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.