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Coffee House

Forcing an apology

27 September 2010

4:41 PM

27 September 2010

4:41 PM

Admittedly, this is but an item of marginalia in the notebook of British politics
– but I’d appreciate CoffeeHousers’ views on it nonetheless. I’m talking about the Tories’ efforts to squeeze an apology out of Labour for the state of the public finances. This is something
that they’ve been trying to do since the election, but the strategy has been reheated in the aftermath of Ed Miliband’s election. As Sayeeda Warsi put it on Saturday, "what I noticed in his acceptance speech was that there was … no apology for the role that he had played in
the current economic mess." Other Tory folk have called for that to be put right.

I’m inclined to take a dim view of this. My position is that it looks immature from a party of government to carp on about an apology that they’re not going to get. But no sooner had I said this
– with all the subtlety that 140 characters permits – on Twitter this weekend, than Lord Ashcroft published an
eyecatching set of poll results, which included this finding:

"On the need for an apology swing voters told the focus groups that the Labour Party should say sorry for its past. They said it again and again. Members of the Labour movement were just
as insistent that an apology was unnecessary. There was certainly little contrition from Ed Miliband when he accepted victory in Manchester earlier today."

So the reasons behind the Tories’ politicking are clear. The public want an apology, and calling for one reinforces the idea that Labour have something to ‘fess up to. But I still can’t
make the leap from that argument to the idea that the public want the Tories to be the ones pushing for that apology. Like I say, your views on this small matter would be appreciated. The comments
section is, as always, below. 

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