Lagos against my friend Michael Crowder, who was very promiscuous. Philip was single and a confirmed bachelor, and that was all.

At the Holloway Labour Exchange where I had a temporary job, I was photographed and filmed with the Duke of Edinburgh during a royal visit. He told me that the Empire was a 'load of bollocks'. I also met John Hare, the Minister of Labour, who was on his way to Nigeria . I was featured in a cover photograph in the Ministry of Labour Staff Magazine. This was the background to my being interrogated by Sir John Foster at 'Justice'.

Tom said this job at 'Justice' was very important to him. He could not advise me or appear too close. He was carrying out his instructions. (However, we did discuss his daughter's marital problems. Tom knew that I had tried to help Naomi as a friend.

Sir John was ruthless, frightening, merciless and hateful. It was an awful experience, but I stuck to my account through the repeated questioning and insinuations. Suddenly he was shaking my hand and comforting me. I was so shaken up that I was really upset. He complimented me and was a totally different person. Kind, considerate, sympathetic. He had had to test me to the limit to be sure that I was truthful, public spirited, honest, etc. etc. Later, Tom said I had done well. I had 'won', and was to be awarded damages and much more by Government.

When I saw Tom the following week the offer was of a large sum of money. Honours, a top job, etc. etc. in return for my word never to reveal what I knew of the Government's disgusting destruction of democracy in Nigeria .

I said to Tom that this had been offered already by the Governor General. I was not protesting for personal gain. I had been treated abominably because of what I witnessed in Lagos . I could not possibly give my word to cover it up. Tom was nice to me but was very worried for my future.

Retaliation against me was very swift. The Governor General had threatened I would never work again, and disgusting means were employed to stop my working at the Holloway Labour Exchange. It was 1957 all over again. I became very ill. The future was bleak. Whistleblowers often kill themselves. I know how desperately depressing all that is, but I had Carol, who believed in me, and two lovely small daughters. It was not easy, but in helping others we gained strength and somehow survived.

What are we to make of 'Justice', which was such a let-down? Gerald was a great man. Sir John seemed thoroughly decent. Tom was a splendid man. We later came across Benenson through the Coeliac Society. He was also an idealist and very public spirited. (Sadly, Peter was very mentally troubled and ill. Was there something sinister in our having identical gut-wasting problems?)

Labour and the Macmillan Government set aside democracy in Nigeria . These machinations brought on a coup, and a British counter coup when Labour was in power, and a civil war (so-called) which killed three million innocents. Gerald and others, like Callaghan, held high office and were complicit in the dirty machinations of 1960.

On a personal note, 'Justice' had not lived up to its aims in protecting me. I was abandoned. In so far as exposure threatened 'Justice' for its failure regarding Nigeria , they did not and may still not wish me well, and treat me with hostility. I can only approach them honestly and see how they react.

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Orwellian Unperson

In 1960, David Maxwell-Fyfe, the Lord Chancellor - a Balliol man, and the youngest QC for 300 years - had an unusual case. (Two years later, Macmillan would sack him in the night of the long knives.) Gerald Gardiner, the Shadow Lord Chancellor, was a Magdalen man but had been sent down with a Fourth. Lord Shawcross, the Chair of 'Justice' did not bother with a degree at all.

I was the difficult case. I left school at thirteen and, in 1954, took a Second at Magdalen after two years.

Perhaps Shawcross (a former Attorney General on the Labour side) and Gerald Gardiner (a future Labour Lord Chancellor) resented a council estate boy who had drafted a Factories Act and defended the rule of law against trade union bosses and Imperial nabobs, alike. The friends of these lions of the legal establishment were to spend the rest of the century denying that I ever existed.

After a Kangaroo Court* trial at 'Justice', it was decided that I should become an Orwellian unperson lest my defence of the rule of law should embarrass Whitehall and Westminster and graduates of the illustrious Inns of Court.

