Boots the Chemist in certain selected branches has decided to follow up its long-time success in the sale of home-brewing equipment by taking the next logical step and selling home-drugging kits. In these home-drugging outfits the customer gets a collection of ingredients and some simple instructions, then, using a plastic dustbin and some plain rubber tubing, they will be able to manufacture popular pharmaceuticals at a fraction of the cost they would pay for a prescription drug - two gallons of the fashionable antidepressant Prozac, for example, can be brewed up in a cupboard under the stairs for about 12p a shot. And why not supply all your diabetic friends with insulin? At 5p a cupful it's no skin off your nose.

I myself, of course, have no need for any drugs. I am a very well-balanced individual - I put this down to my childhood. I have been blessed throughout life with a unique talent - nothing has ever been my fault. It all started when I was the spoilt only child of doting parents: there would be a smashing sound from the front-room, they would rush in to find me standing over the remains of their favourite vase, I would promptly burst into tears and shout "It's not my fault", and they would agree with me. This good fortune continued throughout my adolescence (failed O-levels - not my fault) through early manhood (total mess made of a job drawing the fjords of Norway for a trade atlas - not my fault) and, I am pleased to say, still holds to the present day.

The one drawback about being an only child is that it can make you rather greedy. I figured out that if you got a shilling off the tooth fairy when you put your tooth under your pillow, then how much would the liver leprechaun leave? Or the kidney goblin? Or the spleen troll? I was always trying to put bits of my anatomy under my pillow, but luckily I didn't need most of the bits as a lot of them were only connected with thinking.

I had a little trouble convincing my wife of my unique gift. There was an incident in which turning the water stopcock the wrong way was followed by the flooding of the house and the collapsing of a bedroom ceiling and the ceiling of the dining-room below. It looked at first as if it could be my fault. Rather like the OJ Simpson trial, there was a great deal of circumstantial evidence that seemed to incriminate me, but after I had explained, via a fearful tantrum, how it could not possibly, in no way at all, not in a million years, be my fault, my wife came round to the view that I had indeed been blessed with a rare gift.

The only problem with this is that lately I've noticed that I am no longer alone in my good fortune. Increasingly, other people are finding that things aren't their fault. Interestingly, one of the first groups to realise their good luck in this field was the present Conservative government. If you point out that there are 4 million unemployed, they will share your bewilderment and say: "Now, I wonder how that happened?" Draw their attention to oversized classes and falling standards in the nation's schools and they will manage to cap your complaint with a story of a school where nobody has learnt to read and write in living memory. Mention the fear people have of the huge increase in violent crime and they will say what a dreadful scandal it is and something really should be done about it. You see, none of it is their fault. They have been the Government for 16 years but they clearly feel that they are not to blame for the present state of the country.

Now we seem to have a trickle-down effect from the top and nothing seems to be anybody's fault. If there is a train crash, for example, the assembled managers of the various branches of British Rail will gather and cluck and tut and say how terrible it is and it really is the last thing anyone would have wanted to happen. Do any of them offer to resign? Of course not, that would be tantamount to saying that they were in some way responsible for the running of the companies they just happen to find themselves employed by.

At last the general public too is waking up to the joys of irresponsibility. Spending all your money on scratchcards? It's not because you're an idiot, it's because you have no deferred gratification training. If you're a mass murderer, it's because of your upbringing. If you're a rude aggressive bastard, you've got Attention Deficiency Syndrome. And if this column isn't funny - well, it's not my fault.

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