Politics has been infiltrated by a cult of meaningless apologies
Everybody's sorry nowadays. In an eloquent sign of our irresponsible times, however, the most abject expressions of regret almost invariably come from politicians who take pains to stress that they are personally blameless in the matter under discussion.
By apologising for the mistakes of others, the breast-beating statesman can achieve the most desirable of political double-whammies: lavish self-aggrandisement at someone else's expense.
The tangled moral maze into which all this pantomime penitence has led us was highlighted last week by an absurd controversy wherein Jeremy Paxman was asked to apologise for suggesting that another person's apology was, well, regrettable.