Over twenty years earlier, my friend Frank Meade had put up Orwell in his neat Manchester council house when Orwell was on his way to largely invent the lurid degradation of Wigan . Frank was not particularly impressed by Orwell, but I had no problem in seeing a parallel between my 'kangaroo' trial by two chief Nuremberg prosecutors and the nightmare world of Orwell's '1984'. I had upheld the rule of law and was being charged with treason. My prosecutors were covering up the most flagrant abuse of the rule of law, and were seeking to punish me by permanent exile from the UK . In an Orwellian-like phrase, the animals had taken over the zoo and were intent on expelling the keeper to a faraway shore.

The odds at my 'kangaroo' trial were decidedly and deliberately stacked against the defendant, for I was not allowed a defence. My lawyer, Mr Chester Barrett, was to be excluded from the smooth tenor of the proceedings, lest he introduce a jarring note. It may have been a quiet, illegal trial near the Inns of Court, but in spirit it was a Soviet showcase trial of the 1930s and some, but not I, would say, the trial by the victors of the vanquished at Nuremberg .

Had I been allowed my day in a legal British court, I would have suggested that, at the dissolution of the mighty British Empire , the principle of 'might is right' was triumphant, and the light of liberty, justice and the rule of law had been extinguished.

January 2005

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Supermac and Supershell: The Hartley and Maxwell Story

In 1960, Tom Sargant, the Secretary of 'Justice' told me that, as the Lord Chancellor - Viscount Kilmuir, aka David Maxwell-Fyfe - and his Shadow Gerald Gardiner - Lord Chancellor in 1964 - had agreed that I would never be allowed into an English court of law, I should be given a 'trial' at 'Justice'. My lawyer, Chester Barratt, who was writing letters to the Colonial Office on my behalf, was side-stepped, and I had no defence at my illegal 'kangaroo' trial.

The reason for my 'trial' was supposedly my claim for damages against Government for what they had done to me after my first tour of duty in Nigeria . I had never believed I would get into court. I knew I had no chance of winning. What I wanted was to stop them doing it again and my real fears of the consequences for Nigeria unless something was done, even at this late stage, to put matters right.

. It was the mention of Gerald Gardiner that calmed my fears and Tom's reassurance that the whole thing was a good idea. I now know that it was a bad idea, but it is impossible to describe why I was foolish and agreed to attend. I was extremely tired, and had lost several stones in weight. I needed to talk it over at great length with a sympathetic advisor, but everything took so long and things moved so fast. In the end it was Tom and my liking and, I suppose, my trusting him that did it. The whole thing was a fraud. It was a conspiracy to shut me up. They thought I was an idealistic, young fool - and they were right. I was also very honest.

I was protesting that Britain 's interest in the Shell oilfields had brought her to destroy the future of democracy in Nigeria . Now, the voice of Shell Oil, Sir Hartley Shawcross, was holding a 'kangaroo' court at 'Justice' where he was Chairman, and I was on trial without a lawyer to defend me. I was at the mercy of the Shell Oil interests; Sir Hartley the Shell spokesman; and his friend the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan. We had Supershell and Hartley and David - almost a vintage motorbike. The two of them had fooled around together while eating dinners at Gray's Inn . The two young lawyers had become famous at Nuremberg . Now they were in partnership again to destroy democracy in Africa .

Let us be clear. The rigging of Nigeria 's Independence Elections and the consequent deaths of three million innocents was an international war crime, which is why MI5 and MI6 and GCHQ and Porton Down had been employed to shut me up for many years. Britain (the mother of parliaments, the great British Empire, the great Western democracy) condemned Nigeria , this giant African state, to become a basket case after a plethora of coups, assassinations, dictatorships, and warfare - all on a par with Imperial Rome.

Harold Macmillan, Supermac, was, I believe, a machiavellian thug disguised as an English country gentleman. He described Africans as 'barbarians'. His lack of public morality links him to Stalin. I doubt that the loss of three million lives in Iboland worried Supermac very much. Stalin had the same attitude. He said that the loss of one life was a tragedy, but the loss of a million was a statistic.

These gentlemen were the cream of the British legal establishment, and they put me on trial for treason. I was a nobody who left school at thirteen and was brought up on a council estate in Manchester . I served an engineering apprenticeship and, after service in the RAF in Egypt , fought communists who were rigging elections in the Engineering Union. I believed that the rigging of elections in Africa by the British Government was also criminal. It was also stupid, and set a terrible example. How were our stooges ever going to win an election once the British went home. It is evident that Supermac only cared for quick fixes.

