Exactly a year-and-a-day ago Kevin Rudd said “Sorry”. And we for one applauded enthusiastically.
It may not have been easy for him. By all reports he fought for days for the right words and then, with choking voice, delivered them to a moist-eyed and, lets’ admit it, relieved Nation. It may not have been easy but it was a lot easier than doing anything concrete about altering the realities of the lives of many Aboriginal people. It may not have been easy for him but it was impossible for the most awful Prime Minister in our history, George W.’s Deputy Twerp.
Nevertheless, four days ago a very special group of people proved conclusively that “Sorry” is, after all, not the hardest word to say. Not if you have a highly-paid PR company to script your apology for you.
Here, then, is the British Bankers’ 2009 Teflon-coated Apology:
Lots of people are sickened by the insincerity. Their mouths say “sorry”, their body language says, “Suck on that, losers. To the Caribbean, Jeeves.”
Here are some notes from the Guardian on the Sorry state of banking in the UK:
During hostile questioning, led by commitee chairman John McFall, the four also admitted:
â€¢They did not have any formal banking qualifications.
â€¢ Hornby was still being paid Â£60,000 a month [about A$130,000 - gosh, how does he manage?] to work as a consultant for HBOS.
â€¢ McKillop did not fully understand some of the complex financial instruments his bank was using.
[ ... ]
Goodwin said that the bonus system was “something that should be looked at”
["Gosh! Look a' tha'!" but clearly done nothing about...]
But this is the one I love the most:
George Mudie, a Labour member of the committee, told the four that, having listened to them, he had the impression that they were “all in bloody denial” about their role in what went wrong.
Stevenson denied that. “We are not in denial,” he told Mudie.
Michael Bywater¹ is appalled by the whole, modern culture of apology, as if it means anything at all or even makes any difference.
This is how he starts his brilliant piece in the Independent:
I’m sorry. I’m very sorry, but I don’t accept those bankers’ apologies. I found them offensive. A preening pack of middle-aged white men in suits, parroting the instructions of their PR advisers. Utterly insincere. An apology was not enough. A heart attack would have been better. One each. Or a stroke, just like the new NHS advertisements: face droops, arms fall limply by the side, meaningless drivel issues from the mouth, and their head catches fire.
I’m sorry if that offends any middle-aged white men. I apologise if my remarks have been misconstrued to cause offence to people in suits, or to the suit-making industry, which is struggling in these difficult times, and about time, too; frankly I wouldn’t care if they all went belly-up and the bankers had to walk around naked with their shrivelled privates dangling beneath their smug little white paunches. I apologise for saying I wouldn’t care if they all went belly-up. I also apologise for any offence I may have given to people with shrivelled privates. I am sorry if my remarks have offended heart-attack or stroke victims. I apologise to anyone whose head has caught fire, and I am sorry I said “victims” when the correct phrase is “persons of heart attack” or “cerebrally vascular-accidented individuals”. I also apologise to anyone who may have found my finding the bankers’ apologies offensive, offensive.
It gets quite amusing after that. We particularly like the bit where he describes Jeremy Clarkson as “a man who would eat his own testicles rather than petition for an apology, even though he’d have to remove them from his own personal brain where they’ve been living for all these years”.
¹ Bywater has many claims to fame. If you can believe all the claims in his Wikipedia entry, which he obviously wrote himself, he has written for The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, Punch, The Times, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Journal, The Daily Telegraph and New Statesman. “He also collaborated with best friend Douglas Adams on three computer games, and Bywater was the inspiration for Adams’ Dirk Gently character.” He also has impeccable Australian connections having travelled, by all accounts, to Alice Springs, and he does mention in the article that there’s an Aboriginal man called Bruce who lives there which we think could well be true. (We are yet to see the publication of the purported book of his adventures, however.)
[tags]sorry, sorry day, aboriginal apology, Rudd, Australia, Australian government, politics, government, politics and government, government and politics, aboriginal, aborigine, stolen generations, bankers, British Bankers, PR, Bywater, Michael Bywater,The Independent on Sunday, The Independent, The Observer, Punch, The Times, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Journal, The Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, Alice Springs, Dirk Gently, Wikipedia, values, Australian values, cost, merit, principles, standards[/tags]