Thursday, 26 January 2012


Come on, admit it, you're a wee bit dishonest, aren't you? Only a wee bit. Just now and again.

According to this handy quiz*, I'm extremely dishonest. Or that's how they see it. As I see it, I bend the rules when I think it's justified. Being systematically dishonest is something quite different.

Anyhow, how would you score for dishonesty? Do you think the following are ever justified?

1) Fare-dodging on public transport
2) Cheating on taxes
3) Speeding
4) Keeping money found in the street
5) Lying in your own interests
6) Not reporting accidental damage to a car
7) Dumping litter in a public place
8) Driving under the influence of alcohol
9) Inventing things on a job application
10) Buying something you know is stolen

I don't think 6,8, 9 or 10 are ever acceptable, but I think the others are sometimes okay, depending on the circumstances. If I find a £10 note in the street, and it's highly unlikely anyone would bother to claim it at a police station, then I pocket it. So would 80% of the population. Of course it's technically dishonest but in reality it's unimportant.

I think the type of dishonesty that really matters, and which funnily enough they don't mention, is dishonesty to your loved ones and friends. To lie to your partner about a secret bank account, or a secret lover, or a secret porn stash, is pretty shabby. That I would never do, not that I have any of those anyway. But without complete trust between you and those close to you, relationships are fatally damaged.

As for dishonesty among prominent public figures, which seems to be increasing at an alarming rate, let's not even go there. We'd be at it all day.

* Shamelessly and dishonestly filched from The Independent


  1. 1) Fare-dodging on public transportNEVER BUT i HAVE HAVE HAD THE URGE
    2) Cheating on taxes WOULDN'T DARE
    3) Speeding APOLOGIES YES
    4) Keeping money found in the street YES I WOULD
    5) Lying in your own interests WE ALL DO OCCASSIONALLY
    6) Not reporting accidental damage to a car NO
    7) Dumping litter in a public place ONE OF MY PET HATES
    9) Inventing things on a job application WE ALL DO
    10) Buying something you know is stolen NEVER


  2. I'm guilty of 3 & 5. Like John, I HATE #7.

    I'm pretty sure I've never done #9 though.

  3. John - You scallywag, you. And you really should think about number 8 before you knock down some little old lady....

    I hate seeing litter on the streets (particularly bad round here because of two nearby schools). But I drop litter myself if there's no alternative (no rubbish bins, too messy to take home).

    We all doctor our job apps? Not me.

    Myra - As I said to John re litter. And I guess most people would own up to 3 and 5.

  4. I will admit to Nos 3 & 7.
    Speeding. We have a road into the town with a limit of 30mph, it is quite long and impossible to crawl along at 30 or below.
    I have dumped fast food packaging out the window f a moving car and into the hedgerow. Wait now, don't condemn me... it was a banana skin!

  5. 1. In Dublin where they took my money the night before and there was no service. so I dodged the next day and WAS CAUGHT. But when I explained they waved it but said not to do it again.H'm???
    2. Not worth what I do for a living now but I did back then.
    3. All. the. time. Shame
    4.I would donate it.
    5. Yeah, well sorta.
    6. Once. I hate thinking about it. Feel awful.
    7. Never. I stick it my purse no matter how messy.
    8. Used to. No more.
    9. Yes, squirm.
    10. Refused several times.
    Aren't we all mixed bags though and getting worse because of the polis, everywhere, being so corrupt.

  6. Grannymar - I know what you mean about speeding. I was caught doing 45 mph (perfectly safely imho) on a 30 mph dual carriageway.

    www - Re 3: me too. But doesn't everyone if they can get away with it? I used to drink-drive all the time as a teenager. Lucky I never killed anyone. Things have changed radically since then.

  7. Bar the speeding, I plead not guilty to all the rest. Does that make me a saint?

  8. Ramana - You are indeed saintly, you shame the rest of us with our lax morals. No wonder you're so outraged at the endemic corruption at the top of Indian society. No one can accuse you of hypocrisy!

  9. I used to speed all the time but haven't done it for years and have found it makes no difference to the time of arrival, or bugger all. But I don't see how it's dishonest. I'm sure I've been guilty of 5, now, though, I find telling the truth is always in my best interests. Of course I write fiction, so may be kidding myself. And I will lie by omission in someone else's interest, for example not tell a student that their writing is crap but, rather point out the good bits and question the less good.

    I've never found any money in the street but would be unable to keep it because I'd worry it was some very poor person's last fiver, or whatever. 9 strikes me as asking for trouble, as do 1, 2, 8 and 10. 7 is something I rail against so would never do, and, in fact, I've been known to carry manky stuff around for ages until I've found a bin. And, I feel about 6 much the same as I feel about 4.

    Fundamentally I'd like to live in a world in which no one did any of these things so do my best not to myself.

  10. Eryl - Good point about the fiver possibly being someone's last bit of cash. Though I can't see the poor person bothering to enquire at the police station either. Obviously if I saw someone nearby looking frantic, I would ask if it was their money.

    Have to admit I dodged a tram fare in Melbourne, simply because of the difficulties I encountered trying to buy a ticket. Fortunately no inspector got on board, or they would have relieved me of $180.

  11. I don't see speeding as lying. It's a calculated risk you take. But the, I'm a bit of a lead foot.

    And why on earth would you not keep money you found, unless there was someone clearly looking for it? Where exactly do you turn spare money in? I'm assuming we're talking about smaller money, not something that looks like a bank robber's stash.

