25th July

The British Apology

‘When I was appointed to my present position three years ago, I felt both privileged and humbled, and I stand before you today as conscious of that privilege and, I hope, as full of humility, as I was then. To lead an organisation which is also a cherished national institution is a very great honour, but with leadership comes responsibility, and it is my responsibility to stand, as I am doing now, here before you today.

‘Our organisation, a great British organisation, has let you, the great British public, down. For this we are profoundly and sincerely sorry. I, personally, am profoundly and sincerely sorry. I take full and personal responsibility for the profound and sincere sorrow which I feel personally and which the organisation feels collectively.

‘I also apologise unreservedly for having to make this apology. I am sorry that this apology has to be made, but it was to take responsibility for such apologies that I was appointed in the first place.

‘A wise man once said, “The buck stops here.” It does. It shall go no further. There is nowhere else for it to go. I am more profoundly and sincerely sorry about this than I can say, but that is why I stand before you today, apologising unreservedly.

‘There have been calls for my resignation. I do not intend to resign, and I make no apology for not intending to resign. I have considered my position, and I rather like it. Now is not the time for me to lose my salary, pension and associated benefits. I apologise to those who think I should resign, but I do not apologise for making no apology for not resigning. Now is the time for me to take full responsibility both for apologising and for not apologising, and this is what I am now doing.

‘I apologise in advance, sincerely and wholeheartedly, should I have to apologise again in another three years. But I do not apologise for making that apology in advance. It is a great honour and a privilege to stand here apologising to you today, and I am full of humility. I am sorry about that, but I cannot help it.’

Reader: Charlie West
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Piano: Kit Downes
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