Rank in the civil service. Undersecretaries have a rank that is just below Deputy Secretaries. Of the 578 Undersecretaries in the Civil Service only 27 are women, as is mentioned in the YM episode Equal Opportunities. See Civil Service.
Other term for the House of Lords mentioned in the YPM episode The Grand Design.
Rank in the Civil Service that is below the Undersecretary rank.
Synonym for (a member of) the Conservative Party. Mentioned in the YPM episode The National Education Service.
General term for all the local government civil servants and alderman, and the decisions and plans that are made there. The term has come into use because central government is known as Whitehall.
Title that Jim Hacker carries in the YM episode The Bed of Nails because he accepted the job of formulating and implementing an Integrated National Transport Policy. He soon finds out however why the Civil Service vernacular is Transport Muggins.
Defined by Sir Humphrey in the YPM episode A Real Partnership as “when the Treasury knows something has to be done, the Cabinet should not be given too much time to think about it”. Effectively it means that Treasury documents are released at the last possible moment.
Sir Humphrey: “It is characteristic of all committee discussions and decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them and that every member’s recollection of them differs violently from every other member’s recollection. Consequently, we accept the convention that the official decisions are those and only those which have been officially recorded in the minutes by the Officials, from which it emerges with an elegant inevitability that any decision which has been officially reached will have been officially recorded in the minutes by the Officials and any decision which is not recorded in the minutes is not been officially reached even if one or more members believe they can recollect it, so in this particular case, if the decision had been officially reached it would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the Officials. And it isn’t so it wasn’t.”
The main topic of the YM episode Big Brother in conjunction with the National Integrated Database. Jim Hacker wants to install safeguards within the database, but Sir Humphrey is resisting to it. In the YM episode The Death List Jim Hacker wants to introduce safeguards on electronic surveillance.
Jim Hacker: “Humphrey, is everything all right about the Solihull-project?” Sir Humphrey: “Yes Minister, I understand that the building works are proceeding quite satisfactory.” Jim Hacker: “No, no, that’s not what I meant. Is something going on?” Sir Humphrey: “Building is going on, Minister.” Jim Hacker: “No, no, Humphrey. I mean something is up, isn’t it?” Sir Humphrey: “Yes indeed, Minister.” Jim Hacker: “What?” Sir Humphrey: “Well the first floor is up and second floor is almost…” Jim Hacker: “No Humphrey, I am talking about the whole basis of the thing.” Sir Humphrey: “Oh, I see.” Jim Hacker: “What can you tell me about that?” Sir Humphrey: “Ah…well, as I understand it Minister, the basis is an aggregate of gravel and cement on six feet of best builder’s…” Jim Hacker: “Humphrey, I think you know I am talking about the finance!”
“Parliamentary democracy is, in truth, little more than a means of securing a periodical change in the management team, which is then allowed to preside over a system that remains in essence intact.”—Tony Benn (via in-the-midst-of-winter)
Nigel Hawthorne (Sir Humphrey Appleby), Derek Fowlds (Bernard Wooley), Paul Eddington (The Rt. Hon. Jim Hacker)
Illness has struck the Pensiers: at least two members of our household have spent the last six days walking around in various states of poor health. To fill up the gaping maw of daylight hours while I cough, snort, wheeze, and expel various unpleasant substances…
Sir Humphrey: “Notwithstanding the fact that your proposal could conceivably encompass certain concomitant benefits of a marginal and peripheral relevance, there is a countervailing consideration of infinitely superior magnitude involving your personal complicity and corroborative malfeasance, with a consequence that the taint and stigma of your former associations and diversions could irredeemably and irretrievably invalidate your position and culminate in public revelations and recriminations of a profoundly embarrassing and ultimately indefensible character.” Jim Hacker: “Perhaps I can have a précis of that?”
Civil servants are trying to lose the ‘Sir Humphrey’ image
9 December 2010
The British Civil Service has launched a PR campaign to rid itself of its ‘old boys’ network’ image.
But one former senior civil servant claims he was judged on the basis of his northern accent, ‘on countless occasions’.
Middlesbrough-born Martin Narey rose to become director general of the Prison Service.
But he says even then he encountered prejudice, because of his regional accent.
"Very frequently, when I would meet a group of officials from another department and we’d exchange initial hellos, the assumption was always that someone other than me was the person in charge, and it was because of my accent."
Hardened lags do horrible things. So do MPs. Can you tell who did what? Are they more David Laws or Breaking The Laws? MP or HMP? You decide. And then we tell you the answer. That’s how quizzes work. (If they’re both MPs and crims, answer ‘MP’)
Jim Hacker: “Humphrey, do you think it is a good idea to issue a statement?” [as a response to the planned speech of the President of Buranda urging the Scots and Irish to fight against English oppression] Sir Humphrey: “Well, Minister, in practical terms we have the usual six options: One, do nothing. Two, issue a statement deploring the speech. Three, lodge an official protest. Four, cut of aid. Five, break off diplomatic relations. And six, declare war.” Jim Hacker: “Which should be it?” Sir Humphrey: “Well, if we do nothing we implicitly agree with the speech. Two, if we issue a statement we’ll just look foolish. Three, if we lodge a protest it’ll be ignored. Four, we can’t cut of aid because we don’t give them any. Five, if we break off diplomatic relations we can’t negotiate the oil rig contracts. And six, if we declare war it might just look as though we were over-reacting.”
Sir Humphrey: “Minister, you said you wanted the administration figures reduced, didn’t you?” Jim Hacker: “Yes.” Sir Humphrey: “So we reduced the figures.” Jim Hacker: “But only the figures, not the number of administrators.” Sir Humphrey: “Well of course not.” Jim Hacker: “Well that is not what I meant.” Sir Humphrey: “Well really Minister, one is not a mind-reader, is one? You said reduce the figures, so we reduced the figures.”
Sir Humphrey: “But if they don’t send us the information and the plans and the requests for permission, well, what are we here for?” Jim Hacker: “Good question. What are we here for?” Sir Humphrey: “To collect the information, inspect the plans and withhold or grant permission.” Jim Hacker: “And if we didn’t?” Sir Humphrey: “I’m sorry, Minister. I don’t understand.” Jim Hacker: “If we weren’t here and we didn’t do it, what then?” Sir Humphrey: “I’m sorry, Minister. You’ve lost me.” Jim Hacker: “You know, your trouble is that you’re more concerned with means than ends.” Sir Humphrey: “There are no ends in administration, Minister, except loose ends. Administration is eternal.” Bernard Woolley: “Forever and ever…” Bernard & Sir Humphrey: “…amen.”