In 1960 I continued to protest through official channels. That did not prevent threats to my life by the Governor General of Nigeria , Sir James Robertson, who had hanged natives in the Sudan for handing out leaflets! His boss, the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, was quite bloodthirsty too, and at the same period in Kenya Africans were made to dig a grave and were then hit on the head with the spade and buried.

The Whitehall secret file on Harold Smith contains contingency plans to eliminate me. Clearly Macmillan did not want to be found out, and the only reason I am alive to tell the tale is because my whistle-blowing had been a failure.

Some form of legitimacy was desirable - this being Britain - and that meant lawyers. The Government had committed treason and somehow it had to shut me up. There was a lot of discussion, and some would cheerfully have belted me on the head with a spade. One Whitehall insider in recent years advised against lonely walks along the canal beside my rural cottage!

How to shut me up was agonised over by the best legal brains in the UK . As I had been working for Government as a lawmaker, and had drafted the Nigerian Factories Act, this was perhaps an embarrassment, but was easily resolved. My open personal file was graced with a statement that I was not a lawmaker at all and had not drafted laws. So that was that. Orwell would have loved this very British expedient. I was, of course, vilified too. Traitor and scoundrel were the least of it. I could hardly be tried, however, in open court, though this was considered. Even a picked or packed court could be dangerous for the plotters, for indeed they were the truly guilty ones.

Eventually, some mighty legal talent was assembled, and arrived at a solution. Somehow I had to be persuaded that I had 'won' and could stop whistle-blowing. Loaded with honours and a lot of money awarded secretly, I could then go off to the Far East and in some remote place be disposed of quietly. Intoxicated by success, 'Sir Harold' would consent to a life-time gag and permanent exile.

Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe (one of many Scots - fellow Celts - who hated me for not putting my career first) was the Lord Chancellor. He achieved fame as the deputy chief British prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials in which his chief, Hartley Shawcross played only a minimal role. Those trials were legal and open, and the accused were allowed a defence. My lawyer, Mr Chester-Barratt, had startled the Government by claiming to be acquainted with a Colonial Office Minister, Julian Amery, the Prime Minister's son-in-law. It was thought prudent to deny me a defence or we might turn the tables and prove the Government guilty!

The chief prosecutor at Nuremberg was Sir Hartley Shawcross, the former Attorney General. He was now Chair of 'Justice', founded to bring the protection of the law to the people of Africa . Hartley was readily persuaded by Maxwell-Fyfe, now known as Viscount Kilmuir, that 'Justice' would lend an aura of legality and respectability to a court at which Smith could be tried without publicity, that is a 'kangaroo' court. As it would be secret, no one could point out that this was illegal and an awful miscarriage of justice. Means had to be found, and all this 'fixing' was necessary. After all, they had already fixed elections in Nigeria . This was just a postscript to the Nigerian fix, and a tidying up exercise.

Macmillan gave Shawcross a peerage (but Hartley says he could hve been made a Viscount if he had wanted) and it just happened that Hartley had become a Shell Oil VIP, and their discovery of large quantities of oil in Nigeria was the major reason for fixing the elections there, so that the oil would be in 'safe' hands. Shawcross was a friend of Gerald Gardiner, the Labour Shadow Lord Chancellor, who would take office in 1964. As Labour had also agreed to destroy democracy in Africa because it was 'necessary', Gerald agreed to approve the trial.

The Colonial Office Minister, Iain Macleod had little choice but to go along, although he did try to back out when millions began to die as a consequence of these machinations, as did Labour's Jim Callaghan, but it was too late. His junior Minister, Julian Amery, enjoyed this sort of dirty work enormously and almost made a full-time occupation of 'covert operations'.

