You might recall from my recent piece, 'Hancock's Back', how The Guardian reported last week that Mike Hancock has been censured by the Council of Europe (PACE) for not giving evidence to its ten-month judge-led inquiry concerning politicians and Azebaijan. PACE investigated the allegedly dodgy activities of a large number of politicians (potentially including Hancock), who were meant to be - with ethical precision and abiding by PACE's Code of Conduct - monitoring elections in Azerbaijan.
The reasons he has given to the media for his non-participation are (a) being unwell, and (b) not having anything to do with the Council of Europe any more. As the report on Azerbaijan was published in April 2018, one would perhaps be forgiven for thinking that Hancock must have been debilitated throughout the whole period of evidence gathering and report writing up to that point.
But lo! He was risen - and to be precise, he was filmed, recorded and photographed at a conference in Paris on 9th February 2018, an event which was led by the admirable Maryam Rajavi and fully supportive of greater social justice for political detainees and the women of Iran. It was attended by 'lawmakers and political personalities from 11 European countries' including Britain.
Hancock's appearance was tweeted by NCRI-FAC (Iran's National Council of Resistance) - presumably unaware of his record - in glowing terms.
Here's what Hancock said to the Portsmouth News last week:
'‘I’ve been unwell now and I continue to be unwell. I have nothing to do with the Council of Europe.'
Here's what NCRI-FAC has to say about his appearance in Paris:
'At the #Paris conference on 9 Feb 2018 Mike Hancock, Honorary Member of Council of Europe from the United #Kingdom Call for #freeAllprotesters #IranProtests #Iran'
In a separate tweet of 11 Feb 2018, NCRI-FAC says of his speech:
'A strong solidarity support 4 uprising in '#Iran & for Iranian people said not to fear Iranian regime but make them fear you this way you will achieve [your divine] aims'
It's all rather unsatisfactory, to me, that Hancock's allowed to go around representing the UK and the Council of Europe in any kind of capacity - and especially at an event where the suppression of Iranian women is being debated - while (a) he has the track record that he has with the High Court, and (b) he's been declining to co-operate with the Council of Europe.
One can only hope that the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow [firstname.lastname@example.org], who has been sent a copy of the Council of Europe's report, uses his powers to investigate these matters on behalf of the United Kingdom parliament.
And in the meantime, Hancock is insinuating himself into the narrative of newly re-crowned Leader of Portsmouth City Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson. In a few canny remarks, Hancock alludes not only to his own long-standing connection with GVJ but also to GVJ's new relationship with Labour.
What with all that and collecting his parliamentary pension, it's not a bad work-rate for a man who's too unwell to talk to a judge-led inquiry on such a serious matter as alleged corruption - and let's not forget we're talking about corruption in elections that Hancock supposedly monitored on behalf of all of us.
Well, we're talking about it - Hancock isn't.
Recent Political Blog Pieces on GVJ, the Lib Dems and Hancock
Image acknowledgement: Aesop's Fable by Michael Morganstern for The Economist. All other sources linked within the blog piece.