I indicated that I would talk to Sir Arnold Robinson, his predecessor as Cabinet Secretary, for advice on handling a security enquiry into a Cabinet Secretary. And I cautioned him against speaking to Arnold until after Ive spoken to him. He assured me that he wouldn’t dream of it.
[What possessed Hacker to warn Sir Humphrey that he would be discussing the matter with Sir Arnold? And why did he believe Sir Humphreys assurance that he would not speak to Sir Arnold himself? These are questions over which historians will ponder for ever. Suffice it to say that Sir Humphrey met Sir Arnold for a drink that very evening, at the Athenaeum Club. Sir Arnold’s private diary relates what happened in fully detail Ed.]
Met a flustered and anxious Appleby at the club. After one brandy he revealed the cause of his panic. Apparently the Prime Minister and Geoffrey Hastings of MI5 both think he might be a spy, because he cleared Halstead and Halstead has now confessed all.
Humphrey asked me what he should do. I told him that depends on whether he actually was spying or not. He seemed shocked that I could entertain the suspicion, but I explained that one must keep an open mind.
Pet Scoop: Larry the Cat Caught Catnapping on Downing Street, Panda Baby Greets the Public
27 06 2012
A police officer had to move a napping Larry from in front of No. 10
Prime Minister’s Cat Naps on the Job in Britain
Oh, Larry. He was hired to hunt down mice at No. 10 Downing Street, where the nation’s prime minister resides, but Larry has faced repeat criticism for sleeping on the job. Now, the adopted feline has been caught taking a catnap — on Downing Street itself! When cabinet ministers began arriving for a meeting, a police officer had to interrupt Larry’s slumber and move him to a safer spot. <…>
The satirical sitcom Yes Minster was first seen on 25th February 1980. The title sequence and music of the pilot was replaced in later episodes with Gerald Scarfe cartoons which contrasted with the stately theme tune and made it clear that the programme was not deferential to those in government. The comedy was based on the premise that real power was held by civil servants rather than ministers. The main characters were Jim Hacker MP - played by Paul Eddington - and Sir Humphrey Appleby, his Permanent Secretary, played by Nigel Hawthorne. Hacker’s Private Secretary, Bernard Woolley, was played by Derek Fowlds.
Yes Minister was written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, who were praised for being accurate as well as funny. They were advised by people who had themselves been in government, and several of the comedy situations depicted arose from real events. The programme influenced the public perception of the state, and Sir Humphrey’s pronouncements revealed the art of political spin.
The success of Yes Minister led to 6 BAFTA Awards. After three series it became Yes Prime Minister, as Hacker was unexpectedly promoted, and continued to 1988. Today the comedy The Thick of It is a direct descendant and the term Sir Humphrey is understood to mean a career civil servant.
Hugh Grant is the actor we would most like to see as Britain’s next Prime Minister, according to a survey. The star played a PM who falls for tea lady Martine McCutcheon in hit film Love Actually.
According to YouGov, the 44-year-old is our top choice to become the nation’s leader in real life.
More than 1,800 people were asked which movie or TV politician they would most like to see in No 10.
Harrison Ford, who played US President James Marshall in the film Air Force One, came second.
Third was Martin Sheen, aka President Jeb Bartlet in Channel 4 series The West Wing.
Britons in the top 10 included Yes, Prime Minister’s hapless Tory leader Jim Hacker, played by Paul Eddington; Ian Richardson’s slimy Francis Urquhart in BBC series House of Cards; and Rik Mayall’s outrageous Alan B’Stard in The New Statesman.
There was even a vote for Mayor Quimby from The Simpsons.
1 Hugh Grant - Prime Minister, Love Actually 2 Harrison Ford - President James Marshall, Air Force One 3 Martin Sheen - President Bill Mitchell, The West Wing 4 Bill Pullman - President Thomas Whitmore, Independence Day 5 Kevin Kline - President Bill Mitchell, Dave 6 Paul Eddington - Prime Minister Jim Hacker, Yes, Prime Minister 7 Michael Douglas - Senator Robert Wakefield, Traffic 8 Ian Richardson - Francis Urquhart, House of Cards 9 Mayor Quimby - The Simpsons 10 Rik Mayall - Alan B’Stard, The New Statesman
A Short Course for New Recruits
Lesson 10: A Masterclass by Lord Butler
It is no accident that Whitehall officials are known as Mandarins. Their language is often as hard to understand as anything spoken in Beijing. This is the third of a series of documents will provide you with the basic writing skills you will need to get by and survive in Whitehall.
Lord Butler, former Head of the Civil Service, was asked to report, in 2004, on the role of the intelligence services in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. As might have been expected, Lord Butler’s report offered a now all-too-rare glimpse of the former cabinet secretary’s favourite language - traditional Mandarin.
<…> Yes Minister co-creator Jonathan Lynn became interested in satire after meeting young politicos at Cambridge University: “They … were the most pompous, self-satisfied, self-important bunch of clowns that I’ve ever clapped eyes on.… I thought at that point that the only way that I could ever contribute to politics is making fun of the politicians.” <…>
The Men from the Ministry was a British radio comedy series broadcast by the BBC between 1962 and 1977, starring Wilfrid Hyde-White, Richard Murdoch and, from 1966, when he replaced Hyde-White, Deryck Guyler. Written and produced by Edward Taylor with contributions from John Graham, and with some early episodes written by Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke, it ran for 14 series, totalling 147 half-hour episodes.
The Men from the Ministry was a British radio comedy series broadcast by the BBC between 1962 and 1977 <…> it ran for 14 series, totalling 147 half-hour episodes. <…>
The series was about lazy, bungling, incompetent civil servants, “Number One” - Roland Hamilton-Jones (Wilfrid Hyde-White) and later Deryck Lennox-Brown (Deryck Guyler), “Number Two” - Richard Lamb (Richard Murdoch), with their dim, typo-prone, teenage secretary, Mildred Murfin (Norma Ronald), all watched-over by the lecherous, pompous, self-seeking Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Gregory Pitkin (Roy Dotrice and later Ronald Baddiley), all members of the British Civil Service based in Whitehall. The stories centered on their General Assistance Department (analogous to the “Department of Administrative Affairs” in the later Yes Minister), which helps other governmental departments. Instead of assistance, the department creates mix-ups, misunderstandings and cock-ups that lead to a telling-off from Sir Gregory, who sees his ‘hard earned’ Civil Service career and pension disappearing.
In one 1960s episode, “The Big Rocket”, General Assistance Department is put in charge of publicity for Britain’s almost non-existent space programme.
In another episode, “The Whitehall Castaways”, Lennox-Brown, Lamb and Mildred row to an island in a lake in Regent’s Park, General Assistance having been told to ensure the safety of a great bustard, a rare bird that is nesting there.
The characters are portrayed as inept, subject to greed, selfishness and incompetence. However, malice was never a factor and all the humour was light-hearted. There was also a little broad satire in many episodes. Later series tended to recycle older scripts, just people and places being changed. <…>