It has never been difficult to distinguish between David Cameron and a humble man plagued by self-doubt. The former prime minister’s most prominent trait in power – and probably the reason he lost it – was his combination of blithe confidence with peevishness when challenged by people he judged to be his social inferiors, which covers most people. So it is not surprising to learn now, in a TV interview, that Cameron is satisfied with the decision he made to call an EU referendum (“I believe I was right”), while also believing the outcome was a bad one (“we’ve taken the wrong course”). No one likes admitting error. For public figures it can be ruinous. That is why political apologies tend to adopt the passive voice – “mistakes were made”; “sorry for upset that was caused”; “sorry if offence was taken”. There is nothing new in this, but it feels as if political responsibility has become especially diffuse recently. There is a culture of treating bad things that happen as acts of nature, hurricanes that formed somewhere out at sea, beyond view, and blew in without discernible cause. Theresa May, under duress, apologised for anxiety caused to the Windrush generation,… Read full this story
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