Britain's new tactic on the Iranian kidnapping/hostage situation has moved beyond Blair's firm tone to ridicule. No, really.
By revealing the evidence backing up its claim that British naval personnel held by Iran did not violate Iranian waters, the British government is trying to put the Iranian government on the defensive.
And by revealing that Iran changed its own claim about where the incident took place, the British are also trying to ridicule the Iranian position.
Ridicule? Not so long ago the Navy would have been making haste to the Gulf and we'd be informing the Iranians to hand over those kidnapped Marines and sailors immediately. Not Blair's immediately which is apparently "any time you feel like it" but right the hell now.
The first tactic was to offer Iran an easy way out. The Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett gave the co-ordinates of the British sailors to the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and suggested that there might have been a "mistake".
This is preposterous. We don't negotiate with terrorists and we don't negotiate with hostile governments who enter foreign waters and kidnap our troops- at least, that's the way it should be. Instead of simply demanding the immediate and unconditional release of the kidnapped troops, the British government decided to suggest that the Iranians had done nothing more than make a mistake. This is insanity- and it displays all too well to Iran Britain's weakness on this issue. Blair seems to be terrified of Iran, his policy is to freeze diplomatic relations when he should be calling on our NATO and EU allies to present a united front against Iran's unprovoked hostility- and preparing our combined military might against them.