But it gets worse. Once the interview had been transmitted I started to receive the odd invitation to talk on Polish radio, explain myself to Polish journalists and make apologies to the Polish people in general. Perfect, you might think. An opportunity to make amends. But some mad pixie of pride in my head had got me rather riled by this time. It wasn’t helped by the fact that some of the letters I received were of such a bombastic and dictatorial nature that any spark of apology was extinguished before it was born. So I just ignored the whole incident and pretended to myself that I had been misunderstood, mischievously misunderstood, you might even say; that it was obvious to the meanest intelligence that I had never meant to suggest that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust and therefore it would make so sense for me to apologise — it would only perpetuate the culture of offence and apology that is so tedious a feature of our world. Or so I muttered. Really I was so guilty and angry with myself that I directed the anger outwards, as people will.
I take this opportunity to apologise now. I said a stupid, thoughtless and fatuous thing. It detracted from and devalued my argument, such as it was, and it outraged and offended a large group of people for no very good reason. I am sorry in all directions, and all the more sorry because it is no one’s fault but my own, which always makes it so much worse. And sorry because I didn’t have the wit, style, grace or guts to apologise at the first opportunity. I don’t know if Jan Moir feels the same, but I am pretty sure that in her heart of hearts she will have at the very least yearned for a rewind button. How many times in her mind since must she have rephrased, reworded and rejigged that sorry and squalid little article? Some of you will think I am a simpleton to imagine any such thing and that she is much more canny, crafty and conniving than that. Conspiracy theorists can be the faithful guardians of our democracy, but like many fierce dogs they can often mistrust and savage the postman, the doctor or the innocent bystander as well as the real malefactor. But this a blog and therefore about meeeee.
Political Stir Fry
There is a whole suite of reasons that disqualify me from being any kind of politician. Firstly, I don’t want to be one. I would rather suck turds for a living. Secondly I can’t make my mind up on Big Issues. On Wednesday I might believe x but come Friday I will be convinced of y. By the weekend someone will have persuaded me that the only possible answer is z. Thirdly, and most importantly, as the Polish incident demonstrated, I cannot keep my mouth shut. If a joke or a neat phrase or an apparently convincing rhetorical trope or apt simile occur to me they will emerge from my mouth without passing Think. Political opponents will have every opportunity to shake their heads and murmur about judgement, reliability and loose canons. I would spend my time writing craven letters of apology and writhing with guilt, shame and self-disgust. Which, let’s face it, is no way to run a whelk-stall.
But maybe the age of politics as we knew and loved it is over. Maybe the two twitterstorms of last week point to a new kind of democracy. L’Affaire Moir followed hard on the heels of a quite horrific attempt to muzzle the press by the lawyers Carter-Ruck. In the name of sub judice this notorious law firm slapped a ‘superinjunction’ on The Guardian newspaper forbidding them to mention the name of an MP or the question he had tabled in Parliament on the Trafigura toxic waste dumping scandal. Six hours of TwitterIndignation later, during which time every censored detail was made freely available for all to see, and the injunction was, force majeure, lifted. The internet had hobbled it fatally and it was led limping back to its stall, to the jeers and cheers of the public. Ian Hislop, editor of the Private Eye heaved a huge sigh of relief – the Eye had decided to publish and Hislop is under a personal restraining order which would have led to his facing the real likelihood of imprisonment for contempt of court, breaching the terms of a judgement and all manner of nutty malfeasances.