The government loses the personal records of 25 milliion people in the UK who claim Child Benefit.
Sensing the right thing, it duely apologises within the House of Commons.
But in minutes later, during Prime Ministers Q and A where PM Gordon Brown is rightly criticised by the opposition leader David Cameron, Brown turns the saga into a point scoring match.
The awkward forced smile morphing into smugness from the Prime Minister, caught by the TV cameras, has the hallmarks of the politics of perfidy.
No one is to blame, no one is to take responsibility and if you're lucky you might get a begrudging apology.
In recent years politics has become less decent, branded by the motif of:
Instead the face the stamps this affair is the crude carapace of arrogance
25 million people is a fraudulent time bomb and the damage is one that lay in wait - perhaps far beyond the term of office of the current PM.
It is the politics of perfidy.
Meanwhile, a national football coach is set to lose his job for not taking the team to the Euro World Cup.
At least he offered humility, which will not be enough.