|Who would you rather vote for?|
Are apologies becoming a disguised form of electioneering?
Equally important is the question: Why did young Nick not brush his hair before going on television? Do you think he would have looked more trustworthy if he had been wearing an orange bag over his head?
For Russians, I should explain that Nick Clegg is the leader of the Liberal-Democrat Party and Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He therefore occupies a position of public trust. Despite this, he says, “When we’re wrong, we hold our hands up. And when we’re right we hold our heads up”, while carefully omitting the rider: “When the next election comes, we’ll go tits up.”
What do you think of the performance? Does it reveal a criminal misuse of language? Is it essentially, in the natural and ordinary meaning of the word, deceptive? Would two years in Butyrki prison cure Mr Clegg of his habit, and enable him to repay his debt to the society that trusted him once?
Trust is one of the most important issues in language etiquette. Apologies should be genuine. These days, in the political world, sorry seems to be the easiest word. It’s a sad, sad situation, and it’s getting more and more absurd, not least because the real question Gospodin Clegg is asking, but which he is too dishonest to articulate openly, is the one that lies at the heart of democracy: What have I got to do to make you love me?