“I am sorry” are difficult words. Even more difficult, it is said, for politicians. And, when politicians do say them, it is sometimes to apologise for mistakes made by others, as when the Prime Minister apologised for the Irish potato famine and for the slave trade. They are words which I now address to many of my constituents.
Last week my wife sent me an email. Nothing unusual about that, but this one was not a confidential twitter from wife to husband, but an email sent to all those in her address book.
It began “Hi, Friend”. It was re-assuring for me to read this, as it confirmed what I had hoped, namely that our relationship was an amicable one. But it then went on to ask “How are you doing recently?" And to inform me that she would “like to give me a big surprise” Another shopping expedition, possibly.
But the more I read, the clearer it was that this was not a communication from my wife, but from a third party who had hijacked her internet account The exhortation to log on to another website and buy a motorbike with a good after-sales service was the final give-away. I used to have two motorbikes, one each end of the railway line, but that stopped forty years ago under strong marital pressure.
My wife, who was on a lecture tour in Croatia, had popped in to an internet café to catch up on the news and to report progress. While she was there, some virus that was dormant on the machine had stirred and helped itself to her contacts, believing that they were all young rich men in their early twenties.
And then emails began to arrive in my inbox from concerned friends and constituents.
Had my wife taken up employment as a sales representative in the automotive industry? Why could she not spell “digital” correctly? (One sentence in the offending script said “I bought a deigital camera from the website and I got it without one week.”)
Corrective action has, we hope, been taken. Her account has been dosed with the digital equivalent of tamiflu and the virus purged. To those constituents who have gone out and bought, on her recommendation, a Kawasaki ZZR for £9500, I say drive carefully. I read it has “a heady maximum of 200hp and is a machine that is used to eating comfortably vast distances. With its stunnin low and mid range torque this iconic bike is practical and virile.”
And to the rest of you, I apologise. But of course it wasn’t really my fault.