A prosecutor was needed, and Maxwell-Fyfe, Gardiner and Shawcross decided that it would be better to use someone not too well known. Actually their choice, Sir John Foster, QC, MP, was very well known as a prosecutor for his ferocious manner. He too was experienced with traitors, for he had tried to defend John Amery who had assisted the Nazis. John was hanged in the Tower. As there was a Cold War on, there were undoubtedly some, including my former boss George Foggon, a Nazi-sympathiser himself, who would have wished a similar fate on me.

Maxwell-Fyfe was to act as teller in another vital election when Macmillan was chosen to be Prime Minister over Butler . He found for Macmillan. No doubt to Hartley's chagrin, David ended up as an Earl.

Four eminent lawyers, a Prime Minister, a Governor General, and two Ministers! This was some Star Chamber Trial for a nobody off the council estate!

After my trial at 'Justice', Hartley and Maxwell went off to Nigeria hand in hand for the Independence Celebrations. It was a beautiful friendship, just like the one between Rick and Captain Louis Renault when they wandered off together at the end of ' Casablanca '.

 January 2005

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A World Turned Upside Down

I was well acquainted as a Labour Officer with the laws of Nigeria , as not only were my duties defined in the Labour Code and other acts, but I had drafted The Factories Act. There were extensive election laws once the British agreed on majority rule.

In 1956 the British parachuted in a new Governor General who, as agreed in Whitehall , on the q.t. let it be known to the white administration that we were not going to have fair, legal elections any more. The Independence Elections were going to be rigged to keep the Shell oilfields in safe hands. According to Sir James Robertson, I was the only Britisher who queried this and thought it was not only madness but criminal and evil. Actually three officials visited the Chief Secretary's Office to confirm what was happening, but the other two buckled, and ran, and denounced me as the ringleader of the protest.

Lord Hartley Shawcross, a Shell Oil VIP, made a Lord by the Prime Minister as a favour to a friend, was Chair of 'Justice' and, persuaded that I was a traitor (for upholding the law!) gave me a 'Kangaroo trial'* and rough justice at 'Justice', set up to uphold the law and extend it to Africa! Sir John Foster, as Prosecutor, launched a vitriolic attack on me. As I was not allowed a lawyer to defend me, he had nothing to fear by way of contradiction. He accused me of betraying my colleagues, in effect snitching on them. In fact, as a traitor, I was ratting on everybody. I was the public school sneak personified.

Strange, but I thought I was upholding the law. I have no idea what my thousands of colleagues thought, even if they went along with this criminality under duress.

The leadership of the major UK Parties is stuffed with QCs. Whey they collectively engage in criminality, I do not know what their collective noun is. A "quorum"; a "quango"; a quackery"? (However, "quackery" may be reserved for a collection of suspect doctors.) A "quagmire" or "quail"? A "quaint" or "quake" or "qualm"? Surely not a "quality"? A "quash" or "quasi" or "quaver"? Not a "queen" in a strictly non-royal sense! A "queasy" is too nauseating, and a "querulous" is too peevish and plaintive. A "quibble" has merit, but so have "quidnunc" and "quiddity". A "quintessence" is not fitting, and a "quirk" is too mild. We are getting close with "quisling" if we rate respect or love of the law? A "quote" is not quite sufficient, and we must rule out "quondam" and "quotidian".

Perhaps they deserve the term a "quiminality", if reduced to a stammer by their presumption. Surely too, a Kangaroo Trial* staffed by real QCs must be a "Quangaroo Trial", particularly so if they are also shady politicians. Which brings me to Lord Shawcross, in memory of whom perhaps we should drop 'Kangaroo'. Henceforth our name for an illegal court should be a 'Hartley'.

The world of law was indeed turned upside down by the proceedings at 'Justice' in 1960, specially designed to give rough justice to a 'turncoat'. The revenge motive was only paralleled by a Cambridge lawyer who served as Chief Justice in Nigeria for the trading companies, which became the British administration. He returned from Africa and, as a close friend of Marx and Engels, translated 'Das Kapital' for the whole world to read. That puts my rebellion over the Internet into perspective!

January 2005

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SINGALONG TIME - The Great Numbers

'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered'

'Rule Britannia' - Fool Britannia?

