I have always been a huge fan of Yes Minister. I was doing some digging of some old Word files and here's a small peek of best bits of YM. They are so relevant even amongst today's politicians and civil servants
Bernard's Longest sentence...
Apparently, the fact that you needed to know was not known at the time that the now known need to know was known, therefore those that needed to advise and inform the Home Secretary perhaps felt the information he needed as to whether to inform the highest authority of the known information was not yet known and therefore there was no authority for the authority to be informed because the need to know was not, at that time, known or needed.
Sir Humphrey's longest sentence...
Well, it's clear that the committee has agreed that your new policy is a really excellent plan but in view of some ofthe doubts being expressed, may I propose that I recall that after careful consideration, the considered view of the committee was that while they considered that the proposal met with broad approval in principle, that some of the principles were sufficiently fundamental in principle and some of the considerations so complex and finely balanced in practice, that, in principle, it was proposed that the sensible and prudent practice would be to submit the proposal for more detailed consideration, laying stress on the essential continuity of the new proposal with existing principles, and the principle of the principle arguments which the proposal proposes and propounds for their approval, in principle.
This file contains the complete set of available papers except for:
- a small number of secret documents
- a few documents which are part of still active files
- some correspondence lost in the flood of 1967
- some records which went astray in the move to
- other records that went astray when the War Office was incorporated into the Ministry of Defence.
- the normal withdrawl of papers whose publication could give grounds for an action for libel or breach of confidence or cause embarrassment to friendly governments.
This was not a cover up...it was responsible discretion exercised in the national interest to prevent unnecessary disclosure of eminently justifiable procedures in which untimely revelation would severely impair public confidence. This was not a cover up...it was responsible discretion exercised in the national interest to prevent unnecessary disclosure of eminently justifiable procedures in which untimely revelation would severely impair public confidence.
Sir Humphrey's System for stalling- Creative Inertia
Stage 1- Humphrey will say that the administration is in its early months and there's an awful lot of other things to get on with.
Stage 2- ...Humphrey will say"...something certainly ought to be done- but is this the right way to achieve it?"
Stage 3- "Minister, this is not the time, for all sorts of reasons."
Stage 4- Humphrey will say that the policy has run into difficulties- technical, political and/or legal. Legal are the best because they can be made totally incomprehensible and can go on for ever.
Stage 5- The first four stages have taken up to three years and the last stage is to say that we are getting too close to a general election and we can't be sure of getting the policy through.
Three Types of Civil Service Silence-
1. Discreet Silence: The silence when they do not want to tell you the facts.
2. Stubborn Silence: The silence when they do not intend to take any action.3. Courageous Silence: The silence when you catch them out and they haven't a leg to stand on.