I know you think this blog just twitters about musical theatre and my Manchester childhood, but I do think about other things too, and one topic which is currently filling my horizon is the Iran sailor/hostage situation which has blown up like a Channel squall, and seemingly subsided as quickly.

Although I love a good conspiracy theory, my declared record on them so far doesn’t extend much past guessing accurately who’s really the father of Jason’s baby in Corrie, but this one is so blindingly obvious (to me) that I want to set it down in a dated record so perhaps I can be proved right, or hopefully wrong, when war breaks out.

It stinks to me of a propaganda exercise.

I believe the “fifteen sailors” are from a specially-trained unit, who perhaps volunteered for what they knew to be a dangerous mission. Their excursion into Iranian-patrolled waters looks to me like a provocative act on the part of the British Navy and whomever controls or advises it, designed to get the group apprehended and in the hope of needling Iran into parading them for public humiliation.

I’m sure if they had actually been tortured or abused, there would have been an SAS/Raid on Entebbe style of rescue mission which would have gained the West even more television coverage, and painted Iran in a dreadful light.

But perhaps the Iranian military managers, ironically largely trained by the British, are smarter than the Pentagon gives them credit for and have outmanoeuvred the Western propaganda machine by treating the sailors well with new clothes and tacky gifts, and releasing them unharmed.

I suspect this is why the Navy has taken the unprecedented (and ludicrous) step of allowing them to sell their “stories” to the media, in the hope that further exaggerated accounts of how uneasy they felt in Iranian hands will fan the flames of anti-Islamic sentiment without actually appearing to be scripted by the Admiralty.

It’s laughable to watch the UK tabloids trying to make a hero out of the frankly unpreposessing fag-toting Faye Turney – or “Leading Seaman Turney” as she’s constantly referred to, which reminds me of a character in the farcial radio comedy “The Navy Lark” from the 60’s.

And farcical seems about the right note for this charade behind which I see the clumsy but heavy hand of the Bush administration. Is Blair again conspiring with America in a desperate attempt to look like a statesman so the country will beg him to delay his departure from office?

At least he learned something from Thatcher’s Falklands experience.