Sunday 12 November 2017

More Holiday Madness

S’funny what people get up to on their hols. Colluding with foreign governments, drug-smuggling, trying to bring down the Ayatollahs’ government while slapping on the suntan lotion. They’re all at it. 

As Craig has rightly pointed out, Alan at Biased-BBC recalls a time - it seems like a lifetime, but it’s only about ten days ago - when no-one saw anything provocative in someone taking some holiday-time-out to do a spot of teaching.

One minute it was a harmless-sounding sideline during a family visit, next minute it was a pretext for the mad mullahs to up the ante and double up on the incarceration.

The bit about teaching journalists turned out to be a figment of Boris’s lack of imagination. However, even if she had been, teaching journalists is not exactly spying. 

I mean, isn’t accusing a visitor to Iran of ‘being a spy’ kind of par for the course? Especially when they hold  a British / Iranian passport. You know what they’re like. It’s okay, it’s their culture;  incarceration is the inevitable consequence of picking a bad holiday destination.

Charging her with spying and locking her up is still not actually Boris’s fault. The Boris-bashers disagree. Boris, they insist, should have foreseen that the mad mullahs would use his clumsy “misspeak” as a pretext for doubling the length of her sentence, barmy as this is.

They argue that “teaching journalism” (mysteriously upgraded to “training journalists”) was bound to infuriate the mad mullahs, and Boris should have known better; and they do have a point, even if we have to ignore the possibility that going to Iran for a holiday is a provocation in itself.

But so incensed with Boris are they that they’ve lost sight of the fact that, as Michael Gove reminded us on the Marr show, that whatever Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing on her hols, she was neither spying nor trying to bring the Iranian government down. So charging her with spying and locking her up  at all, let alone for goodness knows how long,  is completely unjustifiable.

Her husband is adamant that she was merely visiting family, which invites the Rice-Davies response, but the government’s (and the BBC’s) official line (that his word must be taken at face value) equally qualifies for a robust “They would, wouldn’t they.”

Obviously Andrew Marr deliberately tried to force Michael Gove into a no-win corner with his carefully phrased question:  “What was she doing?” and obviously if Gove had said he knew she was on holiday it immediately throws Boris under a bloody great red bus. He had little alternative but to say, quite truthfully, that he didn’t know, (How could he know?) Seemingly cornered; but with one bound he set himself free. He said her husband is the person who should know, and he has said she was. Nimble thinking macht frei.

The next thing we know is that the BBC has plucked an honest answer to a tricksy, intentionally  provocative question from its proper context and headlined with it mercilessly all day.  

As for the three-way Twitter conversation that Craig has highlighted - (has James O”Brien been dumped? ) having a go at Andy Marr sounds like sour grapes.

Tom Newton-Dunn takes a swipe at Boris and Gove, bagging two for the price of one. 

As for Marr’s failed attempt to force Gove to denounce either Boris or the government, Craig’s bf. Rob Burley plays “innocent face”. 

Oh dear. The response was 'surprising to many'? To the BBC, maybe. They should have known that Marr is no match for Gove. 

No matter. The BBC took it out of context and ran with it anyway.


  1. Two things I am clear on:

    1. The UK government has no moral obligation to lie on behalf of UK citizens.

    2. We cannot allow a vile, totalitarian, torturing dicatatorship like that of the Iranian Ayatollahs to dictate the terms of our political discourse.

  2. But isn't the purpose of the Marr programme to get a politician to say the headline that the BBC has already written?

    1. On the BBC Six O'Clock News yesterday, the 'news' went as follows:

      1. Criticise the Government over Nazanin Zaghari- Raticliffe - no mention of Iran's history of manufactured criminal offences against non-believers and that country's appalling human rights record.

      2. Criticise Gove over an eight year old 'discovery' that the Police made when they raided Westminster offices - you remember? - with the BBC cameras in tow.

      3. Remembrance Day - which is something that we might have expected at least for the day not to have to compete with anti Conservative 'news' at the head of the programme.

    2. Sorry ... Damian Green... not Gove - he had his own torrent of anti Conservative criticism to deal with.

  3. This is about holiday madness like the title implies. We (or do I mean the BBC and their supporters?) suffer from collective memory loss where Iran is concerned.

  4. In bed with man flu but thanks to the era of iPads able to be productive.

    Thanks to information across the web, and sites like this, it is clear the BBC is as up to its neck in it all as it is trying to keep half the story going and most facts it doesn't fancy out.

    And they are also getting very defensive on social media when challenged or, more tellingly, going dark.

    I have tasked both the voluble Mr. O'Brien and highest of dudgeon Mr. Burley on Twitter, and BBC News, Today and Radio 4 on Facebook with a series of reasonable questions.

    So far, from all, zero.

    A few likes and a few counters from Beeb groupies I have countered with facts and links, all of whom have now also gone quiet.

  5. I have seen comment referring to the Master Nationality Rule, this provides that "a State may not afford diplomatic protection to one of its nationals against a state whose nationality such person also possesses".

  6. Seems BoJo has apologised for 'lack of clarity'.

    It remains to be seen if this in any way alters the manoeuvres of the BBC one jot.

    And hence those of the Iranians, who are equally trustworthy.


    "Mr Johnson and fellow cabinet minister Michael Gove have been accused of bungling the UK's handling of the case.
    The foreign secretary told MPs last week that he believed Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been teaching in Iran before she was arrested, while Mr Gove told the BBC he did not know what Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been doing in Iran"

    Since when has answering "don't know" to a question from Marr on BBC1 equated to bungling? Gove is really supposed to have a window into 2016 Iran?

  8. Why does the Foreign Office offer no travel advice to UK citizens that Iran is a dictatorship where the legal system is corrupt and does not meet international human rights standards, and that UK citizens are therefore strongly advised not to travel there?

    1. "Iran is a Muslim country in which Islamic law is strictly enforced. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend."

      Caveat emptor

  9. The BBC is still pushing the bash Boris aspect of this story, and thus still serving the Iranian cause over that of the lady in question,

    Despite repeated attempts to get questions answered, even from the star of the moment Landale about an especially garbled tweet, so far no reply.

    The BBC truly does prefer its broadcast only role.


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