When systems fail, the public are usually fed a rotten argument: “It’s only one bad apple”. Think of the lone News of the World “rogue” reporter who hacked celebrities’ phones. This defensive balm (and barmy) response provides political cover for the “system”. “An individual acting alone” presents an easy target for media scapegoating. But if you use a search engine, increasingly you find “systems” and “systemic” peppering commentators’ and politicians’ statements. Does this hint at a new level of awareness and insight, asks Dr William Tate?