'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' Chamber

'Yes, We Have No Bananas'

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'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered'

Dr Azikiwe's attitudes to the British are bewildering. Plural 'attitudes' because Zik clearly could not decide whether he loved the British or hated them. As a nationalist leader, he had a public persona to project and keep alive, and he would feel it necessary, as someone opposed to colonial rule, to damn the colonial oppressors of his people. Zik had a problem here because the British had a public persona to maintain too, so they were for the most part very nice to Zik and never put him in jail. Behind his back they said he was an old fraud, a poseur, an unscrupulous, conceited and quarrelsome troublemaker. It must be remembered too that the British read his mail, tapped his telephone and planted informers amongst his contacts, so they would know what his 'real' views of the British were.

Zik had his intelligence service, too, in the largely Igbo-staffed British administration. Zik's problem was that the British administration was probably as relaxed and kind and sensible as any colonial regime in history. It was not the fault of the men on the spot if resources were scarce. These officials came to love Nigeria and its peoples, and were often critical of their own administration. The need for elementary basic services, such as clean water and sewage services, schools and dispensaries was obvious and great. In that sense there was neglect, and in the North too much power was given to ignorant and feudal native authorities, but there was little or no real oppression or cruelty or bad behaviour. This made Zik's problems acute. It would have helped if he could have been seen as a martyr. He did try to provoke the British, but they largely ignored him. Neither was he in fact terribly keen to go to jail. He was a successful businessman who had a high standard of living and travelled a great deal.

Zik was a great joiner too, and seemingly enjoyed hospitality and being made a fuss of. Probably all the reports I noted are false. Surely Zik could not have supported Freemasonry, Moral Rearmament, the Catholic Church, the Communist Party and such a diverse group of disparate organisations. It seems Zik wanted to be accepted as a VIP and leader of his people. He sought respectability. Zik was not cut out to become a guerrilla fighter in the jungle.

The British were decent people. However, they had not built a great empire by being soft. They could be tough and ruthless, if opposed. It was sensible of Nigerians to accept British rule. Rebellion could have had bloody consequences. Neither do we know of all the excesses of British rule. The files are closed or destroyed. The British were nice guys when possible and good behaviour was rewarded, but colonial rule is not a children's tea party. We were an occupying force, with an army - though small - of occupation. Our intelligence service - a synonym for the administration, for all Britishers had a political and intelligence role - was everywhere and superb. The administration too was very efficient and cheap to run. The British were for the most part respected, liked and rarely unpopular.

It is little wonder that the British confused Zik. Neither were they too serious about absolute power, and a gradual handover began many years before final independence on 1 October 1960. Zik was not the only one who was confused - many of the British were a bit bewildered too. Few Northern administrators were best pleased at the prospect of handing over power to the Southern tribal leaders, Zik and Awolowo. It might have been all right if Nigeria had been a unified country or nation, but it was not by a long chalk. However, we British were upholders of the law and would not go along with anything underhand or deceitful.

So why did we come to rig Nigeria 's independence elections? The question is rhetorical, and I have tried elsewhere to discover the answer, although it appears obvious that we were not really granting total independence. Strange as it may seem, I was not sold on total independence myself in 1960. I thought it was premature. What I really want to express is my shock. How could we do it?! We were genuinely decent people, doing a good job in very unhealthy places. We were thin on the ground and not well paid. It was a rotten career choice by modern standards, but our people got on with it. We were a cross section of graduates of the better endowed Universities. Most came from middle class backgrounds. Quite a few could claim to be upper class. I was working class myself, although I did obtain the imprimatur of an education at Magdalen College , Oxford , and I was a Fabian, earnest, serious, a do-gooder. I had done social work in London 's East End and had once aspired to be a missionary. Quite a few of the British in Nigeria had a working class background, but they were in PWD, the Railway Department, Labour Department, and the Police and Army, not in the Administration who rigged Nigeria 's independence elections. Even so, I had no problems in being accepted in Lagos , no more than I had in a wealthy college in Oxford . 'Manners maketh man', and are also an entrée into most circles. The doors that manners, politeness, sensibility and good humour do not open are probably not worth the bother.

