Can it get any worse?

Not the economy (it will) but this endless parade of insincerity. Watching the RBS and HBoS bankers yesterday was hardly an edifying experience. Humbled they weren’t. The coverage has been extensive, but two posts to read.

The first from Matthew Taylor yesterday, in which he argues that

Perhaps it’s time to take a more systematic approach to apologies. After all, not all ‘sorries’ are worth much. When I worked in Number Ten, Tony Blair used occasionally to admit he’d made a mistake but only when he wished he had listened to himself earlier!

A distinction to start with when grading apologies is between apologising for the act and apologising for the consequences. Insincere apologies will tend to be weak on one or other side; either ‘I’m sorry for what happened but there was nothing I could have done about it’, or ‘I made a mistake but I’m not responsible for what happened as a result’.

The second from Martin Bright

Now word reaches The Bright Stuff that the man who has never knowingly apologised for anything is preparing his very own “mea culpa”. I am told that Whitehall officials have been ordered to make a compilation DVD of Obama’s various apologies to the American TV networks to be studied by the Prime Minister.

The idea of Gordon Brown practising a humble self-deprecating manner in front of the mirror based on what he has seen on his training DVD doesn’t bear thinking about. But then again… maybe it does.

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