Suppose you caught a thief with his fingers in the tin, and he said "You caught me, but I am part of a broader system. We have all failed. To coin a phrase - 'We're all in this together'. Which of us has not taped our own music, or failed to pay our tax on time, or failed to return to the shop when we realised we had been under-charged? We live in a society of avarice, in which we court wealth in an unhealthy way. We are all guilty." Would you find this a persuasive and impressive response?
My guess is that you would think this socialist claptrap if asserted by someone other than the thief himself - the worst kind of caricatured "Society made me do it" nonsense. But if it were the thief himself, well the chutzpah alone might give you pause to admire for a moment, but once the stunning nature of the manoeuvre had worn off, you would just think it pathetic.
Somehow, though, Mr Cameron believes we should react differently. He's been caught palling up to someone that appears to have been ultimately responsible for hacking the phones of murdered schoolchildren and bribing policemen (and who says that there is much worse to come), and for hiring someone else apparently involved, and his response has been "The Political System made me do it! We have all been guilty of becoming too friendly with the media. The culture needs to change!" For goodness' sake grow some cajones, man! Take a little personal responsibility. Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson didn't make you become involved with these people. You chose that for yourself.