I think I've found out why Prime Minister Blair is still waging a phoney election in the UK, rather than the real thing.

It's because, according to one national newspaper, he has been very busy fighting an election 8,000 miles away - in Zimbabwe.

Yes, according to the report I read on the eve of the Zimbabwe election, Mr Blair actually stood against the evil despot Robert Mugabe in his own back yard.

Or so some Zimbabweans were led to believe, a fact reported by a reputable (but now banned) Zim news organisation, from within neighbouring South Africa.

It could have been true, because Mugabe apparently branded his election campaign "The 2005 Anti-Blair Campaign" and, according to the author of the article I read, that was precisely what Mugabe campaigned on.

The article described a rally in North Matebeleland attended by the dictator, who announced to the crowd that he would "never bow down to Britain and the colonialist Blair."

He then went on to refer to the Zimbabwean opposition as "Blair's MDC", before blaming Mr Blair for most, if not all, of his country's difficulties, including EU sanctions, fuel shortages and collapsed foreign trade.

It may look absurd in print, but it rings true because Mugabe has been filmed at rallies many times saying exactly this sort of thing.

I presume Mr Mugabe's campaign was a success - I am writing this before the result is known - if so, his tactics obviously worked (never mind the vote rigging and all that!)

Basically, what his tactics boiled down to was to completely ignore his own failings and say: "You should vote for me, because that other chap would be much worse".

Now haven't we heard this somewhere before? Yes we have, only this time it was Mr Blair saying it.

In fact, it's been heard so often that journalists covering the phoney election have begun to question Mr Blair about it, most famously Nick Robinson of ITV a couple of weeks ago.

Robinson was present when Mr Blair and his Iron Chancellor turned up at a photocall in London to unveil an advertising poster that claimed that the Tories, should they get elected, would slash £35 billion from public services, the equivalent of sacking every teacher, doctor and nurse in the UK.

Robinson pointed out that Mr Blair's claim was nonsense as the Tories had not said they were going to make any such cuts, but merely increase spending at a slower rate than Labour.

He prefaced this by asking Mr Blair if the only way he could win the election was to distort his opponents' policies, to which the Prime Minister, at his most sincerest, replied: "I'm actually very pleased you have raised this."

His demeanour said he probably meant precisely the opposite, but in the world of politics, whether here or in poor old Third World Zimbabwe, it seems black can be white, and white black, depending on what you are being asked to believe.

At least over here we still have an independent media that is willing to take politicians - even the Prime Minister - to task over their electioneering claims. Otherwise, we just might believe them.