THE EXAM results are out this week and perhaps not surprisingly, the numbers of those achieving ‘A’ passes in Higher Blame – now regarded as a science, a language and an art – have again risen.

They appear in a week in which a Glasgow woman is suing her hairdresser for £1m in damages, arguing repeat hair washes brought about a stroke. And just five days ago, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, only 90 minutes into his new job, blamed the referee for their draw against Aberdeen.

Now, we can imagine Gerrard has learned the art of the Scottish football blame partly from his old boss, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers.

In suggesting yesterday that the Celtic board are slow to shove hands into shallow trouser pockets to pay for new arrivals, the manager is making sure he is absolved of blame if the team doesn’t make the European cut. (Of course, he may well have a point. And just watch Gerrard adopt the same tactic in the coming weeks.)

There is little doubt however politicians have long been masters of blame. Donald Trump cleverly uses this art to deflect from election fixing, tax avoidance, sex scandals etc, and closer to home recently we’ve seen Jeremy Corbyn supporters blame right-wingers for the Jewish debacle and Theresa May blame everyone but herself for having no Brexit plan.

But students of Blame should study carefully how not to overuse. This week, the Russian synchronised swimming team blamed European Championship organisers for “poisoning” their ladies by adding too much chlorine, their swimmers having to compete “blind”.

This blaming was a little excessive. We Scots have been brought up to expect the upper levels of chlorination, (perhaps linked to our tradition of wee boys peeing in pools) and given the Russians actually won gold, we smiled knowing this was really retaliation for claims of Novichoking.

Students of Blame, however, should understand it can be a very useful device for soliciting empathy with the easily offended. Take the recent case of poet Anders Carlson-Wee. The white poet stood accused of cultural appropriation after he used black dialect to assume the voice of a female homeless person in American magazine, The Nation.

Now, what Blame students should note was this wasn’t an Ali G mickey take, this was a clever, thoughtful poem. Yet, it was easy for the blamers out there to force an apology from the magazine – and the writer himself, who each accepted their share of the blame. Triple blame achieved, all for transgressing (spurious) literary rules of good behaviour!

On a similar note, TV football pundit Ian Wright was blamed for cultural abuse, indeed his remarks reported to Ofcom after the former Gunner kicked at the ankles of Roy Keane’s Irish accent.

Now, Ofcom booted the complaints out of the park, so factor this in you blamers: Plato established a breakthrough in philosophy when he recognized that a linguistic sign is not the same thing as the signified. Many others came to accept this. So if you’re going to blame, pick easier targets. Pick the naive poets.

And once you come to understand the principles of blaming you may wish to consider a career in Law, where blame and personal development can work hand in hand. How does this work? Well, chartered psychologist Dr Angela Summerfield argued that because we are told we can all realise our dreams, that everything is within our grasp, when we learn this isn’t the case we come to the conclusion someone else is responsible. This could be the supermarket that sells you the hundred weight of crisps each week, which means you drive a mobility scooter, or the trainer company which forgot to attach a Tie Your Laces warning.

But don’t think to exploit smart, bold companies such as tree activity centre Go Ape, where you can Tarzan wonderfully with your children. This week, I learned organisers announce (to paraphase) that if you don’t connect your safety wires and you fall out of the tree you only have yourself to blame.


What you blamers out there should also factor in is that society seems to be imposing a statute of limitations on culpability. Dame Joan Collins has recently been mumping her 85-year-old (but still wonderfully shaped) gums about how she blames Warren Beatty for her missing out on an Oscar, having turned down Sons and Lovers in 1960.

Seems lover boy read the script and declared it to be “Absolute crap.” But no one will blame anyone but Joanie who should have focused less on keeping frisky Beatty happy in bed and more on reading the Lawrence script attentively.

So be selective with your blaming: I’ve tried blaming my tennis partner for being ten years younger, my ex-partner for not being a mind reader and my mother for not allowing me once to self-identify as The Batman. Each failed.

Be better blamers. If you wish to wear the crown of victimhood while casting around for those to implicate when things go wrong be smart about it. Look to Stevie G and Brendan and learn.