I despise the pseudo-mea culpa, the forced public apology that usually begins with, "I'm sorry if anyone was offended ..." In other words, go fuck yourself.
But this is an exception I can tolerate: "Obviously we are sorry if there are people who have taken very much to heart this honour, which is after all for a lifelong body of literary work."
I would've rather the British foreign secretary told Muslims offended by Salman Rushdie's impending knighthood to go fuck themselves, but I'm not one for diplomacy. And besides, Margaret Beckett was standing next to Iraq's foreign minister at the time.
Notice she didn't apologize for Rushdie's honor. So far, the Brits are maintaining a stiff upper spine:
Earlier, Home Secretary John Reid said Britain would not apologise for making the writer Sir Salman, despite the protests.
"We have very strong laws about promoting racial intolerance. It isn't a free-for-all. We've thought very carefully about it," Reid said.
"But we have a right to express opinions and a tolerance of other people's point of view, and we don't apologise for that."