- Yes Prime Minister 2.7 Quote
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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.”


"Your idea of us working together is you telling me what to do and me doing it."

"Your idea of us working together is you telling me what to do and me doing it."

An educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern”.

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"Britain is the only colony in the British Empire and it is up to us now to liberate ourselves".

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"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.

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" 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".

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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”.

Agnes Moorhouse: Animals have rights too, you know. A battery chicken's life isn't worth living. Would you want to spend your life packed in with six hundred other desperate, squawking, smelly creatures, unable to breathe fresh air, unable to move, unable to stretch, unable to think?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Certainly not. That's why I never stood for parliament.
A Moral Vacuum
Sir Humphrey Appleby: What's the matter, Bernard?
Bernard Woolley: Oh nothing really, Sir Humphrey.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: You look unhappy.
Bernard Woolley: Well, I was just wondering if the minister was right, actually.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Very unlikely. What about?
Bernard Woolley: About ends and means. I mean, will I end up as a moral vacuum too?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Oh, I hope so, Bernard. If you work hard enough.
Bernard Woolley: I actually feel rather downcast. If it's our job to carry out government policies, shouldn't we believe in them?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Huh, what an extraordinary idea.
Bernard Woolley: Why?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Bernard, I have served eleven governments in the past thirty years. If I had believed in all their policies, I would have been passionately committed to keeping out of the Common Market, and passionately committed to going into it. I would have been utterly convinced of the rightness of nationalising steel. And of denationalising it and renationalising it. On capital punishment, I'd have been a fervent retentionist and an ardent abolishionist. I would've been a Keynesian and a Friedmanite, a grammar school preserver and destroyer, a nationalisation freak and a privatisation maniac; but above all, I would have been a stark, staring, raving schizophrenic.
Hacker: "Sir Humphrey! To what do we owe this pleasure?"
Sir Humphrey: "Prime Minister, I must protest in the strongest possible terms my profound opposition to a newly instituted practice which imposes severe and intolerable restrictions upon the ingress and egress of senior members of the hierarchy and which will in all probability, should the current deplorable innovation be perpetuated, precipitate a constriction of the channels of communication and culminate in the condition of organisational atrophy and administrative paralysis which will render effectively impossible the coherent and coordinated discharge of the function of government within Her Majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland!"
Hacker: "You mean you've lost your key?"
'If you spill the beans you open up a whole can of worms. I mean, how can you let sleeping dogs lie if you let the cat out of the bag? Bring in a new broom and if you're not very careful you find you've thrown the baby out with the bathwater. If you change horses in the middle of the stream, next thing you know you're up the creek without a paddle.'
‘And then the balloon goes up.’
‘Obviously. They hit you for six. An own goal in fact.’

Yes, Prime Minister (Season 2, Episode 4: A Conflict of Interest)

Sir Desmond at his best!

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?
Sir Humphrey: You have nicotine on your hands, prime minister.

The Smoke Screen, Yes Prime Minister series 1

(This is part of what I love about the series!)

gwinny3k:

You’re a cynic, Humphrey.         A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist.

gwinny3k:

You’re a cynic, Humphrey.
        A cynic is what an idealist calls a realist.

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