Boris bashing is clearly the new blood sport in Westminster but I fear it is hiding the real issues we should be discussing. Boris has been castigated for a sentence he let slip to a Select Committee suggesting that the jailed woman – Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – with dual British/Iranian nationality, had been teaching journalism in Iran. Why did he say this? Presumably he did not invent it? Ministers are briefed endlessly on many issues so I am guessing that someone, somewhere told Boris that the lady was doing this. Whether Boris was wise to let it slip may be another matter but where did the suggestion originate and why is the government clearly taking the line that it was not the case?
Iran is a pretty ghastly place but something must have prompted the state to notice this lady whom we are now to understand was simply holidaying with her family. Is there some element of truth in what Boris said? Is it being hushed up in the perfectly reasonable cause of getting the lady freed and home in Britain? We may never know but it seems Boris’s enemies are losing no opportunity to knock him. While thus may be understandable when coming from the Corbynites, it is pretty inexcusable from his own side.
It is also preventing discussion of the real issue. In this country, teaching about journalism is not a crime and someone doing this would be respected and allowed to get on with it. However, in Iran it seems this is a criminal activity and that is the real disgrace of this story. It seems that the lady’s husband understands this and looks to Boris to use his diplomatic sources to work for her release but the socialists and the Remoaners who are deflecting the arguments into Boris bashing are not helping the lady’s cause at all.