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.”
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”.
Indicators of Potential for Permanent Secretary Roles
This paper describes the characteristics – beyond demonstrating strong performance across the DG Effectiveness benchmark – that predict equally strong performance as a Permanent Secretary. The model is in three parts:
The experience that is deemed valuable to underpin success as a Permanent Secretary.
The kind of personal drive and aspiration that is needed to translate effectiveness at DG level into strong performance and comfort at Permanent Secretary level.
The ‘X-Factor’ is the essence which differentiates the excellent Permanent Secretary from the excellent DG – thereby indicating potential for Permanent Secretary roles.
" An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern”.
"Britain is the only colony in the British Empire and it is up to us now to liberate ourselves".
"This huge Commission building in Brussels, in the shape of a cross, is absolutely un-British. I felt as if I were going as a slave to Rome; the whole relationship was wrong. Here was I, an elected man who could be removed, doing a job, and here were these people with more power than I had and no accountability to anybody…My visit confirmed in a practical way all my suspicions that this would be the decapitation of British democracy without any countervailing advantage, and the British people, quite rightly, wouldn’t accept it. There is no real benefit for Britain"
Diary entry (18 June 1974), quoted from Against the Tide. Diaries 1973-1976 (London: Hutchinson, 1989), p. 180, p. 182.
" t is wholly wrong to blame Marx for what was done in his name, as it is to blame Jesus for what was done in his".
" The key to any progress is to ask the question why? All the time. Why is that child poor? Why was there a war? Why was he killed? Why is he in power? And of course questions can get you into a lot of trouble, because society is trained by those who run it, to accept what goes on. Without questions we won’t make any progress at all”.
Legislation to protect government information. Sir Humphrey explains to Bernard Woolley that the Official Secrets Act is not there to protect secrets, but to protect officials. Mentioned in the YM episode Jobs for the Boys. Jim Hacker wants to prosecute the Energy’s Department Press Officer, who leaked an embarrassing chapter of Jim’s predecessor’s memoirs, under Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act. In the YPM episode Power to the People Sir Arnold remarks that the Official Secrets Act is there to cover up the daily disasters of politicians.
Civil service scheme to discourage ministers to cut in government spending. The operation is intended to let ministers feel the pain of spending cuts by taking away “privileges” such as chauffeur driven cars, large personal staff, etc. It is sold to ministers by statements such as “economy begins at home, minister” and “you must set an example, minister”. After a while ministers get frustrated, certainly if spending turns out to be as high as ever or even higher. Sir Humphrey and Jumbo seem to have done this operation many times before they do it to Jim Hacker in the YM episode The Economy Drive.
Civil servants 'too keen to please' ministers in 2010
13 May 2014
Civil servants were “too keen to please” ministers from the coalition government when they took office in 2010, it has been claimed.
Peter Riddell, a leading constitutional expert, said mandarins had perhaps not “challenged” ministers enough on the “best way” to get policies implemented.
This was “for obvious human reasons”, he told MPs, since advisers wanted to “get the trust” of new ministers.
It happened when new governments were elected in 1979 and 1997, he added.
Mr Riddell, the head of the Institute for Government, was giving evidence to the Commons Public Administration Select Committee about the impartiality of the civil service.
He told MPs that civil servants had to serve ministers at all times, including in the run-up to referendums and national elections, and should not “hold their nose” at doing “anything political” during those periods.
"Ministers are entitled to pursue their policies and civil servants are expected to pursue and advise ministers in implementing their policies," he said.
Mr Riddell downplayed suggestions that civil servants had become increasingly politicised, saying they were “committed to serving the government of the day”.
Yes Minister delivers a fascinating portrayal of democracy amongst the British hierarchy, offering an engrossing insight on the frequently questioned morals of politicians within the UK – would an MP choose the option more likely to benefit the country, or his reputation? While the ethics explored in Yes Minster are very much home-grown issues, the bureaucratic red tape displayed within the show is relatable to most countries – all that would be required in most cases is a change in accent and street name.
In the very first episode of the show, the naive and inexperienced James Hacker takes up his new role as The British Minister for Administrative Affairs, an opportunity the politician has been building to his whole life. Full of enthusiasm, Hacker is desperate to instantly make his mark on British politics with a whole host of ideas that could be beneficial to the country. Unfortunately, the minister soon discovers that life in government is not quite as straightforward as simply ‘doing the right thing’.
Hacker spends his days alongside his manipulative Permanent Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby, whose biggest focus seems to be to convince the minister not to pursue his latest idealism. We also see a lot of Private Secretary, Bernard Woolley, a pedantic character who will usually sit on the fence as Hacker and Appleby debate right from wrong. With its razor-sharp witticisms and carefully constructed script, Yes Minister delivers on a whole host of levels.
