Sunday 12 November 2017


Alan at Biased BBC has ferreted out a 1st November report from the Independent that, in the light of everything that's followed on the Boris/Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe story, makes for fascinating reading. 

It shows how uncontroversial and widely-welcomed Mr Johnson's remarks were until, a few days later, they suddenly became controversial and widely-reviled. 

The game-changer was an Iranian judicial decision (if it can be dignified with such a term) to bring her back to court on the basis of Boris's remarks. 

Partisans here are getting fired up, and - weirdly - Brexit seems to be the dividing line. 

Michael Gove has now found himself attracting flak too for his comments about the case on this morning's Andrew Marr Show. Mr Gove was defending Boris Johnson and, in doing so and in responding to a question from Andrew Marr ("What was she doing when she went to Iran?"), replied "I don't know". And when pressed ("You say that you don’t know what she was doing. Her husband is very clear that she was there on holiday with her child") replied, "Well, in that case I take exactly her husband’s assurance in that regard". And when Andrew pressed again ("So was she training journalists?") replied, "Well, her husband said that she was there on holiday, and her husband is the person who should know."

To some he was merely being honest; to others he was compounding the lie about Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe. 

The fired-up Brexit Partisan brigades then began amplifying it all - "You're jumping on an anti-Brexit bandwagon", "No, you're a bunch of nasty right-wingers determined to protect Johnson at all costs", etc.

And the BBC, whose lead reporters have been vocal and unequivocal (especially on Twitter) in their criticism of Boris Johnson over this, splashed their news website for a while today with:

Ah for the days when the likes of Lord Palmerston could order in British forces and daringly rescue distressed damsels like Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe from the clutches of foreign tyrants!

I do hope this turns out well for her and her family. And soon.


Meanwhile, on the 'complaints from both sides' front, here's James O'Brien - occasional Newsnight presenter - complaining about The Andrew Marr Show, and the programme's editor (as he does) then responding to that criticism:

James O'Brien doesn't strike me as the sort who'll ever let someone else have the last word, so this is bound to go on until even Rob loses the will to live and gives JO'B the final say. 


  1. I don't see why anyone should be able to hold multiple nationalities but if they do and they are within the jurisdiction of one of their nationalities then the others should say "Not interested", at least no more than they would for any other non-citizen of theirs.
    We would hardly be bothered if Iran was concerned about dual-citizens here would we?

  2. We're in a really strange place in this country now it seems, the BBC has no problem in using the Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe issue to further its agenda to get the scalp of a senior cabinet minister (Johnson or Gove either would do). Yet there is no-one to "call them out" over this. As I have said before, if the BBC achieves it's ambition of collapsing the government and even reversing Brexit, no future government will allow the state broadcaster to continue to hold such power.

    1. Yep. But that really is partly the result of the Tories' supineness in response to such assaults by the BBC. I think there is some sort of false conventional wisdom that complaining about media coverage is like complaining about the weather. But Mogg has shown that it can be effective. It shouldn't be a querelous should be put forward as a rational proposition.

  3. There's the story the world's least trustworthy broadcaster runs, and facts.

    The BBC seems to have all but ignored that this was all kicked off by Iran detaining a woman apparently meeting relatives.

    Perhaps why and with what justification may be a more productive line of inquiry than that which provides devious political foes near and far with all they could hope for?

  4. He asks Michael Gove what she was doing but when he replies that he doesn't know, the mighty World's Greatest Broadcaster's representative on earth counters that her husband was very clear what she was doing. So what was the point of asking then? That is just perverse.

  5. She was originally arrested for activities she had supposedly engaged in whilst in the UK working for the BBC. She worked for an 18 month period at BBC Media Action. Maybe the BBC are being very clear about what they actually want us to know.

  6. How the exchange ended
    Burley : I think you’re contradicting yourself now & completely misrepresenting me but I suspect you won’t agree! Have a good week.

    @RobBurley :You can have the last word

    James O'Brien‏ : No, you can. I insist.

    ... So the autistic RB gets the last word and then pretends he didn't


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