If I can say sorry to Theresa May, then surely David Cameron can prostrate himself before the nation

I was forced to apologise after a daring newsagent heist when I was 14 – and the lesson has stayed with me ever since

Jenny Eclair
Friday 14 December 2018 11:45 GMT
David Cameron says he doesn't regret calling EU referendum

I sent a tweet out the other night, one of those lazy, side of the sofa evening tweets, basically saying: "I have never seen a woman so in need of Pilates #May". It was triggered by seeing our clinging-by-a-thread PM on the telly with her by now familiar stoop, the stoop that has become every cartoonists gift and instantly transforms her into a Roald Dahl illustration.

The tweet got a few hundred likes but it also caused a bit of dissent. I was accused of picking on her physical appearance, of being unsisterly and kicking a woman when she’s down.

In my defence, I genuinely offer suggestions of Pilates and yoga as acts of kindness, because I don’t know many folk who wouldn’t benefit from either, both physically and mentally. Personally, never mind my flexibility, a roll around on my yoga mat for even 15 minutes a morning helps retain what’s left of my sanity.

But that’s beside the point. What I didn’t know at the time of tweeting was the possible cause of May’s posture.

It’s well documented that Theresa suffers from type 1 diabetes – we’ve all seen the blood sugar monitor which she wears on her upper arm – but less documented is the fact this auto-immune condition can cause osteoporosis and what in old-fashioned terms is known as a "dowager's hump". I, for one, certainly didn’t know this, but now I do and I’d like to apologise for any offence.

Regarding the above: I don’t find saying sorry difficult, I never have. My parents taught me that apologising wasn’t a bad thing, that it didn’t make you weak, it just meant that you had made a mistake and the easiest way to make amends was to simply say sorry and mean it.

They used to make me do it face to face too. I wasn’t allowed to simply slip someone a note or make a phone call. When my mother found out I’d been shoplifting from a local newsagents, she frog-marched me round there to apologise to the elderly owner in person. I never nicked anything from that shop again, not that I ever went in that shop again, I was far too embarrassed, but the point is, a lesson had been learned. Well... it was three months later when I was caught stealing stuff from a supermarket in Southport by a professional store detective and the police turned up – but that’s another story.

I think we’re losing the art of apologising. No one is prepared to admit defeat anymore, no one can bear to be in the wrong and say mea culpa, so instead of hearing apologies, we’re being fed a constant stream of excuses and baloney.

Earlier this week David Cameron was ambushed by journalists as he got into his car and asked whether he should apologise to the British people for his EU referendum and the political mess the country now finds itself mired in.

Well yes, obviously he should. Wouldn’t it have been great if, instead of flannelling on like a fat Edith Piaf about having "no regrets", he’d got down on his knees and begged every single one of us for forgiveness? Personally I’d have liked to see him in the gutter, wailing and rending his suit. I don’t even care if it's really difficult to rend a hand-made Saville Row suit made from 100 per cent wool complete with a silk lining, I would at least like to have seen him have a go. But oh no, instead of a gentlemanly "yes, I’m hugely sorry for the damage I have caused the country", he wriggled and jiggled and fobbed everyone off. Yada yada.

Do you know what I think? I don’t think he’s been writing a book in that posh shepherd's hut of his. I think every day he goes in there and writes "God, what have I done? I am so very sorry for all the misery that I have personally inflicted on millions of people" on loads of Post-It Notes which he then covers himself in whilst eating dog food as a punishment.

I don’t know how people can handle the shame of doing something so nationally catastrophic without a public apology. How can the man sleep at night? I’d need handfuls of something a damn sight stronger than Nytol. I'd have to anaesthetise myself with alcohol and no doubt wake up at 3am having pissed the bed, maybe this is what happens chez Cameron?

Come on David. This week alone I’ve sent an email of apology to an industrial unit for having a fight with a delivery driver on their forecourt, apologised to my partner for being moody about writing the Christmas cards, and said sorry to a woman for taking off the back of her heel during a shopping trolley incident.

Oh listen, if I can go round, aged 14, and beg forgiveness from my local newsagent for stealing sweets, the least David Cameron can do is make a public apology to the nation – because lets face it, he kicked the hornet’s nest and we're all getting stung.

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