Alan hencher

After Aberfan, clairvoyants had a field day

In the wake of catastrophe, however random or unpredictable, one of the first things people can be relied upon to do is look around for somebody to blame. There isn’t always an obvious candidate, of course, but disaster makes us resourceful, and often the casting process is simply a matter of laying hands on someone who happens to be fairly near by and looks like a good enough fit for the role. Assigning responsibility is an extremely effective therapy, after all, restoring a feeling of control over the capricious environment. Someone should have known, we insist. Someone ought to have seen this coming. John Barker, the central figure of The