Even The Tories Hate The Tories (And An Apology To Scotland)

I find it a little worrying when Tory voters I know start despairing at our current Tory government. I mean, I thought they were supposed to be united in cutting back the state, unleashing the market and serving big business but it seems rotten things aren’t just unique to the State of Denmark.

First things first, there’s Theresa May. She wasn’t actually elected Prime Minister but it seems she’s intent on claiming the position as her own as she ushers in a new wave of right-of-right conservatism. She wants hard Brexit (even though the referendum had nothing to do with what degree of boiled Brexit would be), she wants grammar schools and she doesn’t want to pay much attention to Scotland. Then there’s her cabinet of curiosities: Borish Johnson (need I say more), Amber Rudd’s openly racist statements (and then she got all defensive about being called racist saying that a conversation about immigration needs to be had as if the two, racism and immigration, go hand in hand), Philip Hammond (having second thoughts about restricting immigration from the EU much to the consternation of hard-boiled Brexiteers), Andrea Leadsom (who farmers hate, naturally she’s Environment Secretary), Jeremy Hunt is still there (he’s the one that legitimised us using the ‘c’ word without actually having to use it) and I’d go on but I’m in tears now.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Tories haven’t got a clue. Many of the right-wing, hard-boiled Brexiteers see the referendum result as carte blanche to discriminate, revealing a worryingly racist and discriminatory nature. Meanwhile, many ‘lefty’ Tories are baulking at the behaviour of their more extreme comrades as they wake up to the fact that if you support a right-wing party expect right-wing prejudices. So whilst the media is leading us to believe that the Labour Party is intent on tearing itself apart it seems the Tories are doing it too. The big problem is that the Tory party are the ones leading the country. Their prejudices, rivalries and inability to grasp economics are having national and international consequences and this is not good. So please, if there are any moderate Tories out there, please take back control of your party and try to make it into something you can be proud of. And sure, this post will rile and patronise you but, seriously, can you do something about the bigoted mess that is your party because it’s not funny. In the meantime, here is something that’s funny: Fascinating Aida’s take on the Brexit mess with an apology to Scotland.

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Saying Sorry Badly

This is episode two in my series about apologies. A quick re-cap from the previous episode: we’ve let one of our friends down by flaking on an event of theirs and we feel bad about it. We’re now building ourselves up to an apology. Yet it turns out there are an awful lot of different ways to say sorry and how we do it defines what sort of apologiser we are. Read on for a list of said apologisers…

The One In Denial: Many of us really don’t enjoy feeling bad and that feeling of regret we have can prove very difficult. We just want the feeling to go away and to not have to deal with it. So, we do our best to ignore the feeling and pretend it’s not there. We push it deep down into the recesses of our subconscious to let it fester with other negative feelings that live there just waiting for the day they can break free and cause chaos. However, in failing to acknowledge the feeling we will also fail to realise we’ve upset our friend (or we’ll just pretend we haven’t) and so we won’t end up apologising. Meanwhile, our friend’s feeling of sadness will never be allowed to heal and that too will fester into resentment. There’s no chance for closure and that pretty much guarantees a bigger bust up somewhere later down the line. Good luck.

The Defensive One: It’s not just that we regret what we’ve done it’s that we feel guilty about it and many of us don’t just dislike feeling guilty we actively hate it. Of course, this feeling of guilt is perfectly normal – it’s just our body/mind’s way of telling us that we haven’t behaved optimally, we’ve caused some social disruption and we need to do something about it to patch things up. But rather than see guilt as an emotional call to action we see it is a threat. And when threatened our defences go up. Yet defences are designed to protect us from stuff outside and even though this feeling is inside us we’ll look for the source of the problem external to us. What we find is our friend and when they want to breach the subject of our ‘flaking’ rather than take responsibility for our actions we project our feeling of guilt at our friend. They become the problem because they’re making us feel bad about ourselves and we lash out at them. We dredge up all those past grievances and the times they’ve let us down and hurl them at our friend just to hide our own bad behaviour. So we upset our friend and give ourselves something else to apologise for!

OK, I’ve realised the first two apologisers in my list are both examples of people who don’t say sorry, so technically they’re not actually apologisers. I’m sorry if I gave you false expectations. Actually no, I’m not, deal with it. But hopefully it’s clear that denial and defensiveness are no great paths to apology success. The next episode will focus on the infamous over-apologiser, the one who says sorry almost at the start of every sentence. In the meantime here’s Bieber having a shot at saying sorry (and getting paid millions to do so, well done him), although I’m not 100% sure he means it.

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest/Easiest Word

Do you struggle with the S Word? Or does it come easy and you find yourself saying sorry almost every other sentence? Yup, it’s my post about the word ‘sorry’ and it’s been a long time coming. So, I’m sorry it’s late…or am I? It’s also going to be more than one post because when I started writing I realised that apologies are quite a big deal. So, I’m sorry for the length…or am I? But seriously, have you noticed how much we say sorry these days? We say sorry for being late, sorry for taking so long to text back, sorry for wanting to pass someone on the street and sorry for flaking. But what actually do we mean when we say sorry and why do we do it so much?

To avoid any confusion I’ll start with some dictionary definitions. Firstly, sorry: “feeling regret or pentinence”. And regret basically means feeling sad or bad about something and pentinence is “the action of feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong.” In other words it’s another word for apology – “a regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure.” Boiling it all down it goes a little like this: we’ve let someone down, say we flaked on an event they’d organised, and now we feel bad about it. What normally ensues is an apology but before we move on I just want to focus on this feeling.

Not many people like to feel bad unless, of course, you’re a masochist. But that’s another blog. It’s a visceral feeling of unease that sits somewhere in our body and I think it’s composed of at least one major ingredient: guilt. We’re feeling guilty because we know we’ve let someone down. Our action (or, in the case of flaking, lack of action) has resulted in a sub-optimal state of affairs and may well have upset our friend. We’re feeling the regret and it’s not a very pleasant sensation. However, it’s what happens next, it’s what we choose to do about that feeling that is crucial and defines whether or not, when we say sorry, we actually mean it. Blog number two will take a closer look at the act of apologising and all the different types of sorry-sayers there are out there, y’know, the ones that say sorry waaay too much, the ones that don’t say it enough, the ones that get all defensive and angry, and many more. In the meantime here’s Blue and Elton John struggling with the S word.