Never apologise, never explain

….is a quote by Canadian feminist (back when that wasn’t a label of insanity), Nellie McClung. Possibly.

Then again, it may have been Gertrude Stein. Or it might have been Benjamin Jowett.

PG Wodehouse was more verbose but does give us a clue as to why we should never show contrition (highlighting, mine);

It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort of people take a mean advantage of them.

The fact many people may have said something similar about the value of apologies, particularly public ones, might be a clue to a universal truth we might be seeing playing out frequently in “woke” 2019.

Let’s draw a distinction here between being sorry and saying sorry.

An example; “I’m sorry it was discovered that I did cocaine in my youth and then went on to be vehemently anti-drugs when I became Home Secretary (the UK’s minister for crime)” is not the same as, “I’m sorry I did cocaine in my youth”.

The latter is an expression of personal regret. The former is, in effect, offering oneself up for the judgement of the world.

Socialists have long known the difference. They understand the vast power of the public apology and have used it to great effect to further their causes.

The Moscow Trials in the 1930s were simply powerful propaganda pour encourager les autres. If the defendants refused to cooperate in the charade, they were executed anyway.

These are lessons we seem to have to learn the hard way every generation.

Twitter is awash with people who have had to show public contrition for some speech or thought crime from decades earlier as righteous offence archaeologists dig up ancient wrongdoing and present it, in the public interest natch, and sit back smugly as the mob is whipped up and baying for blood.

The Parkland Shooting survivor, Kyle Kashuv, has recently learned how little value there is to showing public remorse. Similarly, Milo Yiannopoulos made an apology he has since come to regret. There are countless examples to be found and, if you can’t be bothered to look for them, wait a few days and the next one will come along.

Two people seem to have found a method of surviving this problem; Donald Trump and, recently, Boris Johnson. Both have lots of reasons to say sorry in public but generally wave it away as if the burden of someone else.

Depending on your personal animus, this could be taken as a proof they are of poor character and borderline sociopathic.

However, given the left have made it clear there is absolutely no redemption available, regardless of whether or not one shows contrition, it could be argued theirs is the only logical response to a call for sorrow.

The ancient Athenians looked at this unintended consequence following the Mytilenean revolt on the island of Lesbos. During the Mytilenean Debate, an earlier decision to send a boat with orders to execute all men and enslave everyone else was reversed and another boat was sent the following day to halt the implementation of the first order. One of the most compelling reasons offered in support of the reversal was that it would incentivise future revolts to fight to the death, as they would otherwise have nothing to lose.

Science has caught up with what Donald, Boris and the ancient Athenians already knew; academic paper confirms public apologies are, at best, not helpful to the individual and possibly even worse for them

Bill’s Opinion

If you mean it, say sorry to the specific individual you wronged. At the point the apology goes wider than just people you could name from memory, forget it and move on; they weren’t actually hurt and it’s not going to help you in the slightest.

Oh, and to the person who hosted the party I attended in an apartment in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai in August 1997; it was me who threw up on your bathroom floor and for that I am deeply sorry. 

19 Replies to “Never apologise, never explain”

  1. Apologising is a sign of weakness and is a fear based emotion. The amount of times that I have corrected letters to clients where the writer has unnecessarily said we apologise for something.

    Sure there is a time and place to sincerely apologise for your actions and ask for forgiveness, to your wife but everyone else can go and get fucked. The only other time that you should issue a fake apology is after you have been found guilty of a crime and in your pre-sentencing remarks.

    I don’t know if I would include BoJo in the non apology camp. He has a black belt in the issuing of insincere apologies and has even apologised to scousers, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has withdrawn an apology, then re-apologise due to new information coming to light, from say newspaper comments.

      1. Nigel Farage is undoubtedly one of the best speakers of our time. Isn’t it a tragedy that no one else has the balls to say things, that ought to be said and under the protection of parliamentary privilege. All we get now in the house is members flat out perjuring individual citizens.

        1. To be fair, it’s a lot easier to be consistent and honest if you only pass comment on a single public issue.
          But yes, he has been the most successful politician of several generations… not bad for someone who chose it as a profession later in life.

  2. At the risk of derailing this thread for which I make no apology for, Falou is demanding an apology from RA.

    Now this in an example where a fake apology has tangible value in a commercial negotiation, RA could save themselves some decent coin and an ongoing headache by giving him a heartfelt apology, a golden Tamborine worth $1.5m and they could call it quits, plus the settlement and the apology would have to remain confidential and would be between the parties and Him upstairs.

    Maybe this another time when an apology has value to the issuer.

    1. I actually agree with you on this.

      I think I’m going to buy a lottery ticket now, clearly it’s an unusual day.

