Poor Ben Broadbent, today forced into an apology unkind newspapers may call “grovelling”, and which may dent his chances of becoming governor of the Bank of England.
Even the reporter behind the story thinks this apology wasn’t needed, which is a sign of where we are.
Broadbent’s offence was saying that the UK economy is entering a “menopausal” era. Cue Twitter storm. Social media outrage.
It’s an unfortunate use of language, perhaps, but if you read the actual interview, read what he actually said, you could only really take offence if you were looking for excuses to do so.
I think for journalists this stuff is becoming a real problem. We want business people to speak freely, be quotable. Then every time they are, they get biffed for it.
What we really need is a bunch of brave CEOs, led by bolshy flaks, to tell the folk who live to be offended that they need to get over themselves, that no apology shall be forthcoming.
The alternative seems to be no-one important saying anything interesting, with the bar for what counts as outrageous getting ever lower.
Broadbent is an intellect, using intellectual ideas to explain himself. It can’t be good for this approach to be internet-policed out of existence.