Friday, 7 August 2009

Mea Culpa

We all make mistakes from time to time and yesterday I made a very silly one. I posted on this blog that it was the 25th anniversary of the official opening of the Bristol & Bath Railway Path. In fact that event was the 6th August 1985, er, 24 years ago. No excuses, it was just that I noticed that it was already the 6th and had in the back of my mind that the 25th anniversary was imminent then added 2 and 2 to make 5.

I realised my embarrassing mistake, as one does, at 5 a.m. this morning. I'm not sure if I'd already woken up or if the thought woke me up, but my second thought was to delete all traces of my error. Fortunately there hadn't been any comments made on the blog post so deleting that was easy enough. Even more fortunately the blog post didn't mention the date in question, only that it was 25 years ago, so no one would have known I'd got it wrong unless they did some research. It looked as if I might get away with it.

But then I thought about the ethics of it (after the event, also as one does). Wasn't I doing exactly what I often accuse the Council and others of doing - trying to cover up their mistakes rather than coming clean and saying "mea culpa"? Besides, what if someone did spot the mistake and my attempt to cover it up? That would be far worse than merely making the mistake in the first place. So a potent mixture of principle and pragmatism lead me to conclude that I had to fess up, not merely to the mistake but to the moral quandary it threw me into.


SteveL said...

I was about to link to it in a follow up post, and google alerts pointed me to it, so we know it went out.

TonyD said...

You will never make it as a politician.....

What you should have said was;

"I meant to post on this blog that it was the START OF the 25th anniversary YEAR of the official openining of the BBRP but I missed off three little words by accident. I believe that an event as important as this should be marked with a year long series of activities, and to kick this off I shall be leading a guided cycle trip along the path this Sunday to discuss how we can continue to protect this vital 21st century commuting route and linear park against existing and future threats - all local politicians with an interest in getting re-elected are invited to attend after dusting off their bikes"

Many political animals will say you are in need of a good "spin" doctor - hopefully you will ignore them but I available at dirt-cheap rates ;-)

Chris Hutt said...

I've noticed that Google Reader still retains the original and I suppose Google cache will too. So just for the record here are the words of the original post -

"It was 25 years ago today that the Bristol section of the Railway Path was officially opened with a mass ride to Bath, the first time that it was possible to cycle from Bristol to Bath entirely free from motor traffic. The opening date happily coincided with the 150th anniversary of the opening of the original coal tramway (later converted to mainline railway) on which the Bristol to Mangotsfield section of the Railway Path was built, so today is also the 175th anniversary of tramway opening.

Strangely there appears to be nothing being organised to mark this important milestone. Nothing in the local media, nothing from Sustrans and nothing even from Cycling City. It's very unlike Sustrans to miss the opportunity to blow their own trumpet and the Cycling City project aren't usually slow to blow theirs either, on the rare occasions that they have something significant to announce. I wish I could think of some arcane conspiracy theory to explain this, but I'm stumped. Perhaps they just didn't want their holiday periods complicated with public commitments."

So embarrassing, but at least it explains why Sustrans and Cycling City "ignored" it. I suppose I owe them a grudging apology. Hmph.

SteveL said...

Actually, you could give it a birthday every year, do a pub crawl down it, etc.

Docsavage said...

I heard 24 is the new 25 anyhow.