      1. I was expecting you to say that Falou would insist that the apology be made public in order to show Steve what he got for his money.

        So then I say to Falou that I don’t think so, but I will ask the board and step outside.

        I come back in and say that the chairman said that how does he know that this isn’t just another one of his endless string of demands and he can’t take it to the board unless he knows that it is his final request and also that he is happy with the Tambourine and will settle on that basis. Falou reconfirms he will accept the golden tambourine and a public apology and will then turn his other cheek.

        I go out and pretend I am ringing the chairman, stay out for as long as I can, walk back in and tell him, that I didn’t expect this outcome but he has won and they rolled and they have accepted his demand for a public apology.

        I would also offer to read the apology on national news that night.

    2. This would indeed be the best outcome for all parties, however I think that Rugby AU are going to double down and play hardball on this. After all, their primary concern is to keep Qantas happy, the players, spectators and the game itself come a distant second.

      I am very interested to see what Fair Works says, given that it is nearly impossible for an employer to win a case with them.

      1. “After all, their primary concern is to keep Qantas happy, the players, spectators and the game itself come a distant second.”

        I think you’re right but it’s the wrong tactic for them regardless. Rugby is so diminished in its support demographics now that Qantas, BMW and other premier sponsors won’t be coming to the party in the future anyway.

        It might have been better to have let Alan Joyce have a tantrum, accept the reality of the reduced revenue once their current deal comes to and end and cut their cloth accordingly.

        Of course, if the money from Qantas was almost directly re-hypothecated into Folau’s salary, they were in a bit of a rock and a hard place scenario.

        Bill Pulver seems very quiet these days. He’s the sports administration equivalent of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, walking away from the utter disaster that occurred on his watch.

      2. “I am very interested to see what Fair Works says, given that it is nearly impossible for an employer to win a case with them.”

        It looks like that an early resolution between the parties will not be reached, meaning that FWA don’t actually have that much to do as far as positioning goes and obviously any matters dealt with today will remain private and confidential on their part.

        It doesn’t look like arbitration is an option either, and I doubt that FWA would throw the case out either (they can if the wanted to), which leaves them no other option than to certify that an amicable resolution between the parties cannot be reached. This is the necessary clearance for Folau to now commence with an application to the court. This being the case, FWA’s work is done here and its now in lawyer and judiciary land.

        Faloua’s legal team are top shelf as well, the best that Steves money could buy. But again and similar to the war chest, this has no bearing on the lawfulness or not of his termination. The process can be frustrated a little bit by Falou’s team but not by that much, the judge will issue orders on timetables, which must be met, and when RA win, the appeal will also run to a set timetable.

        Its a simple question and a very straight forward process, did RA unlawfully prevent Falou from putting bread on his family’s table or not?

        Although these kind of matters with one individual and no crime, should never go to trial, the cost, the disruption, the clogging up of our justice system by two bob merchants with flash lawyers. As I have said before, maybe it is a good thing for this particular case to be heard, because we will all get the benefit of clarity at law and legal precedence to stop this kind of Punch and Judy show occurring again.

        Although a pre-trial settlement would still be the most likely outcome here.

        I will keep my draft heartfelt Apology at hand, for when that time comes, although I may have to up the veracity of the offer slightly and have it is read out live on the telly by Alan Joyce.

        1. “… read out live on the telly by Alan Joyce”.

          I’d need to pre-book an appointment for a laughter-induced hernia repair if that looked likely!

  3. My learner driver son just had an accident and rear ended a Merc, bit of damage there and front end of ours as well, radiator fluid gone too, no one hurt.

    First thing I said to the irate driver was that I was terribly sorry, so there you go.

    Sons car is parked up and probably won’t get towed until Monday and we are now In an Uber on the way home, to face the wrath of mum.

    1. A lawyer friend of mine (yes, I know I shouldn’t admit to having one) told me once to NEVER say anything resembling an admission of guilt at the scene of an accident.

      1. That’s my call sign as well, never admit liability because you are too dumb to know that you aren’t.

        But without going into the detail, and if you can read between the lines, there was a beneficial reason for me conceding and admitting that I was liable on this occasion.

  4. Apologies are humiliating to the maker and embarrassing to the receiver. But when I’ve screwed up royally then the worst it can do is kill me.

  5. “I think you’re right but it’s the wrong tactic for them regardless.”

    It would definitely be the wrong tactic for them and I doubt that they would adopt it.

    Fighting high profile litigation is not their core business, they want it off the telly, out of mind and finished. It is in Folau’s interest to do the OJ Simpson here, he benefits most by the death of a thousand cuts, grind RA down, force them to take their eye of the rugby ball, show me the Apology.

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