Dick Godfrey's column
Date : Tue, 27 April, 1999
LAST year, I devoted a column to the idea
of apologising for things in our past of which we now feel ashamed.
It was prompted by the very important work
being done by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South
Africa and I suggested it could usefully be transposed to a personal
It struck a chord and a number of people wrote
and spoke to me of their enthusiasm for the conscience cleansing
I would like to say that a nationwide movement
which has been launched along these lines is a result of my efforts.
But rather than stock up another chunk of guilt, I won't.
However, the Oxford-based Clean Slate Campaign
does exist and I am pleased to record its existence. Its basic
premise is admirably simple. It wants each one of us to clean
our personal slate either by apologising to somebody we have
offended, or to decide to change an aspect of our character with
which we are, if we think deeply about it, unhappy, in what might
be described as a Millennium Resolution.
I have already decided that I shall cease
to be as assertive and domineering in the home as I know I am
inclined to be. Humility will not come easy but I shall give
it my best shot.
''It is also about righting wrongs,'' said
Clean Slate Campaign director Christopher Morgan when I spoke
to him a few days ago, explaining how he had already phoned a
few people he realised he had offended in past years. He suggests
that going public with apologies or resolutions will help encourage
the more timid. To this end, I am throwing this column open to
those brave souls who wish to come clean. I know you are out
there. Perhaps an appearance in this column will effect a reconciliation,
who knows. Do write. You know it will do you good.