"It was necessary." We were only obeying orders. The first part was absolutely categorical. Those were the Governor General's words to me in his office in 1960 when I asked him why we had rigged the elections. He implied the bit about obeying orders. He told me I was the only senior British officer to refuse to take part. He also said that I had been mistreated, which he openly admitted, not by him but by the Whitehall wallahs. I got the impression that he was saying to me that we were in the same boat really. We had orders and had to obey them. He said that being in the Colonial Services was the same as being in the Army (it is not, of course) and those who disobeyed orders could expect to pay the penalty. As the penalty on active service for disobeying orders can be death, I was giving his remarks my best attention.

Actually - and this was not an intellectual response but a surge of feeling - when he spoke indirectly of us obeying orders, he got to me somehow and I wanted to go along with him and do whatever he said. What he wanted was my word. My word never to speak to anyone of how we had rigged the elections. Maybe he did not know he had got to me. I have a strong sense of duty and believe... and suddenly I really do not know how he got to me. Anyway, he soon lost me because he switched to a very threatening stance. I do not respond to bullying, and I realised that for all his considerable charm and attractiveness, he had an icy-cold, amoral streak. What the balance of good and evil in him was, I do not know. He certainly had a most attractive personality when he switched it on. Robertson was, I think, extremely intelligent and he had a touch of warmth and sympathy. As I say, he was getting to me. I am not good with men close up in intimate conversation, but I felt he had some understanding of where I was. It was quite a shock when I saw the cold steel. He went on to say he would destroy me if necessary. I was more than frightened. I looked into his eyes. His expression had changed totally. His eyes were dead. He made me feel he could wring my neck and return to signing his papers without giving a second thought to my body lying on his carpet.

Did I say that Zik was bewitched, bothered and bewildered? Zik was not the only one.

25 March 1992

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'Rule Britannia' Fool Britannia?

All too often the desired balance in foreign affairs is not between the despised idealism and the favoured realism, but between honesty and criminality. In fact the favoured excuse for criminality is necessity. There is nothing new in all this. For centuries Britain wheeled and dealed to gain advantage; and lied and cheated, robbed or raped without a second thought. Britain also, on occasion, acted altruistically as when it turned against the slave trade.

Attlee's Government espoused honesty and decency, and started the Cold War and set up a secret terrorist force that practised state violence abroad for fifty years. However, Professor Charmley tells us that Attlee was indeed an idealist, but that the trade union bully Bevin got his way and overruled Attlee.

Wilson's bad behaviour in Nigeria, which killed two million, was his own doing for he admitted that he was almost isolated in his own Cabinet, but he got his murderous way. Paradox abounds and a case could be made that British policy is to have no policy at all. Given the mentality of the Oxbridge types, who run the Civil Service and particularly the Foreign Office, this is hardly surprising. They have no experience of anything but believe that they have a divine right to rule. One does not need to think up insults for these unfortunates; telling the truth about them is devastating enough. Britain 's near bankrupt state since the Second World War is their single great achievement.

Fool Britannia, Cruel Britannia , Britain has been waiving the rules for centuries. The Third Way is an appropriate title for the efforts of the third-rate minds that rule Westminster and Whitehall .

21 April 1998

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Chamber...

The original Star Chamber was supposedly abolished in 1641, but as befits a tribunal appointed by the Crown and totally secret and severe in its judgements, it merely went underground and out of view. The security of the State is the only business of the Star Chamber, whatever name it goes by, whether it functions as an adjunct of the Joint Intelligence Committee, or Privy Council, and its clientele or victims do not even have to make an appearance. In wartime, spies are executed in secret and traitors disappear, and the enemy is quietly assassinated. Much the same happens, but less frequently, in peacetime, but in the Cold War, although it was business as usual, more secrecy was called for.

The sentence I got was unemployment for the rest of my life, which included, of course, the Civil Service by whom I was employed at that time. Any attempt to reveal the state secrets to which I was privy would be met by sufficient force to silence me. Some plea-bargaining was offered. In exchange for my word of honour never to reveal what I knew, I would have a brilliant foreign service career (I had made a brilliant start, it was conceded), rapid promotion and honours of my choice. Having declined these seductive offers, I was warned by a secret service agent to flee Africa before they killed me, and by a CIA agent to make a quick get-away and, when in London, by the use of a password, to make contact with the CIA's Station Chief in London.

