Sir Arnold: “I presume the Prime Minister is in favour of this scheme because it will reduce unemployment?”
Sir Humphrey: “Well, it looks as if he’s reducing unemployment.”
Sir Arnold: “Or looks as if he’s trying to reduce unemployment.”
Sir Humphrey: “While as in reality he’s only trying to look as if he’s trying to reduce unemployment.”
Sir Arnold: “Yes, because he’s worried that it does not look as if he’s trying to look as if he’s trying to reduce unemployment.”
Jim Hacker: “Do tell me why the Foreign Office is worried [about sending an airborne battalion to St. George’s Island]? I am fascinated.”
Sir Humphrey: “Well, it is a very sensitive part of the world. Unstable.”
Jim Hacker: “They are always telling me how stable it is.”
Sir Humphrey: “Hum…well, yes, yes…indeed it is. But it is an unstable sort of stability.”
Name of local taxation mentioned in the YPM episode Power to the People and The National Education Service.
As the name says these are red colored boxes or suitcases that contain all government papers that a minister must work on at home. As a minister Jim Hacker usually had around 3-5 red boxes to take home each night.
Red Hot Line
See Hot Line.
An acronym for bureaucracy.
Another word for communists, mentioned in the YPM episode A Victory for Democracy.
Regional Contracts Officer
Civil servant with a responsibility for contracts under regional laws. Sir Humphrey was a regional contracts officer at the Scottish office, as mentioned in the YM episode The Skeleton in the Cupboard.
Sir Humphrey: “Well perhaps you could advise me, Prime Minister. Particularly if the questions are aggressive.”
Jim Hacker: “Oh, the more aggressive the better. That puts the listeners on your side.”
Sir Humphrey: “Nonetheless I may have to answer them.”
Jim Hacker: “Why? You never answered my questions.”
Sir Humphrey: “That’s different, Prime Minister.”
Acronym for Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organization. Quangos’ official purpose is to allow for the public to influence government planning and legislation. Unofficially however quango vacancies are used to reward political friends or to buy some people’s loyalty or support. Quangos are excellently covered in the YM episode Jobs for the Boys, were Sir Desmond Glazebrook is looking for a quango appointment. Frank Weisel despises the quango practice and tries to change it in that same episode. However he fails and becomes member of a quango.
Paper that Frank Weisel wrote to end the misuse of quangos for rewarding political friends. He tries to end all the jobs for the boys, but ends up with getting a job for the boys. Featured in the YM episode Jobs for the Boys.
Weekly event in the House of Commons where the Prime Minister can be asked questions relating to current events. In the YPM episode The Tangled Web Jim Hacker describes his triumph during Question Time.
Sir Humphrey: “So I gather, you denied that Mr. Halifax’s phone had been bugged?”
Jim Hacker: “Well obviously, it was the one question today to which I could give a clear, simple, straightforward, honest answer.”
Sir Humphrey: “Yes, unfortunately although the answer was indeed clear, simple and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement, inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated is such as to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.”
Jim Hacker: “Epistemological? What are you talking about?”
Sir Humphrey: “You told a lie.”
Jim Hacker: “A lie??”
Sir Humphrey: “A lie.”
Jim Hacker: “What do you mean a lie?”
Sir Humphrey: “I mean you … lied. Yes I know, this is a difficult concept to get across to a politician. You ….. ah yes, you did not tell the truth.”
Sir Humphrey: “And with respect, Prime Minister, I think that the DES will react with some caution to your rather novel proposal.”
Jim Hacker: “You mean they’ll block it?”
Sir Humphrey: “I mean they’ll give it the most serious and earnest consideration and insist on a thorough and rigorous examination of all the proposals, allied with detailed feasibility study and budget analysis, before producing a consultative document for consideration by all interested bodies and seeking comments and recommendations to be included in a brief, for a series of working parties who will produce individual studies which will provide the background for a more wide ranging document, considering whether or not the proposal should be taken forward to the next stage.”
Jim Hacker: “You mean they’ll block it?”
Sir Humphrey: “Yeah.”
17 July 2014
Michael Gove got stuck in the toilet on his first full day as government Chief Whip, according to Labour’s Shadow Leader of the Commons, Angela Eagle.
The former education secretary was given a new job in charge of party discipline in this week’s reshuffle.
Ms Eagle told MPs he had not had the “most auspicious of starts”.
She said that on Wednesday Mr Gove “managed to get stuck in the toilet in the wrong lobby and he nearly broke his own whip”.
The new Leader of the Commons, William Hague, offered a light-hearted defence of Mr Gove, saying “knowledge of who is in the toilets in whatever lobby is a very important piece of information for any chief whip and I take this as evidence that he was carrying out his duties very assiduously”.