Matthew Parris and Apologies
Matthew Parris has seen the error of his ways. In The Times today (pay wall) he writes about apologies and admissions of error, and says this:
The same is true of Mr Blair and Iraq. Maybe if we, his critics, could stop obsessing about his good faith and end the baying for some sort of apology, he in turn could re-examine events and his own responses. It would be interesting. It would be useful.
More useful than calling people insane because you disagree with them, certainly. It is not available on the internet any more, but Parris asked an early Question To Which The Answer Is No in The Times on 29 March 2003: “Are we witnessing the madness of Tony Blair?” Perhaps one day Parris will re-examine events and his own responses. It would be interesting and useful.
His next example was also interesting:
So far as I know, none of the Tory architects of the poll tax have ever taken public responsibility for the calamity. Again I’d seek no kind of apology, but would love to know what they now think about what went wrong and why. We might be able to discover who really wanted the measure: every commentary I’ve read (for instance from Chris Patten, the minister who had to implement it) hints that the author was going along with something already desired by others, and decided. Who were they? My own impression was that Margaret Thatcher herself had been rather wary of this potential hornet’s nest.
The idea that Thatcher was a reluctant and tentative advocate of the poll tax is charmingly endearing. The chap is still besotted.
By coincidence, one of the greatest living authorities on this subject spoke about it this week. Andrew Adonis, who has written the book, Failure in British Government: The Politics of the Poll Tax, mentioned it when he was speaking about his new book at the Mile End Group, at Queen Mary, University of London, on Tuesday. He said that all the people he and his co-authors interviewed about the poll tax (who did not include Thatcher) said that they didn’t think it was a good idea.
Oliver Letwin.Tagged in: iraq, Matthew Parris
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