The Governor General who passed judgement on me had clearly been fully briefed by his masters, both as to whether to pass judgement, and the exact sentence to be applied. To persuade me, as he said, of how much trouble I was in, he frankly admitted the total truth of the fact that the British Government was shamelessly rigging Nigeria 's Independence Elections and, when I pleaded to know why, blithely answered that it was necessary. He said that, although I did not know all the facts, I knew far too much to be allowed my freedom. Anticipating or reading my thoughts, he advised me firmly in an almost friendly way, that no one would believe me and no paper would ever be allowed to publish my account.

"I'm a civil servant," I said desperately.

"Senior Colonial Service officers are the same as Army officers, and you know the penalty for disobeying orders on active service..." he answered crisply. He was threatening, oh so quietly, as if discussing whether to have tea or coffee, to have me killed. "Think of your wife and children," he added compassionately.

As my existing entitlement under the Widows' and Orphans' Pension scheme had been suspended, as he well knew, it did seem he had overlooked nothing.

He emphasised that I was on my own, though in truth three of us had protested.

"You are the only senior officer in the whole service engaged in this operation who has defied me and refused to obey my orders..."

His reference to the Army reminded me of the strategies employed to induce me to transfer to the Army at high rank. I had suspected a trap and now I knew that it had been one. His final threat was to the point.

"If you refuse to give your word, means will be found to silence you," he said...

This was the most powerful man in the largest and most important and richest nation in black Africa . Sir James Robertson was the Queen's representative and as such, when the Prime Minister visited Nigeria , he bowed to Sir James. That was the protocol. That was how powerful he was. The Queen had bestowed two, not one, personal knighthoods on Sir James, and he had a reputation for being totally ruthless, having ordered the execution of those found guilty of handing out leaflets which he thought were subversive.

If there is an appeal from the Star Chamber, I have not yet heard of one. I was silenced, and I was never employed again. Thereafter I was too busy trying to survive, to stay alive, to be much of a threat to public order.

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`

Yes. We Have No Bananas... (Popular song: Silver and Cohn, 1923)

If Britain had bananas it could be a Banana Republic. So, rather insolently, I told the Government in 1992. My criteria for dancing Latin American were:

a) Does the Government rig elections?

b) Is the Press strictly controlled?

c) Is official corruption tolerated?

d) Is a civil servant denied redress against injustice?

e) Is criminal Government action tolerated?

f) Are civil servants punished if they protest against criminal action by Government?

g) Are the secret services used to initiate and cover up criminal covert Government action?

Here we have the seven deadly sins of open and decent Government and, as I can demonstrate, the British Government is guilty on all seven charges. Albion has become Albania . Mr Major's window dressing with a series of autocratic charters - nil consultation is permitted - may one day lead our prostituted press to enquire why his shop is nevertheless quite empty like a pre-glasnost Moscow store. The Major charters are fraudulent in intent and merely confirm that Britain is one of the tackiest smaller nations on the periphery of the kind of civilised behaviour one is led to believe distinguishes advanced liberal nations from banana, brazil , cocoa, cotton and poppy territories.

Britain rigged Nigeria 's independence elections in 1960. For thirty years the Press has not been allowed to publish the truth about this evil. The officials who perpetrated this evil, which led to the deaths of two million Nigerians, were rewarded with honours. Redress for loss of career etc. has been denied me. Government to this day have covered up this evil. Civil servants who uphold the law are illegally punished. The secret services are used both to carry out Government's dirty work and to ensure that the British public does not find out what is being done in their name.

We really do need a new national anthem now that we are the mainstay of the European Community. A proud lyric on the lines of, "Confound their Politics, Frustrate their knavish Tricks..."

Perhaps.

Britain is not only sans empire and wealth and prestige, but also morals. Sadly, we are not disposed to change our ways. Great Britain may soon only be remembered as the name of Brunel's jacked-up, iron-plated museum of a ship, now high and dry, beached and embalmed in the old slave-trade base of Bristol .

20 June 1992