Tony Blair's hate of official apology impressed me a lot after reading these articles:

Tony Blair admits people are still 'very abusive' 10 years after he ...

Blair urged to apologise over 'Steelgate' affair | Mail Online

Lance Armstrong and the art of non-apology | John Crace ...

Tony Blair: Stop "Wretched Policy of Apology" Over Iraq War - World

There is a big question mark after it in/on my head that what political consequences can follow a politician that he/she prefers to insist in convincing people about a wrong political decision by him/her or decision makers of his/her country or even worse defending it instead of apology to improve old traumas?

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    political disadvantage, admission of guilt, necessity to make restitution to restore advantage. expensive
    – user1726
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 3:09

1 Answer 1


There's certainly no one set of consequences that can come from a politician or government official giving an apology. However, the largest is related to a decline in power. Keep in mind that the study of politics is the study of power. You have to view the actions within a political system by how they affect an individual or group's power.

The most notable consequence I can think of is lack of legitimacy. Governments must be seen as legitimate in order to exist (at least democratic ones). If governments and politicians continually apologize for their actions they are essentially confirming their illegitimacy or their inability to govern. This would result in loss of power, less representation of their party, and depending on what they are admitting, their party could be disbanded or banned (it depends on the country).

Again, it all depends on what they are admitting that determine the consequences. The loss of power would explain the Tony Blair stuff you posted. Along with not wanting to look like he was wrong, he also was head of the party and doesn't want to lose credibility of the Labour Party.

Another example I can think of is Turkey's denial of the alleged genocide in Armenia by the Ottoman Turks (before Turkey was a country as we know it today). Turkey probably won't lose legitimacy because it was an entirely different form of government, but there would be serious social and monetary repercussions of their actions.

All in all, it depends on what they're not admitting and the history behind it.

  • "If governments and politicians continually apologize for their actions they are essentially confirming their illegitimacy or their inability to govern." Interesting but why do they continually make mistakes to have to continually convince their mistakes without apology? :) Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 6:36
  • Part of that is dependent upon perspective. In some people's eyes they haven't made any mistakes in the first place, so no need for apology. There's often an incentive to "make mistakes" or to do something that doesn't seem like the right choice.
    – sncrmck
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 17:39
  • Is not Killing masses of people of a country which you have occupied it a mistake? so what it can be? For example in India! Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 18:00
  • There's a lot of game theory in Political Science that can explain this. One theory is Prisoner's Dilemma. It is used to explain why people/countries/etc might not have an incentive to cooperate. While that's a bit different that what you're asking this can also give you an idea about why people may make decisions that go contrary to their own benefit or the collective good. This is an incredibly complex topic and political scientists often research why people make the decisions they do. There are many theories that attempt to explain this. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma
    – sncrmck
    Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 17:55
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    Killing masses of people is much more than a mistake, and that's a bit off topic. This thread is not about making mistakes, but why people don't want to admit them.
    – sncrmck
    Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 17:58

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