Five ways to style out a political apology

Five ways to style out a political apology


After Theresa May’s well-received “soz” to the 1922 committee of MPs, we look at how politicians from Clinton to Cameron said sorry

1. The “Oops” – Theresa May on the snap election
After seven weeks bleating some of the stupidest campaign slogans yet to insult the British people (we’re looking at you, magical money tree), Theresa May made a surprisingly good speech to her fellow MPs. “I got us into this mess and I’ll get us out of it,” she promised – to loud cheers from a group who still hate her, but realised just in time that they hate Boris Johnson more.


2. The non-apology apology – Tony Blair
Is Tony Blair sorry about the Iraq war? He’s sorry that he planned it badly: “For all of this, I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you can ever know or believe.” But he still reckons getting rid of Saddam was a thumping good idea. “What I cannot and will not do is say we took the wrong decision.”


3. The too little, too late – Nick Clegg
Spotting that an entire generation of young people were quite pissed off with him after voting Liberal Democrat as a protest vote about university tuition fees – only for the Liberal Democrats to triple university tuition fees – the former Deputy Prime Minister tried a little charm. “When you’ve made a mistake, you should apologise,” he said. “But most importantly you’ve got to learn from your mistakes.” Which is why he probably won’t be doing any more video apologies after a heavily indebted student autotuned the clip.
4. The confessional – Bill Clinton
Caught out for shagging an intern and lying about it in 1998, the US President (those were the days) told a breakfast meeting of religious leaders that he had sinned, asking for forgiveness and speaking of repentance and even wanging in the Bible for good measure. While still managing, on account of his resting smirk face, to look like a massive shagger who would do it all again given half the chance.


5. The “Sorry that somebody else screwed up” – David Cameron
Our most apologetic Prime Minister to date made a sort of hobby of apologising for stuff his predecessors had screwed up, from Bloody Sunday to Hillsborough to the Amritsar massacre. But when he called a referendum on EU membership and lost, leaving a legacy of political chaos and economic uncertainty? “I wish I had won … I am sad about that,” he reflected, before skipping off into the private sector to charge six-figure sums for talking about it.
If centre-left political leaders were your boyfriends

If centre-left political leaders were your boyfriends


We are never, ever, ever getting back together with Tony Blair (like, ever) so it really HAS to work out with Emmanuel Macron

Barack Obama

Your mum still gets a bit wistful when his name comes up. “You just seemed so happy with him, darling. I’m not saying he was perfect – but you agreed on the big things. You respected him. And he did make you laugh, you can’t deny that.”

You explain to your mum that you always knew it wasn’t going to be forever. That’s just the way things work sometimes. That doesn’t mean that your time together wasn’t great. It was! Really great. So great. So, so painfully great. But it’s time to move on.

At night, you look at pictures of him on your phone and wonder if there was anything you could have done to make him stay. Or make him come back.

I still love you, you whisper.

But nobody is there.

Tony Blair

As you order your third glass of wine, your friends are bracing themselves. Then – oh God – somebody foolishly mentions something that tangentially reminds you of him (Iraq, D:Ream, the colour red), and here it comes.

“Tony,” you spit. “That f***ing liar! He’s so fake. He’s not even very bright. Not really. Everything he says is so obvious, it’s just that nobody ever thought to put it together that way before. But anybody could, if they thought of it. He such a dick! Did you see that picture of him on Facebook the other day? I thought he looked really tired, didn’t you? Really tired. I should probably just unfriend him, but it makes me laugh seeing him still trying to be relevant. Like, f*** off Tony, nobody cares. Oh, and did you see that other thing he said – it was just a little thing, Google it, but it’s on the second page of results so you have to click through…”.

Your friends wearily exchange glances. They get it. They do. It’s hard when you’ve let down like that. Especially when he was your first. But isn’t it time you just moved on?

The truth is, you’ve tried. But it’s just too hard. The truth is, you’d never felt like that before. And, even worse, you haven’t felt like that since.

You dream of him turning up one day, asking for you back.

You’d laugh in his face!

Almost certainly, that’s what you’d do.

Nick Clegg

Oh, Nick. Whatever happened to Nick? He was always just sort of… there. Hanging around. Looking hopeful. I mean, he was nice enough. Friends were a bit weird. That guy Dave he hung around with put you off in a particular. But overall – yeah, he was sweet. You never gave him much attention though, and in the end he just kind of drifted away.

Now, you look back and think: that could have been something really lovely, actually. Really special.

If Nick texted you now, you’d probably reply.

No, you definitely would.


Justin Trudeau

LOL, in your dreams mate.

Emmanuel Macron

Not being funny, right, but this one has got to work out. God! The disappointments, the liars, the pathetic inadequates… You’re sick of casting your eyes around and wondering if you could summon up the requisite enthusiasm for any of these losers. Remember 2015 when you honestly thought you were into Ed Milliband for, like, five minutes? Ugh. You even had a moment of madness regarding Jeremy Corbyn, but, no, a person has got to have some standards.

To be honest, you were on the verge of giving up entirely. Deleting Twitter and taking Question Time off series link. Accepting that, no matter what your dad said, there really wasn’t anyone out there for you.

And then. And then. Out of nowhere, there’s this guy. He’s young, he’s handsome, he’s saying all the right things. I mean, he’s *French*, FFS.

First date was pretty awesome. Next one’s on May 7th. Please please please please please let it go well. Let him be the one.