We’ve only got ourselves to blame for why we like to lie

COMMENT: University has to prove it offers value for money

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I’ve dodged paying train fares, have been known to keep £10 notes I find in the street and have definitely over-exaggerated my enthusiasm for playing sport on a job application. Oh go on then, it was two.

But before you condemn me to a 10-month stretch in Holloway, I’ve never bought stolen goods, dumped litter in a public place, or pranged someone’s car and vanished without telling them.

I imagine your responses to the same set of scenarios are probably a bit of a mixed bag too.

Yet that’s not stopped Essex University from using all of the above to conclude that over the past 10 years we’ve become more accepting of low-level lying.

It strikes me that there’s something a little bit unscientific about basing a research project on dishonesty by asking people to answer a set of questions...er, honestly.

Even if you put that flaw to one side, it’s how the experts have explained away our new-found love for lying that really makes no sense.

The chap in charge of the research has blamed bad role models – specifically misbehaving footballers and phone-hacking journalists.

Now I know a few journalists and none of them have dabbled in dodgy dealings.

Maybe it’s just the honest circles I mix in, but surely most people understand that you can’t blame a few rotten apples for a cart full of cheats?

As for Ryan Giggs and footballers like him, it’s true that they’re to blame for a lot of things. Remember that unruly mop-top Giggsy?

Footballers definitely have some explaining to do when it comes to some of the most appalling hair trends of our time.

But you can’t honestly blame them for having any influence over other people lying, no matter how questionable their own behaviour may have been at times.

Are Giggs and co guilty of demonstrating that if you’re rich and famous you might be tempted to think that you can get away with whatever you want? I say yes.

But are they to blame for the individual choices we make – and that includes what we think is right and wrong?