Theresa May has been warned about his conduct time and again. His inability to keep his mouth shut and his trousers zipped up is the stuff of legend. He has proved repeatedly that he cannot be trusted, and his only priority is the advancement of Himself Personally Now. Yet the latest horrendous gaffe from London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has still shocked many observers.
An absolute Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street
Bozza in charge of the Foreign Office was never a good idea: his opposite numbers across Europe and beyond either see him as a clown, or someone they cannot trust any further than they can usefully chuck him. Their mistrust was underlined in spades over the case of a British-Iranian woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
She had been convicted by the Iranian authorities of spying, while actually doing nothing more sinister than visiting her family in the country to show them her daughter. She was on holiday, nothing more. But that thought was not allowed to enter in the world of Bozza. He blustered that the conviction was a “mockery of justice” as Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was “simply teaching people journalism”. She wasn’t.
The consequences of Bozza’s idiocy were explained by the Guardian: “On Saturday, three days after Johnson’s statement to a parliamentary committee, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was summoned before an unscheduled court hearing, where the foreign secretary’s comments were cited as proof that she was engaged in ‘propaganda against the regime’”. Diplomacy is something that Bozza has difficulty understanding, let alone doing.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s employers, “Thomson Reuters Foundation, released a statement making clear that she was not working in Iran, but was on holiday in the country to show her daughter, Gabriella, to her grandparents”. Her husband added “Nazanin is not being held for anything she has personally done. It is deeply misleading by both governments to suggest or even half imply otherwise … We demand a clear statement from the foreign secretary to correct his mistake”. So what has Bozza done in response?
As if you need to ask. Retraction, correction and apology was out of the question. This did not allow him to further the cause of Himself Personally Now. So we got “the Foreign Secretary sought to explain that even the most extreme set of unproven Iranian allegations against her were insufficient reason for her detention and treatment”.
Well done Bozza - now we not only have Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe still detained in Iran, but the authorities in that country rubbed up the wrong way and even less likely to do the right thing and release her. She could have been paroled later this month; after Bozza’s clumsy gaffe, that may not now happen. Worse, all he needed to do was to say sorry and retract his untrue claim. But he isn’t big enough to do things like that.
That he is still in post as Foreign Secretary tells you all you need to know about the weakness of Theresa May’s Government, the paucity of talent in the Tory ranks, and the true stature of Britain abroad. Bozza should have been sacked. End of story.