When does agreeing your sorry mean you are not sorry?
On the first full day of Labour’s new team the main political story is how Harriet Harman is dealing with comments during the campaign in which she appeared to suggest that Labour should say sorry for Iraq.
This is how the Guardian is reporting what she said in the Newsnight debate on May 29th: “….the candidates were asked: “Do you think the party should say sorry for what has happened [in Iraq]?” ..Jon Cruddas replied: “I do, actually, as part of the general reconciliation with the British people over what’s been a disaster in Iraq…” . Ms Harman interrupted, saying: “Yep, I agree.” Mr Cruddas continued: “I don’t think we can actually rebuild a sense of trust and a dialogue with the British people unless we fundamentally reconcile ourselves to what the situation is on the ground and our own culpability in creating it.” .Ms Harman added: “I agree with that.”
This morning Harman told Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’ve never said the government should apologise.” What’s hard for Labour’s new duo is the way that Harman’s comments during the campaign were received.
This is from the leading Labour blogger, Paul Linford: “In retrospect, the key moment of the campaign was the televised debate on Question Time, when Harman called for a government apology for the war and urged her supporters to make Jon Cruddas their second preference. From that moment on, there was never any doubt in my mind that one of them would make the last two.”
So there we are – the last thing that Gordon wants to concentrate on at the moment.