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I read some suggestions that Diane Abbott deserves forgiveness for her stupid comments. I hold two conflicting views here:

  1. People generally deserve forgiveness;
  2. People in public life should be treated as they treat others.

Part 1 argues in favour of forgiveness. People say dumb things all the time, and I think that people can, and should, learn. Converts to better thinking are always welcome!

Part 2 argues against forgiveness. People in public life should be held accountable for their views, especially those that do not accept that humans can change and improve. This is literally the least possible skin in the game that we can require. I don’t think that liberal and forgiving people should allow themselves to be abused by illiberal and unforgiving people. That is the path of unilateral disarmament.

The dumb things that Abbott recently said on this issue, unfortunately, seem to be part of a long-held belief. Maybe, one day, she will repent from the error of her ways, but in the meantime, there seems little need to forgive someone for something that they have not repented from.

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.