Term introduced by Sir Humphrey in the YPM episode The Smoke Screen. He refers to a government that does not let people freely decide for themselves whether they want to smoke or not.
National Education Service
Education system as proposed by Dorothy in the YPM episode The National Education Service. It is modeled after the National Health Service (hence the similarity in names) in a sense that it will allow parents to choose which school to send their children to. Jim Hacker embraces the plan originally, but - like a good politician - drops all support for it as soon as he can maintain his position.
Document that contains all the promises a Party/MP makes in case it/he/she will come to power. Sir Humphrey explains in the YM episode The Quality of Life that there is an implicit pact between Ministers and the Civil Service. Ministers will help the Civil Service to implement the opposite policy from the Manifesto (which is of course the correct one) and the Civil Service will help Ministers to pretend that he is doing what is said in the Manifesto.
Terms that refers to constituencies where a certain Party has only a tiny majority. Marginal constituencies are looked after very carefully. In the YM episode The Whisky Priest we learn that defence contracts are usually placed within marginal constituencies. In the YPM episode The National Education Service Jim Hacker tours the marginal constituencies.
Member of the House of Lords that has a specialty in legal affairs. Jim Hacker wants a Law Lord to chair a select committee of both Houses on electronic surveillance requests. Mentioned in the YM episode The Death List.
Term for all those actions that bring secret or confidential information to the outside, usually the press. Leaks are used by ministers, the PM and backbenchers to gain some advantage or to put certain people under pressure. Leak inquiries are being set up constantly but their is aim is not to find the person that leaked, but to able to say that it is under investigation. This is explained by Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey in the YM episode The Bed of Nails. In the YPM episode Official Secrets a precedent is set, because a leak inquiry (executed by the Special Branch), actually finds the culprit
Minister with responsibility for only a small portion of a department. Junior Ministers work under the (Cabinet) minister. Junior Ministers are not part of the Cabinet. In the YPM episode The Patron of the Arts the Arts Minister is a Junior Minister.
- K -
Honour rewarded by the Queen. Honourees can carry the title “Sir” in front of their name (e.g. Sir Humphrey).
Knight of the Thistle
Honour mentioned in the YM episode Doing the Honours. Jim Hacker asks how the Knight of the Thistle is awarded, and Bernard replies that a committee sits on it.
Act that is mentioned in the YM episode The Whisky Priest. Referring to section 1 of this Act makes sure Jim Hacker can stay in the clear when writing a letter to the PM. See the Rhodesia Solution.
Inquiries for government departments are usually performed by the department itself. In case of suspected wrongdoings by the department, Parliament usually demands an independent outside inquiry. Although the department than has little direct control over the inquiry, it normally can appoint its members. By choosing members that are looking for honours or a peerage the department can steer the inquiry to exonerate the department.
Plan that is based upon canceling the order for a new nuclear missile (Trident) and using the money to build a large conventional army. Also conscription is re-introduced. This will solve Britain’s defence, unemployment and educational problems in one stroke. Although the terms suggest Jim Hacker came up with the plan, it was actually the Chief Scientific Advisor that proposed it. Of course, Sir Humphrey is not in favour and does everything to block it. The plan is first mentioned in the YPM episode The Grand Design. Jim Hacker also calls it a New Deal for Britain, while the Chief Scientific Advisor originally called it National Service.
Hacker’s Interviewing Techniques
Techniques for public interviews as listed by Jim Hacker in the YPM episode The Tangled Web (Sir Humphrey calls these interviewing tricks):
If the interviewer says that lots of people want to know about a certain issue, ask him to name six. He will never be able to remember more than three.
Attack one word in the question. For instance frequently: “What do you mean frequently?”
Attack the interviewer: “You clearly haven’t read the White Paper yourself.”
Ask a question back: “That’s an interesting question. Now let me ask you a question.”
Policy Exchange says proposals will improve the quality of public services and save billions by 2020. Natalie Gil reports
Chi Onwurah, the shadow cabinet office minister leading Labour’s digital government review, welcomed the call for a new set of skills inside Whitehall. “We have de-skilled the civil service, so we need to give them the skills and infrastructure to do this more effectively. It needs to be radical and across both national and local government,” she said. To see public services benefit from new technology, “you’ve got to empower and give frontline skills to the civil service”, she explained.
Nadhim Zahawi, a member of the Number 10 Policy Board, said the civil service had tended to recruit generalists with a wide range of expertise, but that specialist skills may also need to be brought in.
The Government Digital Service (GDS), which created a single gov.uk domain to replace more than 300 departmental and agency websites, “cannot be an island of innovation in an otherwise unreformed civil service”, it warns.