Over the next week I have Ellinophile friends coming to stay so on Thursday early evening I caught the bus to go to Cwmbran to take buy some Haloumi cheese on offer in Lidl and stock up on the very good feta from Asda. Being an old fogey the marginal cost of the journey was nil as I have a bus pass.
The trip prompted a bit of rambling.
A young girl got on the bus, empty of passengers apart from me, and said to the driver “Can I have one child’s fare to Cwmbran please”. The driver asked how old she was to which she replied “I’m 14”. My immediate reaction was “She’s very mature looking for 14” and she looked dressed up for as if for a night in the pub with mates. But, hey, what do I know, I’m an appallingly bad judge of how old anybody is. I mean, since when did they start taking policemen straight from junior school?
The driver told her the fare and she pulled out a purse/wallet thing to take the money out. Now this is one of the (increasingly many) things which irritates me. She knew she was getting on the bus, why didn’t she get money ready in her hand? This simple act of forward planning avoids delaying departure while she fished around in her bag to find the purse and then fish around in the purse to find the money. People do it all the time. And they do it in supermarkets as well.
As she fished around in the purse to find the coins the card compartment flapped down and the sharp-eyed and suspicious driver, quick as a flash, said “Isn’t that a student card you’ve got there”. Indeed it was, immediately putting her age at 18+. She then turned all sweet and coy and said “Sorry!” as if that excused the lie.
Why is it that lying has now become socially acceptable? MPs do it. Media moguls do it. Journalists do it. The general reaction to such people lying is that that is part of their stock-in-trade, it’s ingrained in their modus operandi, they couldn’t survive without lying. But it has become normalised behaviour in society at large. Some personality tests ask among other questions “would you lie for a morally good cause” to which the expected and ‘right’ answer is “Yes”.
I had a former colleague who admitted to me that he lied to the people we were dealing with, adding “but I wouldn’t lie to you”. Sorry mate, if you lie, that makes you a lair …… that means I can’t trust you unless I check everything you say.
The young girl on the bus had no qualms about lying. It was bare-faced and deliberate. I don’t even know why she said she was sorry. If she was sorry at all it was because she had been caught out in the lie, not because she had lied. And that seems to be the rule of thumb for MPs, media moguls, journalists and the like. They are only sorry when they get caught out. If they were sorry for lying they would stop doing it.
It is hardly surprising that there is complete loss of confidence in the integrity of our public representatives. We can’t trust them to tell the truth any more than we can expect anybody else to. The truth has become subverted to self interest. “If it’s in my interests to lie, then I will” has become part of the modern ethos.