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Tuesday 5 July 2016

Is sorry the hardest word?

No one is right all of the time.
As the poet Alexander Pope eloquently stated 'to err is human'.
We all make mistakes, most of us make them daily.
They range from the large to the small, and they can be inconsequential mistakes to life shattering errors of judgement.
Mistakes are simply part of life.
We live with them.
Every single minute of any given day we decide on a course of action, and then once committed to, and acted on, we live with the consequences.

Unfortunately certain mistakes require others to live with the consequences too, and this is where it all gets a little more complicated.

If we revisit Pope we find that the latter part of the 'to err is human' quote is 'to forgive, divine' and we, in all our glory, are simply beautifully flawed humans and not divine.

So forgiveness is not often easy.

Especially when those who instigated what is, or could be construed as, a mistake, are fundamentally unable to accept their participation in the outcome.

An example would be in the aftermath of the EU referendum.

We currently have many of those who voted to exit the European Union advocating that everyone should now be working together to realize the bright future for the UK that they claim is on the horizon if we close our borders and renegotiate trade deals with the world.

There is some worth in this urge for a positive communal approach, but it would be easier to get on board with it if those who did vote for an exit were able to put their hands up and accept that their vote ushered in not just financial uncertainty in the present, but also that it opened the door to the far right feeling emboldened enough to go forth and deliver misery on every minority residing in this country.

That is not to say that all exit supporters were aware of this outcome, but rather that it would be easier to work with them if there was an acceptance of it now as a fact.
Some contrition shown, rather than the strong sense of denial that emanates from them, would pave the way to forgiveness, and open positive avenues of communication up, but until others can do that we, as the aforementioned flawed humans, will find it difficult to move on.

And that is understandable as the refusal to acknowledge what the vote set in motion gives the impression of an unwillingness to embrace responsibility, and if that fundamentally cannot be done then it does not lay the foundations of trust in each other that is required.

The cry to 'accept and move on' will continue to fall on deaf ears as it sounds like an arrogant refusal to accept the reality of the negatives that their actions delivered.

So if you are an advocate of leaving the EU, and your reasons are not rooted in low browed media instilled fear of migrants, and you really do want everyone, including those who voted to remain, to work together on building a solid foundation that the UK can rest on, then just for one moment can you stand up and say that you are sorry about the misery that is a by product of your vote, and then, but only then, maybe we can move on.

Simply shouting at eu supporters to shut up and get on with life is actually offensive, and only encourages more division.

So it's time to reflect, accept that the vote has delivered a less than positive reality that others have to live with, acknowledge your part in that publicly as a verbal act of contrition, and then hopefully we can all look to navigate through this mess together.

Or maybe sorry truly is the hardest word to utter, and in failing to say it things will only continue to slide towards further misery for us all.

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