Alex Massie

Gordon’s Apology?

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This item from Martin Bright (Welcome, Comrade!) risks leaving one speechless:

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.

So... Picture the scene deep inside the Downing Street bunker as the Prime Minister, advised, it seems, by Rory Bremner and Armando Iannucci, addresses a fretful nation...

"Fellow Britons, it is with great regret that it seems it is necessary that, in such tumultuous times, I must appear on television tonight. As you may be aware, the economy has recently developed in ways that are not necessarily to Britain's advantage. It would be easy to say that this is yet another consequence of 18 years of Tory rule. Easy and, of course, I believe, true. [Pause for thin smile.] Nevertheless, let me make one thing above all quite, er, clear: Even though it's traditional, even proper, that the buck stops with the Prime Minister I don't blame Tony Blair for the present economic difficulties at all. [Grin



Mistakes do happen, you know. Nobody's perfect. Not even Tony. When this government encouraged risk-taking and suggested the good times would never end, these were decisions taken in the full and certain knowledge that this was what voters wanted to hear. For that I am sorry. Here we spent, we chuckled, for we could do no other.

It's no use the Conservatives trying to pretend otherwise. No it isn't. They mocked my affection for Prudence and when I abandoned her - by text message, you know - did they condemn me for my callousness? No they didn't. I often think of Prudence. Sitting at home with her knitting and her Horlicks and her dog-eared papers on neo-endogenous growth theory. What larks  - yes, larks - we had together. So, Prudence, if you're watching, I hope you understand that I'm only asking for one more chance. This time I know we can make it work. Please. You know I love you, Prudence, but we only have 14 hours to save the earth...

It takes years of experience to even understand, let alone help create, the current turmoil; common-sense therefore dictates that experience is needed to lift us out of our present little local difficulty - a difficulty imported from the United States, of course. I say to you tonight, then, that all I can promise is that I will bring every ounce of wisdom and experience I possess to lead this country out of this regrettable situation. I understand that these are the times that try


voters souls but this is a time for unity not carping, for purpose and resolution not sneering and sniggering. This is obviously no time for a novice.  [Look humble. Don't smile.] God


bless the United Kingdom.

Well, it's so crazy it just might work, right? Well, no it won't actually. If Downing Street thinks there's any comparison between Obama, fresh from victory, apologising for "screwing up" a couple of cabinet appointments and El Gordo, knackered after a dozen years in office, stuffing his face with humble pie for mistakes made in what was supposed to be his area of greatest brilliance then, frankly, they're even more deluded than one thought...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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