    I wouldn't make up things on a resume - that's just foolish. Not would I cheat on taxes - again, stupid. I don't even know how you fare dodge. And does #6 mean not reporting damage to your own car? How is that lying? Or does it mean a hit and run, which is of course unethical.

    I wouldn't knowingly buy stolen goods, I do my level best to be careful about what I drink when I'm driving, and I don't ever litter. That one (littering) actually seems like one of the worst of the lot.

    Finally, anyone who says they never lie in their own interests is lying.

  12. Agent - The convention here is that unclaimed money is handed in to a police station, but I doubt if there are many people who bother any more. You don't know how to fare-dodge? Your transport systems must be amazingly fiddle-proof. And yes, I assume they mean a hit and run.

    I'm surprised at all the indignation over littering. I would have thought something like cheating on taxes or drink-driving would be much more of a concern.

  13. Drunk driving is wrong and a crime, but it is not dishonest. It's just honestly stupid. So of course, that is high on my list of things not to do as it endangers others. Kind of like shooting a gun in public, which somehow doesn't make the list but is equivalent.

    But I also have strong feelings about people littering. Not as a crime, just as a show of disregard for others and for the planet. I'm very much concerned with environmental issues.

  14. Agent - I think some of the items are dishonest in the sense of breaking the law. But I don't think many people would have shot a gun in public - or even contemplated it!

    True, littering is an environmental issue, but then again aren't there much more important issues like climate change and deforestation?

  15. 1) Fare-dodging on public transport NEVER,, and I'd shop you for doing it!
    2) Cheating on taxes Why bother?
    3) Speeding don't drive but if you do and I'm questioned about it I'll not lie for you!
    4) Keeping money found in the street. Damn, I left that penny lying there.
    5) Lying in your own interests Mm!
    6) Not reporting accidental damage to a car. Not my problem at all.
    7) Dumping litter in a public place I was brought up properly!
    8) Driving under the influence of alcohol. If i drove I would never do that!
    9) Inventing things on a job application Why would I?
    10) Buying something you know is stolen: The law on this is interesting so I might. I was once offered an £18,000 piece of Audio gear for £1,000 in an audio outlet. I had obviously been stolen so I refused. Mentioned thsi to a parent at school who happened to be a QC and was informed that I would have been perfectly safe legally.

  16. Magpie - According to Wikipedia, possession of stolen goods is always a crime. The problem however is proving that someone knew the goods were stolen. That may be what the QC was referring to.

    I never fare-dodge in Northern Ireland, for the simple reason that I have an over-60s travel pass so I don't pay anyway. As long as you're not with me in another country, I'm safe....

  17. No. He was emphatic that he property having been sold to the dealer (who actually had no idea what it was and had consulted me) it would not have been illegal for me to buy it and that I would be the legitimate owner.

    The only reason I had for believing it to have been stolen was that it was such an esoteric product that it would hardly have been available on the streets of Walthamstow having been passed on by two men who thought that it was actually an amplifier.

  18. Magpie - Interesting. That seems to suggest that if you've bought it from a go-between (the dealer) then you become a legitimate owner.

  19. I think it has something to do with "good faith"..... Nazi war loot comes to mind here.... anyway,if bought new the unit innquestion would have been worth about ten times the cost of the rest of my HiFi and I didn't buy it...was tempted though.

  20. Magpie - Oh I see. Buying in good faith makes sense. I'm sure you were tempted by what seemed to be an amazing bargain!

  21. I agree with Secret Agent on many of the points. Littering drives me mad, just for the pure laziness of it. I mean, how hard is it to wait till you get home or see a trash can to throw something away??

  22. Bijoux - I'm surprised how irate people get about litter as opposed to things like drink-driving or doctoring a CV. My street gets a lot of litter but it doesn't seem that important in the grand scheme of things.

  23. You're right, it's not as important, but in my daily life, I don't come across any drunk drivers or doctored CV's...but I sure do see a lot of trash along the road and at least once a week, some dumb ass dumps a fast food bag, etc. in front of our house. That's why it makes me so mad!

  24. I'm definitely NOT saying littering is worse than drunk driving. I'm saying it's an act for which there is no excuse other than a disregard for the world. And as Bijoux points out, sadly common. (And, for the record, people do indeed shoot guns in public with some frequency in this country.)

  25. Bijoux - I get a lot more than the odd fast food bag outside my house. But even so, compared with knowingly being drunk in charge of a potentially lethal high-speed machine....?

    Agent - If there's a litter bin handy to throw it into, or you can keep it in your bag, there's no excuse at all. But that isn't always the case. I know, gun-firing is all too common in the land of the sacred gun....

  26. This is such a difficult moral dilemma for me. I consider myself a very honest person who would never lie, cheat or steal - or break the law.

    And yet. Some of our laws are ridiculous, and have no function other than to tick boxes or keep the population toeing the line or (in the case of speed cameras) make a bit of extra cash for the government.

    I mention speed cameras particularly because speeding is something I have done and I know I will do again. Oh, I don't mean doing 50 in a 30mph zone, but I do find myself driving within the 'grey area' when I'm in a hurry - the ten percent over the limit where you know the police are unlikely to prosecute - and only when I consider it safe. We have a 20mph limit in our village now, and people flout it all the time. It can be difficult to keep to it with six cars on your tail who all want to go faster, when the schools are closed and you know the reason for the limit is simply not there.

    Money found in the street .. coins I keep, but I tend to put them in our charity box, if I remember. Notes I want to hand in.