Tag Archives: Apology

Apologies: The Good, The Bad and The Tuneful

22 Sep

Apologies should be rather simple affairs. A good apology needs to do three things:

  • be genuine
  • admit responsibility
  • indicate a willingness to change

At this point, you’re probably with me. You’re probably thinking of all the times you’ve been wronged and how you deserved an apology which embraces the three concepts outlined above. However, just hold up there, Nelly. Let’s talk about you for a second here. When was the last time you gave a real apology? When you said sorry for bumping into that old man on the bus, were you genuinely remorseful? I actually saw you and could tell that you didn’t mean it at all. So maybe you shouldn’t get up on your high horse and actually listen and learn.

Nick Clegg should have listened and learned as well. By now you have seen/read about/ridiculed/sung along with his recent apology video.

You know I have a bit of a soft spot for old Cleggers—I can’t help it, I tend to take pity of the pathetic and lonely in our society. But if he was intending to win back supporters with a heartfelt mea culpa, he failed miserably. Let’s analyse!

We made a promise before the election that we would vote against any rise in fees under any circumstances. But that was a mistake. It was a pledge made with the best of intentions, but we shouldn’t have made a promise we weren’t absolutely sure we could deliver. I shouldn’t have committed to a policy that was so expensive when there was no money around, not least when the most likely way we’d end up in government was in coalition with Labor or the Conservatives who were both committed to put fees up. I know that we fought to get the best policy we could in those circumstances, but I also realise that isn’t the point. There’s no easy way to say this: we made a pledge, we didn’t stick to it, and for that, I am sorry. When you’ve made a mistake, you should apologise. But more important, most important of all, you’ve got to learn from your mistakes. And that’s what we will do. I will never again make a pledge unless as a party, we are absolutely clear about how we can keep it.

Here’s why it’s crap:

Is it genuine?
No, I don’t believe it to be. Why not? Because I don’t believe what Nick Clegg says anymore. Sorry, liars, but this is what happens when you lie. It’s hard for others to believe anything you say after you prove that you say things that aren’t true.

Does he admit responsibility?
No. He blames it on his innocence, his confusion about how the government machine works. “There was no money around”? Really? There was enough money for seventy four launches of the Big Society, there was enough money for loads of bullshit, because that’s how government works. Everyone—even the Lib Dems—knows that’s how government works.

Also, by claiming “the most likely way we’d end up in government was in coalition,” Clegg is saying the Liberal Democrats never had a chance. That wasn’t what he was saying before the election, and it’s not what people believed after the debates. I know it’s hard to imagine now, but many people voted for the Lib Dems because they wanted Nick Clegg to be prime minister. For him to now say, ‘we didn’t know how hard government is, the big boy rules are way tougher than we thought,’ well, that’s just poor, Nick.

Does it indicate a willingness to change?
No, even though he wanted it to. If we look closely at the “learn from your mistakes” section, we see that what he’s really saying is that he won’t make pledges anymore unless he’s sure he can keep them. But nothing in politics is ever guaranteed. What he should have said is in future he will keep his promises.

As I’ve said before, it’s wisest to avoid having to apologise by not fucking up in the first place. But we’re all humans and humans do mistakes. It’s never easy to make a public apology—from Jimmy Swaggart’s to David Letterman’s—it’s a difficult act to pull off. Perhaps Nick Clegg should have studied the master of the political apology: Richard Nixon.

It’s clearly genuine as the regret is written all over his face. By repeating “I let down,” he shows he is taking full responsibility for his mistake. And was he willing to change? Well, he never tried to cover up any break-ins ever again. In fact, in 1982, when he had to bust out his car window because he’d locked the keys inside, he took out a full page ad in the New York Times detailing the entire event. Nixon’s apology changed his legacy forever. Did you hear those tributes that poured in after he died? People were able to forget about his criminal actions, the thousands of people killed by his military decisions, and the tons of other damage he did to American society and democracy. The flags were at half mast for a whole month, for Christ’s sake!

That could have been you, Nick!

Let’s Look Past the Pain and Remember That Which is Good

1 Nov

I apologise.

I could offer a hundred excuses, but that has never been my style. Suffice it to say that this may possibly have been the worst month of my life and that it is unlikely that many people (save those poor unfortunate souls in the Oxfam adverts) have suffered as I have.

However, I take full responsibility for neglecting you so in the last few weeks. My dears, you were never far from my mind, I can promise you. As I sat waiting to be looked after in that A&E, as I sat being interviewed by the sketch artist, as I lay there on the floor of the building society doing my best not to make any sudden movements, I thought of nothing but my darling readers and how much I have let them down.

I intend to remedy this situation in the only way I know how. By being charmingly inspiring. It may be the only gift God gave me (well, one of only a few) but, my goodness, is it needed right now.

In reflecting over my last few posts, I see that my normally uplifting tone has been in absentia. It is true that terrible injustices are going on in the world, and it is true that people like me must do our best to speak out against such things to instigate change. However, I also feel that it is sometimes necessary to focus on what is good in the world, to praise what has yet to go tits up.

As you are well aware, I have been adopted as one of her own by Mother England. Although my career as an internationally-known writer requires me to thumb the newspapers each day, I am often saddened by the bile spat at old Albion. I would like to take this time to put aside my own personal tragedies and remind us all of some praiseworthy things.


You may have taken me for a shandy drinker but I beg of you not to rely on such stereotypes. Have you ever spent four hours cooped up in the waiting room of a hospital, surrounded by children who certainly must have nits and their parents who see no problem in allowing their nit covered offspring out of doors? If so, you will know that nothing tastes sweeter sliding down one’s throat than a lovely glass of Ribena, slightly diluted with cold clear water or (when appropriate) the finest Russian vodka Christopher can find in town on a Tuesday morning.

The People’s Friend

Quite frankly, this overlooked example of fine British literature is sorely neglected in today’s National Curriculum. Why read a story about the Empire’s evils when it’s so much nicer to read one about someone’s grandmother’s embroidered handkerchief?

Two Pound Coins

I like my coins to have a bit of weight to them. And what’s even more thrilling is that if you collect fifty of these, you’ll have a hundred quid!

Shopping Trolleys

Does anything say “England is a lovely place to live” more than this picture?


Police in America with their guns have nothing on the pleasant English Bobby who can bludgeon a criminal’s face with just a quick swing of the arm. That’s why we’ve got the most civilized police brutality in the world!



Not strictly English, I know, but just imagine how frustrated philatelists would be without them!

See, readers, if someone like me can rise above the pain (both emotional and physical) of going to hell and back as I have done in the recent past and can manage to smile at some England’s charms, can’t we all do so from time to time?