I probably wasn't the only British expatriate puzzled by the news that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office had raised its terror warning status for the UAE to 'High' today.
You see, the FCO is a little more, well, British than, say, the Americans, who'll issue an extreme travel warning for Belgium on news that someone in Kamchatka has been annoyed by an ingrown toenail. The Brits tend take the old fashioned 'Listen, chaps, there's an awful lot of shooting in Gaza so we suggest any British nationals there may like to wear a hat if venturing out' type of approach to travel warnings.
So when the dusty old crusties at the FCO say they're raising the level to 'high', we're either up a certain creek without a certain implement, or the UK has turned into a nation of milk-sops and scaredy-cats. Obviously, as a good old fashioned expat, one has to believe the latter.
But now comes the news, the evening of the day in which the warning broke, that the UK has frozen the assets of Bank Melli Iran - and is encouraging other European nations to follow suit. You have to wonder if the warning is linked to fears of reprisals - and the timing of the warning and the asset freezing move do tend to point to a high level of integration and forward planning.
But if the two are linked, it's the association I don't like. "We're going to freeze the assets of one of their banks so you can expect terror as a response - because their only response is and ever can be terror", is what they appear to be telling us. The conditioning inherent in the messaging is something that I confess myself uncomfortable with.
Why is it so important to demonise Iran in this way?
Answers on a postcard...