Passing bull 172 – Accepting responsibility


When people say that they are accepting responsibility, they are commonly either talking nonsense or just being evasive.  The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has not got there yet.  He prefers bare faced lies.  He says that he knew nothing about it.  No one believes that.  Not even the world’s greatest liar.

You often hear another weasel word – accountability.  What does being ‘responsible’ mean?  ‘Answerable, accountable (to another for something); liable to be called to account.’  Well, the trouble with that is that when you look up ‘accountable’, you get ‘responsible.’  We are going round in circles.

And too often when people say that they are accountable or responsible, they are saying that the buck stops here, or at least that the bus stops at this stop.  Et praeterea nihil.  And no more.  So, if the teacher asks who made that rude noise in class, and Little Johnnie puts his hand up, is that the end of the matter?  Of course not.  The question then is what should be done by or to Little Johnnie to protect and enforce discipline within and the standards of the school.

What is called the ball tampering scandal was a matter of national concern if not disgrace.  Something had to be done.  Three players put their hands up.  Was that enough?  Of course not.  The question then was what should be done by or to those three players to protect and enforce discipline within and standards of Australian cricket.

The Chairman of the board now says that he accepts responsibility.  He has put his hand up.  And he stays there.  Et praeterea nihil.  There is no more to be done.  The superior responds for the faults of the inferiors, but he is immune from suffering the consequences as they did.

Given the punishment of the three players, the board cannot say that they are accepting responsibility merely by saying that they do so.  The position of David Peever is morally and intellectually untenable.  It defies all sense and decency.  He cannot say that he accepts responsibility for this national scandal as chairman of the board while retaining that office.  Sometimes you see that a man is unfit for an office merely because he does not understand when he should stand down from that office.  That is the case with this man.

And that’s before you look at the disgraceful way that Peever engineered his reappointment, and the appointment of others responsible for the scandal, before releasing the report.  Peever gives every indication of not even being able to spell the word ‘fiduciary.’  He is a low flying ‘win at all costs’ mediocrity, the embodiment of our worst fears about sports administrators – the Panama hat brigade – in this duck pond.

Do you know what is the worst thing about this world after Trump?  It is the brazen way that they are insult our intelligence.  When Dylan Thomas died, his death certificate said the cause was ‘insult to the brain.’  His biographer said there was no such disease.  There is now.

Who do you think is the most brazen – the Chairman of Cricket Australia or the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia?


As the university’s management considers whether and on what terms it should enter into an agreement with the Ramsay Centre to fund the degree, a staff survey on the terms of a draft  memorandum of understanding has revealed deep divisions among the university’s academics.

But the vice-chancellor of the university, Michael Spence, has defended the proposal, saying the degree would not be undertaken on the basis of a “presumed superiority” of the west, but rather “contextualise and problematise” the subject if it goes ahead.

The Guardian, 13 October, 2018

If that is the way that any university teaches English, God save us

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s