SERIES: ‘A mistake’ is often the excuse given in public life for some or other indiscretion. Public figures, sportspeople celebrities and politicians alike use the idea to explain away bad judgement. Often their explanation is legitimate; just as often, it is not. In other words, their ostensible ‘mistake’ was not actually an innocent oversight on their part, but a deliberate act of deceit. Saying it was a ‘mistake’, in such circumstances, help dilute personal responsibility. And so it is worth trying to better understand the idea and when or when not it is applicable.